Sailing on the Hudson River can be one of the most unwinding experiences available in the bustling city—sometimes we need that temporary escape from the on-land action to step back and view things from a unique perspective. However, with so many services available it can be hard to locate the sailboat tours that stand out amongst the crowd. Fortunately, we’ve sifted through the uncertain waters to pinpoint five best New York sailboat tours, ranked in no particular order, that will bring out you and your family’s sense of discovery, relaxation, and even adventure.
1. The Clipper City Tall Ship
We start with a look at Manhattan By Sail’s Clipper City Tall Ship. This huge boat fits about 130 people, the largest capacity of any passenger sailboat in the United States. The fully-featured Clipper City Tall Ship grants passengers access to a full bar, large deck, and picture-worthy views as it sails swiftly along the Hudson River and NY Harbor. The crew is informative and entertaining as they man the sails.
You can customize your sailboat tour by choosing from many different themed adventures. The Clipper City Tall Ship offers a craft beer tasting sail, a jazz sail, a Statue of Liberty sail, a July 4th Fireworks sail, and many more. Each one is priced slightly differently (the cheapest being around €33 for adults) and sets sail at different times, so this company offers some flexibility for your New York sailboat tours.
2. Shearwater Classic Schooner
Also offered through Manhattan By Sail, the Shearwater Classic Schooner is a classic schooner yacht that champions a real vintage atmosphere. It’s a smaller, more intimate sailboat that caters to about 50 people at a time. This sailboat is ideal for viewing and photographing the Manhattan skyline and for sightseeing One World Trade Center or the Statue of Liberty.
The Shearwater schooner also offers many different sails, running the gamut from wine tasting to city lights viewing. The Champagne Brunch Tour is highly recommended for a Sunday early afternoon brunch. Pricing is fair for two hours of food and drinks—€82 for adults and heavy (over half off) discounts for children.
For both adults and children, the brunch offers muffins, bagels, fruits, fish and more for some light eating as you sail below the sunny skies. You’ll also be served fresh-squeezed orange juice, coffee or tea, and champagne for the adults. Fresh drinks, fresh food, and fresh air is the best way to spend a few hours on the water.
3. Tribeca Sailing
For an even more intimate time, Tribeca Sailing offers public and private jaunts in the harbour. Their sailboat, the TARA, is a 1964 Hinckley Custom Pilot 35 that exudes elegance and grace. With only a few people on board at a time, you have more room to share in the experience on a deeper level. In particular, Captain Dave is lauded for his hospitality and good humour while he commands the boat, and most passengers come away with the desire to do it again sometime.
There’s nothing particularly complicated about the tours on offer, but the streamlined focus on either daytime, sunset, or city lights permits a more pure sailing adventure. Be sure to bring your own snacks and drinks for the voyage. Tour prices range from €78 to €94 depending on the time of day, making these some of the most affordable New York sailboat tours. Private tours are available for a greater expense.
4. Atlantic Yachting
Perhaps you’d like to sail with a crew that prioritizes service and empowers you to tailor your own experience. At Atlantic Yachting, you and a party of up to six will bring along the drinks and food of your choice and the crew will plate, pour and offer a level of hospitality you don’t expect on the sea. By taking good care of you and your friends/family, it allows for more of your attention towards enjoying the sites, scenery, and good company.
The tours are strictly private, which gives you the opportunity to customize the trip. Choose the time of day and duration—you can even direct the captain where you’d like to travel. Outside of their tours, Atlantic Yachting also offers a kids’ camp and sailing lessons for those who want to learn from experts and perhaps discover a new passion.
5. True Sailing NYC
True Sailing NYC is a boat touring agency that offers sailing tours that are perfect for all ages. Sailing trips can be booked for up to 8 hours at a time, so you can uncover every nook and cranny of the harbour. For the best way to relax, lay around the spacious front of the sailboat and take in the beauty all around.
Specialized tours include brunch sails, dinner sails, meditation sails, and an interesting skyscraper architectural history tour where you’ll be educated by an actual NYC professional architect.
For more unmissable things to do and see, check out our guide to the best New York tours.