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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.

Finding fun, summer activities that are safest for the family is not the easiest task this year. Luckily, NYC boat tours are opening for the season all over the New York metro area and as we know, outdoor activities are safest. 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

Note: Due to the coronavirus, things can change quickly. Please call ahead confirm tours are happening as scheduled.

RELATED: Get the Best Family Activities in Manhattan Sent to You

Circle Line Sightseeing
Pier 83, West 42nd Street, Midtown West and Pier 16, South Street Seaport, Downtown East
What you need to know: Cruises resumed Monday, July 20. 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: Wednesday-Monday; Harbor Lights Cruise: 7pm; Landmarks Cruise: 12pm; Best of NYC Cruise: 3pm; Statue of Liberty Express: hourly from 10am-5pm.
Cost: Harbor Lights Cruise: $41; $34 children ages 3-12. Landmarks Cruise: $37; $31 children ages 3-12. Best of NYC Cruise: $44; $37 children ages 3-12. Liberty Super Express $24; $19 children ages 3-12. All cruises free for children younger than 3.

Clipper City Sail
Shearwater: North Cove Marina, Brookfield Place
Clipper City: The Battery, Slip 2, Battery Park
What you need to know: Shearwater resumed trips July 11, and Clipper City is scheduled to resume July 23. 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 7pm for most of the season; see the website for specific dates. City Lights Cruise: Departs Friday-Saturday, 9:30pm through Sept. 19.
Cost: Sunset Cruise NYC: $55; $25 for children 12 and younger. City Lights Cruise: $45; $25 children 12 and younger. Statue of Liberty Cruise: $45; $25 for children 12 and younger.

Hornblower Cruises
Pier 78, 455 Twelfth Ave., Midtown and Pier 15, 78 South St., South Street Seaport
What you need to know: Face coverings are required for all guests older than 2. Guests’ temperatures will be screened upon entry, and guests with a temperature over 100.4 will not be allowed on board. Visit the website for the most up-to-date information.
Rides: Hornblower Cruises offers a variety of dining, cocktail, and special event cruises, but among the best family-favorite ones are the Statue of Liberty Harbor Tour (1 hour; there is currently no availability to book online), NYC Sightseeing Cruises (1 hour; these cruises are temporarily not sailing and are scheduled to return in 2021), and Hop-on, Hop-off Sightseeing Cruises (1½ hours). 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: Hop-on, Hop-off Sightseeing Cruise: From Pier 78: through Aug. 30: Thursday-Sunday, 12pm, 2pm, and 4pm; beginning Sept. 3: daily, 12pm, 2pm, and 4pm. From Pier 15: through Aug. 30: Thursday-Sunday, 12:45pm, 2:45pm, and 4:45pm; beginning Sept. 3: daily, 12:45pm, 2:45pm, and 4:45pm.
Cost: Hop-on, Hop-off Sightseeing Cruise: $35; $31 seniors and military; $25 children ages 4-12; free for children ages 3 and younger.

Statue Cruises
Battery Park
What you need to know: Recommended that people arrive 30 minutes before departure for boarding. Statue Cruises tickets are for grounds only and are available for purchase online in advance. The National Park Service does not yet know when the park will reopen, so refunds and exchanges are available for those who purchased tickets prior to the reopening date. Face coverings are required for all guests older than 2.
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 8:30am-5pm.
Costs: Reserve tickets (grounds only): $19.25; $14 seniors; $9 children ages 4-12; free for children ages 3 and younger.

Boat Tours in Brooklyn

Note: Due to the coronavirus, things can change quickly. Please call ahead confirm tours are happening as scheduled.

RELATED: Get the Best Family Activities in Brooklyn Sent to You

Marilyn Jean IV
Pier 6, Sheepshead Bay
917-650-3212 • 917-560-8224
What you need to know: Capacity is limited and advanced ticket sales are strongly recommended for both full- and half-day trips. The vessel will be sanitized, and masks will be provided for riders while boarding.
Rides: The Marilyn Jean IV is a 70-foot Lydia party fishing boat equipped with everything you need to have an enjoyable fishing trip with the family. Crew members help passengers catch, clean, and pack fish which may include Fluke, Flounder, Striped Bass, Weakfish, Bluefish, Sea Bass, Porgies, Blackfish, Ling, and Cod depending on the season and time of day, making this fishing boat perfect for beginners. Check the website for fishing reports from Captain Ryan. Passengers also have access to food and beverages while having various sightseeing opportunities. The ship sails twice a day during peak season.
Hours: All trips run daily. Half-day fishing trips are 8am-1pm and 2-6pm. Full-day fishing trips are 7am-3pm. Night fishing trips are 7pm-12am.
Cost: Full-day fishing trips: $85; $80 seniors and military; $50 children ages 14 and younger; $160 for family of two; $320 for family of four; $45 observer. Half-day fishing trips: $50 ($45 for the 2pm trip); $40 seniors, military, and children ages 14 and younger; $90 for family of two; $180 for family of four. Night fishing trips: $60; $55 seniors and military; $30 children ages 14 and younger and observers.

Sea Queen VII
Sheepshead Bay
What you need to know: All guests aboard Sea Queen VII must wear face masks or coverings and maintain social distancing.
Rides: Captain Steve and the crew of the Sea Queen VII welcome would-be fishermen and women on the vessel for half day and nightly excursions. The vessel is 85 feet with a family atmosphere and offers a heated cabin with a full service galley and bathrooms. The crew is extremely knowledgeable and eager to help even the most basic of novices. Rods can be rented for $5 and tackle is priced accordingly. Bait is given for free. Passengers are alternatively permitted to bring their own equipment. Fish cleaning is done at the end of the trip by the crew.
Hours: All trips run daily, but confirm when purchasing tickets online. Half day fishing excursion: 7am-12pm and 1-5pm. Night excursion: 7pm-12am.
Cost: Half-day fishing: $45; $40 seniors; $35 children younger than 14. Night excursion: $60; $50 seniors; $30 children younger than 14.

Freedom Cruises
Private events only until further notice.

Sheepshead Bay
917-650-3212 • 646-413-1643
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 will then cruise past the historic Norton’s Point light house on your way toward NY Harbor. After gliding under the Verrazano Bridge, the Captain will bring the Pink Lady within 50 yards of the Statue of Liberty where he will stop the boat for a few moments before heading back to Sheepshead Bay. 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.

Boat Tours in Queens

Note: Due to the coronavirus, things can change quickly. Please call ahead confirm tours are happening as scheduled.

RELATED: Get the Best Family Activities in Queens Sent to You

Whale Watching & Dolphin Adventure Cruises
Temporarily departing from Pier 3, 2498 Emmons Ave., Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn
What you need to know: Whale watching and dolphin adventure cruises are currently sailing. 2020 Rockaway Express Beach Ferry is TBA; the 2020 Fall Foliage Brunch Cruise is scheduled for Nov. 7. 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.
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. There is a snack concession and full beverage bar on board. Passengers are permitted to bring sandwiches on board, but beverages and coolers are prohibited.
Hours: Through Nov. 29: Dates vary, but cruises generally run 12-3:30pm; check the website for details.
Cost: $55; $50 seniors; $40 children ages 5-12; free for children younger than 5.

Boat Tours in Westchester County

Note: Due to the coronavirus, things can change quickly. Please call ahead confirm tours are happening as scheduled.

RELATED: Get the Best Family Activities in Westchester Sent to You

Trinity Cruise Company
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: River trip (1½ hours), and Sunset cruise (1½ hours) are the only ones currently running.  Experience the Hudson Highlands on a public Sightseeing Cruise, summer One Hour Boat Ride, or public Sunset Cruise. The Sightseeing Cruise is a 2.5-3 hour ride with Captain’s commentary that heads north from Peekskill to the West Point area and then returns. The One Hour Boat Ride is a short sightseeing cruise from Peekskill to the Bear Mountain Bridge that is perfect for families and small children. Highlights include Iona Island, the Bear Mountain Bridge, and the peak of Anthony’s Nose with short commentary by the Captain or crew. The Sunset Cruise travels north beyond the Bear Mountain Bridge to Mystery Point and then returns as the sun goes down.
Hours: River Trip: Fridays, 4:30pm; Saturday-Sunday, 11:30am, 2pm, and 4:30pm. Sunset Cruise: Thursday-Sunday, 7pm. Times vary with the time of the sunset.
Cost: The River Trip is $80 for groups of four, and $120 for groups of six. Sunset Cruise: $100 for groups of four, $150 for groups of six.  

Boat Tours in Fairfield County, CT

Note: Due to the coronavirus, things can change quickly. Please call ahead confirm tours are happening as scheduled.

RELATED: Get the Best Family Activities in the Area Sent to You

The Maritime Aquarium
10 N. Water St., Norwalk
What you need to know: Cruises will be capped at 20 passengers to maintain social distancing can be maintained. 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 lighthouse cruises and Sunset Cruise. Passengers must be over 42” tall to ride and children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Hours: Dates and times for the Norwalk Islands Cruise, TGIF Cruise, Birding Cruise, Sunset Cruise, vary; check site for details.
Cost: All cruises are currently $31.50. Reservations are strongly recommended and in some cases required.  

Cove Island Park, 1281 Cove Road, Stamford
What you need to know: 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 five 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 an afternoon sail designed for families. Work together to raise sails, discover what inhabits the water of the Sound, sample and test water quality, learn about hypoxia, and analyze groundwater. Alternatively board the Schooner at sunset for dinner and beverages. All passengers must be 5 years for both.
Hours: Afternoon Sail: 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 must be at least 5 years old).

Boat Tours in Nassau County

Note: Due to the coronavirus, things can change quickly. Please call ahead confirm tours are happening as scheduled.

RELATED: Get the Best Family Activities on Long Island Sent to You

The WaterFront Center
Harbor Tours, Sunset Cruises, and Marine DIscovery Sails have been canceled until further notice.
1 W. End Ave., Oyster Bay
Rides: The WaterFront Center offers Harbor Tours, Sunset Cruises, and Marine Discovery Sails aboard the Christeen Oyster Sloop. The Sunset Sail is a two-hour long evening cruise around Oyster Bay. The Harbor Tour is a sail around West Harbor, Oyster Bay, and Cold Spring Harbor. The Marine Discovery Sail is best for children as it offers fun and educational activities for the whole family. Children ages 3 and older with an accompanying adult are permitted on all three sails.
Hours: Sunset Sails: 6pm-7:45pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from June 19 to Aug. 30. Harbor Tour: 10am-12pm select Saturdays and Sundays from June 16 to Oct. 6. Discovery Sails: 10am-12pm select Saturdays and Sundays from June 9 to Sept. 1.
Cost: Harbor Tour and Discovery Cruise: $25. Sunset Cruise: $30.  

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. Sunset Cruise: Friday-Sunday, 7:30pm. Happy Hour Cruise: Friday-Sunday, 5pm and 6:15pm.
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.  

Captain Lou Fleet
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 110-foot Starstream VIII, a Modern Super cruiser for half day fishing trips. Bait and tackle are provided while there is a rod rental fee. A full snack bar is provided in the climate controlled cabin, though passengers are welcome to bring aboard their own food and beverages. The experienced Captain and crew offer assistance and clean your catches for free.
Hours: Half-day fishing trips: through September: daily, 8am-12pm and 1pm-5pm. Sunset cruise: Wednesdays, 7-9pm. Half-Day Whale, Dolphin and Bird Tour: select days; check the website for specific information.
Cost: Half-day fishing trips: $50; $45 seniors; $30 children ages 4-12; free for children 3 and younger. Sunset Cruise: $45 adult with open bar; $25 without open bar; $15 children ages 4-12; free for children younger than 4. Half-Day Whale, Dolphin and Bird Tour: $50; $45 seniors; $38 children 12 and younger.

Boat Tours in Suffolk County

Note: Due to the coronavirus, things can change quickly. Please call ahead confirm tours are happening as scheduled.

RELATED: Get the Best Family Activities on Long Island Sent to You

American Beauty II
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: Nature Cruise: Sunday-Friday, 12pm and 3pm; Saturday, 11am, 1pm, and 3pm. Sunset Cruise: through Sept. 2: Thursday-Monday, typically at 6:30pm. Cruises also available on select weekends during spring and fall. 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.  

Long Island Aquarium
431 E. Main St., Riverhead
What you need to know: Each boat will be operating at 50-percent capacity, and riders 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: Wednesday-Sunday, 12:30-2:30pm and 3:30-5:30pm.
Cost: Boat only: $35; $25 children ages 3-12; $5 children younger than 3.Combo Aquarium Admission will let you save $10 on each tour boat ticket. Discounts for aquarium members and Suffolk County green key cardholders.

Discovery Wetlands Cruise
Stony Brook Marine Services: Across from the Three Village Inn, 150 Main St., Stony Brook
What you need to know: 2020 season schedule and information is coming soon.
Rides: The 27-passenger pontoon boat “Discovery” cruises through The Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s 88-acre wetlands preserve for a 1.5 hour tour. A naturalist is onboard to describe the wildlife and flora.
Hours: TBA
Cost: Reservations taken Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm. Advance registration: $28; $25 seniors and students; $18 for children 6 and younger. Walk-ons (cash only): $35; $30 seniors and students; $20 children.

The Moon Chaser
Captree State Park, Babylon
What you need to know: Tickets must be purchased in advance. 
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: through Sept. 3: Thursdays, 1-2:30pm
Cost: $17; $15 seniors; $13 children 12 and younger (though one child per adult can ride for free)

Sailing Montauk/Mon Tiki
Public sailing outings are canceled until further notice.
32 Star Island Road, Montauk
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 under the age of 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: Sunset Cruise: 6:30-8:30 most days of the week until July 15. Discover Montauk Sail: 12-2pm on varying days. Check for official times and dates on the website.
Cost: Sunset Cruise: $60. Discover Montauk Sail: $65; $45 for children 11 and younger. Three Hour Sail & Swim: $95; $65 for children 11 and younger.


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