Few experiences are more relaxing or romantic than a sunset cruise. When you’re sipping champagne with your significant other as the sun dips majestically into the ocean, any stress you might have felt earlier in the day just melts away. In New England, from Portland, Maine to Cape Cod to Newport, Rhode Island to Burlington, Vermont, the opportunities to take a sunset cruise are plentiful.
Here are a just few.
Not surprisingly, Cape Cod offers a number of sunset cruises from the moment you cross over the Sagamore or Bourne bridges. One of the best departs from scenic Hyannis Harbor and Lewis Bay on a 63-foot catamaran with Bay Spirit Tours, where you can purchase a cocktail of choice while cruising past the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port. There is also a wine tasting sunset cruise for oenophiles.
Barnstable Harbor Ecotours cruises through the Great Marsh and past Sandy Neck barrier beach, the Sandy Neck cottage colony and the Sandy Neck Lighthouse. The tour is narrated by an expert naturalist who will point out the numerous and varied wildlife. Even better, you’re encouraged to bring your own beverages and food.
Outer Cape Sailing in Wellfleet has a sunset sail that takes you up the coast to historic Blackfish Creek, site of the former South Wellfleet schooner harbor, and grounding location of pilot whales, then across the harbor to Great Island. You’ll sail into the gorgeous Herring River estuary (tide permitting) to watch the sunset over the diminutive sand dunes where Great Island connects to Chequessett Neck.
If you’re not quite making it to the Cape, you might want to head to Plymouth Harbor for a sunset cruise aboard the Pilgrim Belle, which is a true paddle wheeler like those that cruise the mighty Mississippi.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire is one of New England’s most beautiful seaside communities, and there is no better way to end the day than aboard the Heritage with Portsmouth Harbor Cruises. Immerse yourself in the spectacular sunset, and then be dazzled by the lights of the city as you cruise back to shore.
In Mystic, Connecticut, another stunningly beautiful seaport town, the sailing schooner Argia takes up to 49 passengers on sunset cruises. Operated by Sail Away Argia, this unique vessel is built of Honduran mahogany on white oak frames, with a mast of Douglas fir and a Cyprus bow. The rig resembles a 19th-century East Coast trading schooner, so you will feel like you’ve been transported back in time as you watch the sun disappear.
Experience a Newport, Rhode Island sunset with Sailing Excursions aboard the Adirondack II, an 80-foot schooner that explores the historic waterfront and provides spectacular views of Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay. You could also enjoy sunset on the Sloop Eleanor, a 48-foot sloop that accommodates 24 and offers a more intimate experience.
Of course, Portland, Maine offers plenty of opportunities to savor the sunset on the open water. Casco Bay Lines operates a cruise through Casco Bay, while Portland Discovery Land & Sea Tours has a sunset cruise that explores the inner city and the region’s iconic lighthouses.
One of the best ways to enjoy the stunning beauty of Lake Champlain is aboard the Spirit of Ethan Allen III, which departs for sunset cruises out of Burlington, Vermont. This 363-passenger ship offers daily tours, including a dinner cruise, as it motors along the majestic 120-mile lake.
So, wherever you are in New England, you can always end your day in hypnotizing fashion, as you watch the sun slip into the ocean.
Photos: All photos by Jennifer Kain DeFoe with exception of Barnstable Harbor Ecotours.