Cruises have always been a travel staple, but not everyone wants to pile onto a ship and head out into open water. Thankfully, river cruises are just as popular, including within the continental US (well, and Alaska, too!). Those cruise cabins will still feel small, but sticking to narrow waterways and protected coastal areas means less opportunity for seasickness and other aboard-ship complaints.

Cruises can be a significant investment, but the experience is unmatched; river cruises in the United States feature multiple ports stops, historical site visits, plenty of entertainment, and an all-inclusive experience that travelers won't soon forget.

Here are some of the best US river cruises money can buy (including some that travelers will definitely need to save up for).

10 Alaska Inside Passage Cruise

Alaska may not be the first destination cruisers think of when picturing a river cruise. But American Cruise Lines' Alaska Inside Passage Cruise over-delivers on the standard "river cruise" model.

An incredible 15-day itinerary takes travelers from Seattle, Washington, to Juneau, Alaska, with amazing views of wildlife.

History is part of the adventure, too; American Cruise Lines promises the "very best historians, naturalists, and entertainers."

9 San Francisco Bay Cruise

American Cruise Lines has 35 different river cruise options, including a San Francisco Bay Cruise that traverses both the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers.

The 8-day river cruise covers Gold Rush history, San Francisco's famous earthquake, and a stop at the state capital (Sacramento).

Another highlight? The wine experience. After all, this area of California is known for its wineries, and Napa Valley specifically offers plenty of vino to sample.

Related: 10 Of The Best Guided Tours Money Can Buy In San Francisco

8 Roundtrip New Orleans

American Queen Voyages boasts the largest steamboat ever built, and the all-inclusive river voyages on the American Queen are iconic.

Some trips are one-way (or put two together for a roundtrip), but this one starts and ends in New Orleans (and it's super affordable, too).

The Lower Mississippi cruise begins in Louisiana, travels through Mississippi, and back to Louisiana.

Highlights of this cruise package are unlimited guided tours, a pre-cruise hotel stay, and live daily entertainment onboard.

7 Columbia & Snake Rivers

USA River Cruises does more than just river options; but its offerings are some of the most unique.

Though many riverboats are older (and classic!), the American Jazz is brand new and offers trips on the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

Trips span Washington and Oregon, with breathtaking views of Mount St. Helens and plenty of historically noteworthy stops (this is part of Lewis and Clark's route, after all) through the seven-night excursion.

6 Nashville To St. Louis

Nashville has a reputation for country music, but it's also a pivotal part of American history; its top-rated attractions have earned it worldwide fame.

A Nashville to St. Louis river cruise with American Queen Voyages features stops at historic sites, a glimpse into the country's past from a Native American perspective, and a literary bent thanks to Mark Twain's commentary on Cape Girardeau.

Related: Over 100 Points Of Interest Are Included On This Nashville Trolley Tour

5 Historic South & Golden Isles

Project Blue Expedition Ships promises to offer a unique river cruise experience — in winter. USA River Cruises' 8-day Historic South & Golden Isles cruise runs from Jacksonville to Charleston (or the opposite) through the Intracoastal Waterway.

The cruise won't stick to rivers only (it does include travel on bays and canals), but it does stick close to shore.

Stops include Revolutionary War sites, horse-drawn carriage day trips and tours, and even alligator sightings.

4 Great Rivers Of Florida

Maybe Florida isn't a top-ranked destination for travelers under a certain age. But this epic US river cruise brings travelers through a list of Florida's most impressive inland waters.

The trip begins on the St. John's River and travels through the Ocala National Forest (see alligators, bald eagles, and manatees!), historic ruins, and more.

3 Complete Mississippi River Cruise

There are plenty of upper and lower Mississippi River cruises to choose from, but why not do it all?

American Cruise Lines' full Mississippi River cruise lasts 21 nights and features excursions across multiple states.

Highlights include stately gardens in Houmas House, city exploration in Baton Rouge, LA, blues immersion in Memphis, TN, and a stop at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, MO.

The price tag is hefty on this cruise, but it's worth the investment for the longest river cruise in the continental US.

Related: Ready For A Cruise Down America's Mightiest River? What To Expect While Sailing The Mississippi

2 New York City To Cape Cod

Edging a bit further out of strictly river territory, USA River Cruises' NY to Cape Cod trip is a city-side adventure that passes through a marine sanctuary. Historic forts, lighthouses, and also conservation are all part of the itinerary.

For anyone who didn't know there were archipelagos along the northern shore of Long Island Sound, this trip will be an exciting one!

1 Undiscovered Great Lakes

Technically, the Great Lakes cruise isn't an ocean cruise, so it does fall into the category of river cruising. Many Great Lakes cruises head over into Canada, and this one starts there; traveling to Thunder Bay, Ontario, isn't too tall of an order, right?

The trip takes cruisers through Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan to various shores of the Great Lakes. Highlights of the trip are the wildlife, of course, but also gorgeous waterfalls and opportunities for recreation (kayaking, anyone?).