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“Amazing, scenic tour of an historic canal system”

Mid-Lakes Navigation
Ranked #1 of 4 Tours in Skaneateles
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Mid-Lakes Navigation is a family owned and operated tour boat company, cruising on the Erie Canal and Skaneateles Lake in New York's beautiful Finger Lakes Region.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
166 reviews
48 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 131 helpful votes
“Amazing, scenic tour of an historic canal system”
Reviewed November 30, 2011

I cannot say enough good things about Mid-Lakes Navigation. [To be clear, this review is about the five-day houseboat rental, not the day tour (same company, but there's no listing available for the former).]

We rented our houseboat and were given some time to load our provisions for the week. Then a Mid-Lakes employee joined us for an orientation run (we're boating beginners). The controls were not difficult to master and before we knew it, we had a houseboat all to ourselves. Boaters can choose their direction and destination. We began heading west, but towns were few and far between, so we turned around and tried east toward Rochester. The stops were much more visitor-friendly in that direction.

The boat's appliances were all in excellent condition. We had a very powerful air conditioner, mini-fridge, stove top, oven, sink, shower, and commode. Really, everything you need. We cooked most of our meals on the boat and had very few issues with the provided utensils and cookware. There was plenty of cabinet and drawer space, and even a BBQ grill tucked under the bow benches. Not to mention the bikes on the roof that were provided free of charge. There was a double bed in a separate bedroom with doors, but I did find the bed hard and uncomfortable. The bunk in the kitchen was fine.

We absolutely loved the convertible-top seating area at the bow of the boat. Most days, we kept that area uncovered and sat there while we sailed and for our meals. One of the days, it rained and we simply snapped the tarps and stayed out there. They cushions were roomy enough that one of our group slept outside on multiple nights. It's a great functional space.

If you have a young child, bring your own personal flotation device. None of the doors will keep a determined child off of a deck. The only tough spot of the week was that our bow thrusters malfunctioned in the middle of our trip. The boat was still steerable, but it was a bit more difficult to maneuver into tight spots. We called Mid-Lakes and they sent out a technician to check it out, but it was unrepairable without taking the boat out of the water, so we simply continued without it.

This is a wonderful opportunity to unplug and take life slowly for a week or so.

Visited September 2011
6 Thank taragl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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210 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
72 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
“Nice tour not spectacular from Skaneateles NY”
Reviewed August 26, 2011

Things to do/see: Guided sightseeing of only half of the lake leaving from Skaneateles NY. Unlike the cruise before this early Sunday afternoon cruise was crowded and standing room only. Compared to taking St Lawrence cruises this is not much to be excited about. However if you are in the area this is pleasant enough.

Food: There is food and drink available during the cruise and in the village.

Facilities: There are bathrooms (heads) on board. There are also public bathrooms in the village, they are hard to find, don’t be in a hurry.

Parking: Parking is free and located all over the village. The hard part is finding an empty spot.

Safety: The village parks where this tour leaves is very family friendly.

Staff: The staff seemed over whelmed and confused.

Cost: They have a web site with prices. The passes where purchased while climbing on the boat. They actually let you on then while on board, in the cabin take your payment. They do take credit card even though they don’t advertise that fact. We got a family deal price.

Deals: They have family deal pricing.

Visited May 2011
3 Thank DrOfAvarici
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Beautiful Sunset Dinner Cruise on Skanetales Lake”
Reviewed August 7, 2011

Wonderful time with friends while cruising this crystal clear lake. Baked salmon with dill sauce really good. Desserts not so good. Sunset was spectacular!

Visited July 2011
3 Thank KAJmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
68 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“A high quality organization”
Reviewed July 13, 2011

I cannot speak about MidLakes Navigation's day tours. We chartered one of their 42 ft. packet boats for a week long trip on the Erie Canal. These boats leave out of their marina in Macedon, NY. Each has air conditioning, a fully equipped galley, beds, shower, etc. comfortable for 2 couples for a week. All facilities were high quality, clean, and well maintained. We have had extensive experience chartering sailing yachts, but the canal experience was new. Obviously, navigation is not an issue; it is hard to get lost on a canal. It took us a few tries to get the hang of bringing the boat smoothly up to the wall of a lock but otherwise boat handling was a piece of cake. The instruction and check out by MidLakes before we left was thorough and efficient and we were given the check list for reference. Canaling is a great way to relax, see a lot of birds and beautiful countryside, while relaxing each evening either on the boat or at a local restaurant.

Visited June 2011
4 Thank Lexie914
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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