NYC Day Trip: Governors Island

A grassy oasis once home to the U.S. Army and Coast Guard, Governors Island is full of open fields and traffic-free bike paths. Closed to the public for most of its history, the island has undergone a major transformation over the past few years.

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A short ferry ride from Manhattan or Brooklyn, it’s a fantastic place to relax and soak up some sunshine May-September. There’s still time to make one last visit before the island closes for the season (last weekend of September).

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With ferry boats running every hour to bring you back to Manhattan or Brooklyn, spending a full day or half day there is up to you. There’s no shortage of things to do, from bringing a picnic lunch to lounging in a hammock to renting bikes, and checking out the island’s numerous food vendors.

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My favorite part about Governors Island? Every time I visit, there are new things to discover and more parkland open to the public. This summer, The Hills open.

From Governors Island’s website, Rising 70 feet above sea-level, the Hills will allow hundreds of thousands of visitors to enjoy breathtaking never-before-seen views of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor. Although I’ve already taken a trip out to Governors Island this summer (early July), another trip may be warranted to check out The Hills before the season ends!

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And although the Manhattan skyline is visible from most of the island, there are parts where you can’t see it, which makes it feel like you’ve really left the city chaos behind.

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Extra Know Before You Go Info

  • How to Get There: 
    • Governors Island Ferry: Two ferries (one for Manhattan, one for Brooklyn) and a $2 round-trip tricket make a visit to Governors Island both convenient and affordable
    • East River Ferry: $6 per trip, connecting Brooklyn to Manhattan and to Governors Island. Although this ferry is more expensive, it’s my go-to if I’m going to Brooklyn for dinner and drinks on a rooftop after spending the morning/afternoon on Governors Island
  • Hours of Operation: Governors Island is open seasonally, check the website for opening and closing dates
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