During summer, escaping the city via boat is not just a great way to find some peace of mind — it's necessary so we don't bake on the sidewalk.
While there are plenty of cruises that'll whisk you out onto New York Harbor for an hour or more, they can be pricey. And maybe you want to get a little closer to the water experience rather than the booze cruise one.
Kayaking is an easy way to get some decent exercise while enjoying the water. Most of these sessions last just 20 minutes (unless there's nobody waiting), but trust that it’s long enough to enjoy the experience without your arms hurting the next day.
Here’s where to get you in the water for free on a canoe or kayak for a 20-minute spin.
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Hudson River Park — Families including small children (one per boat) can paddle the Hudson River from Pier 26 on weekends & holidays, through Oct. 9, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., as well as Tues-Thurs until mid-September from 5-7:30 p.m. On Pier 96, the Manhattan Community Boathouse offers open-water kayaking Mon-Wed from 5:30-7:30 p.m. through Aug. 31 and on weekends from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Oct. 8.
Brooklyn Bridge Park — Take a brief foray into the East River from Pier 2, or join a Kayak Polo game on Sundays at 11 a.m. Through the end of August, Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursdays, 5:30-6:45 p.m., bpboathouse.org
Governors Island — Enjoy the vista of Lower Manhattan from a small cove on the northeast side of the island, then reward yourself with oysters and drinks at the giant new outdoor bar Island Oyster. Saturdays through Sept. 16, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Pier 101
Red Hook — Paddle the inlet at Louis Valentino Jr. Pier Park with Red Hook Boaters; you’ll be asked to volunteer a little time cleaning up the beach before or after your trip. Sundays through Sept. 25, 1-4 p.m.; Thursdays through Aug. 18, 6-8 p.m.
Socrates Sculpture Park — Pair your public art walk with a canoe or kayak outing in Hallets Cove on very select weekend days from 1-4 p.m. in June, July and August. Single boaters may be paired with someone else or a volunteer. All ages welcome. licboathouse.org