Field Trip: Circle Line’s Bear Mountain Oktoberfest Cruise

On occasion, I’ll publish a day trip idea, and I am counting on readers to send suggestions. This one is from Tribecan Gene Schafer, who used this trip to celebrate his birthday this past weekend (plus a visit to Puffy’s).

Bear Mountain State Park

Circle Line Bear Mountain Oktoberfest Cruise from Pier 83
The cruise is 50 miles and departs at 9a sharp and returns by 5p. Boarding starts at 8:30.
Location: Pier 83 at 42nd Street

“This is our second trip on this boat as a family. I like it because it’s relaxing, no traffic and I don’t have to drive! Just like most things in the world, it was a little more fun without the covid fallout, but it was still a really nice trip. The leaves have started to change and it will get prettier as the fall moves forward.”

  • Because it’s Oktoberfest, there’s German food specials, beer on board and a Polka band. I am not kidding.
  • The cruise takes you under the GW and Tappan Zee bridges, past the Cloisters and Hook Mountain.
  • The boat arrives at Bear Mountain around 11:30 and you have till about 2:30 to enjoy the park.
  • Tickets are $69 or $99 for premium seating. “There’s a VIP section, and you get your own bathroom and get to sit on the top deck of the ship. Bring/wear warm clothes.”

The walk begins with a steep hill so wear appropriate shoes.
There is light narration on the trip, so if that bugs you, reconsider.
You don’t have to wear a mask on the deck but you do inside unless you are eating. The indoors is heated.

Onboard food and beverage options include bratwurst, pork schnitzel, sandwiches, pizza, nachos, salads and snacks plus a full bar serving up hot and cold beverages, beer, wine and cocktails. No outside food or beverage allowed. “The German food was catered in and was pretty good!”

There is a café at the Bear Mountain Lodge. “There is usually also a nice restaurant, but it is closed due to covid at this time (and possibly the shortage of workers).”

“There is a carousel for the kids and you can wander around the grounds. We did the pedal boat, which was a good workout and fun!”

I don’t have to tell folks that Circle Line is a city institution, but here’s a little background: Since first opening in 1945, the company has hosted more than 80 million passengers; they have been at Pier 83 since 1955. They are the only cruise company in New York Harbor exclusively dedicated to sightseeing.

They have lots of other tours too — my friends who were visiting from Alabama did the full circle and loved it. But there’s a half-circle landmarks tour that just does downtown, heading south from Pier 83, down the Hudson and up the East River, doing a U-ey after the Williamsburg Bridge.

Previous Field Trip posts:
Untermyer Gardens
• Oyster Bay
• Fresh Kills Park
• Pier 76
• Rockaway Hotel
• Domino Park
• The Five Bridges
• Lower Manhattan as Black History
• The Empire State Trail
• Anthony’s Nose in Cortlandt, NY
• Croton Gorge Park
• Rollerskating in Brooklyn Bridge Park
• New Paltz, NY
• The Seaport
• Rockaway Beach
• Astoria Park Pool
• Bike into Fire Island
• Beacon, NY
• Riverside Park South
• Long Island City
• Two Bridges
• Governors Island (Reprise)
• Storm King Art Center
• Red Hook
• Sunset Park
• Bay Ridge
• ICP Museum
• Noguchi Museum & Socrates Sculpture Park
• The Fisher Landau Center for Art
• The High Bridge
• The Broad
• Crown Heights
• Spuyten Duyvil
• New York Botanical Garden
• Bed-Stuy
• The New Whitney Museum
• Bushwick-ish
• The Rockaways
• Greenpoint
• Wave Hill
• Governors Island
• F.D.R. Four Freedoms Park
• Litchfield County, Conn.
• One Wall Street
• Behind the Scenes at Grand Central Terminal
• The Howard/Crosby Microneighborhood
• Federal Reserve Bank of New York
• East River Ferry
• Museum of American Finance