A seven-minute, free ferry ride from lower Manhattan takes you to the oasis of NYC’s Governors Island. Just 800 yards off the Manhattan borough and in the middle of New York Harbor, the 172-acre Island – once a military post for 200 years – is now a major attraction in the Big Apple drawing locals and tourists alike for its diverse charms. A visit here means an opportunity to enjoy military-era architecture, gaze at historical monuments, rent a bike for peaceful cycling and be part of a number of events. The island is open only during summer, so plan your trip accordingly to visit in a hassle-free manner.
Here are 6 things to do on Governors Island:
The island is great for summertime picnicking with family or friends. In fact, the name of the southern portion is Picnic Point. So, you could bring a lunch and enjoy your meal against a backdrop with views of the Statue of Liberty and the iconic skyline. From picnic tables, big swings, hammocks and Adirondack chairs to restaurants, you’ll find everything you need to make the perfect family outing.
Visitors to the island can cycle along scenic paths, enjoying nature and monuments together. You could rent a bike here or bring your own on the ferry to cruise along the paths leisurely and enjoy the island’s sights. With tandem or Quadra bicycles available, biking couldn’t be more exciting.
3. Water Taxi Beach
Enjoy beach activities on a 20,000-square-foot patch of land and soak up the sunshine. Even if you choose to skip swimming, you can still play beach volleyball and basketball with courts set up there. If you plan right, you can catch some of the summer concerts hosted annually. Plenty of activities and options are available to help you enjoy the summer sunshine close to NYC.
Governors Island is one of the few places in NYC where visitors can enjoy fishing. Although, there is one hitch – you can’t cook your catch! You will also need a valid fishing license for the activity. So, plan accordingly and go fishing on a catch-and-release basis.
5. Visit Castle Williams
Castle Williams is a place to learn and revisit the history during your New York City tours. The castle, closed for 200 years, was opened once again only in May 2012, with restricted entry to visitors. You can only visit the castle in a guided group tour. Tours last about 30 minutes and are available for you to learn about the castle and its role in fortifications in the 18th century to guard New York City.
6. Walking Tours
Walking tours are a great way to enjoy the island leisurely and take in its scenic charms. There are parts of the island that are not accessible to visitors, but there are plenty of places to visit and relax. Visitors can take a peaceful walk along paved paths and experience a sense of tranquillity in this oasis outside of NYC’s chaos.