As the great Al Green (and later David Byrne of the Talking Heads) sang, “take me to the river.” So let’s head out to the Hudson River, which is home to some of New York City’s most iconic landmarks, such as the Ellis Island National Monument and the Statue of Liberty. Hudson River boat tours are perfect for families, couples, and friends looking for something fun and exciting to do together without having to leave Manhattan.
Hudson River Sightseeing Cruises
There are various options for your river cruise, depending on the time of day, year, what you’re celebrating, or if it’s just for a leisurely time on the water. But no matter when you go, you’ll see the magnificent NYC skyline from the west side and the Jersey City skyline from the east. So you’ll enjoy views in all directions.
And if you check the water periodically, you may see seals and the occasional dolphin playing with a kayaker. As one news report recently noted, “the many creatures of the Hudson River may surprise you.” For the full eco-experience, go paddling on the Hudson! You can rent kayaks at Hudson River Park in lower Manhattan.
Lunch, Brunch, and Dinner Cruises
If you’d rather kick back and drink in the views over a sumptuous meal on the water, dining cruises are available throughout the year.
Lunch and brunch cruises are usually 2 hours, while dinner cruises are typically 3 hours. Lunch cruises tend to be more casual than dinner cruises, making them ideal for a family or group outing. On the other hand, dinner cruises specialize in accommodating couples and friend groups looking for more of a night out.
A holiday harbor river cruise in New York City is a great way to see the city’s world-renowned landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the Brooklyn Bridge and Battery Park. There is something for everyone for all occasions, from Valentine’s Day and Easter to 4th of July, New Year’s Eve and Mother’s Day.
Take your pick of brunch, lunch, or dinner holiday cruises. But book early–these always sell out.
The Palisades Cliffs
Sometimes, nature is the best tonic—even when visiting NYC. And If you’re in NYC during the fall, there’s no need to take a car to see the leaves change colors. You can simply hop on a boat. So climb aboard a Fall foliage cruise that meanders up the Hudson River. Be sure to marvel at the Palisade Cliffs just past the George Washington Bridge. The Palisades are a geological wonder that date back to 200 million years ago.
And if you go during the Fall or Spring bird migration season, be sure to bring your binoculars! The Hudson River (and all of New York City) is part of the Atlantic Flyway, so don’t miss this winged spectacle.
Breakneck Ridge in Hudson Highlands State Park
Let’s say you still want to experience the Hudson River—but from a breathtaking vantage point that is outside NYC. Then consider a day trip to Breakneck Ridge, which is about 60 miles north of the city and accessible via Metro North train (at Grand Central Station). It’s a hiking trail in the Hudson Highlands that winds through scenic forestland and past rocky cliffs. The trail’s name comes from its incline—it’s one of the steepest trails in the United States, with an average grade of about 45 degrees. So wear a sturdy pair of sneakers and watch your step!
Native Americans and European settlers used the area surrounding Breakneck Ridge for centuries as a place to hunt and fish. It was also a significant lookout point during the Revolutionary War called “Beacon Hill.”
Guaranteed: You will enjoy stunning panoramic views from atop Breakneck Ridge.
In addition to being an excellent hiking destination, Breakneck Ridge also serves as part of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area. This organization works to protect beautiful natural areas throughout New York State.
The Hudson River has something for everyone. It’s where you go to see the grandeur of the NYC skyline or dazzling nature. As a famous song says, “take me to the river.”