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Here are the Best NYC Boat Tours for the Family

Here are the Best NYC Boat Tours for the Family

These NYC boat tours provide the perfect outdoor activity for the family this summer.

NYC boat tours are opening for the season all over the New York metro area. Take the whole family on one of these NYC boat tours for a peaceful sail on the harbor at sunset, light music and a view of the sun slipping behind the skyline, a rip through the Hudson on a roaring monster of a speedboat, or an educational cruise. Here are the very best NYC boat tours:

Boat Tours in Manhattan


Circle Line Sightseeing

Pier 83, West 42nd Street, Midtown West and Pier 16, South Street Seaport, Downtown East

Photo courtesy Circle Line Sightseeing

What you need to know: Every employee will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms daily, and employees are required to wear face coverings. Ticket collecting will be contactless. Seating on the boats will be limited to 50-percent capacity, and there will be markers to promote social distancing. Hand sanitizer will be accessible, commonly touched areas will be sanitized frequently, and vessels will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized after every cruise. Customers are required to wear masks when boarding, and encouraged to wear them on the boat.
Rides: Options include the Harbor Lights Cruise (2 hours), Landmarks Cruise (1½ hours), Best of NYC Cruise (2½ hours), and Liberty Super Express (45 minutes). Cruises feature tour guide narration, food and drink, outdoor deck space, heated/air-conditioned indoor seating, restrooms, and large windows made for sightseeing.
Hours: Operates seven days a week with three cruises daily. The Liberty Super Express debuts in late spring.
Cost: Prices vary per date, season, and ride. All cruises free for children younger than 3.


City Experience by Hornblower

Pier 15, 78 South St., South Street Seaport
Pier 78, 455 Twelfth Ave., Hell’s Kitchen
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Photo courtesy City Experience by Hornblower

What you need to know: Face coverings are required for all guests older than 2. Guests’ temperatures will be screened upon entry, hand sanitizing stations are located in high-traffic areas, vessels are sanitized between sailings, and more. Visit the website for the most up-to-date information.
Rides: Eight vessels operate sightseeing tours, dining cruises, commuter service between NY and NJ and more. But among the best family-favorite ones are the Hop-on, Hop-off Sightseeing Cruises (1½ hours) and the NYC Sightseeing Cruises (1 hour; these cruises are temporarily not sailing but are scheduled to return in 2021). The hop-on, hop-off cruises are an easy way to see all of NYC’s most popular sights. The cruise sails by the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Governors Island, Brooklyn Bridge, South Street Seaport, Battery Park, Hudson Yards, and more. Plus, ticket-holders can hop-on and hop-off up up to three times to explore sights from land.
Hours: See website for departure schedule and to book tickets.
Cost: Hop-on, Hop-off Sightseeing Cruise: $35; $25 children ages 3-12; free for children ages 2 and younger.


Statue Cruises

Battery Park
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What you need to know: Face coverings are required for all guests older than 2. Guests’ temperatures will be screened upon entry, hand sanitizing stations are located in high-traffic areas, vessels are sanitized between sailings, and more. Visit the website for the most up-to-date information.
Rides: Reserve tickets give access to the grounds of Liberty Island and Ellis Island, including audio tours of Liberty and Ellis Island, and priority entry into the Screening Facility Queue. Each
Hours: Departs Battery Park daily, approximately every 20-35 minutes, from 9:30am-3pm (last boat departs Ellis Island at 5:15pm).
Costs: Reserve tickets (grounds only): $23.50; $18 seniors ages 65 and older; $12 children ages 4-12; free for children ages 3 and younger.


A post shared by Statue Cruises (@statuecruises)


Opening Soon:

Clipper City Sail

Cruises scheduled to start April 30.
North Cove Marina, Brookfield Place
Clipper City: The Battery, Slip 2, Battery Park
What you need to know: Reserve tickets online; all tickets can be rescheduled with 12 hours notice if you’re feeling unwell. All crew members are required to wear face coverings and take a pre-shift temperature check. Vessels will operate at reduced capacity. Guests are required to wear face coverings during cruise and will have temperatures taken (contactless) prior to boarding. Vessels will be sanitized between cruises.
Rides: Explore the harbor by sail aboard either the 82-foot schooner Shearwater or the 158-foot topsail schooner Clipper City on various sightseeing trips throughout the day. Sunset Cruise NYC (1 hour, 45 minutes), City Lights Cruise (1½ hours), and Statue of Liberty Cruise (1-1½ hours) depart from both locations with differing times.
Hours: Statue of Liberty Cruise: Departs from both locations daily; see website for specific cruise times. Sunset Cruise NYC: Departs at 7:30pm for most of the season; see the website for specific dates. City Lights Cruise: Departs Friday-Saturday, 9:30pm most of the season.
Cost: Sunset Cruise NYC: $75; $25 for children 12 and younger. City Lights Cruise: $50; $25 children 12 and younger. Statue of Liberty Cruise: $50; $25 for children 12 and younger.


Boat Tours in Brooklyn


Freedom Cruises

Private events only until further notice.
Sheepshead Bay
What you need to know: Call in advance for COVID safety guidelines.
Rides: Cruise past the famous Coney Island and Brighton Beach Boardwalk and Amusement Parks aboard the Pink Lady for the Harbor Sightseeing Cruise. The boat passes through NY Harbor, under the Verrazano Bridge, and past the Statue of Liberty. Professional guides provide commentary while also answering questions throughout the tour. A refreshment bar is open throughout the trips and serves beverages and light snacks.
Hours: Saturday-Sunday from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Cost: Prices and dates vary, call ahead for availability. Advance purchase of tickets is strongly recommended.


Opening Soon:

Whale Watching & Dolphin Adventure Cruises

Cruises are scheduled to begin May 1.
Temporarily departing from Pier 3, 2498 Emmons Ave., Sheepshead Bay
What you need to know: Capacity is limited on all cruises; social distancing markers have been installed; and all vessels are sanitized before and after all trips. All guests must wear face masks or coverings and maintain social distancing, and hand sanitizing stations are available.
Rides: The American Princess Fleet is the original whale and dolphin watching operator in the NYC area. Cruises head out into the Atlantic Ocean and seek out these beautiful mammals. Cameras, video cameras, and binoculars are recommended. Children are encouraged to participate in helping the crew take the official whale and dolphin count.
Hours: Check the website for details.
Cost: $60; $55 seniors; $40 children ages 5-12; free for children younger than 5.


Boat Tours in Westchester County

Opening Soon:

Trinity Cruise Company

Cruises are scheduled to begin April 30 and May 1.
Riverfront Green Park South, 12 Riverfront Green, Peekskill
What you need to know: Operating at limited capacity, with tickets sold in groups of 4-6. Each group is assigned a table to align with social distancing guidelines.
Rides: Experience the Hudson Highlands on a River Trip (1½ hours) or a Sunset Cruise (1½ hours). The River Trip cruises up past the Bear Mountain Bridge and back, with insightful light commentary. Plus, parents can enjoy a selection of wine and craft beers. The Sunset Cruise travels north beyond the Bear Mountain Bridge to Mystery Point and then returns as the sun goes down. Highlights on the Sunset Cruise include Jones Point, Iona Island, Bear Mountain, and Anthony’s Nose.
Hours: River Trip: May 1-30: Saturday-Sunday, 1pm, 3pm, and 5pm; starting June 5: Saturday-Sunday, 11am, 1pm, 3pm, and 5pm. Sunset Cruise: Starting April 30: Friday-Sunday, 7pm
Cost: The River Trip is $120 for up to 6 people. Sunset Cruise: $150 for up to 6 people.


Boat Tours in Fairfield, CT


The Maritime Aquarium

10 N. Water St., Norwalk
What you need to know: Cruises will be capped at 30 passengers to maintain social distancing. Face masks are required onboard. The vessel will be disinfected before and after every cruise, and hand sanitizing stations are available onboard.
Rides: All cruises are on the R/V Spirit of the Sound, the only research vessel in North America with hybrid-electric propulsion. Aquarium educators are aboard every cruise. The Marine Life Encounter Cruise includes sampling techniques such as a plankton tow, trawl net and biodredge that brings up a variety of fish, crabs, and mollusks. A video microscope and large touch tank on board enhance observations. No food is available for purchase, but passengers can bring their own on the evening cruises. Passengers must be taller than 42 inches to ride and children younger than 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Hours: Marine Life Encounter Cruises: May-June: Saturday-Sunday, 1:15pm; July-August: Wednesday-Sunday, 1:15pm. Dates and evening times vary for the Norwalk Islands Cruise (Thursday), Check website for details on the TGIF Cruise and Saturday Sunset Cruise.
Cost: All cruises are currently $31.50. Reservations are strongly recommended and in some cases required.

Opening Soon:


Cruises scheduled to begin May 28.
Cove Island Park, 1281 Cove Road, Stamford

What you need to know: Until further notice, due to COVID-19, SoundWaters public sails will have a maximum capacity of 25 people. Boarding will be staggered, with groups of five or less boarding at a time. No seating area will have more than 5 people. Passengers are allowed to bring food, but they can only share with people in their designated seating area. Public sails will not offer catering or buffet-style food.
Rides: Explore the Long Island Sound aboard an 80-foot Schooner on a beautiful sunset sail. Bring your dinner and favorite beverage and relax while watching the sun dip below the horizon. Or, experience the warm breezes and light of an afternoon sail. All passengers must be at least 5 years old for both sails.
Hours: Afternoon Sail: Memorial Day weekend through Sept. 30: Saturday-Sunday, typically at 3pm or 2:30pm; check the website for exact dates and times. Sunset Sail: dates vary; Wednesday-Sunday, 2-hour sail departing at either 5pm, 5:30pm, 6pm, or 6:30pm; check the website for exact dates and times.
Cost: Afternoon Sail: $35; $20 children ages 5-12. Sunset Sail: $40 (passengers on all sails must be at least 5 years old).


Boat Tours on Long Island


Freeport Water Taxi and Tours

211 Woodcleft Ave. Nautical Mile, Freeport
What you need to know: The vessel is operating at 50-percent capacity (14 people maximum). The entire boat will be sanitized after every cruise, and all crew members will wear masks for the duration of the cruise. Guests must wear masks when boarding, departing, and walking around the boat, but masks can be removed when seated. Social distancing guidelines must be followed.
Rides: The One Hour Day Cruise is perfect for families that want to enjoy the bays of the South Shore of Long Island. A variety of other cruises more geared toward adults, special event cruises, fishing excursions, and seal watching cruises (only run from October-April) are also offered.
Hours: One-Hour Day Cruise: Saturday-Sunday, 12pm, 1:30pm, and 3pm (a 4pm cruise will be added in September). Sunset Cruise: Friday-Sunday, 7:15pm (occasional days when the cruise isn’t offered). Seal Watching Cruise: April 17, 24-25: 12pm.
Cost: One-Hour Day Cruise: $20; $15 children ages 5-10; free for children ages 4 and younger. Sunset Cruise: $30 for ages 12 and older. Happy Hour Cruise: $25 for ages 11 and older. Seal Watching Cruise: $30; $20 children ages 5-10; free for children ages 4 and younger.

Opening Soon:

American Beauty II

Cruises are scheduled to begin May 15.
Long Wharf, Sag Harbor
What you need to know: Passengers are required to wear face masks, and temperatures will be checked prior to boarding using a touchless forehead thermometer. Guests are asked to maintain social distancing. It’s recommended to buy tickets online for a touchless transaction.
Rides: Guests can choose either a 90-minute Nature Cruise or 2-hour Sunset Cruise. The Nature Cruise explores the Peconic Estuary System. Learn about the history of Sag Harbor, view the historic whaling village, and see Barcelona Point, Cedar Point Lighthouse and Mashomack Nature Preserve with full osprey nests on Shelter Island.
Hours: Schedules may vary due to charters and weather. Call for updates.
Cost: Nature Cruise: $30; $20 children ages 5-12; free for children younger than 5. Sunset Cruise: $45; $30 children ages 5-12, free for children younger than 5.

Captain Lou Fleet

Whale-watching cruises are scheduled to begin May 15.
31 Woodcleft Ave., Freeport
What you need to know: The fleet is following safety guidelines provided by the state, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Coast Guard. Capacity is limited onboard vessels, and all vessels are sanitized. Face masks or coverings are required onboard, social distancing must be maintained, and hand sanitizer will be provided.
Rides: Climb aboard the Atlantic Pearl for a Whale Watching Cruise or the Captain Lou VII for a Seal Watching Cruise. The Captains are skilled at finding the best spots to see marine life, so keep your binoculars and cameras at the ready! Humpback whales and bottle-nost dolphins are most commonly seen on these tours, but there’s a chance you might spot other species. On the seal spotting tour, you’re likely to see harbor, harp, hooded, gray, and ringed seals.
Hours: Dates and times vary; see website for schedule
Cost: $66; $56 children ages 12 and younger

Long Island Aquarium’s Atlantis Explorer

Cruises are scheduled to resume in May.
431 E. Main St., Riverhead
What you need to know: Each boat will be operating at reduced capacity, and guests ages 2 and older must wear facial coverings. Advanced booking is required.
Rides: Add extra aquatic adventure to your visit with an interactive cruise aboard the Atlantis Explorer. Enjoy hands-on exploration including trap pulls, horseshoe crab encounters, and a stroll along a remote beach.
Hours: Cruise schedule not available at press time.
Cost: Check the website for the most up-to-date information.

Sailing Montauk/Mon Tiki

Starting June 22, only booking charter trips this season; public sailing outings are canceled until further notice.
32 Star Island Road, Montauk
What you need to know: Currently booking private charters only, and there is a limit on the number of guests per boat to allow for social distancing guidelines. Call for more information.
Rides: Mon Tiki is a US Coast Guard Certified 40-foot eco-conscious catamaran inspired by traditional Polynesian double-canoe designs. Come aboard for scheduled sailing trips such as the Sunset Cruise, Discover Montauk Sail, and Three Hour Sail and Swim. Children younger than 5 may not board the Sunset Cruise. All ages are welcome on daytime cruises. The Three Hour Sail and Swim only runs during the summer.
Hours: Check for official times and dates on the website.
Cost: Check the website for most updated rates.

The Moon Chaser

Captree State Park, Babylon
What you need to know: Tickets must be purchased in advance. Call for more information.
Rides: Great South Bay Excursions feature a live 1½-hour narrated tour of the wildlife, history, scenery of the Great South Bay and Fire Island coastline. Boxed lunches are allowed. The Moon Chaser is a 65-foot vessel with an enclosed main deck, comfortable seating, fully equipped nautical bar, and upper canopied sun deck. Special packages for groups of 30 or more or private excursions for day camps and schools are also offered from June through September.
Hours: July 9-Sept. 3: Thursdays, 1-2:30pm
Cost: $17; $15 seniors; $13 children 12 and younger (though one child per adult can ride for free)



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