Water Activities in New York
New York has a unique boating scene. The state is home to extraordinary lakes, rivers, bays, harbors, and even a portion of the Atlantic Ocean! Whether you float on the energetic, bustling waters bordering the major city or the tranquil waters of a state park, we’ll go over water activities and remarkable water destinations in New York:
- Best places to kayak in New York
- Places to go sailing in New York
- Best places to go jet/waterskiing in New York
- Best sunset cruises and sightseeing in New York
The Best Places to Kayak in New York
Black River, in the state’s north-central region, holds exciting whitewater rapids connecting to the Black River Canyon.
- Upper River primarily consists of mountain lakes, streams, and a sandy river.
- Middle River is best for avoiding dams. It is slow-moving, cool, and lake-like.
- Lower River is where you want to go to whitewater kayak. You’ll see a lot of dams. There are nine dams in this portion, and because of this, it’s an ideal area to fish for steelhead and Chinook salmon.
You can find a complete list of boat ramp locations for the Black River here.
Indian River runs near the Great Lakes in northern New York. It is a generally shallow and slow-flowing river with gentle waters. Surrounding the river are rolling hills, forests, and some farmland.
If you’re interested in kayaking in this location, do it after Natural Bridge. The stream at this point will be deep enough to support your kayak.
Occasionally, additional water is released into the river to accommodate whitewater rafting and whitewater kayaking.
Anglers like this river for its spin and fly fishing; it is known for having brown and rainbow trout!
The best access points are on Chain Lakes Road, which runs parallel to the river. There are several good places to put in and take out from here.
This is one of the cleanest and most wildlife-abundant rivers in New York! Its serene waters allow you to paddle upstream.
The river winds through marsh fields of gorgeous pickerel weeds, and lilypads dot the riverbanks. You will see many hemlocks, elm, alder trees, and the towering Adirondack Mountains.
The river flows into Elm Lake, an unspoiled beauty surrounded by forest and marsh fields. You will likely see beaver dams on the shoreline.
You can also stop at the Kunjamuck Cave about halfway through your trip.
Put in at Route 8 Beach Launch in Speculator, NY 12164.
Where to Go Sailing in New York
Upper and Lower Bay in New York Harbor
Sunrises and sunsets are incredibly romantic, especially when sitting in a sailboat in the New York Harbor. Take a tour with a knowledgeable captain, and you may end up with a fascinating NYC tour in addition to the thrill and romance that riding on a sailboat brings you.
From the harbor, you’ll see the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, eleven national parks (yes, really), the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, West Bank Lighthouse, Princes Bay Lighthouse, Coney Island, Governors Island, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Manhattan Bridge, as well as Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Bold winds blow into the Harbor from the Atlantic Ocean, lending sailors all the power they need to enjoy a pleasant day on the water.
You can find windy and beautiful Skaneateles Lake, a finger lake, about 150 miles west of Albany, 130 miles east of Buffalo, and less than forty miles south of Lake Erie.
The lake’s northern end is home to a charming town, country clubs, gorgeous residential homes, delicious restaurants, neat parks, and interesting shops.
On the lake’s southern end, the hustle and bustle fade away to reveal a beautiful farm ground and quiet forestry. You’re sure to be in good company while enjoying the clear blue waters and the nearby lively downtown.
Put in at the DEC Boat Launch at Nys Boat Launch Fire Ln 15, Skaneateles, NY 13152, or head to the Skaneateles Country Club (guests are permitted) at 3344 W Lake St, Skaneateles, NY 13152.
Skaneateles Lake is home to the Skaneateles Sailing Club and the Skaneateles Country Club.
The Best Places to Jetski or Waterski in New York
Lake George, dubbed “Queen of American Lakes,” is a popular area for jetskiers (and waterskiers) because of its undeniable beauty and wide open waters. It is a 20,876.8-acre lake surrounded by the Adirondack Mountains, tall old-growth forests, and charming towns.
Something you don’t want to miss, if you enjoy camping, are the islands on Lake George. It is home to forty-four islands, which contain nearly 400 boat-accessible campsites.
After a day of speed, laughter, and adventure, it is refreshing to kick back, slow down, and watch the sunset from your own island of solitude.
Long Island Sound
Long Island Sound is right between New York’s Long Island and Connecticut. It is a massive 811,520-acre area that offers plenty of sights, space, and adventure for jetskiers and waterskiers.
What’s unique about the sound is its lively temper. The waves are passionate, and you’re sure to catch some air. This is the perfect spot for adrenaline junkies and sightseers alike because of the area’s abundance.
New York Sunset Cruises and Sightseeing
Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor
This canal corridor runs on the east side of upstate New York, which is gorgeous. This waterway is 362.9 miles long and runs from the Hudson River by Albany to Lake Erie, near Buffalo. It has a ton to offer sightseers, cruisers, boat-diners, and boat-winners.
Eric Canalway is an iconic waterway filled with great people (about 3.2 million of them), hundreds of communities, a thriving ecosystem filled with flora and fauna, and seemingly endless opportunities.
One of the area’s highlights is floating through downtown Albany, New York. The charming town of Little Falls in the Mohawk River Valley offers that real American feel with historical brick shops, friendly faces, clean parks, and lovely diners. This is a great area to stop, stretch your legs, and take in the sights.
New York Harbor
You’ll never forget watching the sun sink below the Statue of Liberty. It is truly a sight to behold. The New York Harbor is beautiful during the day and awe-inspiring by night, especially as the sunsets and the lights of the city twinkle reflections across the water.
Whether you want solitude or highly entertaining cruising, the New York Harbor is your spot. Make sure you take a moment to truly enjoy the skyline and appreciate the people and architecture that make this area so stunning and memorable.
No matter what kind of water activities you’re hoping to check off your bucket list, Boatsetter has you covered. You can rent a boat anywhere in New York, even a captain. You can also check out our healthy resource library right here. Enjoy!