Governor’s Island is the perfect summer retreat for the family, no matter what the season. The 172-acre Island was a former military base that was used in the Revolutionary War of 1812 and served as the perfect seasonal recreational space. It is located in the heart of New York Harbor and offers a country environment, scenic views, and an abundance of outdoor activities for kids and adults alike.
You’ll need to take a short ferry ride to get to the Island, but once you’re there, you will have no shortage of things to do. From outdoor movies and festivals, free kayaking and zip-lining, there’s never a dull moment here because there is always something fun and exciting to do. You can get a taste of the many art shows, hone your athletic skills, and check out one of the coolest playgrounds that New York City has to offer.
It can be difficult to pick out one activity to enjoy on Governor’s Island, which is why we have gone ahead and highlighted 7 of the most fun things you can do on Governor’s Island.
1. Visit the Yard
Even though the moms and dads would want to take a breather and enjoy the scenery on Hammock Grove, the kids would want to head over to the 50,000-square-foot play area known as the Yard. Previously known as the Playground, it takes a unique approach to downtime. Over here, kids aged 6 and under can play with loose parts and atypical objects like tires, wood planks, rope, and cardboards.
They can create their own unique piece, and there are also staffers on hand to assist the kids when required. It’s a great way to keep the kids entertained as they let out their creative side and come up with some of the most amazing creative pieces.
2. Hammock Grove
You will love lazing around and enjoying the swing time at Hammock Grove, which is a 10-acre slice of heaven. There are some fifty, red-rope hammocks that are rigged up on treelike poles, and if you’re one of the lucky ones, you can easily grab two or three and relax in comfort with a book.
It’s also located near the ball fields, and has a play area with swings and climbing structures, along with play fountains, so the kids will have plenty of fun and activities to enjoy here. There’s no better way to relax on the Island than swinging about on Hammock Grove while the kids play.
Prepare for a world of adventure as the zip-lining experience on Governor’s Island is straight out from a book. Thrillseekers are going to have a blast as they get to experience the Flywire Zipline, giant Maze, and Climbing Challenge walls.
The kids are going to love zipping away, and the parents can watch their adventures comfortably on the ground in the newly created shaded recreation area. There is also a refreshment station nearby where you can pick up a snack that you can enjoy while you wait.
4. Mini Golf
Both adults and youngsters alike can practice their golf putts at the nautical-themed mini-golf course on the Island. The 18-hole attraction has a backdrop of gorgeous NYC scenery and was first opened in 2018. Adults and kids can aim for a hole-in-one as their golf ball travels around a blue whale, mini lighthouse, and other adorable features that are scattered on the golf course.
You will need to pay for this attraction, but the tickets tend to cost only $7 per person and $25 for a group of 4 people.
5. Kayaking for Free
You don’t need to make your way out of the city to enjoy great outdoor activities, as Governor’s Island offers you the chance to enjoy kayaking for free. You can enjoy kayaking at Pier 101, and no matter how many times you’ve paddled before, you can take advantage of free sessions on Saturdays.
It is a great way to beat the heat and enjoy the cold waters of the pier and one of the best ways to spend a day on Governor’s Island.
6. Outdoor Movies
The best time to enjoy a movie screening outdoors is during the summer, and it’s a favorite activity for New Yorkers. Once the warm weather hits, they head out to their favorite green spaces, where movies are projected on large screens at dusk.
Governor’s Island is a favorite spot for movie screenings thanks to its gorgeous views and a great lineup. You can check the offerings on the Island’s website.
7. Experience the Art Scene
Every year at the parade ground, which also happens to be the largest open green area on the Island, Figment NYC brings about a series of interactive art installations to Governor’s Island. You can take in the many sights and expect an artist-designed mini-golf course, a walk-through pavilion, and a custom treehouse.