Washington DC Tours

Washington D.C.'s Only Comprehensive Guided Tour

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Cruise the Potomac River

Perhaps the most famous catch-phrase for Washington D.C. found in political writing is “on the Potomac.” Although the headwaters of the Potomac are in West Virginia and Virgina, and the 383-mile river runs through Maryland to its mouth at Chesapeake Bay, the Potomac is most closely associated with the District of Columbia—the seat of national and world power–and the historic landmarks on the river’s banks, such as the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial. All of Washington D.C. lies within the river’s basin.

The Potomac is known as “the Nation’s River” because of its reflection of American political history, from its formative years to the tragedy of the Civil War and the strategic planning and execution of the nation’s wars of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and countless events that have seized the public through the news media.

It was in the Potomac basin that first president of the United States George Washington was born and spent most of his life. In the nineteenth century, General Robert E. Lee twice crossed the Potomac River during the Civil War, which ended with the battles of Antietam and Gettysburg, also in the Potomac basin. On January 13, 1982, Air Florida Flight 90 crashed into the 14th Street Bridge, which crosses the Potomac near the stately Jefferson Memorial and the massive Pentagon, and landed in the freezing waters, killing all but five of the passengers.

The Potomac is named after the Algonquian tribe that inhabited the banks of the river and that was part of the Powhatan confederacy. The word Potomac is believed by some to mean “place where people trade” or “the place to which tribute is brought.” Today the Potomac could be said to mean the place where tax-payers protest the tributes they must pay to the federal government, or how they are spent.

From the Potomac River today, one can view cultural and historic landmarks such as The Kennedy Center, the Watergate Hotel, the Washington Monument, the U.S. Capitol, the Jefferson Memorial, as well as the Pentagon. What better way is there to take in the beauty of this nation’s historic capitol than on a relaxing and stimulating OnBoard DC tour, including a boat cruise down the Potomac?

Mount Vernon Tours!

OnBoard just launched a new Mount Vernon Tour. We are bringing the award-winning OnBoard Tour format to Mount Vernon and Old Town Alexandria. You came all the way to DC. Don’t waste the trip. Take the best tour that will truly show you what a fantastic experience you can have in the Washington DC Area. Check out Mount Vernon and our Mount Vernon Tour.

Cherry Blossoms are Gone

We are sad to announce that due to unexpected rain and winds, the blooms are gone this year. As a result, OnBoard will revert it’s Cherry Blossom itinerary back to the DC The Best! itinerary to make sure you have a fantastic experience while you are with us in Washington DC.

Peak Bloom Announced for Cherry Blossoms!

The National Park Service has announced that the peak blooming period for the Cherry Blossoms in Washington DC this year will be from March 24-April 1. Of course, the blooms will open several days before that, and will last well beyond April 1. Call us to get updated status information. Book your Cherry Blossom Tour before tickets sell out!

Mount Vernon Tours Coming Soon!

If you are taking a tour in Washington DC, you should visit Mount Vernon. OnBoard Tours has received so many requests for Mount Vernon Tours, that we have finally built one. We will be launching the tour on November 25, 2011. If you would like to make reservations before the tour is live, then just call us at 301-839-5261 and we’ll be happy to book a reservation for you. Otherwise, you can book online.

Many people don’t realize that George Washington’s Estate is kept in pristine condition. You can see the Key to the Bastille that Washington was given as a gift. You can see his bedroom (and other rooms) almost in the condition they were when George and Washington lived there. You can tour the grounds, visit the outbuildings that Washington used for cooking, housing for servants, etc. There is a great museum with videos that tell Washington’s story. There is also a gift shop that has more than just souvenirs. It also has products from the nearby community and books about George Washington, Martha Washington, American History and more. Visiting Mount Vernon is spectacular.

It is the perfect addition to your Washington DC sightseeing experience.

The DC It All! Tour is Back!

The DC It All! Tour is back in full steam. Washington’s highest rated way to see the city is criss-crossing the monuments and attractions again. Just ask anyone who has ridden the boat cruise up the Potomac River with us this year what they think about it, and they’ll tell you that it’s the best way to see Washington DC’s attractions. Your tour guide will show you the face carved on the back of Lincoln’s head, the exact spot where Martin Luther King, Jr., stood when he gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, and many more fascinating things to see in Washington. Book your seats now, and make sure you don’t miss out.


Hurricane Irene is gone! We weathered the storm and are back up and operating!
Tonight’s DC The Lights! Tour will be running as scheduled at 7:30pm tonight! Come have a hurricane party while you tour the beautiful monuments in the moonlight.
All tours will be operating as scheduled Monday, August 29, 2011.

Hurricane Irene’s impact on Washington DC

OnBoard Tours currently plans to operate all DC The Best! day tours and the DC It All! day tour on Saturday, August 27, 2011. The DC The Lights! Tour is canceled on Saturday night, August 27, 2011.

All tours are canceled in Washington DC on Sunday, August 28, 2011.

Please check back on this site for updates on Monday’s tours.

Regardless of what the weather does, the MLK Memorial Dedication has been postoned.

Hurricanes behave in unexpected ways. Irene may turn back out to sea, or it may turn inland south of Washington DC.

Customers who have booked tours should show up at the Old Post Office at least 30 minutes before their tour to allow for traffic and weather related issues. If you would prefer to reschedule your tour to a day when the weather is likely to be better, you have the right to do so as long as you provide us at least two hours’ notice before your tour time.

You may watch this website for reports of whether your tour is canceled.

Earthquake damage to DC Memorials is Minor

Here’s a quick summary of how Washington DC’s landmarks were affected by the recent earthquake:

Washington National Cathedral: Damage to three of the four pinnacles atop the main tower, and visible cracks in the church’s structure. Building closed to visitors.
Washington Monument: Evacuated, closed indefinitely. Cracks found at top.
U.S. Capitol: Evacuated, closed, reopened after inspection by structural engineers. House and Senate office buildings now accessible.
White House, Old Executive Office Building, Treasury building: Evacuated; reopened. No damage.
Lincoln Memorial: Evacuated, closed, reopened after several hours. No damage.
Jefferson Memorial: Evacuated, closed, reopened after several hours. No damage.
Old Post Office tower: Evacuated, closed, no damage. Reopened August 24.
Smithsonian Castle: Evacuated, closed, minor cracks, broken glass reported. Closed August 24 for further inspection.
National Museum of Natural History: Evacuated, reopened August 24, except for some exhibits still under inspection.
Other Smithsonian museums: Evacuated, reopened August 24.
MLK Memorial: Briefly closed, but reopened. No damage.

OnBoard Tours were not affected and proceeded as usual.

Veterans Day D.C. It All Tour

In honor of Veterans Day, OnBoard Tours invites you to take the D.C. It All! Tour which visits a number of significant memorials and sites honoring our military veterans. The tour begins at the Old Post Office, U.S. Capitol Building, Washington Monument, World War II Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, FDR Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Korean Memorial, Iwo Jima Memorial, White House. The tour will also feature the following attractions: Arlington Cemetery, The FBI Building, National Archives, Union Station, Taft Memorial, Capitol Office Buildings, Washington Mall, World War I Memorial, Arlington House, National Cathedral, National Gallery of Art, Natural History Museum, Bureau of Engraving & Printing, Holocaust Museum, The Pentagon, Theodore Roosevelt Island, Kennedy Center, Watergate Complex, Georgetown University, Naval Observatory, Dupont Circle, and the D.C. Waterfront.

  • Departure Times:

    DC IT ALL! Tours Leave at 10 AM.
    DC THE LIGHTS! Tours leave at 7:30 PM
    DC THE BEST! Tours Leave at 10:30am & 2:30pm (Apr - Oct)

  • Where:

    From the North side of the Old Post Office Building at 12th and Pennsylvania NW (1100 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC)

Member of the National Tours Association

Carriers offering transportation services such as those described on this site are regulated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Commission, 8701 Georgia Avenue #808, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3700. Washington DC Party Shuttle, LLC, is Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Commission Regulated Carrier No. 1438.

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