Governors Island

10 South Street
New York NY 10004
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Open Hours:

  • Mon: 12am-12am
  • Tue: 12am-12am
  • Wed: 12am-12am
  • Thu: 12am-12am
  • Fri: 12am-12am
  • Sat: 12am-12am
  • Sun: 12am-12am
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Governors Island is a 172-acre island off the coast of Manhattan and Brooklyn that once served as a post for the US Army and US Coast Guard. Currently, Fort Jay and Castle Williams are restored as national monuments and are part of a 92-acre national historic district that is open to the public during summer and early fall every year. A variety of events are held during the summer like concerts, walking tours, bike riding, fairs and festivals -- all of which are perfect for travelers who enjoy off-the-beaten-path discoveries.

Parking and public transportation to Governors Island
There are no cars allowed on the island. Access is only allowed to the public by ferries that leave every half-hour. A direct ferry leaves from the Financial District in Manhattan. A direct ferry leaves Brooklyn from Pier 6, near Brooklyn Heights. The East River Ferry also circles between Governors Island and parts of Brooklyn (Dumbo, Williamsburg and Greenpoint).

Best and worst time to go to Governors Island
The best time to go is between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Ferry schedules vary but expect them to run starting at 10 a.m. The last ferry usually leaves by 5:30 p.m. Avoid hopping on the ferry too close to the island's closing time.

Admission to Governors Island
Prices vary according to season. If using the East River Ferry, the cost to ride is approximately $4-5 plus $1 for bikes. The direct ferries from Manhattan and Brooklyn are usually free.

Must see/do at Governors Island
A schedule listing the various fairs and festivals is posted every year. Biking is a must and is the best way to see the whole island in less than a day. There is a bike path along the water that circles the entire island as well as paths that lead in and out of the fields and hills. Fort Jay is a fantastic ruin that is overgrown by healthy grass and vines -- perfect for the adventure traveler.

Insider tip for visitors to Governors Island
There is a small beach and a music venue called Governors Beach Club on the northern tip of the island. They host numerous concerts and events in the summer and there is also food and beer for sale for the casual visitor. The view of the lower Manhattan skyline is stunning.

Author's bio: Emilia Navarro is a freelance travel writer based in Brooklyn.