River of dreams? Maybe Billy Joel was singing about the Hudson. After all, there’s something nearly spiritual about spending time on the water, and we’re lucky enough to have the gorgeous Hudson River practically in our backyard. (And yes, we said gorgeous. The river is way cleaner than in years past.) The Hudson River originates in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York and empties into the Atlantic Ocean at New York Harbor. In between, there’s tons of fun to be had both from our side and from NYC. Read on for your ultimate guide to things to do on the Hudson River this summer:
Go for a sail on the A.J. Meerwald, a historic, two-masted, 115-foot oyster schooner that was built in 1928. The tall ship is in our area just once a year, so book your tickets now for various trips out of the Alpine Boat Basin taking place from July 11 to 15. There are children’s sails, skyline sails along the Palisades and even a brewery sail that features a tasting from local craft brewery Brix City. To buy tickets, click here.
Eating lobster. On a boat. With drinks. Need we say more? Yes, there’s a floating lobster shack on the Hudson, and we can’t wait to climb aboard. North River Lobster Company cruises depart from Pier 81 at West 41st St. and 12th Ave. in NYC six days a week (closed Tuesdays). Buy a boarding pass for only $10 (or $50 for a season pass!), then buy food and drink on board. The menu features a full lobster dinner and lobster rolls, but also a raw bar, salads, burgers, fish tacos and more. Cruises last about 45 minutes, but you can stay on as long as you’d like, so go ahead, have another frozé. To learn more, click here.
Enjoy the Hudson from this side of the river at Hoboken’s Pier 13. There’s family-friendly beer garden where you can relax and enjoy the stunning NYC skyline or get active and take a kayak or stand up paddle board tour. Tons of food trucks are on hand to satisfy your noshing needs, and there are special events held throughout the summer like movie nights and live music. For more information, click here.
Sailing, take me away. The Nyack Boat Club offers two four-week junior sailing programs for kids ages 8 to 16. Sessions run June 25 to July 20 or July 24 to August 17. They also offer programs for adults if you’re the one wanting to take to the water. The club was formed in 1909 to support recreational boating on the Hudson, and they’re always looking for new members, but you don’t have to be a member to take lessons. Click here to learn more.
If sailing out of Manhattan is more to your liking, check out Hudson River Community Sailing, which also offers lessons for children and adults. The Pier 66 Boathouse is located at 26th St. and is the jumping off point for City Sail summer camp, sailing programs for veterans, weekly member racing, community regattas and more. The adjacent Frying Pan bar and restaurant is fun too. For more information, click here.
Are your kids angling to try fishing? Check out Big City Fishing, a free, educational program in New York City for kids ages 5 and up that provides the rods, reels, bait and instruction. The catch and release program is held on Sundays from 11 to 3 p.m. from June 4 to Oct. 15 at Pier 25 at N. Moore St. and from July 2 to August 27 on Pier 84 at West 44th St., and on Mondays from 5 to 7:30 p.m. from July 3 to August 21 on Pier 25 and Pier 63 at West 23rd St. Anglers are given a 30-minute fishing time limit and sign ups begin at the start of the program, so get there early to get a spot (nothing can be scheduled in advance). Click here to learn more.
Another fun and easy way to try fishing on the Hudson is to head out with a guide on a charter boat. Spring time is prime time for striped bass, but there are loads of other types of fish to be caught as well. NY Fisherman offers a comprehensive list of available charters.
If you’ve ever wanted to run off and join the circus, we’ve got the next best thing: New York Trapeze School on the Hudson in NYC! Anyone age 6 and up can sign up to fly through the air in trapeze classes, or learn to climb the silks (aerial fabric) or do crazy flips on the trampoline. All classes take place outside on Pier 40 in Hudson River Park (West St. at Houston St.). You can go once or sign up for multiple classes and build strength and skills over time. While kids are welcome in regular classes, the school also offers special children’s programs too. Click here for more details.
Gorgeous views of the water and the George Washington Bridge can be found at Palisades Interstate Park, a National Historic Landmark in the Fort Lee/Englewood/Alpine area. The 12-mile-long park hugs the Hudson River shorefront and includes more than 30 miles of hiking trails, plus picnic areas and playgrounds, scenic lookouts, a nature sanctuary, historical monuments, and two boat basins. The website lists special events such as live music, guided hikes, and history programs, and there are maps you can download for several family-friendly hikes.
Cyclists come from all over the tri-state area to bike along the Hudson on River Road and 9W in New Jersey. Consider starting at Strictly Bicycles on Hudson Terrace in Fort Lee. They have everything you need to make sure your bike is in tip-top shape, and they rent bikes too if you don’t want to deal with bringing yours. You can even grab a cappuccino before you head out. Biking along the Hudson River Park Bikeway in NYC is also a popular place to ride, and bikes can be rented at Blazing Saddles, Pier 84 at West 44th St., and Citi Bike, just south of Pier 40 (West Houston St.).
Sure, you’ve cruised around the city on the Circle Line, but have you ridden The Beast? This jet-powered speed boat rockets through the water at about 45 mph and is not for the faint of heart (or pregnant)! The boat leaves from Pier 83 at West 42nd St. every hour rom 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., and the ride down to the Statue of Liberty and back takes about 30 minutes. Kids must be 40 inches to ride. Buy tickets here.
Those looking for something slightly more civilized should check out the AIANY Lower Manhattan Architecture Tour. The 90-minute boat tour, which leaves from Pier 62 at West 22nd St., is led by a member of the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects and covers all of Manhattan’s most well-known buildings, plus the Brooklyn Bridge, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The tour price includes a beer, wine or champagne, and additional drinks are available for purchase. This one isn’t recommended for children, but the Classic Harbor Line offers many more family-friendly boat tours. Click here for tickets.
Want a view with your run? Try the track at the Weehawken Waterfront Park and Recreation Center, which is right on the Hudson and boasts amazing views of the New York City skyline. The 12-acre park also features ball fields, tennis courts and two playgrounds, and parking is free and easy. The town recently broke ground on a new section of the park that will include swimming pools, an ice rink, a basketball court and a sand volleyball court, which are scheduled for completion in late 2019.
Liberty State Park in Jersey City is more than just the place to get the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island (although that’s a must-do too). The park itself features the historic Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal, the “Empty Sky” 9/11 memorial, picnic tables, a playground, the Liberty Walk promenade along the water, a marina, a boat launch, areas for fishing and crabbing, and nature trails through a 60-acre natural area (mostly salt marsh). The Liberty Science Center is also located here and now hosts the largest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere, so it’s a great indoor option if you want to beat the heat.
Finally, spend a day getting cultured at the Met Cloisters, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art that’s located on four acres overlooking the Hudson River in northern Manhattan’s Fort Tryon Park. Medieval cloisters form the core of the building (hence the name), and the museum focuses on the art, architecture and gardens of medieval Europe. There’s a serene outdoor café with amazing views, so enjoy lunch and a glass of rosé while you gaze out over the river. If the kids get antsy, there are playgrounds and built-in ping pong tables in Fort Tryon Park.