Ways to Get on the Water in Buffalo, NY

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 more than a dozen ways to get on the water:


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.

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.

SUP Erie Adventures – Photo: Grant Taylor

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 Hamburg Town Beach, Wilkeson Pointe and Ohio Street. 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.

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: Mike Ciancio

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.

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.

Spirit of Buffalo – Photo: Drew Brown

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.

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.

Buffalo Cycleboats – Photo: Randy Duchaine

Buffalo CycleBoats & Buffalo Pedal Tours

Buffalo has never seen anything like the Buffalo CycleBoats and 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).

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.

Buffalo Tiki Tours – Photo: Buffalo Tiki Tours (Facebook)

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.


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.

Fishing in Erie County lakes and streams – Photo: Kevin Cullen


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.

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!