If there's one mistake that New Yorkers make every summer, it's not taking advantage of the waterways around the city. Sure, you might not want to go swimming through the Gowanus, but there's plenty of fun to be had in, on and around NYC's shores.
Here are some of the best ways to explore New York by water.
North River Lobster Company
Get your eat and drink on at the North River Lobster Company — Photo courtesy of North River Lobster Company
How does North River Lobster Company check off all the summertime boxes? Let us count the ways:
- It's a boat with three stories and roof deck.
- There are waiters and waitresses on every deck.
- You can order delicious eats, from lobster rolls to raw bar boats to burgers.
- The drinks they are a'flowing: wine, beer buckets and cocktails are definitely not in short supply.
- It's a one-hour cruise, so you can see the city's gorgeous skyline from a brand new viewpoint.
Basically, there's not much that this boozy cruise doesn't offer. For a fun afternoon with friends, make a ressie with North River Lobster Company and hit the high seas – or, you know, the Hudson river.
Hudson River Community Sailing
Learn to sail with Hudson River Community Sailing — Photo courtesy of Hudson River Community Sailing
Speaking of the Hudson, did you know that you could be one of those people who sails on it? At Hudson River Community Sailing, you can book a quick lesson or even get certified during a weekend-long course. They also offer sailing memberships, so you can join a community of sailors around the city.
If you've already got your sea legs under you, you can sign up for one of their races where you'll learn racing skills and strategy.
Dance parties and DJs on the beach at Rockaway Beach Surf Club — Photo courtesy of Rockaway Beach Surf Club
The Rockaways were hit hard during Hurricane Sandy, but in recent years, revitalization efforts have done a lot to buoy the area. (Get it?)
Now, beachgoers can enjoy the sand and sun, and grab a bite at Rockaway Taco or Caracas Arepas, before getting their groove on at the Rockaway Beach Surf Club.
A new ferry line that serves alcohol onboard has also sprung up, which runs from Wall Street to the Rockaways. Getting there is suddenly a breeze.
Lobster, ice cream and Victorian homes await on City Island — Photo courtesy of Doug Kerr
Want to feel like you're not in New York without actually leaving it? Enter City Island. A small, mostly ignored fishing island off the Bronx, City Island couldn't feel farther away from Manhattan's craziness.
Once there, you can spend the day on the water with one of the local charter companies, grab an ice cream cone, explore the Nautical Museum and marvel that you never knew grand Victorian homes were so close to the subway.
Cool Off at New York's 10 Best Ice Cream Shops
Cool Off at New York's 10 Best Ice Cream Shops
The Frying Pan
A dive bar experience on a boat at The Frying Pan — Photo courtesy of The Frying Pan
If you're in the mood for a booze-fueled day or night, here's your spot. The Frying Pan is a boat docked on the west side at 25th Street. It's better known as a floating dive bar destination that serves beer and burgers, set against the backdrop of the city. Beware that the lines often stretch as far as the eye can see, so getting here early is an absolute must.
Staten Island Ferry
Catch a ride to the other side on the Staten Island Ferry — Photo courtesy of Julienne Schaer
No list of NYC water activities would be complete without mention of the Staten Island Ferry. A rare free experience in New York, the ferry takes riders from Battery Park to (where else?) Staten Island. But here's the kicker: you'll get a stunning view of Lady Liberty by simply standing on the deck.
Once on the other side, come right on back, or if you're hungry, hit up the Italian spot Enoteca Maria where a real Italian grandma cooks up a different dinner each night.
Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse
Free kayaking at Brooklyn Bridge Boathouse — Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Bridge Park
Another budget-friendly activity, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse offers free 20-minute kayaking sessions on Saturdays and Thursdays from June through August. Things here are "first come, first served," so show up early if you don't want to miss out.
If you have no idea what to do with a paddle, don't fret: the team at the boathouse will happily show you the ropes.
The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum
Brush up on your history at the Intrepid — Photo courtesy of The Intrepid
History and war buffs will get a thrill out of visiting the Intrepid, a former aircraft carrier that fought in World War II and survived five kamikaze attacks and a torpedo strike. With its fighting days over, the Intrepid is now docked on Pier 86 on W. 46th and 12th Avenue.
The decks of the Intrepid are also home to other impressive modes of transportation, including the Concorde, which broke records when it became the fastest plane ever to cross the Atlantic Ocean in only 2 hours, 52 minutes and 59 seconds.