Ferry rides don't get much more iconic than the 25-minute trip on the Staten Island Ferry. This free ride that takes commuters from Staten Island to Lower Manhatten is the perfect way for tourists to catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the magnificent New York skyline
Boston's harbor sees a steady stream of ferries taking passengers to Salem, the airport or to the Boston Harbor Islands Recreation Area for a day of hiking, tide pooling, fishing or swimming. Ferry rides in Boston aren't just about getting from point A to point B either; water taxi companies run whale watching tours, harbor cruises and Charles River sightseeing cruises as well.
The street car may be San Francisco's most iconic form of transportation, but the ferry isn't a bad way to get around either. The ferry ride to and from Alcatraz Island is certainly a popular option, but you can also take a ferry beneath the iconic Golden Gate Bridge to the town of Sausalito, where you'll find numerous museums, art galleries and boutiques worthy of an afternoon of browsing.
While many locals rely on Seattle's ferries to commute to and from work, the boats that ply the waters of Puget Sound also offer scenic views on the way to the natural playground that is the Kitsap Peninsula. Here, you can spend a day hiking, biking, canoeing, fishing or even geocaching on the self-proclaimed "natural side of Puget Sound."
Once you disembark after the ferry ride from San Diego to Catalina Island, you'll find you don't want to go back. The hour-long ferry ride brings you to the Mediterranean-like island charmer, where visitors can bask on a sun-baked beach, head out on a dolphin watching excursion or get the adrenaline pumping with a zip-lining ecotour.
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's most naturally beautiful provinces, and thanks to a ferry service between Saint John in New Brunswick and Digby, Nova Scotia, you can take in the rugged coastlines of both provinces as you cross the Bay of Fundy. From Digby, it's a quick trip to the beautiful windswept coast of Cape Brenton.
Sure, you can save time by flying between the islands of the Bahamas, but taking a ferry from one island to the next – whether between Nassau and Marsh Harbor or Marsh Harbor and Abaco – is a much more relaxed and scenic way to go. You won't believe the color of the azure waters along the way.
Lake Como is one of Italy's most romantic destinations, and it's certainly large enough to warrant exploration via boat. Throughout the day, hydrofoil ferries make the trip from Como to Colico, stopping at many of the charming towns along the way.Bellagio, Menaggio and Varenna are among the lake's most popular destinations for boat trips.
If you think New York's skyline is impressive, wait until you ride the Star Ferry across Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour. Here, you'll have the perfect view of the the city's dual skylines to either side of the harbor. Locals and tourists have been making the journey from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island and back by ferry since the late 1800s, and it remains one of the most economical ways to cross the harbor.
Sydney's Manly Ferry has become a staple of every tourist's agenda, and for good reason. Instead of paying for a harbor tour, take the short 7-mile ride past the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge to the chill seaside town of Manly, famed for its long stretch of beach.