With these on-the-water activities, it’s easy (and fun) to explore suburbia.
Head to South Mountain Reservation
Paddle through South Mountain Reservation—a 2,110-acre county park in New Jersey spanning Maplewood, Millburn, West Orange and South Orange—in a swan-style paddle boat. This seasonal activity is a must for families and draws visitors from all over the tri-state area.
The fun starts from the paddle boat launch, located on Orange Reservoir. From here, hop into a two- or four-person swan. Be sure to bring a mask—and keep in mind only members of the same family are allowed in each paddle boat. Also, since tickets are only available onsite, be sure you arrive early to snag a swan.
That, though, is just the beginning of the South Mountain waterfront experience. The preserve also has a 1.7-mile Reservoir Walking Path, with off-shoot walking trails based on skill level and length. Then, after you’ve hit the trails, head to the Children’s Regatta Playground. This new addition to the reserve’s recreation complex is reservoir-adjacent and features aquatic-inspired play equipment. Bonus: with an appetite now fully worked up, you’ll just be steps from the Clipper Pavilion picnic area, so don’t forget to pack your lunch!
And if your kids are still looking for some fun? This is also the home of the Turtle Back Zoo. It’s easy to swing by before or after your waterfront excursion and check out the animals or ride the zoo train.
Cruise the River Towns via the Hudson
Family-friendly River Town Cruises moves up and down the Hudson River towards West Point, New York. Depending on the tour you choose, you and your crew can either cruise for two to three hours or can jump off and hang beach-side. Snacks and meals can be provided, or guests can bring their own—and all private charters are BYOB.
River Town Cruises offers popular live music cruises that happen on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and passes Piermont, Dobbs Ferry and Peekskill over the two-hour tour. Depending on your timing and the areas you want to explore, River Town Cruises can also create a custom tour for your family.
Explore Westchester from Your Own “Backyard”
Alternatively, head to Larchmont, NY, and hop on a Backyard Harbor Tours boat. These family-friendly tours cruise through Western Long Island Sound. Guests (up to six per boat) can choose from waterfront restaurant hops, sunset cruises and more. The boat includes a large indoor and outdoor space to relax and enjoy the Westchester backdrop.
Explore Long Island by “Taxi” or by Gatsby
The Port Washington Water Taxi offers a quick 30-minute tour of Manhasset Bay. Taxis run daily at 10:00am, 12:00pm, 2:00pm, 4:00pm and 6:00pm, weather permitting. There’s a max of 10 passengers per boat. Snacks, drinks, wine and beer are encouraged, so be sure to stock up on your family’s faves before boarding.
Captain Matthew Meyran—the taxi’s captain since 1991—also offers custom tours, including pick up and drop off service to and from any of the restaurants on the Bay. Many—like Louie’s in Port Washington—have a dock where passengers can hop out, grab a bite and hop back on the boat.
Also leaving from Port Washington is this Great Gatsby-inspired boat tour. This sunset tour of Sands Point Peninsula runs through Manhasset Bay and into Long Island Sound, then Hempstead Harbor. The backdrop to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel—and an amazing way to experience the North Shore of Long Island—this two-hour tour passes Sands Point (East Egg, in the novel), Great Neck, Glen Cove, Port Washington, Manhasset, Sea Cliff and more.
Tour the Connecticut Suburbs’ Shoreline
Greenwich is home to two islands—Great Captain Island and Island Beach—each about two miles off Greenwich Harbor. Three ferries—Island Beach, Indian Harbor and Islander II—take visitors from Greenwich Harbor out to the islands, from June through mid-September. This summer, ferries will run with approximately 100 guests per boat, down from their typical 250.
Ferry service leaves from the landing at Roger Sherman Park off of Arch Street.
Alternatively, hop on the Cruise to Nowhere, a two-hour tour of the local waters. Snacks and BYOB are encouraged.
Another popular way to explore the shoreline: head to Tod’s Point in Greenwich. This 147-acre town beach is home to the Old Greenwich Yacht Club and has ample spots for saltwater fishing, windsurfing and kite-surfing.
One of four Greenwich beaches, Tod’s Point sits on a peninsula alongside Long Island Sound. In addition to waterfront activities, this beachfront hotspot has picnic tables and grills as well as snack bars. The Bruce Museum Seaside Center at Innis Arden Cottage is also at Tod’s Point. Here, visitors can learn about the Sound through live touch tanks, environmental activities and more.
Get in touch now and start planning your suburban exploration, by land or by water.