Boats

4th of July Fireworks Cruises for Families in LA and OC

We landlubbers love our fireworks, don't we? Well, if you think the view from the shore is stunning, try witnessing the spectacle from a boat. That's a holiday memory your kiddos won't soon forget. Several small cruise boats set sail this Independence Day, with 2-3 hour tours to delight you and your first mates. Snuggle on deck under a blanket and watch the sky come alive as the water sparkles below. Read on to find a boat leaving a port near you.

The Best Boat Rides for Families in NYC

Going out on the water in New York lets you see the city from a whole new perspective. Whether you're sailing down one of the rivers, taking a FREE kayak out for a spin, or cruising on the ocean looking for whales, it's relaxing, refreshing, and a great way to stay cool on a summer day with the kids.

While there are all kinds of boat tours on offer around NYC, from the Circle Line to the citywide ferry service, the question for parents is, which ones are truly family-friendly? After all, once you're on the water you're committed to the ride regardless of tantrums, seasickness, or boredom.

To help you figure out which NYC boat rides will work best for your family, we've highlighted some personal favorites, and broken down the best options by type, including the best boat rides for wildlife watching, best for would-be pirates, best for your budget, and more. Discover even more family-friendly things to do this summer in our Summer Fun Guide

Corning Museum of Glass: GlassBarge Drops Anchor with Free Glass Blowing Demos and Ship Tours

Families in Yonkers and up the Hudson can climb aboard a river adventure to see molten glass take shape before our very eyes. A boat that serves as classroom, workshop, and history lesson, The Corning Museum of Glass's first ever floating exhibit, GlassBarge, has set sail for four months through nearly 30 communities en route to a homecoming celebration in Corning, NY. We got a sneak peek when it set off from Brooklyn, where glass and kids' minds were equally blown.

Free Kayaking, Canoeing, and Rowboat Options in New York City

With all the water surrounding New York City, it's no wonder there are so many sightseeing cruises and fun ferry rides to great kid destinations. For times when you want to be your own captain, there are many seasonal opportunities for NYC families to get out on the water by themselves with kayaking, rowing, and canoeing. Much of the fun kicks off Memorial Day weekend or early summer.

We've rounded up 11 great New York City organizations that offer boating sessions on our wonderful waterways—and they're all FREE. Ahoy!

Is that the London Eye in Long Beach? Giant Observation Wheel Visits Queen Mary

Well take a look at that! An Observation Wheel—which is another way of saying a really huge Ferris wheel with a great view—is setting up shop in Long Beach next to the Queen Mary, for one month only. No mere amusement park ride (though we like those very much!), the Observation Wheel offers birds-eye views of the picturesque Long Beach sky line, the majestic Queen Mary, and beyond. This thing is so tall you may be able to spot the buffalo grazing on Catalina Island.

July 4th Fireworks Cruises in NYC: See Macy's Show on a Boat

The promise of NYC summer fun is right around the corner. One of our favorite annual events, the Macy's Fourth of July fireworks display, is ready to light up the city skyline. The display illuminates the East River annually, and nothing quite compares with watching the celebration up close from the water. Plus, you don't have to battle the insane crowds with the kids.

Of course, these special cruises don't come cheaply and many are only open to ages 21 and older. We set out to find the lowest-cost July 4th fireworks cruises in NYC that also welcome children. If you're interested, book quickly. Some already have sold out and the remaining tickets will be gone before you know it.

Where To See Whales in LA: Whale Watching Cruises, Festivals and Spots

Winter is prime whale watching season in Southern California, and there are several ways to spy on the giant mammals as they pass through on their 6,000-mile quest for Mexican romance. Each year, between December and April, roughly 20,000 Pacific gray whales migrate past our beaches, and March brings particularly high traffic because that's when the underwater procession starts to turn around. Pregnant, south-bound she-whales still trying to make it to Baja before the contractions start are blasted past by upwardly mobile young he-whales, finished with romance and headed for an appointment in the Arctic Circle. All that toing and froing is the inspiration for many a whale cruise and festival. With a little luck and clear skies, even a hike or sand sledding can turn into a whale watching activity.

Family Travel Bucket List : Kayaking California's Channel Islands on a Trip from Ventura

Despite its location so close to Los Angeles, Channel Islands National Park is one of the least visited parks in the country. Only accessible by boat, the Channel Islands’ isolation reliably staves off the hordes, offering an opportunity to enjoy a unique ecosystem in an untrammeled setting. Make the trip at the right time of year, and you could even spot some whales along the way. Visiting the Channel Islands offers a true getaway, just off the coast of Ventura.

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