Governors Island Ferry Photo: Kreg Holt, Trust for Governors Island
Governors Island Ferry Photo: Kreg Holt, Trust for Governors Island

Governors Island is the closest thing New York City has to a true locals-only secret spot. Tourists may cruise the harbor, but what’s this little green island got that Manhattan doesn’t?

 

Little do they know. While more visitors than ever are flocking to the city, when New Yorkers need a break we don’t need to get on a plane — island life is less than a 10-minute ferry ride away.

 

There's no entry fee to enjoy all that Governors Island has to offer, and getting there is both incredibly convenient and fast. Here's everything you need to know about how to get to Governors Island.

 

When is Governors Island open?

Governors Island opens for the season on May 1 through Oct. 1 seven days a week. Monday to Thursday hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., while Friday through Sunday hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

 

New for 2018 are Summer Fridays from May 5 through Sept. 14, when the island remains open until 10 p.m. It's your chance to experience one of the best sunset views anywhere in the city, with live music and many food vendors and a beer garden staying open late.

 

Governors Island is less than 10 minutes from either Manhattan or Brooklyn, and there are two ways to get there: the Governors Island Ferry and the NYC Ferry.

The Governors Island Ferry

The easiest, cheapest and most direct way to get to Governors Island is the Governors Island Ferry. Boats leave from the Battery Maritime Building (10 South St.) in Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 6.

The fare is $3 round trip for adults, $1 for seniors, and free for kids under 13, Governors Island members, ID NYC holders and military personnel. Early birds on Saturdays and Sundays can ride the ferry for free until 11:30 a.m. Season passes are available for $30 (or $10 for seniors). There’s no charge to bring a bike onboard though space is limited.

Arrive about 15 minutes before the time you want to leave, as the ferry does get crowded. You can buy your ticket in advance online through the New York Waterways website and app, but it won’t guarantee you a spot on the boat.

Getting to Governors Island from Manhattan

The Governors Island Ferry runs from Manhattan’s Battery Maritime Building (10 South St.) every day. Weekday service begins on the hour at 10 a.m. through 3 p.m., then 3:45 p.m. and final departure at 4:15 p.m. The last Manhattan-bound ferry leaves Governors Island at 6 p.m.

On weekends, the 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. departures from Manhattan are free, with regular $3 rides on the half hour from noon until 5:30 p.m. The last Manhattan-bound ferry leaves Governors Island at 7 p.m.

On Summer Fridays, the last ferry leaves for the island at 8:30 p.m., and the last ferry back is at 10 p.m.

Additionally, the NYC Ferry’s East River Route (launching May 1) departs from Pier 11 in the Financial District with direct service to Governors Island on summer weekends only. The ferry runs every 45 minutes, with the first Governors Island-bound boat leaving at 10:15 a.m. and the last Manhattan-bound boat leaving Governors Island at 6:39 p.m. (though note that on the way back, you'll be getting a scenic tour of the Brooklyn waterfront and up to Long Island City before returning to Pier 11.) 

Getting to Governors Island from Brooklyn

The Governors Island Ferry makes weekend trips from Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 6 starting May 6. The first two departures on both days, at 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., are free, with regular $3 trips on the hour from 12:30-5:30 p.m. The last ferry leaves Governors Island for Brooklyn at 7 p.m.

The NYC Ferry makes stops at Governors Island during the summer months on weekends only beginning May 26. Fares are $2.75 each way, with a $1 surcharge for bikes.

The East River Route starts at Pier 11 in Manhattan and stops at DUMBO, South Williamsburg, North Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Hunters Point South, East 34th Street and ending on Governors Island. The ferry runs every 48 minutes, with the first Governors Island-bound stop in DUMBO at 10:44 a.m. and the last Brooklyn-bound ferry leaving Governors Island at 6:50 p.m.

The NYC Ferry’s South Brooklyn Route will also get you to Governors Island on weekends only during the summer months, beginning May 26. It leaves from Pier 11, making stops in DUMBO, Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 6, Red Hook, Sunset Park, Bay Ridge and Governors Island. The ferry runs every 46 minutes, with the first Governors Island-bound ferry leaving DUMBO at 9:41 a.m. and the last Brooklyn-bound ferry leaving Governors Island at 6:44 p.m.

Getting to Governors Island from Queens

Queens residents have two ways to get to Governors Island on the NYC Ferry during the summer months on weekends only beginning May 26. Fares are $2.75 each way, with a $1 surcharge for bikes.

The East River Route stops at Hunter's Point South in Long Island City, two stops from Governors Island. The ferry runs every 45 minutes, with the first Governors Island-bound ferry leaving Queens at 11:20 a.m., and the last Queens-bound ferry leaving Governors Island at 6:50 p.m.

The Astoria route stops at Long Island City's Gantry Plaza and Astoria, which you can take to Pier 11. There, catch either the East River or South Brooklyn ferries to Governors Island — note that each leg of the trip will cost $2.75.