To get a feel for the full majesty of the Hudson River Valley, you should really get out on the river. In the center of all that beauty, sharing a route that humans have followed since prehistory, you can soak up the mountains and the mansions, the islands and lighthouses, the majestic bridges and cityscapes from just the right amount of delicious distance, whether it’s from surface level in a canoe or kayak or from the top deck of a party boat.
Kayak, canoe, and paddleboard rentals are available at just about every waterfront, along with equipment and instructions. But sometimes you just want to glide along and let someone else do the work, so here are some ways to get nautical this summer.
Solaris is the Hudson River Maritime Museum’s 100% solar-powered tour boat and floating classroom. She was built by the museum’s restoration crew, under the direction of Jim Kricker, on-site at the museum’s Wooden Boat School. Solaris is the only solar-powered boat in operation on the Hudson River. She does not require fossil fuels to operate. You can either book a private charter or go out on one of their tours of the Hudson.
hudson river cruises
Hudson River Cruises aboard the Rip Van Winkle II depart from Kingston’s Rondout waterfront or Poughkeepsie’s Waryas Park, and come in several flavors: classic and premiere sightseeing, sunset, and music cruises with a band or DJ. The Rip has three decks, the lower one climate-controlled, and a full bar and snack bar. Cruises are about two and a half hours long; reservations are recommended.
bannerman island cruise
The Bannerman Island Cruise and Walking Tour sponsored by the Bannerman Castle Trust takes you to Pollepel Island for a 90-minute walk around the ruins and gardens of the castle. (There are also kayak tours, self-guided tours with live music concerts, and other special events.) Decades of devoted volunteer effort have transformed this once off-limits “scenic run” into a venue for art and music with a truly unique history.
Hudson Cruises, Inc. offers sightseeing, lighthouse, sunset, and evening trips as well as murder mystery dinners on the water. Depart from the historic port of Hudson for views of the Catskills that you won’t get any other way, and glide by lots of wildlife habitat. Bring your camera and let them handle the rest. Fully stocked bar on board.
pride of the hudson
Board the luxe Pride of the Hudson in Newburgh and take in the majestic Hudson Highlands from the Newburgh Bay to West Point and back on a two-hour journey. There’s a climate-controlled main salon with wraparound windows, a spacious sundeck and two full bars, and the narration covers some of the area’s most dramatic history.
RENTALS & CHARTERS
At the Saugerties Marina, a family-run operation since 1969, you can rent anything from a kayak, canoe, stand-up paddleboard or pedal pontoon to a powerboat, or charter a luxurious power cruiser or pontoon boat. If your skills need a little work, they’ve got expert boating lessons.
black swan sailing
Black Swan Sailing, with departures available from Kingston, Rhinecliff or Saugerties, offers full- and part-day private sails aboard their 36’ Catalina Tall Rig Fin Keel Monohull sailboat, with two catbird seats and large cabin. You can bring a picnic or order in advance from a charter menu from Black Eyed Suzie’s Upstate in Kingston.
tivoli sailing company
Tivoli Sailing Company offers holistic river education, blending knot-tying knowhow with a deep dive into the ecology and culture of the area. They have a fantastic summer program for kids, champagne sunset charters, birdwatching and mansion tours, and more aboard the Mistral, the Zephyr, and the Songbird.
Hudson Sailing, based at the foot of Broadway in Kingston, offers three-hour charters, four-hour barbecue and swim excursions, sunset sails and sailing instruction aboard the Cirrus, a 28-foot Corsair racing trimaran that’s both swift and stable. There’s room for 6, and you can sun yourself on the comfy “trampolines” and feast on farm-to-galley organic and foraged delicacies or order up a Mediterranean barbecue.
1 Broadway, Kingston
Pride of the Hudson
Dock: Pride’s Landing 4 Washington Street, Newburgh
Tivoli Sailing Company
1 Shatzell Avenue, Rhinecliff