Let’s face it, if you want to visit the Statue of Liberty, climb up to the crown, and walk around the island, there’s only one way to do it. You have to get a ticket on board one of the statue cruise sailings from Battery Park in lower Manhattan, New York City Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Depending on what time of year you want to visit you may need to book well in advance. But what can you do if you just want to get out on the water and view the New York City skyline or the Statue of liberty standing majestically on her pedestal out in the Hudson River and not pay the higher price associated with the full on park visit?
One cheaper option for an inexpensive “harbor cruise” around NYC is offered by NY Waterways on the East River Ferry. For $4.00 on a weekday or $6.00 on a weekend you, you can hop aboard a ship and take the ferry up the East River under the bridges and up to midtown. Do this during sunset for some great skies color behind the skyline, eat dinner or have a drink in midtown and then return on the ferry for a fabulous view of the city at night.
NY Waterways also offers several ferry options on the Hudson River Ferry system that will give you the city views from that side of town. You could take a ferry between Port Liberte, New Jersey and Pier 11 in lower Manhattan. This route takes you right past the Statue of Liberty but a round trip will end up costing more than the Statue Cruises run and you won’t be able to get off on the island. Still, if you weren’t able to book seats on the Statue Cruises ferry, this is one way to get a good view of the Statue of Liberty from the water.
But wait, you say you want to get out on the water, seat the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Manhattan skyline, but you don’t want to pay one cent for it? OK, now we’re talking my kind of travel. I have to warn you, this isn’t a pleasure cruise with free sundowner drinks rail-side; and this isn’t an insider secret. However, many visitors to the city don’t even think about the views to be had form this short ride across the bay at no more cost than what you’ve already given the city in sales taxes or parking tickets.
What is this free cruise? The Staten Island Ferry, of course. For only the cost of the transportation to get to the ferry terminal you can take the 25 minute ride across the water and then return. If you wanted you could go back and forth all day, but I think I’d get sick and tired of fighting the crowds if I took the ferry for more than one there and back again trip. Our tip for riding the Staten Island Ferry is to be fairly close to the head of the queue then get on board quickly and get a good seat either on the starboard side for views of the Statue of Liberty or port for views of the Brooklyn bridge.
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Have you ever thought about traveling around the United States without driving? Taking a ferry from the mainland always makes it that much more fun. Check out the ferry we took to San Juan Island in Washington State.
Author Bio: Jim Vail, is a travel, food, and video creator and a perpetual traveler who has been travel writing for over 15 years. For many years he lived overseas in Germany, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, and the Netherlands, and he’s visited over 90 countries.