Special Cruises

Selden Creek Navigation/Connecticut's Amazon



Selden Creek borders Selden Island, an island that is an untouched, pristine 640 acre Connecticut State Park, located in the town of Lyme. RiverQuest will cruise south down the Connecticut River from Eagle Landing State Park, Haddam, into Selden Creek for a circumnavigation of Selden Island. While slowly cruising through this serene, peaceful creek, your crew will point out flora and fauna and discuss the geology and history of the island and the bordering mainland. Cruising through the creek today is not much different than it was several hundred years ago. Enjoy the magic of the area. Look for Bald Eagles and other bird/wildlife.


Price: $35pp, no one under 10 please. For dates. look at our "Special Cruise Dates" page, click button below.


More About Selden Island:  http://www.seldenisland.org/



Gift Certificates Available


Special Cruise Dates

Cruise to Old Saybrook Lighthouses


A relaxing cruise south down the Connecticut River to view the Inner (Lynde Point) and Outer (Saybrook Breakwater Light) Lighthouses by water. Observe the beautiful, pristine river “One of the Last Great Places”, as we cruise by the towns of Haddam, East Haddam, Hadlyme, Lyme, Chester, Deep River and Essex, ultimately reaching Old Saybrook and Old Lyme at the mouth of the river on Long Island Sound. We will tell you about the history, ecology of the river and point out areas of interest. Bring your picnic basket if you’d like. There will be complimentary coffee and tea on board. Cost is $40pp. No one under 12 please. Please reserve your spot on-line. Thanks!


2017 Cruise Dates:

Saturday, August 19: 9:00am to 1:00pm




Gift Certificates Available


Special Cruise Dates


Haddam to Middletown Evening Cruise



Cruise from Eagle Landing State Park in Haddam north up the Connecticut River to Middletown. Pass under the East Haddam Swing Bridge. Observe how beautiful the river is as we pass by several state parks on the edge of the river: Haddam Meadows, George Dudley Seymour and Hurd to name a few. See where the Connecticut Yankee Nuclear Power Plant was and view many beautiful homes. We will turn around at The Mattabessett Canoe Club Restaurant. Bring your picnic basket and favorite beverage. Cost of this cruise is $40. No children under 12 please.

Cruise Dates:

July 19, 2017 depart at 5:30pm, return at 9:00pm.




Gift Certificates Available


Special Cruise Dates


Tree Swallow Sunset Cruise

Swallows rainbow  swallow  Swallow on phrags1  



Captain Mark and Mindy are the pioneers of Tree Swallow watching!
For the past 14 years they have brought individuals and groups on intimate cruises aboard RiverQuest and/or Adventure to a special spot on the Connecticut River where 100's of thousands of Tree Swallows gather. After spending the day miles away, the swallows return each night to sleep in the reeds. They gather at sunset and perform aerial ballets forming an amazing display of art, coordination and cooperation!

Over the years Captain Mark has found the best way to maneuver RiverQuest (and now Capt Alex, Adventure) to allow perfect views from her open decks on the bow and stern. Her flexible seating ensures everyone gets optimal "up close and personal" viewing.


Enjoy the entire evening! We will spend about 3.5 hours on the water.


The cruise is primarily about the Tree Swallows, however, it is also about the journey....there is so much to see while cruising along the river. Many birds are migrating through the area now; last year we saw a record number of Bald Eagles and Great Egrets. Our on board Naturalist(s), will educate you on the swallow phenomenon and all the other wildlife we see. On the return cruise home, there is time to chat with others and experience the river at twilight, blending into night.


You are able to bring your own picnic basket or snacks and your favorite "beverage" to enjoy on this special cruise.  There may not be tables for everyone, so singles and smaller groups, please bring "lap" type food.


Don't forget your camera and binoculars (or borrow a pair of ours)!


This is a small group experience that is unique each sailing. Mark, Mindy and crew promise a great evening for all to enjoy the Tree Swallow show and this special time on the pristine Connecticut River!


Cost is $40pp. NOTE: Due to the length of this evening cruise, we ask that no children under 12 years old be booked. Please email us for questions/comments.


These cruises sell out, so, reservations are required. Please use our on-line booking. We can sometimes take on last minute passengers, so, email us anytime.


NO BOOKING FOR OVER TEN PERSONS (email us to discuss if you have more). Please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Roger Tory Peterson of the Peterson Field Guides quote on this phenomenon: 

“I have seen a million flamingos on the lakes of East Africa and as many seabirds on the cliffs of the Alaska Pribilofs, but for sheer drama, the tornadoes of Tree Swallows eclipsed any other avian spectacle I have ever seen.”    


2017 Cruise Dates:

Check our calendar and Special Cruise Dates Page for exact dates, departure time and for SOLD OUT cruises.   

CalendarSpecial Cruise Dates 


Private Tree Swallow Sunset Cruise Charters: $1650 for the whole boat! Private Charters will normally be aboard ADVENTURE.           


MyTV9 Star Sees Swallows at Sunset: Angela watches an air show like no other Watch Video>>>

  • Sarah Cody form Fox 61 DayTripper News came on a Tree Swallow Cruise with us. See her video: Watch Video>>>
  • Autumn on the Connecticut River With the Swallows - 9/2/14, By HELEN O'NEILL Associated Press Read Article>>

On 09-24, there were so many Tree Swallows in the air, that Ryan of NBC weather posted the radar images on his Blog:



14 9radar

Meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan NBC CT 30- How the swallows appear on Radar!    





Gift Certificates Available


Special Cruise Dates

Haddam Fireworks Cruise


Join us aboard RiverQuest, departure at 6:30pm from Eagle Landing State Park in Haddam. We will cruise around a little bit and then position RiverQuest to watch the fireworks associated with Haddam River Days. The fireworks are scheduled to go off at 7:30pm-ish. Once completed, we will head back to the dock, should be back to the dock by 9:00pm. Bring your picnic basket and favorite beverage. Visit our website: ctriverquest.com to reserve your spots using our easy on-line booking. Cost is $45 per person. No children under 12. RiverQuest phone: 860-662-0577. Gift Certificates Available.

Date: September 9, 2017



Bicentennial Cruise from Essex

Bicentennial Cruise departing from ESSEX, War of 1812

The British dropped anchor at the mouth of the Connecticut River and in the wee hours of April 8th, 136 British officers, sailors and marines, made their way up river on smaller heavily armed boats to Essex to destroy the town’s shipping, specifically the privateer ships. They came ashore at the foot of Main Street. Homes and businesses in town were spared, but, 27 ships in EssexHarbour were burned and destroyed. Follow the route that the British took on the river and learn more about this fascinating event on a narrated river cruise aboard RiverQuest. The cruise will last for approximately one hour and 45 minutes. The cost is $40pp. Please book on-line. 

British Raid on Essex - Secondary Logo with Flags - small-2




Winter Wildlife & Eagle Cruises

eagles_ice_close rq5 3_yr_bestest




ADDED: Sunday March 12 at 4:15 pm (start of Daylight Savings) 


Winter Wildlife and Eagle Cruises – departing from the Connecticut River Museum in Essex, CT


RiverQuest has teamed up with the Connecticut River Museum for our winter cruises!

In February and March we will depart from the Connecticut River Museum docks at the end of Main Street in ESSEX.

With this partnership, you not only get to enjoy the river and its wildlife from the water, but also the entire museum and their special Eagles of Essex exhibit.


As the river, lakes and ponds to our north freeze, Eagles and others make their way to the lower CT River for their favorite food – FISH. Join us on this 2 hour “on-the-water” cruise to search for eagles and other winter wildlife. This is Mark and Mindy’s 14th year providing these popular cruises and in the past we have spotted up to a record 41 eagles, 3 types of grebes, fox, 3 types of swans, 3 types of mergansers, golden eagle, coyote, deer, many hawk species, 3 types of seals, many different gulls, loons, and even a bobcat. We will have Naturalists on board to narrate and make sure you don’t miss a thing!


RiverQuest has a heated cabin, but we suggest that you dress in warm layers since the best views will be from the open decks. Don’t forget your camera and binoculars! No binoculars? No worries, we have plenty on board for you to borrow! We will also provide complimentary coffee and tea.

We are hopeful that having RiverQuest further south this winter in Essex Harbor will decrease the chances of cancellations due to ice.


GPS - Connecticut River Museum, 67 Main Street, Essex, CT
Directions: CT Route 9 North to Exit 3 (Essex) and follow signs to Connecticut River Museum and Essex Historic Waterfront. The Dock is located at the foot of Main Street on the Connecticut River.


Hang around in Essex and have breakfast, lunch or dinner at local restaurants: Abby's Place, the Griswold Inn or the Black Seal. Olive Oyls deli has sandwiches and other food to go and Essex Coffee and Tea has food, too! Some nice retail shops to visit, also.


Cost:  $40pp


2017 Dates/Deaprture Times:

Photo by Jeri Duefrene 

Saturdays - Sundays:

15 10 18eagles

9:00 to 11:00
11:30 to 1:30
2:00 to 4:00


2/4 - 2/5; 2/11 - 2/12; 2/18 - 2/19; 2/25 - 2/26

3/4 - 3/5; 3/11 - 3/12; 3/18 - 3/19


10:00 to 12:00
12:30 to 2:30


2/10; 2/17; 2/24

3/3; 3/10; 3/17



Come out and play and beat Winter Cabin Fever! 

Come out of your winter doldrums and experience the beauty and solitude of the lower Connecticut River during this wonderful time of year! It is so different now then it is in the summer months, no boats and with no leaves on the trees, our wildlife viewing is much easier.


Although our primary mission is to search for and observe visiting and resident Bald Eagles (we will pass three nests on our journey), we will also search for many other varieties of local winter wildlife.

IMG 4934     Eagles brockway island    Ring necked 1


Past Sightings:

Birds of Prey:

Red Tailed Hawk

Rough Legged Hawk

Sharp Shinned Hawk

Northern Harrier


Coopers Hawk

Red Shouldered Hawk


Peregrine Falcon

Golden Eagle

Bald Eagle



Grey Seal

Harbor Seal







Common Merganser

Hooded Merganser

Red-breasted Merganser

Common Goldeneye


Black Duck

Wood Duck

Ruddy Duck


Ring neck

Long tail


Green Winged Teal

American Widgeon






Great Black Back

Ring Billed




Great Cormorant

Pied Billed Grebe

Horned Grebe

Red Throated Grebe

Tundra Swan

Trumpeter Swan

Mute Swan

Common Loon

Red Throated Loon


Canada Geese

Pileated Woodpecker

Northern Flicker


So, come aboard and see what we find on your cruise!


Hoodies       Rq winter pilothouse      Cormorant Great



*Due to the length of this winter cruise, we ask that no children under 10 years old be booked. Please email us for questions/comments. 

*Due to the popularity of these cruises, they do sell out, so, reservations are required. Please use our on-line booking "reservations" button. We can sometimes take on last minute passengers, so, email us anytime.

NO ON-LINE BOOKING FOR OVER TEN PERSONS (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.us to discuss if you have more).



We want to remind everyone that this is a nature cruise. The weather can change drastically in minutes; rain, wind, fog, ice and heavy snow may pop up. There are times when a cruise may be canceled very last minute. We will of course try to give as much notice as possible and we will only cancel if there is a safety issue or wildlife viewing will be affected. So please, be patient and understanding with us.

ALWAYS....before you come, check our home page or call 860-662-0577 for up-to-date cruise information.


Private Charter Price: Please email us to discuss more.


Special days/times for school groups or other groups can be set up.

Thank you! Captain Mark and Mindy.

Please add your name to our mailing list and we will keep you updated!





Gift Certificates Available


Special Cruise Dates





Geology Cruise on the Lower CT River



Connecticut and the Connecticut River is had "rich" geology. We will have a geologist onboard to tell you all about how the Connecticut River formed and many other interesting geological facts of the river. Departure from Eagle Landing Park, Haddam.


CRUISE DATE:  October 25th, 2017. 2:00pm to 4:00pm.


The Essex Land Trust is sponsoring this geology cruise with Ralph Lewis on RiverQuest Wednesday, Oct 25.  

BYO picnic/beverage. $30/person. T

o make a required reservation contact Judy Saunders: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

Bad weather cancels.


To schedule your own Group Cruise please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call RiverQuest at 860-662-0577.




Gift Certificates Available


Special Cruise Dates

Phone: 860-662-0577

Upcoming Excursions

January 8, 2015

Non-Stop CT! Video