Boat rides are captivating. They take many forms. From a soul relaxing cruise under sail to the thunder of a “Go-Fast” boat ploughing through an ocean chop, there’s a summer boat ride to meet every whim and compulsion. Here’s a short list for a day-trip or weekend getaway that might include yours.
The thrill of a “Go-Fast” ocean driving boat is close as Wildwood at the Jersey shore. Aboard the 65 foot, diesel powered Silver Bullet, you’ll feel the spray fly as you play with the Dolphins. You’ve probably seen this bright orange speedster hurtling through the Atlantic along the Cape May County coastline. Riding it, deals out an adrenaline rush over an hour-and-a-half cruise. The tab? $29 for adults. Kids ride for $19.
Get both the thrill and the relaxation of cruising under sail aboard a pair of classic 74 foot schooners that cast off in the shadow of the United States Naval Academy. If your summer getaway takes you to Annapolis, Maryland, head for the dock at the Annapolis Waterfront Hotel. The tall masts tell you, you’ve found the Woodwinds. Two hour sailing cruises take you past the academy, down the Severn River and into the broad Chesapeake Bay. Take a turn at the helm and haul a sail. Adult fares for daytime cruises go for $43. $46 welcomes you aboard on weekends and sunset cruises with discounts for children and seniors. Check fares and schedules here: http://www.schoonerwoodwind.com/buy-tickets-for-today-or-this-week/
How does a free cruise sound? It’s the only fare I know that has skidded in the past 80 years. As a kid I rode the Staten Island Ferry for a nickel. Now, there’s no charge. The ride was and still is fascinating. The view takes in the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan skyline, a dramatic assortment of working and pleasure craft from Ocean Liners and warships to freighters, tugs and yachts. The approximately 40 minute cruise takes you from lower Manhattan to St. George on Staten Island. It’s a major commuting mode for New Yorkers, traveling between the 2 boroughs, so if you’re a visitor it’s best to avoid morning and evening rush hours. Getaway seekers generally, leave the ferry on arrival in Staten Island, then turn around and get right back on for the return trip. Enjoy nearly 80 minutes on the water with one of the most famous cityscapes in the nation. And did I mention, it’s free?
Heading for Baltimore and the National Aquarium? You’ll be just steps away from Watermark Cruises Annapolitan II, a comfortable ride with a bar, open outdoor deck and enclosed observation deck. Fourty-five and ninety minute tours take you around the popular Inner Harbor and past the most famous flag in American history at Fort McHenry. It was here that Francis Scott Key saw the banner still flying while under attack by the British and he penned our national anthem. The 45 minute cruise fares are $19 for adults. Kids ride for $7. Ninety minute cruises at 6pm are $25 and $12.
For visitors to the Mystic Seaport Museum, a popular Connecticut summer destination, the schooner Argia is a familiar sight. This sleek 81 foot, tall-masted vessel cruises the coastal water and harbors around New London, home of the United States Navy Submarine School and the Coast Guard Academy. Setting out under sail or power offers a view of New England maritime life, stately waterfront homes and lighthouses. The adult fare for a 2-hour cruise is $50 with discounts for seniors and kids. Navigate here for fares and schedules: http://www.argiamystic.com/Argia_PublicSails.aspx
Here at home, get on water with a buffet lunch or dinner dance aboard the Spirit of Philadelphia. Cruise up and down the Delaware River and see the city skyline and New Jersey landscapes like you’ve never seen them before. A waterside view brings bustling waterfront activity into sharp relief – everything from seagoing freighters, unloading their cargo to pleasure yachts, visiting historic Philadelphia. The Spirit serves spirits and a familiar combination of buffet vittles. She sails from Penn’s Landing on a variety of custom cruises. Check schedules, fares and menus at https://www.spiritcruises.com/philadelphia and click “Cruises & Promos”.
TIPS: With the exception of the Staten Island Ferry, where any foot gear is fine, wear boat shoes if you have them or athletic shoes, preferably with white soles. Decks can get slippery. So, you want a shoe with good traction. Bring a wide brim hat that shades both nose and back of neck. Don’t forget sun screen, a water bottle and of course, a camera. Make sure cameras have wrist straps. Keep cell phones away from the rail and remember, if dropped on the deck, they do bounce, more often than not, over the side. Many mobile devices now sleep with the fishes.