Governors Island is situated in the center of New York Harbor, spanning an area of 172 acres, and offering something for everyone.
There’s a public high school providing teenagers a scenic escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. For everyone else, there are parties, concerts, picnic points, and family-friendly activities hosted during the Summer months.
There are also 7 miles of road on the island, so when considering travel options, it makes sense to question if driving there is possible.
Vehicles aren’t allowed on Governors Island, and you’ll need to cross over to the island via a pedestrian ferry. Ferries depart daily from Lower Manhattan, and there also is a Southern Brooklyn line running to the island. Push bikes are free to take on the ferry, and with 7 miles of rideable road, they provide a perfect method of car-free travel.
Ferry travel times
The island is open for visitors from 7 am-6 pm between Sunday to Thursday and from 7 am-7 pm on Friday and Saturday.
Ferry round trips cost $4 for adults, and seniors aged 65+ and children under 12 travel free. Additionally, passengers ride free on Saturdays and Sundays before noon.
Daily ferries from Manhatten
Situated at the Battery Maritime Building in Lower Manhattan, ferries to Governors Island depart daily from 10 am until 4:40 pm, and the final ferry leaves at 6:15 pm.
The ferry ride to Governors Island takes approximately 10 minutes from boarding to arriving at the island.
Regarding parking your car before boarding, the ferry waiting room doesn’t have public parking access, and street parking is hard to find, limited to 1-hour parking, and very pricey.
However, there are paid parking lots available on Whitehall, Broad, and South Streets. Unfortunately, these will be expensive for all-day parking.
The cheapest travel method to the ferry terminal is to take the subway or a bus.
South Brooklyn ferry route
The NYC ferry South Brooklyn route operates daily, connecting Brooklyn’s communities, departing from Bay Ridge on weekdays between the times of 7:06 am and 4:57 pm, and on weekends between 7:27 am and 4:45 pm.
It stops at Sunset Park and arrives at Yankee Pier on Governors Island before setting off on more stops throughout Brooklyn.
Tickets for this route cost $4 each way.
Weekend ferries from Brooklyn
This service operates on weekends, Memorial Day, and Labor Day, running from Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6 to Governors Island, from 10 am until 5:15 pm, and the last ferry departs at 7 pm.
Weekend Brooklyn ferries also operate from the Red Hook/Atlantic Basin terminal, with a paid parking lot nearby.
Ferries operated by the Trust for Governors Island from Brooklyn Bridge Pier 6 and Red Hook/Atlantic Basin are seasonal, and were in operation until the end of September 2022, and are scheduled to return in Spring 2023.
Weekend prices are free before 11:30 am, and otherwise cost $2 for adults, and $1 for seniors, and it’s free for children under 12 years of age.
Driving times to the Battery Maritime Building
Let’s find out how long it takes to drive to the ferry terminal at the Battery Maritime Building in Lower Manhattan, from 10 popular surrounding destinations. Driving times will vary depending on the driving route and traffic.
- Queens, New York (13.6 miles), 24 minutes
- Jersey City, New Jersey (5.5 miles), 19 minutes
- Bay Ridge, Brooklyn (8.5 miles), 16 minutes
- Long Island City, Queens (6.7 miles), 14 minutes
- Brooklyn, New York (5.9 miles), 21 minutes
- Trenton, New Jersey (70 miles), 1 hour 16 minutes
- New Haven, Connecticut (81 miles), 1 hour 35 minutes
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (97 miles), 1 hour 43 minutes
- Albany, New York (152 miles), 2 hours 36 minutes
- Boston, Massachusetts (217 miles), 3 hours 43 minutes
Methods of travel on Governors Island
You’re allowed to take a bicycle on the ferry with no extra charge. In fact, this is encouraged, as the island offers 7 miles of ridable road and 172 acres of car-free biking!
Aside from great exercise, biking is one of the fastest transport methods available and will help you easily maneuver around the island.
Aside from using your own bike, there are 3 Citi Bike docking stations located around the island, and the company Blazing Saddles also offers free bikes for an hour on weekdays between 10 am and 12 midday.
Aside from regular bikes, Blazing Saddles offers a vast array of available vehicles to get around the island on. These include four seater surrey bikes, tag-a-long bikes, scooters, sleds, pedal cars for the kids, and even trailers and baby seats for the little ones to join the ride!
It’s not possible to drive to Governors Island as it’s surrounded by water, and there aren’t any land connections to the island. Even if there were, cars aren’t allowed on the island. Instead, you can drive to an available ferry terminal in Manhattan or Brooklyn, park your car in an accessible parking lot, and board the ferry for a short ride over to the island.
Once you arrive, there are bicycle rental options available for both single riders and the whole family, and you can freely ride around the lengthy road system and 172 acres of land, enjoying the blissful scenery and ample activities on offer.
Governors Island (link)