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NYC by ferry: Easy trips that won’t disappoint

Itching to get out of the city for the day?

While you could hop on a train or a plane to stretch your legs, one overlooked option is the ferry.

Ferries around New York City provide a perfect opportunity to get away and still put you back in the comfort of home by dinner. And the opportunities to get out on the water and see some new sights have only grown now that the new NYC Ferry service has launched.

Ditch the subway and enjoy a ferry ride to these fun locations.

Pier 13, Hoboken

Grab your friends and cheers to the weekend
Photo Credit: Pier 13

Grab your friends and cheers to the weekend at Pier 13, a family-friendly beer garden in Hoboken, N.J. Enjoy sweeping views of the city skyline while sipping on a cocktail or head out onto the Hudson River with a kayak, paddle board or personal watercraft rental. If you get hungry, try one of the 26 local food trucks that line up along the pier. The New York Waterway ferry from West 39th Street in midtown takes you to a pier that's one block away from the beer garden. For more information on ferry schedules, head to nywaterway.com/Hoboken14thRoute.

Whale watching off the Rockaways

Enjoy the suspense and thrill of whale watching
Photo Credit: iStock

Enjoy the suspense and thrill of whale watching with American Princess Cruises' seasonal whale- and dolphin-spotting excursions in the Atlantic Ocean off Rockaway, Queens. You could spot a humpback whale, bottlenose dolphins and more on one of the four-hour cruises that depart from Riis Landing in Breezy Point. For tickets, schedules and more, head to americanprincesscruises.com.

Governors Island

Governors Island kicked off its summer season on
Photo Credit: amNewYork / Vincent Barone

Governors Island kicked off its summer season on May 1, and you'll soon be able to watch the sun set over the city skyline with its new Friday late-night hours. Located in the center of New York Harbor, Governors Island is a quick and easy escape from the stresses of city life. Whether you want to go for a bike ride, grab a drink at Little Eva's, go rock climbing at Adventures at Governors or bring your own picnic, there is a little something for everyone. And beginning May 25, the island and all of its offerings will remain open until 10 p.m. on Fridays through Sept. 14. Governors Island also hosts events throughout the summer, like the NYC Holi Hai Festival, the New York Harbor Oyster Classic 5K and Figment Festival. For more information on ferry schedules, head to govisland.com/info/ferry.

Rockaway Beach

Yes, you can take the subway to Rockaway
Photo Credit: Sophie Hirsh

Yes, you can take the subway to Rockaway Beach. But why spend time stuck underground in a hot, smelly train when you can catch the NYC Ferry and enjoy the wind in your hair and the smell of the sea on your journey instead? NYC Ferry's Rockaway route will take you there from lower Manhattan in just under an hour or from Sunset Park, Brooklyn, in 16 minutes. Soak up the sun on the beach, take a stroll along the boardwalk and then head to one of Rockaway Beach's prime eateries, like Breezy's BBQ or Tacoway Beach. For tickets, schedules and more, head to ferry.nyc.

East River State Park

If you love food, then you'll want to
Photo Credit: Smorgasburg / John von Pamer

If you love food, then you'll want to hop on NYC Ferry's East River route to the North Williamsburg stop. Adjacent to the ferry terminal is the East River State Park, home to Smorgasburg, one of the city's premiere summer food markets. More than 100 vendors set up shop in the park every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., rain or shine. Even if you're not a total foodie, East River State Park has plenty of space to sprawl out and relax for the day with Manhattan as your backdrop. Note: No pets allowed in the park. For tickets, schedules and more, head to ferry.nyc.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

From sports fields to water activities, expansive green
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Spencer Platt

From sports fields to water activities, expansive green spaces and a beach, it's safe to say that Brooklyn Bridge Park offers plenty to keep you entertained for the day. Aside from the park's day-to-day offerings, it also hosts a ton of special events throughout the spring and summer, including guided park tours and volunteer opportunities. For tickets, schedules and more, head to ferry.nyc.

Sandy Hook, New Jersey

Sure, New York City isn't lacking for beaches.
Photo Credit: iStock / Maria_Ermolova

Sure, New York City isn't lacking for beaches. But to break up the usual routine, take the Seastreak to Sandy Hook, New Jersey. After a 45-minute boat ride from midtown, and a free shuttle to one of several beaches, you'll be stretching out on the Jersey Shore. Bring cash for the food trucks, pack a bike for loops around Fort Hancock and enjoy the ferry's cash bar on the way back to Manhattan. For tickets, schedules and more, head to seastreak.com.

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