Ways to Get on the Water

By Drew Brown

Published on | Last Updated

When the sun is shining and the temperatures are high, there’s no place you’ll rather be than feeling the gentle breeze along Buffalo’s revitalized waterfront. Following an ambitious makeover, the result of hundreds of millions of dollars in new investment, some of Buffalo’s best attractions and events are situated on the shores of Lake Erie, the Buffalo River and beyond. In addition to all of the fun you’ll have on land, here are a dozen ways to get on the water:

1. Kayaking
There are now several different spots to rent kayaks – one of the best ways to see Buffalo from the water. At Canalside, BFLO Harbor Kayak returns for another season while further up the Buffalo River, Elevator Alley Kayak and Buffalo RiverWorks operate in the shadow of one of the largest collection of grain elevators and silos in the world. Outer Harbor Buffalo offers rentals launching from the beach at Wilkeson Pointe, while Paths Peaks & Paddles launches in Ellicott Creek and Blue Water Marina rents from the shoreline of Grand Island.

2. Stand Up Paddleboard
Test your balance as you coast down the Buffalo River with a stand up paddleboard session from BFLO Harbor Kayak and Buffalo RiverWorks. Venture out into more open waters and feel the breeze roll in from Lake Erie with paddleboard rentals available from Longboards Paddle Co. at Gallagher Beach, Hamburg Town Beach, Wilkeson Pointe and Woodlawn Beach (they also rent kayaks and hydrobikes, too!). And if you’re looking for a guided session, Kevin, Christian and the team from SUP Erie Adventures offer stand up paddleboard (and kayak) excursions of the dramatic cliffs along Lake Erie’s beaches.

3. Water Bikes & Paddleboats
Another novel way to cruise the city’s waterways is on water bikes, which are available for rent at Canalside from the Water Bikes of Buffalo (the same folks behind the famous Ice Bikes). Up in Tonawanda, at the beautiful Gateway Harbor, water bikes are also available for rental from Water Bike & Boat Adventures. For the youngsters, pedal along on a paddleboat in Canalside’s historically aligned canals.

4. Buffalo River History Tour
Buffalo’s efforts to preserve and restore its grain silos have received international praise. This summer, see them first-hand on a Buffalo River History Tour, offering 90-minute river tours and 2-hour river/land hybrid tours that offer a partial walking tour of Silo City and into the Perot Family Malting Plant grain elevator.

5. Harbor Queen Cocktail Cruises
Unlike the traditional tours offered by Buffalo River History Tours, these Cocktail Cruises allow you to relax with a refreshing cocktail while cruising the Buffalo River and Lake Erie. Enjoy live local music and soak up the atmosphere aboard this two-hour cruise. While these cruises do not include a narrated tour, a knowledgable guide is onboard to answer any questions you may have.

6. Spirit of Buffalo
The Spirit of Buffalo schooner offers tours that set sail into Lake Erie during the breezy daytime or during a dazzling Buffalo sunset.

7. Buffalo CycleBoats & Buffalo Pedal Tours
Buffalo has never seen anything like the Buffalo CycleBoats & Buffalo Pedal Tours before. This waterfront attraction, having launched with Buffalo CycleBoats a few summers ago, this floating pub/group bicycle allows its 15-passengers to pedal along as they take in all the sites on the waterfront with a cold beer (BYOB).

8. Miss Buffalo
An old favorite – the Miss Buffalo – offers private outings from its anchoring spot near the Erie Basin Marina. When you’re aboard you’ll enjoy spectacular views of the Buffalo skyline and the famous sunsets over the waters of Lake Erie.


Buffalo River History Tours – photo courtesy of Mike Ciancio

9. Moondance Cat
Celebrating nearly 40 years of service, the Moondance Catamaran can fit your private group and equipped with tons of lounging space (pro tip: relax on the netting as the waters zip by below you), a fully stocked bar and, of course, wonderful vantage points of Buffalo and the expanse of Lake Erie.

10. Grand Lady Cruises
With a home docked at Buffalo RiverWorks, Grand Lady Cruises is Buffalo’s only dedicated dinner cruise vessel. Make a reservation, enjoy a meal prepared right onboard and then head up to the veranda for drinks, live music and one of the best sunsets around.

11. Sailing
Climb aboard sailor! Whether you’re looking to enjoy the wind in your hair or plan the perfect date night, make sure to book your outing through Make Sail Time. And if you’re looking to learn the ropes yourself, Seven Seas Sailing School will make you a seasoned sea dog in no time.

12. Buffalo Tiki Tours
You’ve probably seen this thing out on the waterways and thought, “what the heck is that?” Take a relaxing tour down the Buffalo River Hawaiian-style on a floating tiki hut with you and five of your friends! The Buffalo Tiki Tour is available for sunset cruises, bachelorette and bachelor cruises, weddings (yes they have a minister) and group outings.

13. Fishing
The waters surrounding Buffalo, in terms of fishing, are some of the richest you’ll find. Loaded with smallmouth bass, steelhead, trout and carp, chartering a fishing tour through companies like Brookdog Fishing Co. offer excitement for everyone from the seasoned angler to hobby fishers.

Image by Brookdog Fishing Company


Drew Brown headshot

Drew Brown

Born in Buffalo's Historic Polonia District, raised in East Aurora, current resident of the West Side, and I'm still discovering new things in Buffalo every day. I'm proud to represent our community as the Director of Media & Content Strategy for Visit Buffalo Niagara. Let's go Buffalo!