Home Features Family The Best Family-Friendly Boat Rides in NJ

The Best Family-Friendly Boat Rides in NJ

The latest update for Best Family-Friendly Boat Rides in NJ is written by Lindsay Podolak.

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From lakes to reservoirs to the Atlantic Ocean, New Jersey’s many bodies of water offer multiple opportunities to take to the sea. Boat rides are a great way for families to explore the state’s waterways. Spend a relaxing day on the water with your kids aboard one of these family-friendly boat rides, including pirate-themed cruises, whale watching tours and crabbing boats.

Quick Click Guide: Select an NJ Region below to find the best Boat Rides near you.
| North Jersey | Central Jersey | Jersey Shore | South Jersey |

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North Jersey

Lake Hopatcong Cruises

smaller boat at dock

Location: 37 Nolans Point Park Road, Lake Hopatcong
Details: Take a break during your day for a lovely lunchtime cruise around Lake Hopatcong. On board Miss Lotta, you’ll see gorgeous lake views and delight in a buffet lunch provided by a local eatery. This cruise sets sail rain or shine, so don’t worry about your plans being cancelled.
Why I like it: Kids ages 4-13 pay just $15 for the tour and a kid-friendly meal.
More info: Visit the website or click here to call.

Central Jersey

Cornucopia Cruise Line

large cruise ship

Location: 401 Riverview Drive, Perth Amboy
Details: The traditional dinner cruise may be a bit long for the kiddos, but a 2.5 hour brunch cruise along the Garden State’s coast is just the ticket! Spend a relaxing Sunday afternoon on the water while eating delicious breakfast and lunch offerings.
Why I like it: Cornucopia also has a port in Hoboken, if that’s closer for you.
More info: Visit the website or click here to call.

Jersey Shore

Cape May Whale Watcher

boat rides

Location: 1218 Wilson Drive, Cape May
Details: Captain Jeff and his seasoned crew lead trips into the Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean. Guests can check out many species of marine life, including both whales and dolphins. Narrations by the Captain accompany the excursions, as he discusses the area’s local history. In addition to dolphin and whale watches, sunset dinner cruises and lighthouse tours are also offered. Sailings take place from March through December.
Why I like it: Captain Jeff has the only vessel to offer a “Marine Mammal Sighting” guarantee. If no whales or dolphins are spotted during the trip, guests receive a free pass for another tour.
More info: Visit the website or click here to call.

Fun Time Crabbing

Location: 1810 Somers Point-Mays Landing Road, Egg Harbor Township
Details: Spend a fun day crabbing in the calm inshore bay areas and creeks of Ocean City. The folks at Fun Time Crabbing want everyone on board to have a good time. The staff happily uses a variety of crabbing methods, depending on the comfort level of those on board. There’s even a mate aboard to assist with the kids. No need to bring a thing, all crabbing gear is provided. Reservations are strongly recommended.
Why I like it: Fun Time Crabbing truly makes your family’s experience its top priority. Whether that means extending the outing because you’re having fun or lending you a steamer to cook the crabs in, this crew goes above and beyond.
More info: Visit the website or call click here to call.

Manasquan Reservoir Boat Tours

Location: 311 Windeler Road, Howell
Details: Take a 45-minute tour of the Manasquan Reservoir. Tours are led by Monmouth County Park System Naturalists and allow guests to view the local wildlife, which includes turtles, herons, egrets and resident bald eagles. Tours are available on Wednesday afternoons and on the weekends, but call to confirm the schedule. Boats and kayaks are also available to rent for those who wish to explore on their own.
Why I like it: At $6 per adult and $4 per child, this tour is easy on the wallet.
More info: Visit the website or call click here to call.

Pirate Cruises

pirate ship

Location: Brick, Long Beach Island & Ocean City
Details: Looking for a truly swashbuckling adventure? Take the whole family for a fun outing on one of New Jersey’s pirate adventure boat rides. Kids can dress the part and work with their boat captain to fight off intruders, shoot water cannons and look for buried treasure in the calm waters of New Jersey’s rivers and bays. Pirate cruises are offered at multiple locations in Beach Haven, Brick and Ocean City.
Why I like it: Beach Haven’s Black Pearl Pirate Tours has a fully-stocked bar so thirsty parents can wet their whistles after a hard day of managing their pirate crew.
More info: Visit the websites (Long Beach Island, Brick, and Ocean City) for details.

The River Belle

medium river boat

Location: 47 Broadway, Point Pleasant Beach
Details: The River Belle offers both sightseeing and dining cruises along the beautiful waters of the Manasquan River, Point Pleasant Canal and Barnegat Bay. Relax and enjoy the beauty of the Manasquan River while learning about the area’s history from the knowledgeable crew. The River Belle also hosts fun themed events, such as Pizza & Fireworks Cruise, Murder Mystery Cruise and Father’s Day Brunch Cruise.
Why I like it: The River Belle is fully enclosed and heads out on the water, rain or shine.
More info: Visit the website or call click here to call.

Salt Marsh Safari Skimmer Tours

small skimmer on marsh

Location: 1231 Route 109, Cape May; 1057 Stone Harbor Boulevard, Stone Harbor
Details: Hop aboard The Skimmer for a unique adventure on the back bays of Cape May County. The experienced crew teaches you all about the nature of the pristine salt marshes, including over 400 species of birds, more than 300 species of fish and plenty of marine invertebrates. Everyone aboard gets the chance to touch local wildlife and learn why these precious ecosystems are vital to the world. Tours depart from either the South Jersey Marina (a new location for 2019) or The Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor.
Why I like it: This is the excursion for those apt to get seasick – because you’re on the back bay, the boat won’t be rocking in the waves.
More info: Visit the website or call click here to call.

Screamer Speedboat Tours

large speedboat on choppy sea

Location: 244 Bay Avenue, Ocean City
Details: Zoom along the Atlantic on the Screamer, a thrilling high-speed boat ride! Enjoy a comfortable, safe trip aboard the 44-foot long, high-powered, custom-designed Ocean Rocket. Dolphin sightings are common–watch them as they jump in the Screamer’s wake. Each ride lasts 50 minutes and the boat is available for private charters.
Why I like it: Book online and use the promo code “GOSCREAMER” to get a discount on your ticket price.
More info: Visit the website or call click here to call.

South Jersey

A.J. Meerwald Historic Oyster Schooner

Location: 2800 High Street, Port Norris
Details: Join the crew of the A.J. Meerwald for a fun and educational adventure. Sailing trips are 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours and provide an interactive and exciting experience for all ages. Guests on the boat help raise the 3,500-square foot canvas sail and learn about the boat’s historic role in the oyster industry. Themed sails are also offered, including pirate, music, birding and lighthouse options. The boat sails from various locations throughout the state.
Why I like it: Kids’ cruises set sail from Cape May, Atlantic Highlands, Jersey City and Beach Haven, so check the schedule to see when the A.J. Meerwald will be sailing near you!
More info: Visit the website or call click here to call.

Maurice River Cruise

small river boat

Location: Ware Avenue, Millville
Details: This two-hour cruise traverses the Maurice River, which flows from Millville’s Union Lake until it empties into the Delaware River 25 miles later. You’ll spy gorgeous landscapes including meadows and farms, plus see lots of wildlife. Bring the camera for this one!
Why I like it: Both the dock and the boat (including the bathroom) are fully wheelchair-compatible.
More info: www.mauricerivercruises.com or call click here to call.

Hero (Top) Feature Image: © Brocreative / Adobe Stock
Additional Images: ©
Lake Hopatcong Cruises / Facebook
Cornucopia Cruise Line / Facebook
Cape May Whale Watcher / Facebook
Black Pearl Pirate Tours / Website
The River Belle / Website
Salt Marsh Safari on the Skimmer / Faceboook
Ocean City Boat Ride / Website
Maurice River Cruise / Website