Governors Island Now Open for Summer 2020: The Perfect Family Retreat

governors islands open

Governors Island is Now Open

Governors Island officially reopened on July 15, giving New Yorkers a chance to revisit the beautiful recreational getaway that resides in the heart of New York Harbor. This is the perfect opportunity to take your loved ones out to spend the day riding bikes, playing games, or exploring the artwork that the Island has to offer. The 172-acre Island has added a number of health and social-distancing protocols in light of COVID-19 to ensure safety for the Island’s guests. They’re also taking extra measures to manage the number of visitors boarding the Governors Island ferries through a new ticket reservation system. Visitors are required to wear a mask on the ferry and participate in social distancing, standing at least six feet away from other groups of guests. In addition, they have increased cleaning schedules throughout the facilities on the Island. Ready for your visit? We’re going to give you a rundown on activities, safety precautions, and more! 

Hours: Weekdays: 10 am – 6 pm, Weekends: 10 am – 7 pm

For more New York City outdoor ambiance, check out: The Best Places to Enjoy Nature in NYC During COVID-19

Things to Do on Governors Island

Courtesy of Governors Island

Biking: Bring your own bike, or rent one on the Island with either Citi Bike or Blazing Saddles! The bike path is seven miles long — and you don’t even have to worry about cars!

Hammocks: Relax on one of the Island’s iconic red hammocks while gazing at the beautiful city skyline.

Playgrounds: The kids can play on a variety of awesome slides at Slide Hill. Slide Hill is home to the longest slide in NYC! It’s a curving, 57-foot-long, three-story-high slide. Hammock Grove offers play structures that kids can climb and swing on. They’re perfect for some fun exercise.

Learning: Explore the historic archives that Governors Island holds. From historic photographs to self-guided walking tours, there are so many fun and educational opportunities. On weekends, the Island offers family-friendly passive visits to their farm. Check out The Urban Farm (Saturdays & Sundays, noon – 4 pm) where they have chickens, gardens, and a compost center.

Artwork: There’s an old, revamped chapel with tons of history and new visions to explore. Families can also enjoy an installation on the Island titled “Cabin” that’s meant to suggest retreat and introspection. There’s also an orchard with 50 fruit trees. Each tree will have multiple varieties of fruits that are relevant to the history of New York City.

Courtesy of Governors Island

How to Get to the Island

Ferry service occurs daily from the Battery Maritime Building at 10 South Street in Manhattan

Brooklyn ferries to Governors Island will depart from Red Hook/Atlantic Basin. Brooklyn ferries will begin service on July 18 and will run on Saturdays and Sundays.


Round-trip ferry tickets cost $3 for adults.

Ferries are free for:

  • Visitors age 12 and under
  • Seniors age 65 and over
  • IDNYC holders
  • Current and former military service members
  • All New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents
  • Governors Island Members

Governors Island says that “morning ferries before noon on Saturdays and Sundays are free for all. There is no surcharge for bicycles at any time.”

Purchase tickets and find ferry schedule here

Health/Safety Protocols and Service Changes Due to COVID-19

Courtesy of Governors Island

The Trust for Governors Island has implemented protocols based on local, state and federal guidelines.

  • Ferry Ticket Reservations: This is a new policy put in place to manage capacity on the ferry. You must purchase tickets in advance.
  • Face Masks: Face masks must be worn during the ferry ride and when social distancing isn’t possible. Guests must stay at least six feet away from other groups of guests, in order to maintain social distance as much as possible.
  • Increased Sanitization: All facilities will be disinfected frequently to keep cleanliness a top priority. There will be plenty of hand sanitizer stations and hand washing stations available throughout the Island.
  • Cancellations: All outdoor event permits and sports teams’ practices/games will be canceled until further notice. All in-person tours are canceled, but Visitor Services Staff will be available for any assistance on the Island.

For more info on what’s open/closed and other safety measures can be found here