See New York City by Boat

Companies we recommend for NYC sightseeing by boat.
From the Empire State Building to the Freedom Tower and all that glitters in between, Manhattan's skyline is one of the most iconic in the world. Visitors and locals with an urge to experience those epic views from a new perspective should venture out on the mighty Hudson and East rivers aboard a boat tour. Whether high-speed adventure boats, kayak rentals or deluxe dining cruises suit your fancy, you'll find all manner of boat tours to accommodate every budget and interest. Below, we've highlighted our 5 favorite ways to see New York City by boat.
1. Bateaux New York
Go glam on a Bateaux New York dinner cruise which sails along the Hudson River past iconic sights such as the USS Intrepid, the Freedom Tower, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. The 3-hour tour aboard this intimate, high-end boat with a glass-enclosed dining room includes a 3-course meal with options like rib-eye steak and sweet berry galette, live music and dancing, an open bar featuring fine wines and of course, 2 outdoor decks with unbeatable skyline views. Brunch, lunch and even full moon cruises are also available. The romance factor is high on the Bateaux; woo your partner by booking an anniversary jaunt.
2. The Beast

Photo by: Scott Barrow

Scott Barrow

Not afraid to get soaked? Feel a need for speed? Spice up your Manhattan boat tour by embarking on The Beast, a neon-green, 70-foot offshore racing powerboat. You'll hit breathtaking speeds up to 45 mph while zipping down the Hudson River en route to the Statue of Liberty on this 30-minute tour. Your captain will keep you laughing with his informative commentary as you pass the Manhattan and New Jersey shores -- but beware -- he also comes armed with a Super Soaker water gun, and he's not afraid to use it!
3. Staten Island Ferry
Any tourist (and local, for that matter) will tell you that a few days exploring Manhattan can empty your wallet. Save money and still enjoy views of the Manhattan skyline, Statue of Liberty, Governor's Island and more by hopping aboard the very inexpensive -- read: FREE -- Staten Island Ferry. This commuter boat departs daily, around the clock on its 25-minute, 5-mile trip from Lower Manhattan's Whitehall Terminal to St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island. Sure, you miss a guide's commentary and a proper tour's frills, but you can enjoy the same spectacular city views from the water, at zero cost.
4. Kayak Rentals
If you've only associated kayaking trips and tours with mountain lakes and streams or wilderness settings, think again. The all-volunteer Downtown Boathouse offers free seasonal kayaking lessons and free walk-up kayak rentals from locations around New York City, including Pier 26 and Governors Island. Additionally, free, guided 3-hour kayak trips are also available. All kayak rentals are on a first-come, first-served basis. The sit-on-top kayaks are unsinkable and self-bailing, and when you sign up to take one out you'll receive brief instructions, safety equipment and access to changing rooms, lockers and locks, and even sunblock and first aid equipment.
5. Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises

Photo by: Scott Barrow

Scott Barrow

For a variety of sightseeing-only cruises, book a tour with Circle Line, which has operated boat tours around Manhattan for more than 60 years. All tours include informative and, at times, pretty darn entertaining commentary, on boats with outdoor viewing decks as well as indoor seating surrounded by oversized windows. The Best of NYC Cruise takes visitors past 101 city sights, including the Intrepid, Yankee Stadium and the Cloisters, while the Landmark Cruise sails past the iconic sights of Midtown and Lower Manhattan. Food, snacks and drinks are all available to purchase onboard.

Next Up

New York: TV and Movie Tour

New York is a hotbed of cinematic and television activity: You could throw a stone and hit a dozen locations that have served as the setting for films and shows.

NYC: America's Melting Pot

Check out Travel Channel's guide to New York City's ethnic neighborhoods.

NYC: Top 5 New Hotels

Our Top 5 new hotels to stay in New York City.

Romance in the San Francisco Presidio

Find out why the Presidio, located in San Francisco, is the perfect place for couples looking for a romantic getaway. 

Beyond Central Park: NYC's Green Spaces

See NYC's Top 5 parks other than famous Central Park.

Historic San Francisco

Delve into our brief historical overview of the 'City by the Bay'.  

San Francisco Weekend Trips

Our favorite San Francisco day trips for the perfect weekend getaway.

NYC: Best of the Boroughs

Take a culture tour of New York City to explore the Big Apple's 5 boroughs, including Manhattan, Bronx and Brooklyn.

Weekend Guide to San Jose, CA

Though its neighbor to the north, San Francisco, gets more attention, it's well worth your time to find your way to San Jose.

Celebrity Restaurants in NYC

Eat, drink and people-watch at these celebrity-affliated restaurants.

Trending Now

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss Travel Channel in your favorite social media feeds.