Houseboating the Erie Canal – 2021

In July 2021, my husband and I spent a wonderful week houseboating the Erie Canal! Below is our 2021 itinerary, but you can also check out our itinerary and tips from our 2018 visit to the canal if you need more trip-planning ideas.

Though we had a little overlap between our visits, we added on some new stops this year, covering more than 80 miles during our 7-night cruise. Feel free to reach out if you’re planning a visit to the canal and have any questions. I’m happy to discuss all things Erie Canal!


2021 Itinerary

Friday (NYC to Syracuse)


10:00 am

Depart Brooklyn and drive to Syracuse 

  • Since you need to be at the marina around 12:30 pm, we have opted both times to do part of our drive the day before so that we don’t need to start our day super early. This year we stayed in Syracuse – in 2018 we stopped in Binghamton.  We liked our stay this year better, and Syracuse is only about an hour away from the marina which makes for a less stressful start to your first day on the canal.
4:30 pm Arrive at hotel – We stayed at the Courtyard Syracuse Downtown at Armory Square. Our room was really nice, and it’s in a great location!
5:00 pm Brewery visits and dinner in downtown Syracuse
  • Middle Ages Brewing – We started here with flights and a pint. It was pretty crowded and the beer was decent, but they don’t have real food – just chips and hot dogs.
  • Talking Cursive Brewing Company – We went here next for flights and a snack. They had a sign for “dill pickle chowder” which was intriguing enough to try. YUM! We paired a bowl of this with their reuben bites, and both were spectacular. We liked the beer here better, too, and we ended up sticking around for dinner. (Also, 5 stars for the super friendly bartenders!)

Saturday (Syracuse to Macedon to Fairport)

Fairport, NY
9:00 am Wake up and get ready
10:00 am Check out and head to Macedon, NY – We grabbed some breakfast at McDonald’s on the way
11:15 am Buy groceries at Walmart and or Wegman’s
12:30 pm Arrive at Erie Canal Adventures’ marina; park car, check in, and move everything onto your boat
  • Marina: 1125 Marina Parkway, Macedon, NY 14502 (mile 240.13)
1:30 pm Orientation with Erie Canal Adventures staff 
  • Video orientation
  • Onboard orientation
  • Depart dock and practice driving, turning around, and docking
  • Lock through Lock 30 twice (mile 239.02) – we didn’t do this in 2021 since there were issues with the lock, but normally you will practice here
  • Return to dock and drop off staff
3:30 pm Cruise to Fairport 
4:45 pm Arrive at Fairport (mile 246.58)
  • There was a $14 fee to stay overnight – the dockmaster came by to greet us and collect our money. Bring cash, especially small bills, for paying your docking fees. If you’re on one of the larger boats, your fee may be higher.
5:30 pm Drinks and exploring in Fairport
  • Iron Smoke Distillery – This was one of our favorite stops in 2018. Get a whiskey flight or craft cocktail and enjoy their decor and some live music. Their apple pie whiskey is especially delicious!
  • Triphammer Bierwerks – Grab a beer after your whiskey just a couple storefronts down from Iron Smoke. 

For more about Fairport, view our 2018 blog post.

7:30 pm Dinner
  • Smokin’ Hot Chicks Tex Mex BBQ – This place wasn’t around when we visited in 2018, but it’s in the same building as Iron Smoke and Triphammer. The bbq was good, but their cornbread was some of the best we’ve ever had! It’s on the sweet side, but it’s also super moist and buttery.

Locks: 0 (normally you will have 2 – Lock 30 twice during training)
Lift Bridges: 0
Mileage: 6.45 miles (or 8.67 miles if you add the 2.22 to Lock 30 and back if you go there for training)
Est. Cruising/Locking Time: 1.25 hours to Fairport

Sunday (Fairport to Rochester)

High Falls, Rochester, NY
High Falls, Rochester, NY – 2018
9:00 am Wake and shower
10:00 am Breakfast on the boat 
10:30 am Cruise to Rochester
  • Fairport (mile 246.58)
  • Fairport Main Street Lift Bridge (mile 246.67)
  • Pittsford (mile 253.43)
  • Lock 32 (mile 255.14)
  • Lock 33 (mile 256.40)
  • Junction of Genesee River (mile 260.55)
  • Brooks Landing (mile 1.05)
1:45 pm Arrive in Rochester at Brooks Landing (mile 1.05) at the Staybridge Suites
  • Free dock. In 2018, we stayed at Corn Hill Landing, which is another 2 miles up the Genesee River and much closer to all the action in Rochester. Unfortunately, we found out during orientation that we couldn’t go back there this year due to “silting” causing the water levels to not be deep enough. This was a bummer because there wasn’t much to do in walking distance to Brooks Landing. It was also raining. A LOT. So even though we originally planned to stay in Rochester for 2 nights, we gave up and decided to move on after our first night. If you stay here, you will need to use Uber/Lyft or the provided bikes to get around.
2:15 pm Have lunch on the boat
3:00 pm Enjoy the day in Rochester
  • Check out our 2018 blog for more on Rochester. Since it was raining so much this year, we opted to just take a Lyft to a couple different breweries that we didn’t get to visit last time.


  • Three Heads Brewing – We each enjoyed a flight here. It was pouring down rain, but they have a huge outdoor area covered by a tent, so we were able to have our flights outside.
  • Heroes Brewing – This place was packed with people watching a soccer match, and it was a bit warm and muggy so we opted to have a quick pint and head on our way. The beers were good, though, and they clearly have a loyal local following. You can walk here from Three Heads.
7:30 pm Dinner 
  • We were tired and waterlogged from all the rain and opted to just grab some Chinese takeout near the Staybridge Suites rather than getting another Lyft and heading back into town. In 2018, we had dinner at Dinosaur BBQ!

Locks: 2 – Locks 32 and 33
Lift Bridges: 1 – Fairport Main Street Bridge
Mileage: 15.02 miles (13.97 miles to Junction of Genesee River, 1.05 miles to Brooks Landing)
Est. Cruising/Locking Time: 3.25 hours

Monday (Rochester to Pittsford)


8:00 am Wake and shower
9:00 am Breakfast on the boat 
10:00 am Cruise to Pittsford
  • Brooks Landing (mile 1.05)
  • Junction of Genesee River/Erie Canal (mile 260.55)
  • Locks 33 and 32
  • Pittsford (mile 253.43)
12:00 pm Arrive in Pittsford (mile 253.43) – Free dock.
12:30 pm Have lunch on the boat
1:00 pm Enjoy the day in Pittsford
  • Erie Canal Nature Preserve – When we docked, we saw a sign for a new nature preserve near the canal. We strolled along the canal a bit, walked in the preserve, and then found the Auburn Trail, where we discovered some remnants of an old train system that connected Pittsford to Rochester.
  • Pittsford Cemetery – We proceeded to wander a bit through town, admiring the many lovely homes. We even took a quiet and peaceful stroll through the beautiful town cemetery. 
  • Pittsford Pub and Grill – It was hot and humid, so after our walk we stopped in for a cold drink at the pub before heading back to the boat to relax for a bit.

For more about Pittsford, visit our 2018 blog post.

3:30 pm Rest on the boat
  • Every year, there is a bike tour from Buffalo to Albany in mid-July. During both our trips, we’ve encountered the cyclists on their way through since we’ve traveled the same week both visits. While resting on the boat, we saw hundreds of cyclists passing through, many of them stopping at the brewery and ice cream shop across the canal from where we were docked.
4:30 pm Pre-dinner Drinks
  • Lock 32 Brewing – We each enjoyed a flight at this small brewery right alongside the canal. They have a great outdoor seating area where you can enjoy your brew with a view!
6:00 pm Dinner
  • Aladdins – We had dinner here in 2018, too. The food is good, and they have a bi-level patio right on the canal. We both got the mixed grill platters which had so much food that we were able to take some home and get two days worth of breakfast out of the leftovers! The steak, chicken, shrimp, and veggies were perfect with some scrambled eggs, wrapped up in a tortilla.
7:00 pm Dessert
  • Pittsford Farms Dairy – We loved this place so much in 2018 we knew we were going to have to come back! You must try one of their sundaes. They’re huge and oh so delicious.

Locks: 2 – Locks 33 and 32
Lift Bridges: 0
Mileage: 8.17 miles (1.05 miles to Erie Canal Junction, 7.12 to Pittsford)
Est. Cruising/Locking Time: 2 hours

Tuesday (Pittsford to Newark) 


9:00 am Wake and shower
10:00 am Breakfast on boat while underway
10:00 am Cruise to Newark
  • Pittsford (mile 253.43)
  • Fairport Main Street Lift Bridge (mile 246.67)
  • Lock 30 (mile 239.02)
  • Lock 29 (mile 236.04)
  • Newark Canal Port (mile 226.68)
3:45 pm

Arrive in Newark (mile 226.68) – Free dock. We were happy to arrive and get settled in Newark. We had been watching the radar and knew a storm was coming, so we wanted to get tied up fast and on our way before the rain started. The wall here is pretty high, so you’ll need to get a bit creative tying up your boat if the smaller, lower dock is already full (which it was).

5:00 pm Enjoy afternoon/evening in Newark
  • Parker’s Grill and Tap House – We discovered Parker’s had pool tables, so we scrambled over the bridge and got inside about 10 minutes before the sky just opened up and poured down several inches of rain. There are three pool tables and we were the only ones there, so we had the whole room to ourselves for a couple hours while we enjoyed some beers.
7:30 pm Dinner in Newark
  • Parker’s Grill and Tap House  – We decided to just stay put and moved over to the dining room to enjoy our dinner. I had a hot turkey sandwich with mashed potatoes and gravy and it was sooo good. My husband had a burger, which he also enjoyed. The place was packed with families, small groups, couples, and folks at the bar, so it’s clearly the place to be in Newark.
8:30 pm Relax on the boat
  • The rain mostly held off the rest of the evening, but there were storms happening all around us. We sat on the stern of the boat under the canopy and enjoyed the cooler evening air and watched the clouds and far-away lightning of the nearby storms before finally calling it a night.

Locks: 2 – Locks 30 and 29
Lift Bridges: 1 – Fairport Main Street Bridge
Mileage: 26.75 miles
Est. Cruising/Locking Time: 5.75 hours

Wednesday (Newark to Lyons)

Lock 27 – Lyons, NY
9:30 am Wake and shower
10:30 am Breakfast on boat 
11:15 am Cruise to Lyons
  • Newark Canal Port (mile 226.68)
  • Lock 28B (mile 226.25)
  • Lock 28A (mile 222.27) 
  • Lock 27 (mile 220.99)
  • Lyons Town Dock (mile 220.82) 
1:15 pm Arrive in Lyons (miles 220.82) – Free dock.
2:00 pm Explore Lyons – We wandered around town for a bit and then walked across the bridge over Lock 27. We considered grabbing lunch somewhere but opted to just get ice cream from Spanky Oliver’s instead. Warning! Get a small of whatever you’re ordering because their servings are HUGE! 
4:30 pm Pool and pre-dinner beers at William Street Tavern – I had this place on my list and we scoped it out earlier in the day while strolling through town and confirmed there was indeed a pool table! We spent a couple hours playing pool and enjoying their decent selection of craft beer. We also had their AMAZING bacon dip!
7:00 pm Dinner and trivia at William Street Tavern – While we were playing pool the bartender asked if we wanted to stick around for their trivia night.  We needed dinner anyway and figured, why not? So we did, and we had a blast! Dinner was yummy, too. After, we stayed another hour playing even more pool before turning in for the night.

Locks: 3 – Locks 28B, 28A, 27
Lift Bridges: 0
Mileage: 5.86 miles
Est. Cruising/Locking Time: 2 hours

Thursday (Lyons to Palmyra) 

Pal-Mac Aqueduct County Park – Palmyra, NY
9:30 am Wake and shower
10:30 am Breakfast on boat while underway
10:30 am Cruise to Palmyra
  • Lyons Town Dock (mile 220.82)
  • Lock 27 (mile 220.99)
  • Lock 28A (mile 222.27)
  • Lock 28B (mile 226.25)
  • Newark Canal Port (mile 226.68)
  • Port of Palmyra (mile 235.03)
2:30 pm Arrive in Palmyra (mile 235.03) – Free dock. Have lunch on the boat
3:00 pm Enjoy day in Palmyra
  • Muddy Waters Cafe – This is right near the dock. They have food, but we only stopped in for iced tea/coffee.
  • Pal-Mac Aqueduct County Park – From the cafe, if you head off toward the right you’ll find the canal trail that leads you to this park. You’ll walk between a couple marshy sections and eventually find yourself down by Lock 29. Here you can see the remnants of the aqueduct, as well as an old bridge that once spanned the canal. We walked back along the canal and then went to explore town a bit. Don’t forget to find the four churches – it’s an intersection where each building on the corner is a church. Downtown Palmyra is lovely, so definitely enjoy a stroll here!
5:30 pm Drinks and pool
  • Lock 29 Tavern – It was SO very hot walking around, and we found cold (and super cheap!) drinks here. They also had a pool table, so we stuck around and played for a while.
7:00 pm Dinner in Palmyra
  • Mark’s Pizzeria – We were in the mood for pizza, and this place was just down the street from the tavern. Mike got a small pizza, and I had a calzone and both were pretty tasty. It’s more of a takeout place, but there were a few families and a group of teenagers all in the dining area with us. You’ll need to order from the counter before sitting down.

Locks: 3 – Locks 27, 28A, 28B
Lift Bridges: 0
Mileage: 14.21 miles
Est. Cruising/Locking Time: 3.5 hours

Friday, July 16 (Palmyra to Macedon to Canandaigua)

Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion – Canandaigua, NY
9:00 am Wake and shower
10:00 am Breakfast on boat while underway
10:00 am Cruise to Macedon
  • Port of Palmyra (mile 235.04)
  • Lock 29 (mile 236.04)
  • Lock 30 (mile 239.02)
  • Erie Canal Adventures Marina (mile 240.13)
11:30 pm Arrive in Macedon (mile 240.13) – Free dock. Have lunch on the boat
12:30 pm Drive to Canandaigua for the day
1:00 pm

Visit Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion – This is a lovely state historic park with multiple gardens and a beautifully preserved mansion. It threatened to rain the whole time we were here, but we spent a couple hours following their map to all the gardens and exploring the inside of the mansion. It’s a short ride from Macedon and well worth a visit!

3:00 pm Flights at Young Lion – After the mansion, we parked down by the lake and popped in to this brewery. We stayed inside since it was starting to sprinkle outside, and we enjoyed flights of beer with one of their giant pretzels. Both beer and pretzel were good, and there’s a great view of the lake from their location!
4:00 pm Explore the lake and the boathouses – We left our car parked and walked along the northern tip of the lake. We found the historic boathouses and walked down each of the “streets” where these adorable little houses stand until the sprinkles started to turn into full-on rain.
5:00 pm Circumnavigate the lake – Back in the car, we set out to circumnavigate the lake. The houses along the western shore of the lake are gorgeous, and we oohed and aahed for several miles! We found a scenic overlook on County Road 12 and then completed our circle around the lake. 
6:30 pm Dinner in Canandaigua
  • Eddie O’Brien’s – We headed toward Main Street and parked our car in a municipal lot since all of Main Street was taken over by a street festival. We went in search of a place for dinner, but everywhere was PACKED! I’m not sure if it’s like this all the time or just because of the festival, but we eventually found a table with no wait at Eddie O’Brien’s. I had a Cuban sandwich that was surprisingly delicious, and their fries were extra tasty, too.
7:30 pm Drive back to Macedon
8:00 pm Pack and load up the car

Locks: 2 – Locks 29 and 30
Lift Bridges: 0
Mileage: 5.09 miles
Est. Cruising/Locking Time: 1.5 hours

Saturday, July 17 (Macedon to NYC)

7:30 am Wake and shower 
8:15 am Finish packing up the car and clean up the boat
9:00 am If you don’t spend the night in Macedon, your boat is due back at 9:00 am. Since we were pretty much all packed up we were ready to hit the road while everyone else was just getting back. Last time, we motored back from Fairport in the morning, and it was a little stressful trying to get back on time. We were glad to get our boat back early, and we really enjoyed our day trip to Canandaigua!
9:00 am Drive back to NYC
3:00 pm HOME!


Trip Summary:

  • Friday – NYC to Syracuse
  • Saturday – Syracuse to Macedon to Fairport (1.25 hours, 6.45 miles)
  • Sunday – Fairport to Rochester (3.25 hours, 15.02 miles)
  • Monday – Rochester to Pittsford (2 hours, 8.17 miles)
  • Tuesday – Pittsford to Newark (5.75 hours, 26.75 miles)
  • Wednesday – Newark to Lyons (2 hours, 5.86 miles)
  • Thursday – Lyons to Palmyra (3.5 hours, 14.21 miles)
  • Friday – Palmyra to Macedon (1.5 hours, 5.09 miles)
  • Saturday – Macedon to NYC

Mileage:  81.55 miles

Lift Bridge Crossings: 2

Lock Passages: 14


2018 Erie Canal Trip Posts