• Cruising Together

    Ten Family-Friendly Boat Cruises Around Manhattan

    By Maggie McNamara

    A boat cruise around the city is one of the most magical and quintessential city experiences. And the summertime is often the best time to schedule one for your fun-loving fam. Here are ten suggestions for trips that will take your family around the city and back.

    Liberty Harbor Cruise

    Explore some of the historic sites along the New York Harbor—including Ellis Island, the World Trade Center, and the Brooklyn Bridge. This one-hour,  narrated cruise tour will teach your family the history and legends about these sites as you enjoy the beauty of the view. And your kids will appreciate the snacks, soft drinks, and souvenirs available on board for purchase. Daily in July and August, weekends in September. Adults $13, seniors (62+) $10, children (5-12) $5, children 5 and under free. statuecruises.com

    Liberty Cruise

    This 75-minute boat ride takes you down the Hudson River to visit Lady Liberty. Enjoy narration by a professional guide as you witness views of Ellis Island, the World Financial Center, the historic immigration center, and the rising One World Trade Center. Food is available for purchase on board. Refer to cruise schedule for dates and times. Adults $27, seniors (65+) $24, children (3-12) $19, children 2 and under free. circleline42.com

    Beast Speed Boat Ride

    Want to experience what 45 mph on water feels like? Then the 30-minute Beast Speed Boat Ride is perfect for you. Make your way down the Hudson River toward the Statue of Liberty in a custom-built, 70-foot offshore racing powerboat. (Children must be 40” tall to ride). Refer to cruise schedule for dates and times. Adults and seniors $26, children $20. circleline42.com

    Circle Line’s Kids Cruise Series

    On this boat,  it’s all about kids as families travel down the Hudson River to the Statue of Liberty with live, kid-friendly entertainment. This cruise includes an interactive tour guide, a juggler, magician, balloon artist, and live musicians. With prizes and giveaways, picture-taking opportunities, kid-friendly food and drink, and the Berenstain Bears to boot, this cruise is sure to put a big smile on your little one’s face. Refer to cruise schedule for dates and times. Adults $28, children (3-12) $20, children 2 and under free. circleline42.com

    The Chelsea Screamer

    Wear your bathing suit, or prepare to get a little wet when you hop aboard the Chelsea Screamer. Explore the lower Hudson River and the New York Bay on this little speed demon, with views of the Brooklyn Bridge, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty. It’s the perfect way to cool off on one of these hot summer days. Operating through October, call 212-924-6262 for private booking information and prices. chelseascreamer.com

    New York Water Taxis Hop-On/Hop-Off Service

    Experience a New York City cruise at your own pace. As the name suggests, the Hop-On/Hop-Off service lets you stop at as many sites as you like along the route so that you can explore them by foot. Popular sites include DUMBO, South Street Seaport, and Hudson River Park. Or stay on board for the complete 90-minute tour. Runs year round. Adults $26, children (3-12) $16. nywatertaxi.com/tours/hop

    Big Toot!

    For an inexpensive way to cruise around the city, hop aboard Big Toot, a form US Navy launch. Owned and operated by Project City Kids, Big Toot offers 50-minute harbor rides every weekend May through October. Best part is: kids ride free! Operates on a first come, first serve basis (consult the website for schedules). Adults $10, children free. projectcitykids.com

    Manhattan Island Cruise

    In three hours, Manhattan Island Cruise will take you all the way around the island, offering sights of three rivers, seven major bridges, and all five boroughs. Your part-historian, part-entertainer guide will introduce you to over 25 world-renowned landmarks, including a close-up of the Statue of Liberty. Food, beverages, and souvenirs are available for purchase on board. Refer to website for schedule. Adult $36.99,  child (3-12) $23.99, senior (65-99) $31.99, infant 2 and under free. viator.com

    Bear Mountain Full Day Cruise

    For a day’s escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, consider a Bear Mountain full day cruise. The beautiful Bear Mountain is just 45 miles and one 2.5-hour scenic cruise ride north of New York City. The cruise will take you there and back, giving you two hours in between to get out and enjoy the scenery. Pre-order picnics are available. Refer to website for schedule. Adult $49.99, child (3-12) $37.97, senior (65-99) $40.99, infant 2 and under free. viator.com

    New York Sunday Brunch Cruise

    Enjoy a Sunday of decadence aboard this luxury yacht. Experience two hours of panoramic views, live music, and an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet. And while you munch on brunch, witness the Art Deco spires of the Empire State Building,  Winter Garden, Battery Park, Governor’s Island, Ellis Island, and more. Refer to website for schedule. Adult $68.13, child (2-12) $37.30, infant 1 and under free. viator.com

    NYC Audubon Summer EcoCruise

    If bird-watching appeals to your brood, you’ll want to hop aboard the NYC Audubon Summer EcoCruise while it’s still warm! This 90-minute ride will take you under bridges and past monuments as you take in the wonders of birds in flight and perched in their natural habitats. Adult $35, child $25. nywatertaxi.com