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Canal Boats and Barges
You can rent canal boats and barges throughout Europe and travel the extensive canal system and rivers of that continent.  They have boats and barges with crews (hotel barges) and those you can rent (self-drive, self-skipper) on your own. Think of it as the idyllic way to see Europe and probably the most leisurely. Of course, on some canals, like those of Venice, Italy, you can hire a gondola and be taken on a canal trip. In other parts of the world with fewer canals, you can take a boat trip on a canal as a passenger and there are some limited opportunities to rent a boat and cruise a canal yourself. In parts of the world where there are no canals, you can rent boats to travel rivers and lakes.  We cover this under our Boat Rental topic.
 
Canal Boats and Barges in Europe
About.com - Travel Channel - Canal Boat Search Results  An excellent list of websites for canal boats and barging.  They have more information on canal boats and river barges in Europe on their Europe For Visitors - Barges and Boats Section.
 
Eurocanals.com.  The best website we have found that covers canal boats to travel the canals and rivers of Europe.
 
Google Recreation - Boating Directory.  Extensive list of canal boating companies. Use the Find on this Page menu option of your web browser and search for a country or canal you are interested in.
 
Bargeconnection.com.  An excellent site covering barging in Europe.
 
LeBoat.  They have self-drive canal boat and barge vacations in Europe canal boats, barges and yachts for charter in the Caribbean, as well as, European and Eastern Mediterranean destinations., we can provide you with the best vacation possible. You select a location,  the boat you want to charter, and they do the rest.  
  
Crown Blue Lines  They have self-hire boat rentals for vacations on the waterways of France, Holland, Ireland, Germany, Italy, and Scotland.  They have sections of their web site in the language of the country you are coming from.  Clicking the link will take you to their Country of Origin selection page.
  
Canal Boat Holidays.  They cover canal boats in Europe and the rest of the world. You select a country from a scroll list.
 
Gobarging.com.  They have an excellent selection of luxury hotel barge cruises to choose from to explore the waterways of Europe in style.
 
MidiCanal.com.   The Midi Canal in the south of France is a popular barging destination.  Here is their web site in English and French.
  
European Waterways.com  Another comprehensive, excellent website.
 
Specialty Travel Index- Barge/Canal Cruising.   Click on the Barge/Canal Cruising activity name and then on the country you are interested in. They have an excellent list of companies that offer canal and barge boat excursions or rentals.
 
World Waterways.  They have worldwide coverage and offer river barging, canal barging, river boats and small ship cruises.
 
Canal Boating   Excellent links to European Canal companies.  Also check out their Reports and Blogs from people who have been canal boating.
Canal and Barge Travel in the United States
Almost all the canals in the United States are in the Eastern part of the country and were originally built in the late 1700's to early 1800's before railroads came into existence as transportation systems to take cargo and passengers inland.  Many have been preserved and are navigable thanks to historical preservation societies.  You can travel on these canals in your own boat, as a passenger on a canal cruise, or in some places, you can rent a boat and tour a canal yourself.  There is one barge company we have found.

Canal Boat Cruises

 
North American Canals.   The most extensive collection of links for United States and Canadian canals we have found.
 
The American Canal Society.   They have excellent links on their website covering American canals.
 
New York Canal Times   Excellent website with information and links on the canals of New York state.
 
Canal Boat Holidays.  They cover canal boats in Europe and the rest of the world. You select a country from a scroll list.
 
Google Recreation - Boating Directory.  Extensive list of canal boating companies. Use the Find on this Page menu option of your web browser and search for a country or canal you are interested in.
 
Barge Cruises

RiverBarge Excursions  This is the only American rover barge company we know about. They cruise various rivers in the eastern part of the United States.
 
Canal Travel in Canada
Almost all the canals in the United States are in the Eastern part of the country and were originally built in the late 1700's to early 1800's before railroads came into existence as transportation systems to take cargo and passengers inland.  Many have been preserved and are navigable thanks to historical preservation societies.  You can travel on these canals in your own boat, as a passenger on a canal cruise, or in some places, you can rent a boat and tour a canal yourself.
North American Canals.   The most extensive collection of links for United States and Canadian canals we have found.
 
Canal Boat Holidays.  They cover canal boats in Europe and the rest of the world. You select a country from a scroll list.
 
Google Recreation - Boating Directory.  Extensive list of canal boating companies. Use the Find on this Page menu option of your web browser and search for a country or canal you are interested in.
 
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