Are you a novice or beginner at kayaking? That doesn’t matter here! All along the shores of the Hudson River and in NYC, there are plenty of places to hit the water and learn a new hobby along the way. Even though you are in the big city, there are plenty of access points for you to dip the paddle in and sightsee from a different perspective. Check out this list of 10 locations to go kayaking in NYC; many being free of charge!
1. The Downtown Boathouse
The Downtown Boathouse in Manhattan offers visitors a taste of the great outdoors by providing free access to outdoor recreational items including kayaks. With multiple locations, here kayaking in NYC is accessible and available to anyone. Open from May 27 to October 9, people of all ages can flock to the riverbanks and take one out for 20 minutes at a time. This is a unique way to explore the city, while also learning about the area and the Hudson River itself.
What’s cool about this boathouse is that it is completely run by volunteers. If you’re looking for a great way to help educate those in the city, check out how you can help! There is no charge but there are other options for a membership or donation if you wish to help continue the access to those in your community.
📍 Pier 26 at Hudson River Park
📍 Pier 101 at Governors Island (currently closed with the expectation to open later on this summer)
If you are looking to learn a new hobby on the water, look no further! Manhattan Kayak Co. offers online booking and is a great way to choose your adventure with a variety of ways hit the river. Located in Hudson River Park, Manhattan Kayak Co has been a favorite to locals alike looking for something different to try as the weather gets warmer.
Manhattan Kayak Company offers different packages for kayaking in NYC based on what you’re looking for. Whether you want to take lessons on learning the basics or take guided tours around the city, there’s just about something for everyone.
Check their calendar for their upcoming events and book a trip depending on how you’re feeling.
📍 Pier 84 at 555 12th Ave.
3. Manhattan Community Boathouse
From June through October head over to the Manhattan Community Boathouse for a free and relaxing day of kayaking in NYC. Located in the Hudson River Park at Pier 96, volunteers spend their time helping promote a safe and fun experience for all to enjoy.
Here, you can leave behind the noise and hustle of the city and hit the water to feel the cool breeze against your face. During the summer, you can kayak for free on a first-come, first-served basis! No reservations are needed you just have to show up! Make sure to check the rules on the website that highlight ages and requirements.
If you’re looking for a way to contribute, they are always looking for new volunteers. You can sign up on their website. This helps ensure that this program can continue and enables community members to enjoy something new.
📍 Pier 96 Boathouse at 56th St. in Hudson River Park
4. Inwood Canoe Club
If you want to kayak in NYC, Inwood Canoe Club won’t let you down! Don’t let the name fool you, they have options for both boats and kayaks and offer a great way to spend some time on the water. Open on Sundays from Memorial Day to Labor Day, you can also find they offer a weekly Open House for everyone to come and get a feel for what the experience is like.
Looking to do this on the regular? Inwood Canoe Club offers membership to become a Turtle, which opens a variety of new opportunities. Turtles get exclusive access to classes and journeys and also get to help clean up the grounds and boats and help maintain the equipment. There are basic requirements that are necessary to be able to use the equipment. Overall, this is perfect club for those wishing to enjoy kayaking regularly.
📍 360 Dyckman St.
Perfect for everyone, Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse offers classes for adults and children, with no experience necessary. Along with an introduction to the water and kayaking, they even offer specific family-oriented days on Sundays from 12pm-2:30pm.
More experienced kayakers can participate in the general kayaking program which runs a few days a week and is free to everyone! Within the safety of their embayment, paddle around for 20 minutes and enjoy the harbor from the inside. Everything is provided for you to enjoy the time out on the water!
As an added twist, check out their Kayak Polo games, which equals a great time for all!
📍 Piers 1 and 2 in Brooklyn Bridge Park
6. Red Hook Boaters
Located in the Louis Valentino Jr. Pier Park, Red Hook Boaters offers an easy way to rent a kayak in NYC. Operating since 2006, locals and visitors have flocked here to experience the classic NYC skyline from the water. With a mission to make kayaking available to everyone, Red Hook Boaters offers a great experience for those wanting to try something new. You can also help your community by joining their clean-up of the beach and waterfront to ensure it can continue to be used for the next generation.
Check out their FAQs and see some tips and tricks to get the most out of your visit. Go meet them on the water today!
📍 239 Coffey St.
7. Sebago Canoe Club
Looking for another one of the best places to go kayaking in NYC? Look no further than the Sebago Canoe Club which offers various water activities to enjoy. They have everything from kayaking to canoeing to sailing to even flatwater racing! There is no need to limit how you spend the time on the water… try all they have to offer!
This club showcases the Paerdegat Basin at its Open House which is hosted several times during the season. There are plenty of opportunities to see the variety of creatures and wildlife that are native, in addition to the ones stopping by during the season.
Memberships are available for those that wish to participate frequently (including use of their equipment). This option allows for frequent visits to the river.
📍 1400 Paerdegat Ave N.
8. Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club
With a focus on the environment, Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club is great for those looking to go kayaking in NYC while also receiving some education while out on the water. Providing a location for the public to kayak, they strive to provide waterfront access and educate those in the neighborhoods around them.
Founded in 1999, there are plenty of programs offered at Gowanus Dredgers Canoe. Participate in either a self or guided tour of the estuary and see why it’s important that we make every effort to improve the environment around us.
Gowanus Dredgers also hosts events to clean up the waterfront. All they need is your help and they will supply everything you need.
📍 2 19th St.
9. Kayak Staten Island
Nothing beats an evening kayak ride than being close to one of New York’s iconic sites on Staten Island. Another location aimed to provide access to all, Kayak Staten Island has a variety of opportunities to get out on the water.
No experience is necessary to give it a try! Tips and tricks are provided along with the equipment needed to enjoy some time out on the water. Their volunteers are more than happy to work with you and share their love of the sport.
Make sure to check the website for its upcoming events and to print off a waiver before hitting the water!
📍 850 Page St., Staten Island
10. North Brooklyn Community Boathouse
NBCB offers environmental education, canoeing, and kayaking to everyone, whether you have some prior skills or have no paddling experience at all!
This volunteer run, non-profit is not only dedicated to enabling safe, responsible, human-powered boating, but they also work to educate residents on the history, ecology, and sustainability of the waterways of Greenpoint and Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
📍 51 Ash St.