What To Do on Governors Island, New York?

What To Do on Governors Island, New York?

Governors Island, New York

Escaping the city’s constant noise and blinding lights can seem impossible. While living in New York City brings constant opportunities for new experiences, we all need a breath of fresh air once in a while. While you might assume you have to hop onto a train or buy a plane ticket to find a peaceful oasis outside of NYC, there’s a quiet and convenient escape sitting right under your nose.

Located just outside of Manhattan proper and Brooklyn sits over 150 acres of serene space that can provide the restful outdoor weekend getaway of your dreams. If you’re not sure what you would do on a trip to Governors Island, we have all of the information on the natural wonders Governors Island has to offer.


Hammock Grove

Many New Yorkers visit Governors Island to give their bodies and minds space to relax. Located in the center of the island is a collection of red hammocks swimming from sturdy wooden posts. Hammock Grove is surrounded by foliage that is lush green in the summer and ablaze with red, oranges, and yellows in the fall.

Let your cares drift away as you kick your feet up and swing back and forth while trying to spot the Manhattan skyline poking above the trees in the distance.


Walking Tours on Governors Island

Governors Island is a car-free zone that is only accessible by ferry, providing an opportunity for a more silent reprieve from the sounds of the city. There are still over seven miles of road that go through and around the Island, a perfect opportunity for walking or biking.

Because Governors Island is rich in history, the island offers guided walking tours that will immerse you in the beautiful scenery while giving you a comprehensive background on the history of the Island.

The tours are one hour long, free to the public, and designed to reveal what makes Governors Island one of the most unique public spaces in the country.


Grill Rentals

If you want to enjoy Governors Island with a group of friends, you can turn the experience into a shared meal. Governors Island offers charcoal grills for rent for less than $30. With your grill rental, you will be given access to two picnic benches of your own. You and your party will have space to spread out your cooking materials, drinks, and personal belongings to truly relax as you enjoy your meal.

You must make your reservation at least three days in advance, but we promise you won’t regret signing up for a meal that allows you and your friends to eat whatever you like best against a stunning backdrop of the bay, the Statue of Liberty, and the Manhattan skyline.


Fort Jay

Governors Island was formerly the headquarters for the U.S. Army and Coast Guard. During a period of U.S. Army ownership, the government constructed three military forts on the island, including Fort Jay.

In 2001, Fort Jay was named a part of the Governors Island National Monument, which all visitors can now enjoy. It is open on weekends from 10 AM to 5 PM. Taking a tour of the fort will give you access to view the dry moat, sub­ter­ranean mag­a­zine, bar­racks porch­es, various exhibits, and more for an enriching historical escape from the modern world.



For a serene experience gliding atop the water, be sure to rent a kayak while you are on Governors Island. The downtown boathouse offers kayaks to be used for free every Saturday until September. Boarding the kayak and exploring the water will leave you feeling grateful for the concentrated efforts that have been made to clean up the harbor.

Additionally, if you were enjoying the views of the water, the Statue of Liberty, and the skyline from the grounds of Governors Island, floating on top of the water will give you an even more immersive viewpoint that is sure to amaze.



Reflecting the island’s reputation as a restful city escape, a deluxe European spa is available to provide visitors with more opportunities for a restorative and calming getaway. QC NY offers many classic spa treatments, such as full or partial body massages. You can also book a special treatment to target a certain muscle or issue in your body.

After your full body massage, hop in their panoramic pool to pamper yourself further. Let your body relax and float in the water as you admire the skyline, and give your body the rest it deserves.

As a Collective Retreats guest, you will receive premiere access to spa services and a 10% discount on your self-care services.


Bike Riding

Probably the most common activity on the island is taking a long bike ride. As we already mentioned, there are over seven miles of car-free roads to explore, including a 2.5-mile stretch of road that goes around the circumference of the island.

Let the breeze flow through your hair as you bike along other riders and admire the water, Manhattan skyline, Brooklyn views, and Governors Island foliage. As a Collective Retreats guest, you will have access to exclusive bike rentals that are set up for you by our concierge.


The Great Lawn

Understanding that expansive, empty green space is difficult to come across in the city, Collective Retreats has centered our unique outdoor retreat experience around a large communal lawn.

The Great Lawn sits waterside, providing incredible views, shady trees, beautiful flowers, and exciting lawn games. Take a tour of the games, including bocce ball, croquet, and cornhole, before laying down a picnic blanket, opening a bottle of wine, and treating yourself to a packed meal while you enjoy the peaceful sounds of the water splashing against the island.



To give your body, mind, and soul the ultimate reset, take advantage of the Collective Retreats morning yoga session. Held indoors during the winter months and outdoors when the weather is warm, you will be provided with a comfortable space that allows you to relax fully.

A local expert will lead you in a full-body flow that encourages mindfulness. Strengthen your muscles while breathing in the fresh air and exhaling the stress of daily life.


Where To Stay on Governors Island

You may need more than one day to fully take advantage of the space and opportunities Governors Island has to offer. Collective Retreats offers a soothing weekend getaway to provide the time you need to enjoy Governors Island’s expansive natural beauty.


Summit Tent 

At Collective Retreats, we understand the desire to explore the outdoors and the hesitation to give up the comforts of home. Our outdoor retreat experience combines the five-star amenities of a luxury getaway with the access to nature our bodies crave.

The Summit Tent provides the ultimate indoor-outdoor living experience. Spend your day exploring Governors Island before retreating to your tent to stand under the rain shower in your en-suite bathroom. At the end of the evening, crawl in between a plush duvet and 1500 thread count sheets on your king bed.

After a restful night of sleep, step out onto your private deck that sits just beyond your door. Relax in the lounge chairs provided and watch as the sunrise shines warm light on the skyscrapers and water around the island.


Journey Tent 

As another option, incorporate the spirit of community by choosing the Journey Tent. These spacious options still offer amenities to make your stay incredibly comfortable. With this option, you will be able to rest on a queen-sized bed, charge your devices with the bedside outlets, and use the interior or exterior lounge chairs for relaxing in between activities.

This option also comes with access to communal full-flush toilets, rain showers, and vanity setups just steps away from your tent.


Time To Explore

Don’t let the hidden gems that exist right under your nose remain unexplored. Just a short ferry ride away from Manhattan sits a peaceful oasis that can give you the outdoor weekend getaway of your dreams.

Have your pick from spending your day riding bikes, swinging in hammocks, playing lawn games, or practicing yoga. After a day of fun and relaxation, rely on Collective Retreats to provide a luxurious home away from home. While staying in one of our accommodations, you will have access to gourmet meals, a cozy bedroom, and access to activities that will immerse you in the scenery of Governors Island and give you the opportunity to finally unwind.



Guided Walking Tours | Governors Island

Fort Jay | U.S. National Park Service

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