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Governors Island Tours

Governors Island
Just 800 yards (732 meters) from Lower Manhattan, Governors Island has long been an important historical landmark in New York Harbor. Home to two major military landmarks—Fort Jay and Castle Williams—it was used in defensive campaigns beginning in the 18th century. Today, it’s a popular summer retreat and easily accessible by ferry.

The Basics
Originally settled by the Lenape people, Governors Island was first known as “Nut Island,” thanks to its plenitude of oak, chestnut, and hickory trees. The island was later occupied by the Dutch and then the British; its current name comes from the fact that it was the summer residence for the British royal governor during the colonial period. Also valued for its defensive position during the Revolutionary War, it became one of the longest continually operated military bases in the United States. Technically part of the borough of Manhattan, the island is both home to a National Monument of New York (administered by the National Park Service) and a popular summer day-trip destination for Big Apple denizens after a touch of leafy tranquility.

Governors Island features on numerous New York Harbor cruise itineraries and can also be glimpsed from the air during helicopter tours.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • Governors Island is car-free, but bikes offer an accessible way to explore the island’s miles of trails.
  • Leading contemporary artist Rachel Whiteread has a permanent installation on the island: Cabin, located on Discovery Hill.
  • Free, ranger-led tours are available for both Fort Jay and Castle Williams.
  • The island has two food courts: Liggett Terrace Food Court and King Avenue Food Court. Visitors are also welcome to bring picnic meals (but no alcohol).

How to Get There
In season, daily ferries to Governors Island depart from Manhattan’s South Street Seaport; weekend ferries also depart regularly from Brooklyn’s Pier 6. Tickets can be purchased for a small fee from booths near the piers. All ferries are wheelchair-accessible and are free to ride on weekends before 12pm.

When to Get There
Governors Island is open to the public from May 1 to October 31 each year. It hosts a number of popular arts and recreational events, including the Jazz Age Lawn Party (a summertime event that invites participants to dress up in 1920s outfits and dance along to live jazz) and the New York City Poetry Festival (held on the last weekend of July).
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17 Tours and Activities to Experience Governors Island

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Manhattan Sky Tour: New York Helicopter Flight

Manhattan Sky Tour: New York Helicopter Flight

star-4.5
Catch a bird's eye view of the Big Apple during this helicopter ride over Manhattan. Look out over the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, the financial district and more. You’ll also spot top sights like Ellis Island and the Empire State Building during this unique sightseeing flight over one of the world's most iconic cities.
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  • 15 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$215.00
From
$215.00
Taking safety measures

New York Manhattan Scenic Helicopter Tour

New York Manhattan Scenic Helicopter Tour

star-4.5
New York's iconic landmarks, mighty rivers, and islands are even more impressive from the air. On this tour, soar over Manhattan’s most famous sights in a helicopter and enjoy spectacular aerial views of the Big Apple. There's plenty of time time to see Liberty Island, the Empire State Building, and Governor’s Island.
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  • 20 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$289.00
From
$289.00
Taking safety measures

New York Helicopter Flight: Grand Island

New York Helicopter Flight: Grand Island

star-4
Get an aerial view of New York City on this comprehensive helicopter ride. The sightseeing flight reveals all the top landmarks—from Central Park and Times Square to the Empire State Building and Brooklyn Bridge. This enables you to see more in minutes than you could in a day of exploring on foot, making the tour ideal for first-time visitors who want to get acquainted with the city.
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  • 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$363.00
From
$363.00
Taking safety measures

NYC Statue of Liberty Tall Ship Sailing Cruise

NYC Statue of Liberty Tall Ship Sailing Cruise

star-4.5
Admire New York City's famous skyline from the water on this afternoon cruise. Choose from two departure times and set sail around New York Harbor on-board a historic sailboat. Enjoy incredible views of Manhattan and spot landmarks such as One World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island. While on-board, help raise the sails or even take a turn navigating the ship.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$45.00
From
$45.00
Taking safety measures

Champagne Brunch Sail in New York City

Champagne Brunch Sail in New York City

star-5
Savor the traditional New York City brunch with a serious twist on this Big Apple champagne sailing cruise. Tuck into a full buffet, complete with coffee, tea and Prosecco. Enjoy homemade muffins, breads and bagels, plus meats, cheese and more. Relax on board as you make your way through the placid waters surrounding the city and take in epic skylines as you enjoy brunch. This cruise is capped at 40 people, which ensures there's plenty of room on deck. Beer, wine, cocktails and soft drinks are available for purchase.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$109.00
From
$109.00
Taking safety measures

Craft Beer Sailing Cruise in New York City

Craft Beer Sailing Cruise in New York City

star-4.5
Embark on a unique sailing adventure on this craft beer cruise of New York Harbor. Take in fantastic views of the Manhattan skyline, Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty from aboard a replica of a historic tall ship—one of the largest vessels in the country. As you sail, taste six different New York craft beers served with cheese and charcuterie form a local Brooklyn deli. You can even take a turn at the helm if you like!
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$89.52
From
$89.52
Taking safety measures

Biking Tour of Governors Island

Biking Tour of Governors Island

star-5
If you're looking for a day or half-day adventure that will take you off the beaten path of NYC, Governors Island is a great choice. Known mostly to locals, the island has only been open to the public since 2003, and not yet on the tourist radar. It contains two historic forts and a massive, new public park. It's rich with American and New York history, and has served as a military base since the year 1800. In the 21st century the island has been ingeniously reimagined as an innovative public space. It is home to many arts, education, cultural and environmental non-profits who are finding new and exciting ways to use the space. The island is just 172 acres total, with a 2-mile (3.2 km) perimeter, so it's bite-sized. It's many lawns and shade trees beckon you to enjoy a picnic lunch, and the kids will love it. And, as there are no cars allowed, it's the perfect place to enjoy a bike ride. Rental is for the entire day, so you can stay and enjoy the Adirondack chairs and hammocks.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$45.00
From
$45.00
Taking safety measures

NYC Statue of Liberty Cruise

NYC Statue of Liberty Cruise

star-3.5
See New York City from the water with a sightseeing cruise from a bustling East River Pier. Navigate the New York Harbor for stunning views of the Statue of Liberty, watch for the iconic shape of the World Financial Center, and capture unforgettable images of the city skyline. See Ellis Island and the Brooklyn Bridge, then watch the Big Apple’s shoreline unfurl as you take it in from the deck of a comfortable sightseeing vessel.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Taking safety measures
From
$25.00
From
$25.00
Taking safety measures

Fourth of July Private Cruise

Fourth of July Private Cruise

Celebrate the holiday with the Statue of Liberty! Escape the crowds and enjoy the glamour of sailing on a luxury yacht, your private sanctuary at sea. This special holiday sail will catch the sunset, fireworks displays (smaller than years past), and the dazzling lights of the city skyline. Feast your eyes on sweeping views of Ellis Island, Governors Island, World Trade Center, Financial District and the skyline. Explore. Dream. Discover. Captain Martin holds a USCG 100 Ton Master Captain’s License. Sailor of the New York Harbor for 25 years, he is an expert guide to NYC’s waterways.
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  • 4 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$4,000.00
per group
From
$4,000.00
per group
Taking safety measures

Private Statue of Liberty Sailing Tour

Private Statue of Liberty Sailing Tour

star-5
If you're looking for a touch of luxury while sightseeing in the Big Apple, don't miss this private sailing excursion complete with panoramic views of the NYC skyline. As you set sail from Chelsea Piers, you can sit back as the Hudson River breezes guide your ship along Manhattan's West Side. While you cruise, you can enjoy views of Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and Lower Manhattan landmarks including One World Trade.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$700.00
per group
From
$700.00
per group
Taking safety measures

New York Sailboat Cruise with Wine and Cheese

New York Sailboat Cruise with Wine and Cheese

star-4
Set sail in the waters of New York City on the only floating designated landmark around on this wine and cheese waterway experience. Float through the New York City Harbor as you sip on top wines and sample local cheese. Cruise alongside the State of Liberty, Ellis Island, Battery Park, Brooklyn Heights and New York City skylines on this relaxing excursion. This tour is the perfect way to unwind on the water and enjoy some of the city's top attractions while sipping wine.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$111.07
From
$111.07
Taking safety measures

New York City Shearwater Daytime Statue Sail

New York City Shearwater Daytime Statue Sail

star-4
See some of New York’s top attractions away from the mobs of people on land during this daytime Statue of Liberty sail aboard a historical sailing ship. Cruise around New York Harbor, and enjoy views of the Manhattan skyline, plus landmarks like One World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island.
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  • 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$45.00
From
$45.00

New York City Easy Sunday Cocktail & Jazz Sail

New York City Easy Sunday Cocktail & Jazz Sail

If you're looking for a relaxing Sunday morning excursion, without the hassle of busy brunch lines, try this scenic cocktail cruise on New York Harbor. After you hop aboard the sailboat, grab an included cocktail and sit back to let the harbor breeze blow your hair. Along the way, take in views of the city skyline, and see top sights including the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$89.54
From
$89.54
Taking safety measures

New York City Lights Cruise

New York City Lights Cruise

Get a sparkling new perspective on the famous Manhattan skyline during a 1.5-hour cruise through the New York City Harbor. Recall historic voyages of the past as you sail aboard the Clipper City Tall Ship, one of the largest vessels to cruise the harbor. Take in famous sites like the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the Empire State Building, illuminated against the night sky, and enjoy onboard amenities including a full bar.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$45.00
From
$45.00
Taking safety measures

New York City Lights and Skyline Cruise on Yacht

New York City Lights and Skyline Cruise on Yacht

star-4.5
For an unobstructed view of New York City's glittering skyline, set sail on this evening cruise around New York Harbor. Travel on-board a 1920s-style yacht with both indoor and outdoor seating areas, and sip a beverage of your choice (additional drinks own expense) as you admire views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Brooklyn Bridge.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Taking safety measures
From
$62.00
From
$62.00
Taking safety measures

Manhattan Evening Jazz Cruise

Manhattan Evening Jazz Cruise

star-4.5
Spend a New York City evening on the water during this relaxing jazz cruise. Perfect for a romantic evening out, the cruise takes you out of the hectic city and lets you enjoy live music and drinks away from the crowds and traffic. Plus, admire views of Lower Manhattan landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Financial District.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Taking safety measures
From
$64.00
Price varies by group size
From
$64.00
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

New York Harbor Jet Ski Tour

New York Harbor Jet Ski Tour

star-4.5
New York City’s streets can be overrun with city dwellers and travelers alike, making it hard to catch views of top attractions such as the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge. This New York Harbor Jet Ski tour makes seeing these sights (and others) easier than ever by taking you on the water from Rockaway Beach to Manhattan. Plus, your guide knows the massive harbor well, so you won’t get lost.
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  • 4 hours
From
$391.03
per group
From
$391.03
per group

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What's the best way to experience Governors Island?