he views of the mountains and bridges are easily seen while cruising the Hudson River

Cruising the Hudson River:
Experience the Best of New York’s Scenic River

Did you know that the Hudson River is the most iconic waterways in the United States? In addition to seeing the sights by car or trains, cruising the Hudson River is probably one of the best ways to enjoy the scenery.

Probably the best way to experience the beauty and history of the Hudson River is by taking a cruise. Whether you’re interested in sightseeing, fine dining, or just relaxing on the water, there are a variety of Hudson River cruises to choose from.

In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of cruising the Hudson River, the best times to go, and some of the most popular cruises available. I’ll also provide tips for making the most of your cruise and exploring the Hudson River Valley before or after your trip.

So sit back, relax, and let’s set sail on a journey through the heart of the Hudson River Valley.

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History of the Hudson River

Flowing over 300 miles from the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York to the Atlantic Ocean, New Yorkers have always been fascinated by the Hudson River Valley. For centuries, the Hudson has played an important role in the history and culture of the region, from its use as a transportation route by Native American tribes and early European settlers to its role in the American Revolution and beyond.

Today, the Hudson River is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, offering stunning views, charming towns and villages, and a wealth of historical and cultural attractions.

Looking out to the Hudson River from Peekskill. This is the best way to explore the Hudson Valley

The Benefits of Cruising the Hudson River

Cruising the Hudson River offers a unique and unforgettable way to experience the beauty and history of the region. Here are just a few of the benefits of cruising on the Hudson River:

  1. Scenic Views – The Hudson River is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, with dramatic cliffs, rolling hills, and charming towns and villages lining its banks. From the deck of a cruise boat, passengers can enjoy panoramic views of the river and the surrounding landscape, including some of the most iconic sights in the Hudson River Valley, such as the Catskill Mountains, the Palisades, and the majestic Hudson Highlands.
  2. Historical Significance – The Hudson River has played a pivotal role in American history, from the early Native American tribes who lived along its banks to the Revolutionary War battles that were fought on its waters. A Hudson River cruise offers passengers the opportunity to learn about this rich history and experience it firsthand, with stops at a historic site and a landmark along the way.

Overall, taking a boat trip on the Hudson River is a unique and memorable way to experience the beauty and history of one of America’s most iconic waterways. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or simply looking for a relaxing and enjoyable way to spend a day, a cruising on the Hudson River has something for everyone.

Bannerman Castle is a wonderful photography moment and gets everyone very excited upon the approach
Passengers photography Bannerman Castle while approaching Pollepel Island

Cruising the Hudson River from Albany

If you’re looking for a tour of the Upper Hudson River, then taking the following tour from Albany is your best bet.

Dutch Apple Cruises

The Dutch Apple II offers 90 minute cruises on the Hudson River both during the day and sunset cruises.

  • The first half of the daytime sightseeing cruise, the Hudson River Narration will talk about Albany and point out sights along the river. The second 45 mins of the cruise, passengers are able to relax, listen to music and enjoy the sights. There is a full bar and concessions for sale on this cruise.

Cruising on the Hudson River from Beacon

Hudson River Clearwater Sloop

The Hudson River Clearwater Sloop is a unique and iconic vessel that has been cruising the Hudson River for over four decades. The Clearwater Sloop was built in 1969 by folk musician and environmental activist Pete Seeger as a way to raise awareness about environmental issues and promote sustainable practices.

The tours typically last two hours and take passengers on a scenic journey through the Hudson River Valley, with stops at interesting sites along the way. Today, the Clearwater Sloop is still actively used for education and advocacy purposes, offering public and private sailing charters on the Hudson River.

The sailing charters on the Clearwater Sloop offer passengers an opportunity to explore the beauty of the Hudson River and learn about the ecology and history of the region from experienced educators and naturalists.

Hudson River view while on Ferry for Bannerman Castle Tour

Cruising on the Hudson River from Hudson

Hudson Cruises

Located in Downtown Hudson, Hudson Cruises is a popular company that offers scenic and informative riverboat tours along the Hudson River. The company operates a traditional 100-passenger Mississippi-style paddle wheeler, the Marika, which was custom-built to navigate the shallow waters of the Hudson River.

The Hudson Cruises tour lasts approximately two hours and takes passengers on a scenic journey through the Hudson River Valley, passing by charming towns, lighthouses, great estates and historic sites.

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Hudson Athens Lighthouse Tours

Today, visitors can take guided tours of the Hudson Athens Lighthouse, which are operated by the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse Preservation Society. The tours offer a unique opportunity to explore the interior of the lighthouse and learn about its history and significance to the Hudson River Valley.

The tours typically last about two hours and include a boat ride to the lighthouse, a climb to the top of the tower, and a guided tour of the living quarters and other areas of the lighthouse. Visitors can also enjoy stunning views of the Hudson River and the surrounding landscape from the top of the tower.

In addition to the regular tours cruising the Hudson River, the Hudson Athens Lighthouse Preservation Society also offers special events and programs throughout the year, such as sunset tours, ghost tours, and holiday-themed tours. The lighthouse is also available for private events and weddings. Touring season is typically from July through October.

Cruising on the Hudson River from Kingston

Just 90 miles from New York City, Kingston offers anyone interested in cruising the Hudson River several wonderful options. Most notably, the cruises leave from Roundout Creek. You can trust that the professional crew will ensure you have a great time while cruising the Hudson River.

Hudson River Cruises

Hudson River Cruises runs their cruises out of Kingston New York at Roundout Landing. Take a ride on the Rip Van Winkle II and enjoy views of Hudson River lighthouses, in addition to, waterfront mansions on their 90 minute sightseeing cruises. Ticket information can be found here.
Offerings include:

What to expect during a ride on these Hudson River Cruises:

  • The cruises run even at the event of rain. Their is an indoor lower deck and the upper deck is partially covered.
he views of the mountains and bridges are easily seen while cruising the Hudson River

Hudson River Maritime Museum

Solaris is the name of the solar-powered boat that offers cruises from the Hudson River Maritime Museum in Kingston. It is a 100% solar-powered vessel, equipped with an electric motor and an array of solar panels on its roof that provide all of the boat’s power needs. This makes Solaris a unique and eco-friendly way to explore the Hudson River.

Although offering several options for cruising the Hudson River, the most popular tour is the “Solar-Eco Cruise,” which lasts approximately 90 minutes and takes passengers on a scenic journey up and down the river, with stops at interesting sites along the way. The Solaris and the Hudson River Maritime Museum are committed to promoting eco-friendly practices and educating the public about the importance of sustainability and environmental conservation.

Tivoli Sailing Company

Tivoli Sailing Company offers several different types of sailing trips, including private charters, sunset sails, and day sails. The company’s private charters are a popular choice for romantic getaways, family outings, and special events. The sunset sails are a great way to enjoy the scenic beauty of the Hudson River at dusk, while the day sails allow passengers to experience the joy of sailing and explore the river’s many landmarks and attractions.

In addition to its regular sailing trips, Tivoli Sailing Company also offers sailing lessons and clinics for those interested in learning to sail or improving their skills.

Saugerties Lighthouse

Cruising on the Hudson River From Newburgh

Located in the heart of the Hudson Valley, New York, is a city steeped in history and natural beauty. Newburgh is situated on the banks of the Hudson River, which stretches for 315 miles from the Adirondack Mountains to New York City. I have written several articles on the city: 8+ Places to Relax on the Newburgh Waterfront and The Best Things to do in Newburgh that you Will Love.

Pride of the Hudson

The luxurious Pride of the Hudson offers visitors the chance to explore this scenic river and experience all the beauty and history that the Hudson Valley has to offer. Cruising the Hudson River on one of their boats is such a treat.

The Pride of the Hudson Cruise Narrated Sightseeing Cruises is one of the most popular ways of cruising the Hudson River. This 2 hour cruise takes visitors on a journey down the Hudson River, with stunning views of the river and the surrounding mountains.

The cruise departs from Pride’s Landing at the Newburgh waterfront and travels south towards West Point, a United States Military Academy located on the Hudson River. Along the way, visitors can spot wildlife such as bald eagles, herons, and cormorants, as well as historic landmarks such as Bannerman Island and the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge.

Bear Mountain Bridge with the sign showing the direction of Peekskill and Bear Mountain

These public cruises showcase locations, such as:

mountain, sky, nature-991849.jpg

What to expect during a ride on the Pride of the Hudson:

These scenic cruises are a fun way to spend an afternoon. With both an open air spacious sundeck and a climate controlled main salon, this boat features huge wrap around windows that beauty of the region.

They take place rain or shine, so be prepared for the weather that is predicted. But the weather in the Hudson Valley can be predictable, so it’s best to be prepared with items like a poncho or umbrella.

They have beverages available for purchase and you are allowed to bring your own snacks and non-alcoholic beverages.

Cruising the Hudson River on this boat runs from May through the end of October.

River Rose

In 2022, Captain John from the River Rose Cruises stated on their website that they were not cruising the Hudson River that season. He referred everyone to the Rip Van Winkle II boat out of Kingston. Not sure if the cruises on the River Road will start again.

View of the Mid-Hudson Bridge from Shadows on the Hudson


In conclusion, cruising the Hudson River is an excellent way to explore the natural beauty and rich history of this iconic waterway. Whether you’re an experienced sailor or a first-time cruiser, there are plenty of options available to suit your preferences and interests.

From the base of the Statue of Liberty with views of sleepy villages and the Bear Mountain Bridge along the way, the Hudson River offers a diverse array of sights and experiences. the Pride of the Hudson and Tivoli Sailing Company are just a few of the companies that offer scenic cruises of the river, with options for sightseeing, dinner cruises, and even evening sails under the stars.

For those interested in learning more about the history and ecology of the region, the Hudson River Maritime Museum and the Hudson River Clearwater Sloop offer educational programs and tours.

Whether you’re interested in exploring the river’s natural beauty, sampling the local cuisine and wine at vineyards along the way, or simply relaxing in the comfort of our climate-controlled vessels, there’s something for everyone on a Hudson River cruise and through cruising on the Hudson River.

So why not plan your own adventure and set sail on this historic waterway for a summer day, a Friday night or a special occasion?

Kingston–Rhinecliff Bridge over Hudson River

Tips for Cruising on the Hudson River:

  • Food and drinks are not included, but are available for purchase at their snack bars.
  • Advance tickets are recommended, as these boats are popular for cruising the Hudson River.
  • The cruises often run rain or shine.
  • Bring your binoculars and camera, for photos and possible bald eagle sightings!
  • The departure time can vary from one cruise company to another, so make sure to verify all information beforehand.

Frequently asked questions about Cruising the Hudson River:

Can a boat be chartered for private parties or special events?

The perfect solution for any special occasion or corporate events is on a chartered boat. Make sure to check out the individual websites for more information and to see if a private charter is a good fit for your next event or private party.

Do the cruise companies offer any special events or have a special Summer program?

Yes, several cruise companies offer special vents, such as, murder mystery cruises and fireworks, as well as, Fourth of July cruises. Some other popular special cruises include, Fall Foliage tours and Holiday Cruises.

Until the Next Adventure…

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