One of my family’s favorite summer adventures is a tour of the Cuyahoga River onboard the Goodtime III. We have enjoyed this tour for the past four summers, and every time we learn a little bit more about our beautiful city. We have always taken the 2 hour narrated sight-seeing tour, although several other tours are available this one is most appropriate for families with younger children.
The Goodtime III operates out of the North Coast Harbor and parking is available right on the East 9th Street Pier. Although parking on the pier is easy (and they now accept credit cards for parking), we have always had good luck finding less expensive parking at the meters along the streets by the Great Lakes Science Center and First Energy Stadium. Although you can purchase your Goodtime III tickets on site, I like to avoid the lines and purchase and print our tickets at home. That way we can board the boat as soon as we arrive.
There are numerous seating options onboard the Goodtime III. There is a large open sun deck on the 3rd level. The second level has a semi-enclosed seating area along with open seating on the bow of the boat. The first level has enclosed, climate-controlled seating. Don’t worry if you chose the wrong seat, as passengers are permitted to move freely about the boat during the cruise. There are also two areas onboard where you can purchase concessions. Restrooms are also onboard. Be sure to pack some sunscreen for your adventure, as even the shaded areas of the boat get sun reflecting off the water.
The first half of the tour includes an information-packed recording about the history of and facts about Cleveland. Sometimes the recording doesn’t exactly match what you are seeing, but it stays pretty close. Occasionally, the recording will be interrupted by a live narrator to point out something of interest along the route that is not mentioned on the recording.
We in addition to learning about some of the local history of Cleveland we love watching some of Cleveland’s historic bridges in action. Our favorite is the Center Street Swing Bridge.
We also love learning about the various boats along the Cuyahoga River. The most unusual boat is the Anthony J. Celebrezze fireboat at Station 21. The fireboat is a powerful firefighting tool, with 6 water guns on her deck. There is no better view of this vessel, than from the water.
Our tours on the Goodtime III have also provided us with lots of ideas for more adventures around Cleveland. The Lorenzo Carter Cabin is one of these adventures we have put on our list after seeing it during our cruise. We have also visited Merwin’s Wharf for a beautiful outdoor lunch and look forward to seeing what the Cleveland Metroparks has in store for the Coast Guard Building at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. All of these were brought to our attention during our Goodtime III cruise.
The second half of the Goodtime III tour involves cruising back down the river onto Lake Erie. It is nice as any of the sites that were on the other side of the boat during your adventure up the river, are now much easier to view. During this part of the trip, there is no narrated tour but there are plenty of rocking oldies to enjoy along your way. I always save a trip to the ship’s galley for this part of the trip. The concessions are reasonably priced, and a little popcorn goes a long way in keeping the kids entertained during this part of the ride.
It’s easy to see why both locals and visitors call cruising on the Goodtime III one of Cleveland’s top tours. The views of the city and Lake Erie are amazing, you will definitely learn a little Cleveland history along your journey.