New York coastline and waterways overview
The diversity of boating experiences that can be found in New York is really what makes it stand out as a destination. In a single state you can tie up in the heart of a major cosmopolitan city and experience world-class restaurants and tours or you could head upstate to find some solitude in the quieter waters of places like Saratoga Springs.
While this makes for great boating, it certainly makes the task of writing an all encompassing visitor’s guide difficult. But we’ll do our best.
Best time to visit New York Marinas by boat
As with most of the northeast, you’re going to want to hit New York in the summer and early fall. Average temperatures first crack 70 degrees fahrenheit in May and stay above that line through September.
Don’t sleep on October though, it can be one of the prettiest times in New England and assuming you can keep the rain away and the seas calm, it’s very doable. As our mothers would say, “Just pack a sweat-ah.” If you’re crisp-weather ready and into foliage, the northern lakes offer the best views. Saratoga Springs is unforgettable in the fall as well.
As for the summer months, you’re good just about anywhere. Explore the countless alcoves and pull-ins of Manhattan and the islands. Or boat up the Hudson for a more varied trip. It’s not impossible but it’s rare for hurricane season to hit New York. (Sandy as the most notable exception). Just check in with the weather and marina policies before you go. Most marinas will allow cancellations and refunds for any named storms.
What to do when visiting New York City or State by boat
Chelsea Piers, Little Island and the Whitney
Have we got an incredible day for you. Start your trip by tying up at Chelsea Piers - one of the best located marinas in all of New York City. From there, if you’re into golf you can hit up their driving range or go straight to their bowling lane because, really pretty much everyone likes bowling. Grab brunch or an early lunch at nearby waterfront restaurant The Frying Pan and then take a walk to the absolutely stunning and rare Little Island. This three-acre human-made system of parks lofted right above the water is something you’ll have to see to believe. Check the website because, though it is public, at points entrance requires a reservation. Finally, before you head back to your vessel, spend your afternoon at The Whitney - a treasured museum of American Art. As of the writing of this guide, tickets are $25 and can be bought online. They also have a pay-what-you-can rate on Fridays.
Boat up and down the Hudson River
If you’re coming from New York City and heading upriver you’ll start at the Statue of Liberty, a sight to be seen by boat even if you’ve lived in New York your whole life. Part of the Great Loop the Hudson River path ends up being the best history lover’s route in New York. Depending on how far you’re able and willing to go, The Hudson will give you access to the waterside homes of The Vanderbilts, Rockefellers and even Franklin Roosevelt. If north of Poukeepsie, pull into the Hudson River Maritime Museum where you can rent a slip and explore the sites. The Hudson River gets tides just like the ocean harbors, so make sure you’re aware of that as you’re planning your timing.
Stay at a lighthouse on Lake Ontario
As far up as you can go in New York, you’ll find the incredible beaches and towns of Lake Ontario, one of the United States’ five Great Lakes. Visit Salmon River Lighthouse and Marina in Pulaski, New York and you can actually stay overnight on the historic lighthouse property. Or you can marina hop up to Clayton, New York, right on the Canadian border and check out the area’s adorable towns and antique boat museum. We recommend you take at least a long weekend to see these sights and, if the weather holds, late summer into fall could be the perfect time as the leaves are starting to turn.
Take in a summer concert near Syracuse
Syracuse is a great city to visit at any point, but they really come alive during their summer outdoor concert series or Taste of Syracuse event in July. We recommend checking out the concert schedule for Lake Pointe Landing Amphitheater, because if you reserve in advance you can tie right up on their docks and attend the concerts. With a range of performances that have spanned all the way from musician Pitbull to writer Susan Orlean, you’re bound to find a show that gets you excited.