Cruise the Canal dates expanded

Claudia Loucks
Bob Thompson of Geneseo Campground serves as a host for the “Cruise the Canal” tours which will be held on four dates this year – Aug. 14, Sept. 10, Oct. 8 and Oct. 9.

The popularity of the “Cruise the Canal” tours has led the Geneseo Chamber of Commerce to add a fourth tour to the Fall Foliage Tour schedule in October.

Zack Sullivan, executive director of the Chamber, said, “The Geneseo Chamber’s annual canal cruises were the only event to be approved at the Hennepin Canal by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in 2020.

“The popularity of the Hennepin Canal State Parkway north of Geneseo exploded in 2020 with the pandemic limiting travel and people looking for something to do closer to home,” Sullivan said. "We expanded our 2020 canal tour offerings, which completely sold out in less than a week. In 2021, we are happy to expand our tour offerings to include a second fall foliage tour.”

The 2021 Geneseo Cruise the Canal dates are:

-Saturday, Aug. 14.

-Friday, Sept. 10.

-Friday, Oct. 8.

-Saturday, Oct. 9.

The golf cart tours are led by Bob Thompson of the Geneseo Campground, and Sullivan also will guest as a host on certain tours in 2021.

The Thompson & Sullivan team delight guests on the tours by telling them the story of the canal, including the construction, history and ecosystem of the canal.

Tours are offered three days on each tour date – at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

All tours begin at Lock #24

The guided tours last approximately 90 minutes, departing at 9 and 11 a.m. and at 1 p.m., from Lock 24, north of Geneseo, and continue west. Parking is available where the tours begin. Cost is $20 per person which includes a provided golf cart to be driven by the guests. Cart drivers must have a valid driver’s license.

Those planning to take the tours should take their bug spray and sunscreen, and pets are not allowed on the tours.

Reservations are required and may be made by calling the Chamber office, 309-944-2686. There will be 15 golf carts available for each tour and Sullivan said, “The reservations are filling up fast so I encourage anyone interested to contact the Chamber as soon as possible.”

Sullivan said the Chamber works with assisted living facilities to provide rides for seniors with no cost for the caregiver to drive.

A portion of the proceeds from the Cruise the Canal tours will be given to the IDNR for preservation, upkeep and maintenance of the Hennepin Canal State Parkway.

Information also is available for anyone interested in becoming involved with Friends of the Hennepin Canal and preservation efforts.

Cart sponsorships also are available for the tour.

Registration for the tours and additional information about cart scholarships is available by calling the Chamber office at 309-944-2686 or emailing