A short day cruise is your chance to tour the area in a new way (a waterway) and take the kids on an unforgettable adventure. Check out these five local cruises that offer programs and amenities designed to keep little ones happy, so the parents can relax. Bon Voyage!

boomerang-pirate-shipPhoto: Boomerang Pirate Ship

Boomerang Pirate Ship
Ahoy there little pirates! Hop aboard this hour-long Family Fun Treasure Hunt Cruise for an adventure with some friendly pirates protecting the Nation’s Capital from boisterous buccaneers. Join the effort to recover stolen treasure from scallywags who pilfered the ship’s booty. There’s dancing, face painting, limbo, and a whole lot of fun!

Sails from the dock at Washington Harbour
3100 K St., NW (Georgetown)
Online: boomerangpirateship.com

Storytime Cruise on Lake Needwood
This cruise is for you if you’re looking to entertain your littlest tots. Children aged 3 years and up are invited to hop aboard The Needwood Queen pontoon boat for a trip around Needwood Lake, a 75-acre reservoir located on Rock Creek in Rockville. Guests will enjoy a story and then search for what’s swimming, soaring and standing nearby. Preregistration is recommended.

15700 Needwood Lake Cir. (Rockville, Md)
Online: montgomeryparks.org/calendar/

Spirit of Washington Cruises
Take the kids on an educational Potomac River tour of Washington’s historical monuments. Spirit Cruises of Washington features three climate controlled interior decks and a rooftop lounge. In addition to sightseeing and spectacular views, you can choose from a variety of specialty cruises, including brunch cruises, crab feast cruises, new years eve dinner cruises, and stand up comedy cruises.

Gangplank Marina
600 Water St., SW
Online: spiritcruises.com/

Alexandria Seaport Canine Cruise
Talk about family-friendly, The Potomac Riverboat Company lets you and the little ones bring along your family’s special four-legged canine friend for a 60 minute cruise around Alexandria, Virginia’s Seaport. And better yet, dogs are free! They must be on a 6ft flat leash at all times. In addition to the canine cruise, the Potomac Riverboat Company offers other kid-friendly cruises, including a pirate cruise, the historic Alexandria Seaport cruise, a Mount Vernon sightseeing cruise, and a historic monuments cruise.

Potomac Riverboat Company
205 The Strand (Alexandria, Va)
Online: potomacriverboatco.com/

Bats and Beavers Pontoon Boat Cruise
Delight your kiddos with a sunset cruise aboard a pontoon boat. You’ll search for beaver lodges, feeding sites and (hopefully) beavers. Meet at the pontoon boat dock located by the boat rentals. Recommended for ages 6 years and up.

Black Hill Regional Park
20926 Lake Ridge Dr. (Boyds, Md)
Online: montgomeryparks.org/nature_centers/blackhill/

—Jamy Bond