Governor’s Island is an oasis away from New York City’s hustle and bustle. Nestled in the water between Manhattan and Brooklyn, this little island is open seasonally and offers amazing recreation in the warmer months. As a matter of fact, Governors Island, just opened for the season this month! Let’s take a tour of all the reasons you must visit the island, especially if you’re in New York City with kids!
Ferry Ride Fun!
Governors Island is only accessible by ferry. There are terminals in both Manhattan and Brooklyn, and the ferry departs every 30-45 minutes. Weekend mornings are free and later rides are only 3 dollars! The ferry ride is short but our kids absolutely love being on the water, making the ferry ride itself an attraction.
Bring your scooters and bicycles (or rent them there)!
Governors Island is a car-free haven. That means that kids have so much more freedom to scoot or bike around. If you have your own scooter or bicycle you can bring them on the ferry with you free of charge. If not, there are bicycle rentals on the island! If your kids are younger, I suggest bringing a stroller as the distances to the different areas can get long for little legs.
Hammock Grove Play Area
Hammock Grove Play Area was our kids’ favorite area to play in. (I think. There were lots of favorites!) This is a great play ground with swings, and climbing structures and ropes! It was so much fun! This play area is right in the center of the island, near the Liggett Terrace food trucks. Adjacent to it, is the Hammock Grove itself, which is just as it sounds: several hammocks over grass. It was a perfect place to relax and recharge in the middle of the day!
The southern end of Governors Island has “The Hills”. These three hills: Outlook Hill, Discovery Hill, and Slide Hill, were another favorite! The kids went up and down Outlook Hill numerous times! Slide hill with four fun slides was another favorite! Of course they loved going down the tallest slide in New York City over and over again. It was hard to leave!
This is essentially a junk yard full of things that kids can use for creative play. This area is for your older kids and does require a signed safety waiver, but seems like so much fun! (We skipped it on our last visit because it was raining but will definitely be back to check it out).
So much more
I could go on and on, about everything there is to do on the island. There’s a teaching garden. There are paid activities like a zipline and maze. There are art exhibitions. There are ball fields. The parade grounds grassy area is set up with soccer goals. And the list goes on. Most important for us: there is open space, no cars, and apart from the occasional helicopter overhead, it is quiet! We loved our visit and will definitely be back again soon!
To Visit Governors Island:
Governors Island Ferry Schedule– I suggest getting on the ferry earlier in the day when the island is less busy!
Our first visit to Governors Island– coming from Manhattan; we combined it with play in Battery Park.
Also, I suggest bringing snacks, balls and scooters/bicycles/strollers depending on the age of your kids!
Have you been to Governors Island? Do you have a quiet retreat in your city you like to visit? Tell me about it!