The United States is full of culture, history, and beautiful landscapes. There are amazing sites to explore, from the Great Smoky Mountains to the East Coast and all points in between.
One unique attraction you can’t find everywhere is canal cities in the US with waterways and waterbodies – towns connected by a network of waterways for transportation purposes.
Best Towns, Villages, and Cities in the US with Canals
These American canal cities boast unique architecture, interesting historical significance, and fun vacation opportunities! Not all these places have canals, but they have some waterways.
1/ Cape Coral, Florida
Located in Southwest Florida, Cape Coral is one of the most canal-rich cities in the US. You can explore the canals by boat or kayak or relax on the many beaches in the area.
Cape Coral is a unique canal city located on Florida’s Gulf Coast. It was founded in 1957 by two brothers, Leonard, and Jack Rosen, who wanted to create a canalside community. With over 400 miles of navigable waterways, exploring the city on a boat or jet ski is easy.
The city has plenty of things to do, from nature trails and biking paths to museums, art galleries, theaters, and more. Not to mention the many nearby beaches and destinations within easy driving distance.
Plus, the temperate climate means that you can enjoy all that the city has to offer year-round.
One of the main attractions in Cape Coral is its network of canals. The canals offer residents and tourists a great way to experience the beauty of Southwest Florida up close.
Whether navigating the Tarpon Point Canal, cruising down the Rubicon Canal, or exploring the Mohawk Canals, your boating experience will be unforgettable.
2/ Fort Lauderdale, Florida
The American city was first settled in the 19th century by William Cooley. Since then, Fort Lauderdale has grown into a thriving city, popular with tourists because of its vibrant culture, pristine beaches, and bustling nightlife.
Fort Lauderdale’s canals initially drew people to the area due to their convenient access to nearby rivers. The city now boasts more than 165 miles of canals and is often called the “Venice of America.”
Explore the tranquil New River Canal and enjoy its natural beauty. Challenge yourself to a round at Coral Ridge Country Club Canal’s challenging course. Get lost in Fort Lauderdale canals’ lush landscapes or marvel at Middle River’s captivating shorelines.
3/ Canajoharie, New York
Canajoharie is a picturesque canal city in the US on the Mohawk River. It was founded in 1788 by the Palatine German immigrants and has since become one of the best canal cities in America.
It offers plenty to visitors, from historical sites such as Fort Klock Historic Site and Nellis Tavern Museum to eclectic shops and restaurants along Main Street. There’s even a miniature train museum nearby.
The village’s network of canals showcases its rich history. The original Erie Canal was built through Canajoharie in the early 19th century, making it possible for trade and travel between the cities on either side of the river.
The canals in Canajoharie have been updated over time and now offer visitors stunning views of quaint middle eastern architecture, peaceful neighborhoods, and stunning landscapes.
Immerse yourself in the beauty of Canajoharie with a visit to its most popular canals: Erie Canal, Mohawk River, and Canal Park. Explore these magnificent waterways as you take in the stunning views.
4/ Chesapeake City, Maryland
Chesapeake City is a cozy little town located on Maryland’s eastern shore. The city has an amazing Chesapeake & Delaware Canal that is 14-mile-long, 450-foot-wide, and 35-foot-deep ship canal. The canal connects the Delaware River with the Chesapeake Bay.
If you want to return, mapmaker Augustine Herman observed these great water bodies.
You can watch boats cruising and enjoy the picturesque views as you stroll along the canal. There are also some charming shops and restaurants to explore, making Chesapeake City a great place to visit for a day trip or a weekend getaway.
By the way, you must visit C&D Canal Museum while you are there. The museum houses the original canal pumphouse with a waterwheel and pumping engines. You can understand how the canal was operated in the past.
5/ San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio is an iconic city in the south of Texas, home to the famous River Walk.
The River Walk in San Antonio is a canal network that winds through the city’s downtown area. You can take a boat tour, walk along the river, or enjoy the many shops, restaurants, and attractions along the waterway.
This scenic network of canals in the Us winds through the city’s downtown area, offering scenic views of the city and its landmarks. The waterways have been designated as a state and national historic district.
This popular destination stretches over 3.51 miles along both sides of the San Antonio River. It offers beautiful views of bustling urban areas and lush gardens and parks.
The River Walk is beloved by locals and tourists for its beauty and authenticity, making it one of the best places for canal and water lovers to experience.
From kayaking or boating on the river to simply walking around admiring its scenery, there’s something here for everyone.
6/ Lowell, Massachusetts
Lowell, a charming historic mill town, is a great destination for those interested in learning about the area’s industrial history.
The town boasts a network of canals that powered mills in the 19th century, and visitors can enjoy a guided tour of these canals.
Take a trip to Lowell along the Canalways and Riverwalk for a fresh perspective! If you want to dig deeper, check out one of Lowell’s four themed walking tours.
Each tour explores a unique aspect of Lowell’s past and present, from its immigrant roots to its modern technological advancements.
And don’t forget about the importance of environmental change and preservation in shaping the city’s evolution. Get out there and uncover the fascinating stories that makeup Lowell’s rich history.
But that’s not all. There are also numerous museums, galleries, and restaurants to explore. Don’t miss out on discovering all that Lowell has to offer!
7/ Annecy, Michigan
This charming town boasts of its picturesque canals and waterways that meander through the town, making it one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the region.
The town’s stunning architecture and serene environment offer visitors a relaxing and unforgettable experience.
Whether you’re interested in water sports, outdoor activities, or simply admiring the town’s breathtaking views, Annecy has something to offer everyone.
8/ Birmingham, Alabama
If you ever find yourself in Alabama’s Birmingham, take in the city’s amazing canals and waterways.
These historic feats of engineering played a crucial role in the city’s industrial past and are worth a visit.
Birmingham is situated in Jones Valley, flanked by parallel mountain ridges. The valley is home to small creeks, like Village Creek and Valley Creek, which flow into the Black Warrior River.
In terms of waterways, Birmingham covers an area of 151.9 square miles, with 149.9 square miles of land and 2.0 square miles of water.
The small creeks in Jones Valley feed into the Black Warrior River, while other water bodies within the city make up 1.34% of its total area.
9/ St. Augustine, Florida
St. Augustine is surrounded by several rivers, including the Matanzas River to the south, the Tolomato River to the north, and the San Sebastian River, which is located on the city’s west end.
The San Sebastian River flows through the heart of the city, and while not a canal, it provides a picturesque waterway for visitors to enjoy.
The river is located at Intracoastal Waterway Mile 780 and is one of several rivers that weave in and out of the St. Augustine area.
You can enjoy boat tours of the San Sebastian River, as well as the other nearby rivers, to explore the natural beauty of the area.
Fishing, kayaking, and sailing are also popular activities in these waterways. In addition, visitors can explore the historic fort of Castillo de San Marcos, built to protect the city from enemy attacks by sea.
10/ Portland, Oregon
This Pacific Northwest city has several canal-like waterways, including the famous Willamette River, which winds through the city’s heart and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
Portland is one of the best canal cities in the US, with some of the most picturesque waterways. It’s home to the Willamette River, connected to several smaller rivers and waterways, including the Columbia River, which runs along the city’s northern edge.
The Columbia River is connected to the Willamette River through several canals and locks, including the Bonneville Lock and Dam, about 40 miles east of Portland.
Also, the city has several smaller canals for transportation, irrigation, and recreational purposes. One such canal is the Portland Canal, which runs through the city’s Northwest Industrial District and is used for transporting goods and materials.
The canals and waterways in Portland provide a unique and scenic aspect to the city, with opportunities for boating, fishing, and other water-based activities.
11/ Venice, California
The city of Venice is sometimes referred to as the “City on the Water” due to its numerous canals and waterways.
The canals in Florida’s Venice are part of a large network of waterways that run throughout the area, connecting the Gulf of Mexico to the Intracoastal Waterway and allowing boats to travel through the city’s waterways.
This beachside community in Los Angeles is known for its man-made canals that were created in 1905. You can stroll along the canals and admire the beautiful homes and gardens that line the waterways.
These canals are a popular feature of the city, and many homes in the area are built along the water, offering residents access to boating and other water-based activities.
Also, the Venice Inlet provides access to the Gulf of Mexico for larger boats and ships. The canals and waterways in Venice provide a unique and scenic aspect to the city and are a major attraction for residents and visitors alike.
12/ Lake Champlain, New York/Vermont
This beautiful lake is connected to the Hudson River by the Champlain Canal. It offers boaters and visitors a chance to explore a variety of canals, locks, and waterways throughout the region.
Lake Champlain has no canals, but a canal connects the lake to the Hudson River.
The Champlain Canal is a 60-mile-long canal from Whitehall, New York, on the southern end of Lake Champlain, to Waterford, New York, where it meets the Hudson River. Navigate the canals here.
The canal was originally built in the early 19th century to bypass the rapids on the Hudson River and provide a safer and more efficient route for transporting goods between Lake Champlain and New York City.
Today, the Champlain Canal is primarily used for recreational boating and is a popular route for boaters traveling between the lake and the Hudson River.
The canal is also part of the larger New York State Canal System, which includes the Erie Canal and other canals and waterways in the state.
13/ / Towns Along the Erie Canal
NY’s Little Falls, the towns of Pittsford and Spencerport, and the village of Brockport are all located along the Erie Canal and offer visitors a chance to explore the history and beauty of the canal.
Little Falls, NY, is a charming town home to the Little Falls Canal Harbor, a popular destination for boaters and visitors alike.
The towns of Pittsford and Spencerport, located in Monroe County, NY, offer a variety of canal-related attractions and events, including canal boat tours and historic sites.
The village of Brockport, NY, also located in Monroe County, is home to the Brockport Erie Canal Heritage Trail, a popular spot for hiking, biking, and enjoying the beauty of the canal.
These towns and villages and several others along the Erie Canal offer visitors a chance to experience the unique history and beauty of one of the most iconic canals in the US.
FAQs for the Canal Cities in the US
What city in America has the most canals?
Cape Coral has the most canal in the US, spreading over 400 miles. It has the most extensive canal system of any city in the world. It’s the largest master-planned community in the United States of America. After that comes Fort Lauderdale, with 165 miles of canals.
What is the most famous canal in the United States?
The most important and famous canal in the United States is the Erie Canal. Built in the early 19th century, the Erie Canal is a historic waterway that stretches 363 miles from Albany, New York, to Buffalo, New York.
What are some of the most beautiful canal cities in the world?
Some of the most beautiful canal cities in the world include Venice in Italy, Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Bruges in Belgium, St. Petersburg in Russia, and Suzhou in China. These cities are known for their picturesque waterways, stunning architecture, and unique cultural experiences.
So which of these canal cities in the US will you visit first?