North Fork: The protected waters of Long Island Sound (to the north of the fork) and Peconic Bay (to the south) make for the perfect place to head out with a boat. Whether it's a canoe, kayak, jet ski, or powerboat, you'll cruise around on relatively calm waters while keeping an eye out for herons, osprey, hawks, fish, and turtles.
Hudson River: One of the best ways to see the Hudson River, America's first highway and one of the great rivers in the nation, is from the middle of it: on a boat. You can board a sightseeing cruise at Rondout Landing in Kingston on the Rip Van Winkle, or in Newburgh on The Pride of the Hudson, or take a sunset cruise aboard Doxie, a 31-foot sloop, or a traditional-style yacht.
Delaware River: The western Catskills are one of North America's top fishing destinations, drawing serious anglers from around the world. Fly-fishing is legendary along the Delaware River and nearby Beaverkill and Willowemoc trout streams. The junction pool at Hancock, where the east and west branches join to form the main stem of the Delaware River, has long been celebrated for its preponderance of massive brown and rainbow trout. Pepacton Reservoir, also in the western Catskills, is perfect for open-water brown trout fishing.
Finger Lakes & Erie Canal: The gorgeous Finger Lakes are incredibly scenic spots for boating, water-skiing, and sailing. Seneca Lake has a picture-perfect port where you can hire a yacht or sailboat, including a vintage 1930 schooner yacht. At Keuka Lake, considered by many locals to be the prettiest of the Finger Lakes, there are boat cruises aboard the Keuka Maid. At several Finger Lakes, you can also rent kayaks and canoes if you're looking for an even more intimate experience on the water. Skaneateles Lake has one of the longest cruise boat traditions in the region, and the lake is perfect for relaxed sightseeing and dinner cruises.
Alexandria Bay, Thousand Islands: The miles-wide St. Lawrence River, dotted with somewhere between 1,000 and 1,800 islands, comes tailor-made for watersports. Tool around in a powerboat, canoe, or kayak and check out the castles and mansions that some of America's wealthiest families have built. Just watch out for tankers and other big ships -- this is one of America's busiest shipping lanes!
Lake George: Peppered with islands small and large, 32-mile-long Lake George offers endless exploration, whether you're in a canoe, kayak, powerboat, or paddle-wheel tour boat. Get out and experience the thrill of water-skiing, or just kick back and paddle quietly along the shores. Rent boats in the town of Lake George or in Bolton Landing.
Mirror Lake, Lake Placid: Surrounded by the gorgeous peaks of the Adirondacks, this lake comes to life in the summer with all kinds of boats plying the waters. The only drawback is that while it's super convenient (Lake Placid sits right above it), it can get a little too crowded.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.