No more blue bayou

Buffalo Bayou’s Pontoon Boat, Spirit of the Bayou, Is Back in Business

Here’s what’s happening on the water.

By Carolina Larracilla July 7, 2021

We were all in the same boat throughout the pandemic, including Buffalo Bayou’s pontoon, Spirit of the Bayou. The rentable, little river float stopped going out on the water in March 2020, but after almost 16 months, the Buffalo Bayou Partnership announced the return of its boat tours.

The Partnership, dedicated to the improvement and protection of Houston’s Buffalo Bayou, brings life to the city’s largest green space through events, trails for biking and walking, volunteer opportunities, public art, and tours—including their newly relaunched boat tours, like the Looking Back History Tours, Seasonal Cruises, Port to Port History Tours, Buffalo Bayou Boat Tours, and Foodie Floats. 

This month, there are three tour options for Houstonians to float on down the bayou: The striped blue and white cover of Spirit of the Bayou can now be seen once again on the waterway taking guests on Twilight Tours, Waugh Bat Colony Tours, and Private Charters. See more about each of these options below.

Twilight Tours

Starting at 5:30 p.m., and running until 8 p.m., these 30-minute boat tours depart every half hour for you to enjoy Houston’s late afternoon and sunset (over the water, where hopefully it’s cooler). Head to Allen’s Landing, and make sure to stay quiet and attentive on your tour boat in the hopes of spotting some Houston wildlife.

Starting at $5. 1001 Commerce St. Children under 4 are not permitted. Reservations required, see website for available dates.

Waugh Bat Colony Tours

About 30 minutes before sunset, the Waugh Bat Colony Tour departs and heads for Waugh Drive Bridge. There, you can see Houston’s population of Mexican free-tailed bats disperse from the bridge at sunset while a tour guide provides you with all the batty information you could ever need.

$30. Children under 4 are not permitted. Reservations required, see website for available dates.

Private Charters

For a quieter tour, Spirit of the Bayou can take you and up to 19 other guests on a private boat ride through some of Buffalo Bayou’s major features, such as Sesquicentennial Park and Sabine Promenade. Because the ride lasts about 1.5 hours, you can bring food and drinks to munch on while taking in Houston’s historic sites. You can even hire a historian for an extra $175 to add depth and context to your experience.

From $500. See website to book your private charter.

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