5 of the Best Portland, OR Boat Tours

by Allie d'Almo  |  Published January 17, 2023

From whistlestop sightseeing tours to luxurious dinner cruises, there’s an excellent range of boat tours operating daily in Portland, Oregon. 

The observation deck on this 90-minute sightseeing tour offers sweeping city views (Photo: GetYourGuide.com)

Famed for its breweries, cutting-edge culinary scene and creative spirit, Portland is one of America’s most interesting metropolises. Around 5.4 million tourists visit the hipster haven every year. One of the best ways to get your bearings is on a boat tour. Most sail along the Willamette River which cuts right through the heart of town and its five districts. Nearly all offer live commentary from the captain or a local knowledgeable guide, and some even offer extras such as champagne and live piano music. We’ve scoured the internet for the best Portland, OR boat tours and have rounded up the best based on value for money, itinerary and customer reviews. 

Portland: Heart of Portland Sightseeing Cruise

This affordable 1.5-hour boat cruise offers a brilliant introduction to this vibrant city. Set aboard the three-tier Portland Spirit, the boat meanders along the Willamette River to Milwaukie then to north to Steel Bridge, and back again. The captain shares entertaining stories and insights into local history along the way. There’s also a full-service bar and bistro menu, as well as an observation deck offering sweeping city views. From £41.93 per person 

Book at GetYourGuide.com

Portland: Columbia Gorge and Bigfoot Jetboat Adventure 

Passengers travel on a jetboat on this 3.5-hour boat tour (Photo: GetYourGuide.com)

This 3.5-hour tour whisks visitors away from the hustle and bustle of Portland to Columbia Gorge, a glacier-carved crater carved some 15,000 years ago. The jet boat travels at 40 mph along the Willamette River and up along the Columbia River, accompanied by live and recorded narration about the history of the Columbia River. As well as enjoying the spectacular sweeping landscapes of mountains, high waterfalls and wildflower-filled meadows, guests are encouraged to keep their eyes peeled for the legendary man-ape, Bigfoot. From £68.77 per person 

Book at GetYourGuide.com

Portland: 2-hour champagne brunch cruise through Downtown 

This scenic two-hour cruise combines sightseeing with a delicious plated brunch,  a dessert buffet and a glass of bubbles. Guests can also opt for a mimosa, sparkling cider or orange juice. The tour begins in Downtown Portland and cruises along the Willamette River, with plenty of opportunities to take photos along the way. As well as narration from the captain, passengers can enjoy live entertainment. From £78.18. 

Book at GetYourGuide.com

Portland 2.5-hour dinner cruise through Downtown 

This evening tour offers sparkling city views (Photo: GetYourGuide.com)

For an elevated water-based experience, this luxurious 2.5-hour dinner cruise through Downtown Portland is an excellent option. Passengers can soak in the city’s sparkling skyline while tucking into a three-course meal. There’s onboard narration to provide context into the sights you pass, as well as live entertainment too. Like most boat tours, this cruise sweeps along the scenic Willamette River to Steel Bridge and back again. From £103.99 per person 

Book at GetYourGuide.com

Private Portland Sailing Charter 

With room for six passengers, this 90-minute private yacht tour is a good option for those travelling as a family or group of friends. Guests can choose to travel along the Willamette River to Elk Rock Island or sail past the city skyline and bridges, navigated by their own private captain. There isn’t a bar on board, but passengers can bring their own beers, snacks and wine on the yacht to kick off the party. From £302.16 per group. 

Book at Viator.com