July 4th Cruises in NYC: How to See Macy's Fireworks From a Boat

Climb aboard a local boat for a memorable 4th of July fireworks cruise in NYC. Photo courtesy of Canva
Climb aboard a local boat for a memorable 4th of July fireworks cruise in NYC. Photo courtesy of Canva
5/21/24 - By Rosalind Muggeridge

One of our favorite annual events, the Macy's 4th of July fireworks display, is ready to light up the city skyline and these July 4th cruises are the best way to see the show. The display illuminates the skyline, and nothing quite compares with watching the 4th of July fireworks celebration up close from the water on one of these July 4th cruises in NYC. Take note: The Macy's 4th of July fireworks are moving across town to the Hudson River this year, so routes have been amended to accommodate the new view.

Of course, these special July 4th cruises don't come cheap, and many are only open to ages 21 and older. We set out to find the lowest-cost July 4th 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.

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Kid-Friendly July 4th Cruises in Manhattan

4th of July Family-Friendly Fireworks Display Cruise – Kips Bay

Departs from Skyport Marina
6:30pm departure
$115+ per person, use exclusive code "MOMMYPOPPINS" for 5% discount
Board the beautiful 2-story Cabana Yacht for a full dinner buffet, a 3-hour premium open bar for the grownups, and incredible views of NYC's iconic Macy's 4th of July fireworks. Take a look at Avalon Yacht and Jewel Yacht for other family-friendly July 4th cruisies from Skyport Marina.

Circle Line – Midtown West

Departs from Pier 83 at 42nd Street and the Hudson River
6:30pm departure
$279+ per person; $229+ for children under 12
The Circle Line offers its usual competitive Manhattan price this year. (Yes, when it comes to July 4th cruises in NYC, this price is practically a bargain). Expect 4-5 hours on the water with a DJ and dancing, plus a buffet, soda, beer, and wine. A cash bar is available.

Event Cruises NYC – West Village

Departs from Pier 40
7:30pm departure time
$265+ per person
Nosh on light bites and enjoy sips from the limited open bar (adults only!) as you cruise to the July 4th fireworks. A DJ spins live tunes and you'll sail past plenty of NYC landmarks including the Brooklyn Bridge, New York Harbor, and of course the Statue of Liberty!

The American Princess – Chelsea

Departs from Pier 61 at Chelsea Piers
6pm departure time
$175 per person
Enjoy a cash bar and galley snacks for purchase aboard The American Princess on this July 4th fireworks cruise. Guests are welcome to bring their own snacks in a soft-sided bag, though no beverages are allowed.

4th of July Fireworks Cruise Aboard the Hornblower Infinity – South Street Seaport

Departs from Pier 15
6:30pm departure time
$234 + per person
Enjoy a luxury yacht cruise to the fireworks aboard the Hornblower Infinity, complete with a dinner buffet and an open bar for adults. Guests have access to four levels of the boat, including an outdoor deck for dancing. Expect to pay more for guaranteed seating!

City Experiences 4th of July Cruises – Multiple Locations

Departs from Pier 15, Pire 61, and Weehawken, NJ
6:30pm departure time
$320+ per person
City Cruises offers a trio of cruise options from the South Street Seaport, Chelsea Piers, and Weehawken, New Jersey. each cruise offers a front-row view of the fireworks, plus light bites and a limited open bar for adults.

More 4th of July Cruises near NYC for Families

Island Current Fleet – City Island, the Bronx

Departs from 551 City Island Avenue
6pm departure
$125 for adults, $85 for kids 12 and under.
This is kind of a DIY 4th of July fireworks cruise: The fleet provides the boat and music. You can bring your own food and snacks or purchase them from the onboard snack bar.

Seastreak – Highlands, New Jersey

Departs from Seastreak Ferry Terminal at Highlands or Belford, NJ
6:30pm departure
Starting at $99 per person
These double-hulled catamarans feature indoor decks with panoramic windows along with outdoor decks so your 4th of July fireworks views are unobstructed. You can bring your own food and non-alcoholic beverages.

Know Before You Go on a July 4th Fireworks Cruise with Kids

  • Some 4th of July fireworks cruises run $300-plus per person. Many rides priced at less than $200 are no-frills, with cash bars and buffets.
  • Every charter boat within a 50-mile radius seems to host July 4th cruises in NYC, and some are more professional than others. If you're interested in a July 4th cruise, it's important to call ahead and go over the details. There's nothing worse than boarding a boat for a multi-hour tour and realizing you're not happy with what you're getting. (And what you're getting, for the most part, is just a front-row seat for the fireworks.)
  • When setting sail with kids, shorter rides are probably best. That way you don't risk them getting bored, tired, or cranky.
  • Many July 4th cruises in NYC have age limits, so make sure you check that when booking.
  • Finally, arrive early! If you're driving, keep in mind that there will be lots of holiday traffic. The times listed below are for actual departure, so aim to arrive at least a half-hour ahead of time.

This article first published in July 2010 is updated annually.

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