Inwood Canoe House offers free kayaking sessions every Sunday morning. You have to sign up in-person at 9 a.m. and the 20-minute guided paddles start at 10 a.m. You have to fill out an online waiver before you arrive. For questions, email email@example.com.
Downtown Boathouse, Hudson River Park
Instead of cocktail hour, how about catching the sunset beyond the Hudson River from a boat. Several times each week through October 10th, the Downtown Boathouse lends out its kayaks on a first come, first serve basis for 20-minute jaunts along the Hudson River for free. They’re open during weekends and holidays from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. No reservations needed.
Canoe the Bronx River, various locations
Fridays throughout the summer, the Bronx River Alliance hosts a free community paddle at Starlight Park boat launch. In addition, on several other weekends, there are guided paddles along different parts of the Bronx River which range from around $25 for adults and $15 for kids. Sign up online.
Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse
Paddle in the East River waters near the base of the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, with a launch from the Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse located on the park’s Pier 2. Reserve a slot online for a free, 20-minute paddle, Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sundays from 12 to 2:30 p.m.
Sojourn into the otherworldly salt marsh alongside Gerritsen Creek and Mill Creek at the edge of Marine Park. You can rent single and double kayaks and stand up paddle boards at an outpost of Wheel Fun Rentals, located in Marine Park. They’re open daily, weather permitting. You can rent boats for an hour, a half-day or a full day. It’ll cost you between $16 and $45.