Let’s face it: New York gets hot in the summer. On the brightest days, it can feel as though the heat from the concrete sidewalk might melt the rubber right off the soles of your shoes if you don’t find some shade, fast. But not to worry — there’s a solution to the heat that doesn’t require you to trade summer fun for air-conditioned purgatory. This season, cool down with one (or all) of these New York City waterfront activities:

Fishing on Pier 5

Need a moment of serenity in the city? Pick up a fishing rod and spend a peaceful morning fishing on the West Promenade of Pier 5! The pier has been arranged for your convenience; it offers bait prep tables and fish cleaning stations for all who visit. The view and ambiance are second to none — even if you don’t get any bites! However, if you do find a catch, take care in who you serve it to; currently, New York’s Waterbody Advisory warns that any fish caught in New York City waters could be harmful if eaten by pregnant women, women of childbearing age, and children under 15 years old. 

Public Pools

Relief from the summer heat is never far away in New York. The city maintains dozens of pools of all shapes, depths, and sizes for public use — the Bronx alone has nine swimming spots! Most of these public pools host free aquatics programs in addition to their open swim hours. Pack up your sunscreen and towel, but remember that you’ll need to leave food, glass bottles, electronic devices, and newspapers at home when you do. Floaties are also a no-go at the pool, so parents with young children should play at the shallow end when they visit. 

Future Attractions: The Squibb Park Pool!

While the Squibb Park Pool isn’t available to the public this year, it will be soon. When the Brooklyn Bridge pop-up pool debuted on Pier 2 in 2012, it was one of the park’s most popular seasonal attractions. In fact, it was so appreciated that advocates from local neighborhood groups ensured that it recurred for two years after its original end date. The pop-up pool closed for good in 2018, but work is underway to ensure that residents can enjoy a permanent public pool in Squibb Park within a few years — so keep a lookout! 

Boat Rentals in the Park

Central Park offers some of the most peaceful views in the city — and now, you can enjoy them from the water! Visitors to the park can rent rowboats and gondola rides at Loeb Boathouse from April until October. Rowboats cost $15 per hour, with a $4 charge for every additional 15 minutes. Professionally-crewed gondola rides can be purchased at $45 per half-hour. It’s a fantastic way to relax and enjoy summer in the park. 

Free Paddling

Why stay landlocked when you could explore the water? New York City’s countless water trails span over 160 square miles of ocean, rivers, bays, inlets, and creeks for residents to enjoy — and most of the time, you don’t even need to pay for the opportunity!

Downtown Boathouse

In Manhattan, the volunteer-run Downtown Boathouse offers paddlers the chance to enjoy no-charge, twenty-minute kayaking trips at their convenience. Their summer programming also includes free kayaking lessons on Wednesday nights and public, three-hour trips from Pier 96 on most weekday mornings. The Boathouse’s only major requirement is that paddlers must know how to swim and must sign a waiver before getting into a kayak. 

Long Island Community Boathouse

The Long Island Community Boathouse in Queens also offers free kayaking; however, the boathouse’s major appeal lies in its weekend programming. During the summers, volunteers run hour-long, one-way paddling adventures between Anable Basin and Hallets Cove. 

That said, New Yorkers’ paddling opportunities aren’t limited to boathouse-run trips. If you have a kayak of your own, you can set out from any one of the city’s 45 launch sites. However, if you choose to set out on your own, you must have a permit to do so and adhere to regulations set by NYC Parks. 

Want more ideas for summer fun? Check out our post on the 7 Best NYC Outdoor Brunches to Enjoy in Spring and Summer!