Spring is in full swing, and while New York weather has been slow to warm up, the sunny weather is starting to appear. That means that the bustling streets of New York become even more packed, both with strolling tourists and people who enjoy a nice outdoor meal. And with views like ours, it’s no wonder waterfront dining and activities are so popular.
If you’re planning a visit to the Big Apple this spring or summer, make sure you work plenty of waterfront activities into your itinerary. Whether that means spending a day at the lake, taking a ferry to an island or just enjoying a nice waterfront meal, you’ll love New York’s options. Make sure you find a great rent a car New York special to ensure that you get to see as much as possible.
To get you started, we’ve compiled a guide of some of New York’s finest waterfront fun. Explore one or two of these options and you’ll enjoy some of our state’s best views.
Let’s start with the basics: waterfront bars and restaurants. They’re popular in any season, but during warmer months, people flock to them for their outdoor decks and beautiful water views. Give one of these spots a try:
- Boat Basin Cafe, Upper West Side – Escape the chaos without leaving the heart of the city. Between the peaceful views of the Hudson river and the delicious burgers, you’ll go into full vacation mode.
- The Marina Grille, New Rochelle – Deep fried delicacies, seafood and entrees in an unpretentious setting.
- Dolphin Restaurant, Bar & Lounge, Yonkers – Classic cuisine with amazing views. Go early for brunch or grab an evening cocktail in the lounge.
- Merchants River House – This American bistro faces the Hudson River and has a beautiful patio ideal for outdoor dining.
- Il Fornetto, Brooklyn – Amazing food, totally picturesque views and a beautiful restaurant? You’ll find it here. Il Fornetto is one of Brooklyn’s best restaurants.
- Oaklands, Hampton Bays – Heading to the Hamptons? Oaklands has tasty seafood, a great reputation and wonderful water views.
- Harbor Bistro, East Hampton – This restaurant is only open during the summer, so get there fast. It’s got an incredible view of the marina from the outdoor seating area.
- North River Lobster Company, Hell’s Kitchen – Head to Hell’s Kitchen and enjoy seafood and booze on a floating lobster shack. This is not the place for anyone who gets easily seasick!
- Clemente’s Maryland Crabhouse, Sheepshead Bay – Eat Maryland style crab and sip cocktails from the bayside tiki bar.
- Grand Banks, Tribeca – This is the go-to spot during summer for cocktails and oysters with a Hudson River view.
Classic Tourist Activities
Coney Island comes alive between Easter and Halloween. It’s a classic must-do for anyone with a family or anyone who enjoys feeling young again. Gather a large group, look for deals on minivan rentals New York, and take the crew to Coney Island for amusement park rides and carnival games right on the water. Despite its name, you can get there easily by car without taking a ferry.
If you can, try to experience Coney Island on a Friday. Every Friday night during the summer (from late June to Labor Day weekend), fireworks shoot off right on the beach. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy the waterfront with your family.
Fun fact: Coney Island is actually the birthplace of the hot dog. No matter how many meals you enjoy there, you should save room for a classic Coney Island dog. Tom’s Coney Island, Ruby’s bar and Grill and Nathan’s Famous are some of the most popular spots.
Ellis Island and Liberty Island
No trip to New York is complete without a trip to see the Statue of Liberty. It might be a classic tourist destination, but with its history and symbolism, it’s worth the trek. Ellis Island involves a short ferry ride, and as the gateway for over 12 million immigrants to the United States, it was the nation’s busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1954. The nearby Liberty Island is where you’ll find lady Liberty, our gift from France in the 1800s.
Other Waterfront Activities
Exploring Governors Island means leaving your New York luxury car rental behind, as it is a vehicle-free oasis. You’ll find outdoor art shows, walking trails, beaches, pools and plenty of parks. This is an excellent day trip to make when you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The Municipal Art Society offers a series of walking tours along the shore to look at New York City’s riverbanks and beaches. They are inexpensive, informative and fun.
You’ll find plenty of surf and sand right next to NYC. Jones Beach offers over six miles of sand, a two mile boardwalk, a couple of swimming pools and miniature golf. You can also see the Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center, which offers educational tours. Orchard Beach in the Bronx is also a nice option, with concession stands, sport courts and 115 acres of beach.
Enjoy your time “down by the sea!”