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“Interesting” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Erie Canal

Erie Canal
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Ranked #1,136 of 2,720 attractions in New York
Type: Bodies of Water
Attraction Details
New Jersey
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
16 attraction reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2013

We were passing by Buffalo and stop here mostly to stretch a little during our trip to NY State.
It proved to be very interesting, seeing the canal with the ships and the submarine.
There is a walkway all around , the breeze of the water was very welcomed.There is a food stand.
But the amazing thing is the almost 50 foot drop in the water through what they call the "5 locks" That is the only way the ships can navigate the canal .
It is an outstanding work, specially because it was finished in 1825.
Gone are the days when the barges were pulled by horses by the side of the river...
You can also tour by boat.
It is an attraction that we'll certainly visit again in the future, maybe by boat
You can also tour by boat

Visited June 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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10 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Jamaica, Vermont
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
16 attraction reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Then and Now”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2013

A quick trip north of Albany NY and you're at the original as well as the newest start of the famous Erie Barge Canal. You'll get to peer at where access to the Great Lakes from the Hudson river began. Note how in comparison how tiny it was. You'll see the stone steps where the barges were pulled from and where it merged with the Champlain canal. You're not done yet. Follow the signs to "Lock #2" and you'll be at the new canal. Vast in size by comparison and if you are lucky, a ship or boat just might be raised or lowered. The lock operator came out to chat and we got a fantastic explanation of how things worked. I asked if I can use the locks with my kayak and he said yes. So maybe soon I'll paddle the canal to Buffalo for some wings.

Visited August 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
23 attraction reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“We cruised the Erie Canal - and the dogs, too!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2011

We rented a canal boat from Mid Lakes Navigation in Macedon, NY. As other travellers have noted the boats are very clean, easy to operate, and pretty well equipped to be self-sufficient for the week. They do allow dogs to travel, but you pay a fee to have the boat deep cleaned after your rental.
We had never done something like this and it was not a "sit back and read" journey - you must man the tiller every minute you are moving and handle the mooring ropes at every lock and dock you visit. You travel at 6 miles per hour, so you don't get anywhere fast. Count on 40-45 miles for a long day's cruise counting time for the locks you traverse. Plan your stops well in advance after Labor Day because the locks and lift bridges close at 5 PM. It is a great time to travel - the Canal is almost deserted and you cruise alone 90% of the time.
We stopped at almost every canal town to walk around and see the sights. The economy has not been kind in NW New York and many stores are shuttered and businesses closed. The shops we visited were happy for the business and were always ready to strike up a conversation.
Overnight stays:
Fairport, NY has great docking facilities ($9 fee) and several restaurants right on the waterfront. Drawback is that CSX trains run one block from the canal and blow for the crossing all night. If you stay here, bring earplugs. Great ice cream right along the dock!
We found Holley, NY to be a great place to overnight - the dock and facilities were superb and it was very quiet. Bathroom and showers are clean and free. The town is very small and no longer has a grocery, but Sam's Restaurant was very well recommended. Nice local folks.
Lockport was another good stop - since the dock above the double lock only holds one boat, we stayed at the municipal marina. It is a mile or so outside town, but has electricity, bathrooms, showers, and washer & dryer. We were the sole resident and it was a nice quiet place.
We rented a car from Enterprise in Lockport (they pick you up) and drove to see Niagara Falls. Rode the 'Maid of the Mist' then shopped for groceries as long as we had a car.
After returning we rode the double locks at Lockport and the lockmaster invited us to dock in the single dock since it was vacant. What a great spot, right in the middle of town and right next to the lock. We walked the town and ate at LaPorts restaurant - where the locals eat. Good food, cheap, and plentiful. We retired for the night and all was quiet until 1 AM when a bar next to the canal lock starting blasting Santana at concert volume - which they do every night until 2 AM. Not a restful night! Highly suggest you visit Grimble's Hardware on the main street in Lockport - a hardware store right out of the 1950's - and model trains. too!
We visited Medina on our way back to Holley for the night. Many closed businesses in town although the dock faclities were good.
Next day we visited Brockport, Spencerport, and Pittsford on our way to Bushnell's Basin. Another great docking space with clean bathrooms and showers for a $9 fee. Stay here if you want privacy and don't want to stay in Pittsford or Fairport .. Restaurants in walking distance and essential groceries at the Hess station right at the dock.
Last stop before returning the boat was Palmyra, NY. A charming town that was the birthplace of the Mormon religion. We walked and talked with shopkeepers for several hours before spending a quiet night at their dock. CSX does go by, but it is further away and not as loud. * Warning: Ravenous mosquitoes here in Palmyra after dark.
We returned the boat to Mid Lakes the next morning and retrieved our car. We toured Seneca Falls - Women's Rights National Park - by car on the way home.

Of special note is the friendly and helpful employees of the Erie Canal System. Every lockmaster and bridgekeeper was informative, cheerful, and went out of their way to be welcoming - even providing dog biscuits at one lock for our Labradors. They were a highlight of our journey.

We would highly recommend Mid Lakes Navigation if you contemplate this type of vacation. They were great and provided lots of pre-trip information and hands-on instruction when you pick up the boat. 24 hour emergency service in case you have a problem with the boat is included. They take you through a lock and make sure you can dock and navigate before they turn you loose in the Canal.

Visited September 2011
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Cruising on the Erie Canal”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2011

Wife and I just got back from an absolutely wonderful week spent cruising along the Erie Canal. We chartered one of the smaller canal boats (34') from Mid-Lakes Navigation in Macedon, NY. (That's where they have a marina. Their home office is in Skaneatlas, NY).

To put things in perspective, first off. We are not experienced boaters and we' re both seniors (early 80's). That being said, had no trouble whatsoever handling the boat. Moored in various towns along the way during our week-long journey (sometimes overnignt and sometimes just for an hour or two), made more than half a dozen lock passages an, throughout, had an absolutely wonderfullly, laid-back times. Ate all breakfasts and lunches aboard, but most dinners at various in-town restaurants.
Boats are turned over to you spotlesslly clean, in perfect mechanical condition and with everything you need - or might need (even down to toilet paper) - except food for a week-long cruise. Boats do, incidentally, have fully equipped galleys ...three-burner stoves, ovens, small refrigerators, sinks, pots, pans, utensils, etc.

The bunk, a normal double bed size, was very comfortable for the both of us and the boat is, of course, equipped with a toilet and a shower. There was also far more storage space than we found necessary for just the two of us. The smaller boats - like ours - while ideal for a couple, also has a small, fold-down bunk (about 18-20' wide) that would work well for a child plus a slightly larger couch that could easily handle a teenager.

Boats also come equipped with bicycles (2 for small boats ...4 for larger ones.) By the way, one side note, but I note that an earlier reviewer mentioned that all boats are air conditioned. Not so. Some are, some aren't. Ours was not one, though, in spite of the unusual high heat that's been plaguing the northeast, it really was very pleasant along the canal.

Visited July 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Abbeville, South Carolina
Top Contributor
98 reviews 98 reviews
19 attraction reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
“Great Erie Canal cruising!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2010

We rented a boat for a week from Mid Lakes Navigation. The boat was great: clean and easy to use. Orientation was excellent. Covered areas from Newark NY to Gasport NY with a side trip up the Genesee River to Rochester. Docked up at night in historic towns along the canal. Great restaurant in Spencerport: Grandpa Sam's. Restful and beautiful vacation!

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