Get an underbelly view of the Cape's two swooping car bridges and its unusual railroad bridge as you wend your way among a wide array of interesting craft and a narrator fills you in on the Canal's history. Basically, it was the brainchild of New York financial wizard Augustus Perry Belmont, who completed it in 1914 at a cost of $16 million and never saw a penny of profit. Found to be too narrow and perilous (the current reverses with the tides, roughly every 6 hr.), the ambitious waterway was handed over to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for expansion in 1928 at the discount price of $11.5 million. It continues to serve as a vital shortcut, sparing some 30,000 boats yearly the long, dangerous circuit of the Outer Cape.

The 4pm family cruise, offered Monday to Saturday, is a real bargain, at $12 per adult and free for children 12 and under. The Sunday-afternoon trip is accompanied by New Orleans-style jazz, and the sunset-entertainment cruises on Friday and Saturday (adults over 21 only) feature live bands.