Top 10 Water Tours You Don’t Want to Miss in New York City

Discover one of the most exciting ways to explore the big apple, here are some of the top New York water tours:

1. Adventure Sightseeing Tour

• Departs from North Cove Marina

This is the perfect water tour for taking pictures of Manhattan and other parts of New York City. The tours are run by New York Media Boat, which is the same company that provides water transportation for several major news media outlets, including CNN. This 90-minute tour takes you within several feet of more than 40 of New York City’s most popular attractions, including the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, One World Trade Center, Battery Park, South Street Seaport and Ellis Island.

Tour dates and times vary throughout the year.

Reservations are recommended for this tour to guarantee a space on the boat and are accepted up to two hours prior to departure.

nyc water tours

Credit: kropic1 / Shutterstock

2. Liberty Sightseeing

• 299 South Street, NYC, New York

The Liberty Sightseeing tour is one of the best family-friendly water tours in New York City. Not only are concessions available onboard, but all kids under 10 years of age ride free. This 90-minute tour is also one of the most affordable of the city’s boat tours and takes passengers right past Battery Park, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, providing ample time for taking pictures.

Tours dates and times vary throughout the year. (Please note that although this tour gives you lots of opportunities to take pictures of the Statue of Liberty, it does not stop on Liberty Island.)

Reservations are recommended to guarantee a spot.

3. NYCbySea

• Departs from North Cove Marina

If you prefer to tour NYC in luxury and style, the NYCbySea sightseeing tour is for you. This state-of-the-art vessel only accommodates up to six passengers, so you are sure to receive personalized attention. It offers the private charter experience without the charter price. This 60-minute tour passes by some of the city’s top attractions, including the Freedom Tower, Brooklyn Bridge, Battery Park and, of course, the Statue of Liberty.

Tours run daily from May through October at 1:30 p.m., 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Reservations are highly recommended due to limited seating.

4. The Beast Speedboat Ride

• Departs from Pier 83 at W. 42nd Street, by West Side Highway

If you are looking for wild adventure, you don’t want to miss your chance to ride The Beast, a 1,400 horsepower speed boat with a wicked grin. You might, however, want to hold on tight and be prepared to get wet because this speedboat travels through the waterways at 45 miles per hour. These 30-minute tours take you right past the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge, but at these speeds, you might have to wait until you’re off the boat to get a picture.

Tours run every hour, on the hour, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily.

Reservations are recommended, but are not necessary.

5. Sea the City

• Located at Liberty Landing Marina

These tours offer a unique opportunity to tour the New York City waterways on a jet ski. Two tour options are available, including the one-hour New Harbor Tour that passes the Brooklyn Bridge, Yankee Stadium and the Statue of Liberty and the 2.5-hour Manhattan tour that passes the two rivers and the Statue of Liberty.

Tours dates and times vary throughout the year.

Advance reservations are required.

6. New York Harbor Hop-On Hop-Off Cruise

• Departs from Pier 79 and W. 39th Street

Skip the taxi and take the New York Harbor Hop-On Hop-Off Cruise. The narrated cruise does a complete 1.5-hour circle that makes several stops along the way, allowing passengers to enter and exit the ship to tour some of New York City’s top attractions, such as Wall Street, the Empire State Building, the World Financial Center, Times Square and Battery Park. When done touring, passengers can simply hop back on the next cruise boat to their next stop. Or, you can simply stay on the ship and enjoy the sights from the water. This cruise is wheelchair accessible.

Tour dates and time vary throughout the year.

Advanced tickets can be purchased but are not required.

New York Water Tours

New York Water Tours – Credit: Shutterstock

7. Twilight Cruise

Departs from Slip 2 near Battery Park

This tour takes passengers past top New York City attractions like the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge right as the sun is setting. This two-hour cruise provides breathtaking views of the harbor and the Manhattan skyline. You definitely want to bring your camera along so you can capture some of the most amazing views of New York City. There’s also a full bar, so you can enjoy a romantic toast on deck as the sun slips down below the horizon.

Tours leave at 7:00 p.m. from April through August and at 6:30 p.m. September to October.

Reservations are not required, but advanced tickets may be purchased online.

8. Rock the Yacht Cruise

Departs from Pier 15 and South Street

If you’re ready to dance with New York City as your backdrop, the Rock the Yacht party cruise by Hornblower is waiting for you. This 21-and-over party boat takes passengers on a two-hour cruise while enjoying a full-service bar, dance floor and DJ. This is great for groups looking for something fun to do in the city without going to a club.

Tours run year-round from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. and from 12:00 2:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday from May through October.

Reservations are recommended but not required. Dress is casual, but you’ll likely want to bring a light jacket or sweater as the summer air can get cool on the water after the sun goes down.

9. Bateaux Dinner Cruise

Departs from Chelsea Pier

You can take in all the top New York City attractions, including the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center, while enjoying a full three-course dinner.

Cruises run year-round and begin boarding at 6:15 p.m. for a 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. sailing. There are also a number of specialty cruises.

Reservations are required.

10. Hudson’s by World Yacht Dinner Cruise

Departs from Pier 81 (W 41st St and 12th Ave)

If you’re looking for a special occasion way to combine a fine dining experience with sightseeing, this two-hour cruise is the one for you. This floating restaurant serves a four-course meal, complete with Champagne and pre-dinner appetizers as you circle Manhattan and view the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and other popular New York sights.

Departure times vary by season and day of the week.

Reservations are required.


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