Captain Bill’s Seneca Lake Cruises

Captain Bill’s Seneca Lake Cruises

Are you planning a visit to Seneca Lake and want to know how to best experience the area? In this episode of The History and Mysteries of Seneca Lake, I’m going to tell you all about Captain Bill’s Seneca Lake Cruises. We’ll learn about the history of Captain Bill and his boat tours and tell you how to explore Seneca Lake.

Exploring Seneca Lake’s Waters

Seneca Lake is known for its clear, deep blue waters, an abundance of recreational activities and tourist attractions, and its beauty throughout all seasons. If you’re visiting from spring to fall—typically May to October—one of the things you’re definitely going to want to do is check out Captain Bill’s Seneca Lake Cruises.

While you can drive, hike, or bike around the lake, you have to get on the water to really experience it. You can enjoy some of the many watersports, like stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, canoeing, sail boating, power boating, and more. These are great ways to get out on the water and, if you own a boat, you can launch it at any number of the parks located around the lake.

Captain Bill’s

A visit to Seneca Lake is not complete without stopping at Captain Bill’s, located at the south end of Seneca Lake in Watkins Glen. You can choose from short sightseeing tours to full-blown dinner cruises. Alternatively, you can just stroll around the lakefront property right next to the famous pier.

Captain Bill’s is located on a very prime piece of real estate right on the water. The address is 1 North Franklin St. Watkins Glen. Franklin Street is the busiest street, with a hustle and bustle of tourist activity, traffic, shops, restaurants, tasting rooms, and more. Everything is happening on Franklin Street, the main thoroughfare downtown.

A Rich History

Captain Bill’s boat tours began with a single boat in 1963. It’s grown over the years to include a beautiful gift shop, the Seneca Harbor Station Restaurant (located in the old railroad station), and two boats on a very large dock. The first is Seneca Legacy, which is the larger dinner boat that holds a few hundred people. The smaller of the two is the Seneca Spirit, used for shorter sightseeing tours.

There are two captains: Captain John Updyke and his son, Captain Greg Updyke. Both have logged countless hours, weeks, months, and even years on the lake—and they know everything about it. They’re extremely knowledgeable about all things regarding Seneca Lake.

Boating Season Fun

Boating season usually starts around May with Mother’s Day and then ends in October with an Oktoberfest cruise—weather permitting, of course. It really does get too cold to be out on the lake in the winter in upstate New York.

There are many choices for cruises such as sightseeing dinner cruises, a blues cruise, entertainment lunch cruises, endless summer cocktail cruises, country music cruises, and a moonlight fireworks cruise. The Seneca Legacy is also available for private parties and weddings. Some tours have entertainment and others I have the captain talking about what you’re seeing outside.

This includes things like the beautiful lakeside homes along the shoreline, the US salt mining plant, the famous painted rocks, and more.

Floating Parties

Not only do tourists go on these cruises, but the locals do too. It’s an opportunity for a floating party, and no two trips are ever the same because this lake is always changing. I took three boat trips on the Seneca Legacy this summer, and on one of them, it rained.

But don’t worry: the upper and lower decks are covered. They have windows, and everybody was comfortably seated at tables. After it stopped raining, we were all amazed to see a beautiful full double rainbow come out.

Book Your Cruise

Prices range from about $25 a person for the shorter sightseeing cruises to about $85 per person for the longer dinner cruises. There’s also a bar on the Seneca Legacy that serves local beers and wines before or after your cruise. Be sure to check out their beautiful gift shop, which has a lot of high-end quality merchandise all featuring Watkins Glen and Seneca Lake.

This is also where you can buy tickets, though you can book online. It’s all within walking distance from their own Seneca Harbor Station Restaurant, which is part of the Captain Bill’s enterprise. The restaurant is located in the old historic railroad station, so make sure you check it out.

To find out more about Captain Bill’s, go right to their website for everything you need to know. Make sure you subscribe to my channel so you never miss a future episode of my show. I do these videos to help you explore living around Seneca Lake and to remind you that I’m your go-to real estate pro. I appreciate your referrals, and I hope you join me on the next video!

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