News & Politics

You Have One Month Left to Take a Boat Ride on the C&O Canal

Your next chance won't be until spring 2025, when restoration work on the canal is finished.

The C&O Canal will be drained until 2025 for restoration projects. Photograph by Sam Kittner, courtesy of the Georgetown Business Improvement District.

This month is your last chance to take a guided boat tour on the C&O Canal in Georgetown for a long time. After October, the canal will be drained for a restoration project and is expected to open again in 2025.

Visitors have only had a few months to enjoy the canal boat tours after a decade-long hiatus. In 2011, the former canal boat, the Georgetown, was damaged and deemed inoperable. A new 80-foot-long canal boat was introduced this year, and began giving tours in April.

The boat is currently docked at Lock 3, near the National Parks Service’s visitor center. NPS will give tours of the boat while it’s dry docked during the restoration starting next year, says the Georgetown BID’s communications director Lauren Boston.

The restoration is spearheaded by the NPS in partnership with Georgetown Heritage, and is expected to take at least 30 months. The project will restore Locks 1, 2, and 5 and repair canal valves and walls. It’s also a part of a larger plan to develop the canal and the areas around it.

Before the project gets underway, enjoy being on the water while you still can. The iconic boat tour will continue to run every Wednesday through Sunday until the end of October, plus Monday, October 10. The tours depart at 10 a.m, 12 p.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for children on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and $25 for adults and $15 for children the rest of the week.

Correction: This post has been updated to reflect that Georgetown Heritage does not have a set budget for the restoration at this time. It has also been corrected to state that the National Park Service is spearheading the project in partnership with Georgetown Heritage, not the other way around.

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Keely recently graduated with her master’s in journalism from American University and has reported on local DC, national politics, and business. She has previously written for The Capitol Forum.