Special Cruises

Winter Wonderland/Eagle Cruises



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

This cruise is the RiverQuest "original" Eagle Cruise from HADDAM. This will be our 13th year of this fantastic, Winter Wonderland Eagle Cruise!

Our cruises are full 2-1/4 hours "on-the-water" and the cost is $40pp (no one under 10 please!).

RiverQuest departs from Haddam, CT....across the river from the beautiful Goodspeed Opera House, just south of the famous East Haddam Swinge Bridge.

Come out and play and beat Cabin Fever!

Enjoy winter and very early spring while experiencing the beauty and solitude of the lower Connecticut River.

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 migrating and resident Bald Eagles, we will also search for many other varieties of local winter wildlife.

In the 12 years that we have been running these ever popular Winter Wonderland/Eagle Cruises, we have seen:

  • Hawk species: Red Tailed, Red Shouldered, Rough Legged (both light and dark morph), Sharp Shinned, Northern Harrier 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, Common Loon, Red Throated Loon, Pileated Woodpecker, Canada Geese and Brant.
  • And on the sideline....fox, coyote, deer and bobcat!

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 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 limited 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. These include, La Vita Gustosa, The Gelston House, Haddam Pizza, The Cooking Company (closed Sunday) and Subway.

Due to the popularity of our Winter Wonderland/Eagle Cruises, Reservations are required. 

However, we can occasionally we can take walk-ons and last minute calls. 


We want to remind everyone, this is a nature cruise. There may be rain, wind, fog, ice and heavy snow. We may have to cancel one cruise or an entire day. We will try to give as much notice as possible, but, there are times when the cancellation may be very last minute; the wind, etc, can change in minutes.

We only cancel when there is a safety issue or wildlife viewing will be affected.

So please, be patient and understanding with us.

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

2016 Dates/Times: Please look at our Special Cruise Dates page or our Calendar

Saturday and Sunday Cruises:

  • February 13 through March 20:  9:00am, 11:30am and 2:00pm. 

Friday Cruises:

  • February 19 through March 18:  10:00am and 1:00pm.

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

Departure Location:

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

Across the river from the Goodspeed Opera House.

2016 Price: Cost is $40 all passengers

NOTE: Due to the length of this cruise and for safety, NO children under 10 years old are allowed.

Private Charter Price:

The cost is a $1400 base price, based on 40 passengers. Over 40 persons would be $30 each, in addition to the base price, a maximum of 46 on a charter. You may bring your own food and/or beverage with you on this cruise. We will provide narration about eagles and the other wildlife and any other points of interest we see.

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



Osprey/Eagle Cruise


Just added: April 16 depart at 4:15pm


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: 

March 27, 2016

April 2, 3, 8, 9, 16, 17, 22, 23, 2016




Gift Certificates Available


Special Cruise Dates


Tree Swallow Sunset Cruise Spectacle

swallows-yellow sunDSCN1994swallows close-09-26 


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!

Book now 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 and eventually forming a “funnel” or "rain". 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 spectacle. Please no children under 10 years old. This cruise is approximately three hours in length (usually around 3.5 hours). Cost: $40 each passenger. Reservations required. NO BOOKING FOR OVER TEN PERSONS (email us to discuss if you have more). Please use our on-line booking for this cruise.

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 and starting times. Also, for SOLD OUT cruises.

Reservations are required, please use our easy on-line booking. Thanks!

Departure Times: Check the calendar.

Private Tree Swallow Sunset Cruise Charters:

Stand by for 2016 costs. Thanks!




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. 


Just added: August 29th!


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.




June 7 & 27, 2015

July 11 & 25, 2015

August 8 & 15, 2015



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:

Foliage Cruise NORTH:

October 24, 2015: 3:30pm to 5:30pm. This cruise will be set up like our Sunset Cruise. A table, bring a picnic basket and your favorite beverage if you choose. Light narration, relaxing cruise for you! $35pp. No one under 12 on this cruise, please.


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