New York Water Taxi – A Great Way to Explore NYC

Bright lights, big city! New York City has so many fabulous areas to see and places to visit that charting a course for family-friendly exploration can seem a bit daunting. Do not fear my fellow travels, I can help…well, actually, the New York Water Taxi can help. We found this option to be a fantastic mode of family transportation, and it can help you and your clan to explore the sights, and find some big fun, in and around the Big Apple, too!

New York Water Taxi Pricing
Some would call me cheap but I prefer to use the word frugal — ha, ha! Let’s face it, family travel can get quite expensive and I always love to share ideas that get families a bang for their buck! If you are looking for a great way to get around, and not break the bank, the New York Water Taxi has got your ticket.

Perfect for families of all sizes, this mode of water transportation is a relaxing way to experience quite a few areas, all in a day’s time. My family and I purchased the All-Day Access Pass ($30 for adults and $19 for kids ages 3 to 12), which entitled us to a fun and informational journey all around the New York Harbor.

It also gave us the option to get on and off at different locations, in the surrounding areas, and we never had to stress about driving directions, proper subway trains, or hailing a cab large enough to accommodate my family of five. Nice!

New York Water Taxi Schedule
The New York Water Taxi has boats that run approximately eight hours per day, beginning at 10 am and boarding every 45 minutes at each different pier so travelers can choose to stay for a brief or extended visit at each stop. Of course, you can also choose to skip a stop, or just stay on the boat and do the complete 90-minute ride. We found this schedule to be very convenient because it allowed us to travel at our own pace, with no real “rushing” required.

Great Views and Infotainment
There is something about traveling by boat that just seems to make every adventure more fun. I can say that it certainly added a cool twist and a lot of comfort to our day of exploration in New York City. Each one of the water taxis came complete with a fun and informational guide, who offered interesting facts and stories during the trip. The boats also have a restroom, a small bar area that sold snacks and refreshments, and plenty of room, both inside and on the upper outdoor deck, for families to ride comfortably.

On our journey we experienced some of the very best views of the New York City and New Jersey skylines, as well as the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and Governors Island. So of course we also took advantage of the beautiful picture-taking and sightseeing opportunities.

The Pier Stops And What You’ll Find There
The All-Day Access Pass for New York Water Taxi allowed us to get on and off at five different places and the pier locations were as follows. Tip: There is a fair amount of walking to get from the pier locations to the areas of interest. Wearing comfortable shoes and having a travel stroller available for smaller children is suggested. My children were 9, 11 and 17, at the time, and we had no problems.

Pier 79, W39th Street
Located just about two blocks from the Intrepid – Sea, Air and Space  Museum, this pier is also within walking distance to Hell’s Kitchen and Broadway. Walk on for a few additional minutes and you will find yourself caught up in all of the excitement in Times Square and the many family activities offered there.

Christopher Street/Pier 45
This stop lets off in the midst of the Hudson River Park, a waterfront area that offers batting cages, bike rentals, bowling, ice skating and more. With just a short walk you can also visit the NYU campus, Washington Square Park or stroll through Greenwich Village to experience a significant number of off-Broadway theater companies and lots of music venues. In the Village you will find literally hundreds of restaurants and sidewalk cafés of virtually every culture. This is a great spot to find very affordable eats for the entire family!

Battery Park
In addition to the beautiful and relaxing Battery Park, this stop also provides easy access to the 911 Memorial and Museum, a breathtaking place where you can pay respect to all of those that lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. At this stop you can also catch a ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island if time permits.

Tip: While you can view the 911 Memorial at any time during its hours of operation, reservations are highly recommended for the museum unless you have a few hours to wait in line.

Pier 11
This stop was one of our favorites and located at the end of Wall Street in the NYC Financial District. Here you can visit the Federal Reserve Bank of New York City or the South Street Seaport which is home to many shops and restaurants. From this area you can also walk about 10 minutes and find yourself in the ever popular neighborhoods of China Town and Little Italy. These neighborhoods are famous for their delicious and authentic cuisine, interesting street life and a variety of shopping too. We really enjoyed eating our way through these neighborhoods!

Pier 1 – Brooklyn Bridge Park/DUMBO
This stop takes you over to Brooklyn and to the fairly new Brooklyn Bridge Park. Here you can choose to visit a plethora of super-cool playgrounds for the kids or just relax and enjoy the amazing panoramic views of lower Manhattan, East River and the famed Brooklyn Bridge.

What is DUMBO? That’s an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. This is also the first neighborhood you’ll find if you decide to walk the Brooklyn Bridge. Here you will discover interesting shops, amazing restaurants, including the famous pizzeria Grimaldi’s and a chocolate lover’s paradise called Jacques Torres Chocolate. While here, you may also want to take a ride on Jane’s Carousel and visit a few of the interesting art galleries too. This is definitely a fun spot!

An All Around Family Win
The best way for me to describe my family’s experience with the All-Access Pass on New York Water Taxi is to call it a real winner. It was affordable, convenient and also allowed us to view a variety of really cool areas. While this proved to be a great time for me and my family, New York Water Taxi also offers other options, including Statue of Liberty Cruises, VIP Experiences, Cruise Packages and Special Event Charters, that could prove to be a lot of fun for your family as well. Happy travels!

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Know Before You Go

  • Opt for walking tours instead of bus tours if you want to eliminate the issue of traffic – just make sure to pack comfortable shoes!
  • If you bring your own ice skates, Bryant Park allows you to ice skate for free in the winter.
  • The Bronx Zoo is pay-what-you-wish on Wednesdays.
  • Utilize the New York Subway to travel like a local – it’s also a great way to avoid traffic!

This post was written by Hilton Suggests Team Member, Mary Ellen M. Are you interested in traveling to New York City? Let us know if we can help you with any other recommendations. Tweet us for more great local travel tips!

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