Where to Go Kayaking Fo' Free on the Hudson


A fun little fact that you tend to forget when living in Manhattan is that Manhattan is actually an island, and that it’s consequently, surrounded by water…which would lend you to believe that there must be, must be some sort of beach that one could go to to soak in the sun.

But, nope. There isn’t.

We’ve got piers for that, and maybe an occasional pop-up beach, but for those who are dying to get their overworked toes in some sand, you must head deep in Brooklyn to Coney Island or Rockaway Beach, which are at least an hour by subway. What you CAN do in Manhattan at least to get a dose of watersports is go kayaking in three different locations along Manhattan’s coast.

And it’s completely free.

Kayakers on the Hudson

Running from May to October, you’ve got access to single or tandem kayaks and you don’t have to pay anything. You already know how we feel about free things… in Jo’s famous words, “if it’s free, it’s for me, and it’s for you too.”

Of course the program only runs as long as weather permits, and as you can see from our gloomy photos, it looks like we got there just before a massive hurricane. The locations are as follows:

Pier 26 Boathouse: Located at the Western end of Houston Street along the Hudson.

  • Weekdays: 5pm-7pm
  • Weekends: 9am – 6pm

72nd Street: Located at the Western end of 72nd Street.

  • Weekdays: CLOSED
  • Weekends: 10am-6pm

Pier 96: Located at the Western end of 96th Street.

  • Weekdays: 5pm-7pm
  • Weekends: 10am-6pm

*There is also a location strictly on weekends from 10:30am-4pm located on Governor’s Island, which means you must take the ferry departing from South Ferry.

Upon your arrival, you’ll see a zillion life jackets…


…and a representative will have you sign a waiver saying you won’t sue them if you fall into the Hudson. Also, please know how to swim if you’re going to do this.

We chose the 72nd street location (for no specific reason besides the proximity to Trader Joes), but keep in mind that the location you choose will have a different view from the ones shown in these photos. The Pier 26 will provide awesome views of the One World Trade Center/Freedom Tower.

We do recommend the 72nd street location for this dude in particular. He looked like Uncle Tito from Rocket Power and helped us maneuver our kayak…and made fun of us for taking a camera out on the water as complete n00bs.Guy who looks like Tito from Rocket Power

Swear he belongs in Hawaii.


And a last tip for everyone, please wear dark denim, black denim, navy blue pants – basically anything except light-wash denim which will make people think you peed your pants for the remainder of the day.

Damon looking out at the Hudson

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