Situated between densely populated Hudson and Bergen County communities is the New Jersey Meadowlands, a large region along the lower Hackensack River lined with wetlands and parks. Although thousands pass through The Meadowlands every day on New Jersey Transit trains and the New Jersey Turnpike, few actually take time to appreciate the scenery and wildlife of the area, in part because many parts of it are quite remote and difficult to access by foot or car.
Fortunately, now that summer is about to begin, interested visitors once again have an opportunity to explore The Meadowlands by boat. The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA) and the Hackensack Riverkeeper are offering several types of pontoon boat cruise tours of the region.
The NJSEA tours depart from the River Barge Park on the western side of the Hackensack River in Carlstadt and are two hours long. “The leisurely cruise is a great way to see nature up-close and gain a new appreciation of the natural beauty of the Meadowlands and its unique urban ecosystem,” according to the agency.
Most tours are offered at 5:00pm or 5:30pm a few weekdays per week in June, July, August, and September, though occasionally, there are tours on weekday mornings at 10:00am. In addition, tours at 8:30am on Saturdays are offered once during each month of the season. There is room for 12 guests on each NJSEA boat, according to the agency, and the suggested donation is $15 per person. Canoe tours are also offered. To learn how to purchase NJSEA tour tickets, click here.
Meanwhile, on the eastern side of the river, Hackensack Riverkeeper tours leave from Laurel Hill Park in Secaucus. The organization offers three types of tours from May until October, including the ‘Meadowlands Discovery’ tour, which visits the Sawmill Creek Wildlife Management Area and several wetlands, the ‘Boating Through Bergen’ tour, which travels north to the Court Street Bridge in Hackensack, and the ‘Excursion Around the Bay’ tour, which travels to the waters surrounding Port Newark, Bayonne, and Staten Island, according to the Hackensack Riverkeeper. Click here to learn how to reserve a seat on a tour. The suggested donation for most tours is $25, though the suggested donation for ‘Excursion Around the Bay’ trips is $30.