Canal Vacations in the United States - Divine Lifestyle
Family Travel

Canal Vacations in the United States

Canal Vacations aren't reserved for Europe. Find these right here in the states.

The canals of America are no longer necessary to transport goods, which was their original purpose, but they do provide scenic waterways. After the railroads began to dominate the transportation scene, a lot of the canals that were created were left to fill, go wild or abandoned entirely. It wasn’t until years later when communities began focusing on the need for more recreation areas that many of these old canals were rejuvenated, dredged out and then reopened to the public along with paved paths and canal side facilities. This eventually led to people taking canal vacations.

Canal Vacations Across the Country

Canal vacations can be spent on the water or on the land, with the canals as your destination, look to the surrounding areas and communities that have established themselves along these once thriving routes.


The Erie Canal of New York ran from Albany to Buffalo, where it reached Lake Erie. This waterway has been designated as a National Heritage Site, affording it extra attention and funds that are invested in its upkeep and development. Because of that, the parts of the canal that are still in operation are lined with thriving communities and businesses that cater to the visitors that pass through. Smaller boat trips can be arranged for the day or even overnight trips, and there is always the possibility to rent small recreational watercraft so that you can paddle your way along the canal. If being out on the water is not your first option, the entire corridor is lined with easy to navigate bike paths that range from easy to difficult terrain.


The almost 100 miles of canals that make up the Illinois and Michigan (I&M) Canal is open to visitors to explore, follow and study, though the best views and portions of the I & M run from Rockdale to LaSalle. Four different state parks are situated along the length of the canal, where each features a different type of natural setting or wildlife haven. The original towpath was repaved, making it easier for hikers and bikers to travel, and families can often be seen paddling along the gentle and slow-moving water of the canal in canoes and kayaks.


The historic Delaware Canal is now a protected area with a large forested area encompassing it. The canal and towpath provide several chances for recreation, from boating to biking. In the park alone there are additional lakes, wooded islands and private beaches that dot the entire shoreline. As a destination, you will be on a trail of discovery as you hop from small town to country markets and can visit pick your own farms or arrange for trail rides with local horse farms.

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