Special Cruises

Winter Wonderland/Eagle Cruises

eagles_ice_close rq5 3_yr_bestest


LOOKING FORWARD TO 2016! The plan is to start on February 13th.  Reservations 


This cruise is the RiverQuest Winter Wonderland/Eagle Cruise from HADDAM. Directly across the river from the beautiful Goodspeed Opera House.

This will be our 13th year of this fantastic, magical Cruise!



Our cruises are now a full 2-1/2 hours "on-the-water" to give us ample time to find and observe eagles and other wintering wildlife.

The cost is $40pp (no one under 10 please, see below).

Come out and play and beat Winter Cabin Fever! Come out of your winter doldrums and experience the beauty and solitude of the lower Connecticut River during this wonderful time of year! It is so different now then it is in the summer months, no boats and with no leaves on the trees, our wildlife viewing is much easier.


Although our primary mission is to search for and observe visiting and resident Bald Eagles (we will pass three nests on our journey south), we will also search for many other varieties of local winter wildlife.


In the years that we have been running these ever popular Winter Wonderland/Eagle Cruises,

we have seen from 1 to 41 Bald Eagles 




Hawk species: Red Tailed, Red Shouldered, Rough Legged (both light and dark morph), Sharp Shinned, Northern Harrier, Goshawk and Cooper.


Duck species: Common, Hooded and Red-Breasted Mergansers, Common Goldeneye, Coot, Black, Wood, Ruddy, Scaup, Ring Neck, Long Tail, Mallard, Green Winged Teal and American Widgeon.


Also: Great Cormorant, Pied Billed Grebe, Horned Grebe, Red Throated Grebe, Tundra Swan, Trumpeter Swan, Mute Swan, Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, Golden Eagle, Harbor Seal, Herring Gull, Great Black Backed Gull, Ring Billed Gull, Bonaparte's Gull, Common Loon, Red Throated Loon, Pileated Woodpecker, Canada Geese and Brant.


And on the sideline....fox, coyote, deer and bobcat!


So, come aboard and see what we find on your cruise!


Hoodies       Rq winter pilothouse      Cormorant Great

A seasoned, experienced naturalist will talk about eagle biology and ecology and about the other wintering birds and wildlife that will be seen on our cruise.


We have a large screen TV on board where we will be displaying many photographs of birds, etc, that we may see on our journey.

RiverQuest has a fully enclosed heated cabin, enough to take the chill off, but, please DRESS WARM (and in layers) because you will want to be outside for parts of the journey observing our wintering wildlife up close.


There will be complimentary coffee and tea on-board. 


Bring your camera and your binoculars. If you do not have your own binoculars, there is a hefty supply of pretty darn good binoculars on loan for the cruise. 


Bring a snack with you or enjoy lunch before or after the cruise at one of the local eateries in Haddam or East Haddam. Restaurants include: La Vita Gustosa, The Gelston House, Haddam Pizza.

Sandwiches and take out food: River Valley Provisions, The Cooking Company (closed Sunday) and Subway.


2016 Dates/Times: (Also please check our Special Cruise Dates page and/or our Calendar). More dates and times will be added if need be.


Saturday and Sunday Cruise Departure Times:

February 13 through March 13:  9:00am and 12:00pm. March 13 and March 20: 9:00am and 12:00pm and 3:00pm


Friday Cruise Departure Times:

February 19 through March 18: 10:00am.


Departure Location:

HADDAM, CT, Eagle Landing State Park, 1 Marine Park. Off Route 82/Bridge Road.

Across the river from the Goodspeed Opera House.



*Due to the length of this winter cruise, we ask that no children under 10 years old be booked. Please email us for questions/comments. 

*Due to the popularity of these cruises, they do sell out, so, reservations are required. Please use our on-line booking "reservations" button. We can sometimes take on last minute passengers, so, email us anytime.

NO ON-LINE BOOKING FOR OVER TEN PERSONS (email us to discuss if you have more).


We want to remind everyone that this is a nature cruise. The weather can change drastically in minutes; rain, wind, fog, ice and heavy snow may pop up. There are times when a cruise may be canceled very last minute. We will of course try to give as much notice as possible and we will only cancel if there is a safety issue or wildlife viewing will be affected. So please, be patient and understanding with us.

ALWAYS....before you come, check our home page or call 860-662-0577 for up-to-date cruise information.


Private Charter Price:

The cost is a $1600 for the entire boat on weekends, maximum of 45 passengers. You may bring your own food and/or beverage with you on this cruise. We will provide narration about eagles, other wildlife and points of interest we may see.

Please email us for weekday prices.

Email us to discuss more.


Special days/times for school groups or other groups can be set up.

Thank you! Captain Mark and Mindy.

Please add your name to our mailing list and we will keep you updated!





Gift Certificates Available


Special Cruise Dates


 IMG 4934     Eagles brockway island    Ring necked 1



Osprey/Eagle Cruise



On this cruise, we may see our resident Bald Eagles along with our returning Ospreys. We will depart from our dock at Eagle Landing State Park in Haddam in search of Ospreys and eagles. We will pass fairly close to the Goodspeed Eagle's Nest, where we hope to catch a glimpse of the eagles near the nest. As we head south towards the next eagle's nest in Lyme, we'll point out other areas of interest, including Gillette's Castle. Most of our ospreys will be nesting or working on their nests. All the platforms and day markers will eventually have an Osprey nest. We'll then get a view of the Lyme Eagle Nest. We'll tell you all about the local wildlife we will see along with lots of other interesting stuff! Enjoy this beautiful river! Complimentary Coffee and tea onboard. Cost is $40 per passenger. Due to the length of this cruise, no children under 10 please.

Cruise Dates (2016): 

April 2, 3, 8, 9, 16, 17, 23. Check calendar or Special Cruise Dates page for departure times.




Gift Certificates Available


Special Cruise Dates


Tree Swallow Sunset Cruise Spectacle

Swallows rainbow  Swallwo binocs  Swallow on phrags1  


2015 was another spectacular year, great shows for the Swallows and Eagles and Herons, Egrets, and lots of other "things". A wonderful and fun journey!

We are already actively booking for 2016 cruises.


Through the end of August, during the entire month of September and into October, tens of thousands of birds congregate in the lower Connecticut River Valley on their migration route south. One flock of birds, primarily comprised of tree swallows, come each evening to an island to roost. It is speculated that these birds fly in from as far as 50 miles away. As many as half a million may come in at dusk where they converge just before sunset over the island, often creating a spectacular “ballet” in the sky. Then, just after sunset, they settle down into a communal roost in the phragmites (a type of reed) for the night. We will educate you on this phenomenon, answer questions and point out other migrating birds or local wildlife we may see. We regularly see: Bald Eagles,  Ospreys, different ducks, Cormorants and who know what else!

Bring a picnic basket, your favorite beverage and your binoculars (we have a limited supply on board to loan for the cruise) and enjoy the evening as we wait for the Tree Swallow Sunset Spectacle.

This cruise is approximately three to 3.5 hours in length.


NOTE: Due to the length of this evening cruise, we ask that no children under 10 years old be booked. Please email us for questions/comments.

Cost: $40 each passenger.

These cruises sell out, so, reservations are required. Please use our on-line booking. We can sometimes take on last minute passengers, so, email us anytime.

NO BOOKING FOR OVER TEN PERSONS (email us to discuss if you have more).

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Roger Tory Peterson of the Peterson Field Guides quote on this phenomenon: 

“I have seen a million flamingos on the lakes of East Africa and as many seabirds on the cliffs of the Alaska Pribilofs, but for sheer drama, the tornadoes of Tree Swallows eclipsed any other avian spectacle I have ever seen.”      


2016 Cruise Dates:

Starting August 21st thru October 8th.


Check our Calendar and Special Cruise Dates Page for exact dates, departure time and for SOLD OUT cruises.      


Private Tree Swallow Sunset Cruise Charters: Stand by for 2016 costs. Thanks!             


MyTV9 Star Sees Swallows at Sunset: Angela watches an air show like no other Watch Video>>>

  • Sarah Cody form Fox 61 DayTripper News came on a Tree Swallow Cruise with us. See her video: Watch Video>>>
  • Autumn on the Connecticut River With the Swallows - 9/2/14, By HELEN O'NEILL Associated Press Read Article>>

On 09-24, there were so many Tree Swallows in the air, that Ryan of NBC weather posted the radar images on his Blog:



14 9radar

Meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan NBC CT 30- How the swallows appear on Radar!    




Gift Certificates Available


Special Cruise Dates

Southbound Foliage Cruise

Kids Cruise

From 10:00am to 11:00am this is a special affordable family cruise, designed for young children and their parents, grandparents, older siblings, etc.



We now have check-in at the first gray building (Connecticut River Environmental Education Center - CREEC) located on the left when you enter the access road to RiverQuest starting at 9:00am. We will give you a ticket to get on the boat. That way, you can play in the park with no worry of losing your spot. 


On this cruise, we will teach young children about binoculars, they will learn about the birds we see, nautical terms, the ecology of the river and other points of interest including Gillette Castle and the Chester/Hadlyme Ferry. We will go under the East Haddam Swing Bridge and hear the cars go over us. This will be a fun cruise to introduce children to the fragile beauty of the Connecticut River and the area we live in. And, it allows kids to be kids! All kids ages 2 to 12 ticket price will be only $5, all others only $10.

NOTE: Adults must have at least one kid(s) with them for this cruise. Thanks!

You do not need to bring life jackets with you, per the US Coast Guard, children under 12 do not need to wear them on a commercial boat.


There is no on-line booking for this cruise, it is first come/first serve. Also, cash only. Thank you.



2016 DATES, Stand by!



Gift Certificates Available


Special Cruise Dates

History Cruise

the boat wave


History Cruise "Commerce and Conflict on the Connecticut River in early Colonial days" aboard RiverQuest

Journalist and Connecticut historian Erik Hesselberg will entertain passengers with a lively talk during a cruise on the lower Connecticut River. Hesselberg has spent a decade researching the early history of the river for a book in progress. He is a regular contributor to the Hartford Courant and President of the Middlesex County Historical Society. He will speak of the early, mysterious, almost legendary period of the first Dutch and English settlements and the friends and enemies they made among the native peoples.  The journey on the river will encompass parts of the towns of Haddam, East Haddam, Chester and Lyme. Depart from Eagle Landing State Park in Haddam. Light apps will be provided. The cost is $35pp. No one under 12 please. Easy on-line booking and more information at: ctriverquest.com. RiverQuest phone: 860-662-0577. Gift Certificates Available.


Saturday, October 10: 3:30pm to 5:30pm.




Gift Certificates Available


Special Cruise Dates

Fall Foliage Cruises



Join us aboard RiverQuest for our Fall Foliage Cruises.

The foliage begins to change in late September and there will be color all through October.

On our regularly scheduled 90 minute Gillette Castle Viewing Daytime Cruises, we will still cruise south, where you will also see the beautiful changing foliage on the many varieties of trees along the lower Connecticut River. The cost for 11:30am (Wednesday and Thursday) and 1:30pm (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), 90 minute cruise, is $20 adults, $15 children. On Wednesday and Thursday 11:30am the cost is $18pp for seniors (over 60). 

Special Foliage Cruises in October 2016 coming soon!


Always please check our Calendar to confirm departure days and times. Private charters take precedence.




Gift Certificates Available


Special Cruise Dates

Selden Creek Navigation/Connecticut's Amazon



Selden Creek borders Selden Island, an island that is an untouched, pristine 640 acre Connecticut State Park, located in the town of Lyme. RiverQuest will cruise south down the Connecticut River from Eagle Landing State Park, Haddam, into Selden Creek for a circumnavigation of Selden Island. While slowly cruising through this serene, peaceful creek, your crew will point out flora and fauna and discuss the geology and history of the island and the bordering mainland. Cruising through the creek today is not much different than it was several hundred years ago. Enjoy the magic of the area. Look for Bald Eagles and other bird/wildlife. 

More About Selden Island:  http://www.seldenisland.org/

CRUISE DATE: June 14 & October 18, 2015 !! $35pp, no one under 12 please.  

To schedule your own Group Cruise please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call RiverQuest at 860-662-0577.



Gift Certificates Available


Special Cruise Dates

Phone: 860-662-0577

Upcoming Excursions

January 8, 2015

Non-Stop CT! Video