Group Tours

RiverQuest is a 64’ eco-tourism boat that travels the scenic lower Connecticut River, an area labeled by The Nature Conservancy as “One of the Last Great Places in the Northern Hemisphere”.

RiverQuest has been giving narrated tours on the river for 20 years. Our home berth is located at Steamboat Dock in Essex, CT, situated at the foot of Main Street at the Connecticut River Museum.

On our river cruise, we view great landmarks like Historic Essex Harbor, Hamburg Cove and the Chester Hadlyme Ferry. We will introduce our visitors to the river’s ecology, rich history, and wildlife (which includes Osprey, eagles and more).

Our normal 90 minute route (subject to change at the Captain’s discretion):

We will head up river from the beautiful Essex Harbor (North), past North Cove and the Great Meadow and then continue past Hamburg Cove and cruise through the towns of  Chester and Deep River on the West side of the river, East Haddam and Lyme on the East side of the river. We’ll go past Gillette Castle, one of Connecticut’s most popular tourist attractions, and then cruise through Deep River Harbor eventually heading back to the dock on the main trunk of the river.

Our 60 minute cruise is a shortened version from the above description, we will not go as far north or through Deep River Harbor.

We offer cruises Spring through Fall so all can enjoy each season’s beauty.

RiverQuest can accommodate a full coach of 55 passengers. Please contact us if you need to go over that amount.

2024 Rates and Capacity: 

For Coach Cruises: (Now includes admission to the CT River Museum!)

90 Minute Daytime Sightseeing Cruise: Over 34 passengers: $25pp.  Under 34 passengers: $30pp*

60 Minute Daytime Sightseeing Cruise: Over 40 passengers: $18pp. Under 40 passengers $20pp*
*If under required passengers (34 on 90 minute, 40 on 60 minute), we reserve the right to open seats to the general public.

Note:  Special rate may not apply to a time slot that interferes with an already scheduled public Daytime Gillette Castle Viewing Cruise; or on weekends; if possible, a special time slot may be an option.

For smaller Groups:

90 Minute Daytime Sightseeing Cruise: $30pp (under 34) on a regularly scheduled cruise.

RiverQuest is somewhat handicap accessible and can accommodate small wheelchairs and walkers. If you have wheelchairs, PLEASE let us know via email and make sure you get to the boat early so we have time to load you on the boat.  Please note that at low tide the first ramp can be steep.  The Captain leaves the dock at the scheduled time!

Please email us at for more information.

What to do….where to go:

There is plenty to do in the quaint town of Essex that has been recognized as one of the best small towns in America. The area is full of charm.

We can help you plan your day:

  • A relaxing cruise aboard RiverQuest.
  • Lunch at a local restaurant:
    • Suggestions in Essex: Griswold Inn, Olive Oyl’s, Black Seal, Scotch Plains Tavern, Carlson’s Landing,
  • A visit to Gillette Castle, a mere 25 minutes away on beautiful, scenic back roads.
  • A visit to the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme
  • A behind the scenes tour of the Goodpseed Opera House (must be pre-arranged).
  • A play at the Goodspeed Opera House. (drive time <20 minutes)
  • A play at the Ivoryton Playhouse.
  • Spend time in our quaint town of Essex with local shops and restaurants.
  • For smaller groups, bring your own lunch or choose a box lunch from a local deli (contact us for deli information).
  • Contact us for more ideas and more information.

Special Adventures:

RiverQuest can cruise in shallow areas where other vessels can not. She can navigate creeks and she can also be beached to allow passengers to disembark for hikes and adventures on some local islands. Also, available, special birding and nature cruises. Contact us if you are interested in a very special adventure for your group.

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