This summer on Long Island has been about staying close to home. It's not too late to squeeze in a mini staycation with a local sunset cruise. Here are four boats that offer unique scenic rides, all abiding by COVID regulations, on the water in Nassau and Suffolk:
FREEPORT WATER TAXI & TOURS
“A lot of people don’t realize just how beautiful the sunsets are on the South Shore of Nassau County,” says Captain Rick Cohen, who operates the 44-foot catamaran, My Bonni V. “The most common thing I hear is, ‘I had no idea anything like this existed.’ ”
This Caribbean-themed boat, which holds 15 socially distanced, offers guests beads, live steel drum music on Saturdays and a full bar with exotic mixed drinks like Mango Madness ($7) or Sunset Punch ($8). The 90-minute cruise, which allows picnicking, travels through the bays around Jones Beach, Point Lookout and Freeport.
Theresa Watkins, 61, of Rockville Centre tends to go four times a summer. “I like the sense of peacefulness you get,” she says. “Many people don’t have access to boats, therefore the sunset cruise allows you to have that experience.”
DAYS OFFERED Friday-Sunday (through September); call for times
LAUNCHES FROM 211 Woodcleft Ave., Freeport
COST $30 per person (must be 10 or older)
INFO 516-521-7744, freeportwatertaxi.com
CAPTAIN LOU FLEET
There’s plenty of room to socially distance on this double-decker 100-foot cruise vessel coming out of the Nautical Mile in Freeport. Sixty people can enjoy non-alcohol drinks and sealed snacks (no outside food/drink allowed) and a DJ on the top deck.
“For some, it’s their first time on a boat,” says shipmate Corey Michael. “People like to walk to the front and do the open-arms thing like in ‘Titanic.’ There are lots of selfies on that one.”
On the two-hour trip in the Great South Bay pass the Jones Beach Tower, the bay side of Long Beach and Oceanside then catch the sunset behind Manhattan.
DAYS OFFERED Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays (through September), call for times
LAUNCHES FROM 31 Woodcleft Ave., Freeport
COST $25 per person (reservations are required)
INFO 516-623-5823, captloufleet.com
Take a three-hour cruise through Northport Harbor, Lloyd Harbor and Huntington Harbor as Captain Stu Paterson delivers private one-party cruises aboard the 36-foot Downeaster Sashimi.
“I’ve been on the water for 45 years,” says Paterson. “People enjoy the local flavor so I give them the history of the area.”
Listen to Paterson discuss the homes on the North Shore, the Huntington Lighthouse, the Vanderbilt Museum, Mansion and Planetarium plus Knutson’s Yacht Haven Marina, which built PT boats during World War II in Halesite.
Dina Santorelli, 52, of Massapequa Park had a trip to Lake George planned with her husband and three kids that fell through so she booked a sunset cruise on Sashimi instead. “The sunset was gorgeous by the lighthouse,” she says. “The sky turned this reddish color and there was a nice breeze. It was like taking a mini vacation.”
DAYS OFFERED 5-8 p.m. Monday-Friday (up to November)
LAUNCHES FROM Britannia Yachting Center, 81 Fort Salonga Rd., Northport
COST $75 per person (minimum of 5 people, maximum of 12)
INFO 631-707-3266, northportcharters.com
AMERICAN BEAUTY CRUISES & CHARTERS
C’mon board the 44-foot American Beauty II in Sag Harbor where Captain Don Heckman will take 16 guests around Gardiner’s Bay or Noyack Bay. Throughout the two-hour tour, enjoy the vistas of Barcelona Point, Cedar Point Lighthouse, Mashomack Nature Preserve as well as celebrity homes.
“A beautiful and memorable way to end a summer day is watching an inspiring sunset,” says Heckman, who allows food and drinks to be brought on board. “Relax, unwind, breathe in the salt air and get caught up in the natural beauty.”
Pat Arancio Remkus, 59, of Sag Harbor has gone on an American Beauty sunset cruise with both her family and girlfriends. “It’s a very relaxing time,” she says. “Captain Don really makes the trip interesting and fun.”
DAYS OFFERED 6 p.m. (5:30 p.m. starting Sept. 12), Thursday-Monday (through mid-October)
LAUNCHES FROM Long Wharf in Sag Harbor
COST $45 adults, $30 children (ages 5-12, 4 and under free)
INFO 631-725-0397, americanbeautycruises.com