How to island hop round NYC

Circle Line 2 Hour Semi-Circle Cruise Tour

Flanked by the East River and the Hudson River, New York City is a collection of water-locked destinations, and island hopping in NYC has never been easier.

We didn’t even know you could island hop your way around New York so there you go!

And then once you get there, the activities are endless. Pack a picnic, a blanket, and a book, or plan to visit one of the many activities, parties, and festivals taking place throughout the summer.

All of this is set against the stunning backdrop of the city skyline for your viewing pleasure.

So NYC & Company has given us some hot tips to island hopping – save it for your ‘I <3 NY’ client or just bookmark it for yourself.

The NYC Island Hopping map features a snapshot of activity highlights and directions for five NYC destination islands.

Let’s hop to it!


Marine Antiques Shop, City Island, Bronx

Marine Antiques Shop, City Island, Bronx

How to Get There: Travel to City Island via car, bus or bike.

–       Seafood Restaurants: City Island emulates the charm of a New England fishing village with a plethora of seafood restaurants to choose from including City Island Lobster HouseOriginal Crab ShantySammy’s Fish BoxTony’s Pier, and Artie’s Steak and Seafood.

–       Antique Shops: Beautiful, old art and ephemera abound in the antique shops of City Island. Be sure to visit: Early Ruth AntiquesFocal Point Gallery, andKaleidoscope Gallery.    

–       Orchard Beach: Catch the summer rays at Orchard Beach, which sits on the Long Island Sound and offers a one-of-a-kind view of City Island.

–       Private Historic Tour of the Bronx from Manhattan: Enjoy a guided tour of the Bronx with this private excursion from Manhattan. Hop in an air-conditioned vehicle from a pickup site in Manhattan en route to the Bronx, with the first stop being Bartow-Pell Mansion and Carriage House. Take in scenic views of the Long Island Sound, and conclude the trip with a visit to quant City Island.

–       New York Sailing Center: Ready to learn how to sail, cruise or navigate? This sailing school specializes in teaching the fundamentals using hands-on methods, such as sailing obstacle courses and detailed boat models.


Ellis Island Immigration Museum New York Harbor

Ellis Island Immigration Museum, New York Harbor

How to Get There: Travel to Ellis Island & Liberty Island via Statue Cruises, which runs the official ferry from Battery Park in Lower Manhattan. The ferry is the only way to reach the island, and generally leaves every 20–25 minutes.

–       History of the Hot Dog at Ellis Island: Hot dogs, they’re hot, tasty, portable, and woven into the fabric of American immigration history. Visit the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration’s “Hot Out of the Melting Post” exhibition to trace the history of the hot dog in honor of National Hot Dog month (July).

–       Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Tour: Get up close and personal with Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty on this 4.5-hour tour of two New York City legendary landmarks. 


Governors Island, Financial District, Manhattan

Governors Island, Financial District, Manhattan

How to Get There: Travel to Governors Island via NY Waterway ferry or NYC Ferry, which now offers new stops along the East River service lines. Rides are the same price as a subway ride—just $2.75. If you’re traveling with kids, passengers under 3’8″ ride for free! East River service stops at East 34th Street, Hunters Point South, Greenpoint, North Williamsburg, South Williamsburg, Dumbo, Governors Island (seasonal) and Wall Street/Pier 11.

–       Full Moon Music Festival July 8: This festival takes a boutique approach to a New York City music festival. In between music acts, get ready to channel your inner zen with a mass mediation by The Big Quiet.

–       Bike the Island: Governors Island offers 7 miles of car free biking. Bring your own bike, or rent from Blazing Saddle Bike Rentals, which offers free rentals 10am-12pm on weekdays for an hour.

–       Adventures at Governors Island: Brand-new this summer, Adventures at Governors Island features zip lining, a rock climbing wall and a maze.

–       The Hills: Rising 70 feet above sea-level, The Hills gives visitors a new relationship with the sea and sky, offering breathtaking never-before-seen views of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor.


Randall's Island

Randall’s Island

How to Get There: Travel to Randall’s Island via car or bus; bike or walk the Wards Island Bridge; or via ferry service, available for major events.

–       Panorama music festival July 28-30: Coming to you courtesy of the same producers as Coachella is a music festival with a diverse mix of fresh and familiar artists.

–       Yoga in the Park: Enjoy free yoga in the park 6:30-7:30pm every summer Tuesday near the Sunken Meadow Picnic Area in Randall’s Island Park.

–       Outdoor Movie Nights: Pack your picnic blanket—every Saturday night in the summer, Randall’s Island Park is offering free movie nights in Field 42.

–       Vegan Food and Drink Festival on October 1: The country’s preeminent vegan food festival is coming to NYC for the first time this year, and will feature 100 vendors, all 100% vegan.


Roosevelt Island Tram

Roosevelt Island Tram

How to Get There: Travel to Roosevelt Island via the scenic Roosevelt Island Tramway; car or bus; F subway line; or bike or walk the Roosevelt Island Bridge.

–       Summer Sunset Sundays at Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park: Located on the Island’s southern-most tip is the site of Four Freedoms Park, a memorial to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. On summer Sundays in July, pack your picnic and enjoy twilight evenings at the Park. 

–       Roosevelt Island Tramway: Take the 3-minute ride from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island for spectacular views of New York City.

–       Smallpox Hospital: Roosevelt Island features the site of an abandoned hospital that was designated a New York City Landmark in 1976 for its stunning Gothic Revival Style architecture, the only ruin in the city with this designation. The site is currently viewable to the public from the street and from the East River; plans are underway to reopen the Hospital pending a renovation.

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