Tiki boat excursions again on Pittsburgh rivers

They are recognizable by their thatched roofs and bamboo poles gliding along the river.

The Hawaiian-style huts belong to Cruisin’ Tikis Pittsburgh, a company that offers sightseeing tours on the Allegheny, Ohio and Monongahela rivers.

They will be on the water this weekend for a fourth season.

“Pittsburgh is perfect for this,” said Dale McCue, who co-owns Cruisin’ Tikis Pittsburgh with fiancée Joa Campise.

Cruises are available seven days a week, beginning at 8 a.m., weather permitting.

Guests board at the Landing and Marina at Station Square on Pittsburgh’s South Side or Riverfront Park near PNC Park on Pittsburgh’s North Side.

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop | Tribune-Review

Dale McCue, co-owner of Cruisin’ Tikis Pittsburgh, looks through the steering wheel of the boat that is docked at the Landing and Marina at Station Square on Pittsburgh’s South Side on May 6.


McCue, a Carrick native who lives in Eighty Four with Campise, said he has an appreciation for weather forecasts. If a trip needs to be canceled, guests are given a refund or can reserve a future time.

“I can watch the forecast in real time and see the water level to make a decision if it is safe to go out,” said McCue. “If there is a severe thunderstorm warning, we might wait until that passes.”

The vessel doesn’t have a rest room. There is scheduled stop at Point State Park for pictures or bathroom breaks.

Boats are certified by the U.S. Coast Guard. There is safety equipment on board, including life jackets. The captains are Coast Guard certified and knowledgeable of Pittsburgh landmarks.

The boats are made of authentic bamboo and treated lumber. Each weighs 4,500 pounds and run on a Suzuki 30-horsepower motor, traveling at about 6 mph.


JoAnne Klimovich Harrop | Tribune-Review

A pair of boats for Cruisin’ Tikis Pittsburgh are docked at the the Landing and Marina at Station Square on Pittsburgh’s South Side on May 6.


There is a roof and guests are somewhat protected if it rains, he said.

“It’s all in what you make of it,” McCue said. “We have had people wearing rain ponchos dancing on the boat.”

They’ve hosted everything from engagements to birthday celebrations.

Guests are allowed to go into the river and swim. They can bring drinks and snacks. Terrene, an eatery that recently opened in Station Square, is preparing marina-themed grab-and-go items for guests to buy and take on board.

Pittsburgh was one of the first cities to have a franchise. The idea originated in Florida.

Tours run through October.

Guests are not required to wear a mask.

“Some people call it social distancing,” McCue said. “But I call it tropically distancing.”

Group reservations can be found here.

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 724-853-5062, jharrop@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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