Did you know that there is a free ferry to the Statue of Liberty?
The free ferry to the Statue of Liberty is called the ‘Staten Island Ferry’ – and you’ll find out everything you need to know, right here!
If you’re new to NYC, or visiting for the first time, you may not know about the free ferry to the Statue of Liberty.
Well, now you do!
The free ferry to the Statue of Liberty is officially called the ‘Staten Island Ferry’.
It’s completely free to ride this ferry, and enjoy the amazing views of Lady Liberty!
The Staten Island Ferry has been shuttling people between Manhattan and Staten Island for over a century, making it an integral part of the city’s history.
What began as a utilitarian transportation link has evolved into a quintessential New York experience, allowing passengers to enjoy stunning views of the Manhattan skyline, and the Statue of Liberty too!
It’s important to note: This free ferry to Stature of Liberty, doesn’t actually stop off at Lady Liberty. You’ll get amazing views, but you won’t be able to disembark at the Statue of Liberty island.
If you want to stop off at the Statue of Liberty, and get really close-up, then I recommend reading my guide on the best ways to see the Statue of Liberty.
Anway! You probably have some questions about this amazing free ferry to the Statue of Liberty – and that’s where we come in.
We’ll answer all your questions below, so you know exactly what to expect, where the Staten Island Ferry actually goes, and alternative options (if you need them).
So, let’s get into it!
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Does the free ferry to the Statue of Liberty drop you at the Statue of Liberty?
No, it doesn’t.
The free ferry to the Statue of Liberty (also known as the Staten Island Ferry) is a mode of free public transport, that connects Manhattan to Staten Island.
The route goes past the Statue of Liberty, and provides you with some amazing views of the Statue of Liberty, but it doesn’t stop at the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island.
If you want to stop off at the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island, then the free ferry to the Statue of Liberty (Staten Island Ferry) might not be the best choice for you.
Instead, you’ll want to opt for some of the paid options and tours.
When does the free ferry to the Statue of Liberty open / close?
Good news! The Staten Island Ferry (also known as the free ferry to the Statue of Liberty) runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
So whenever you feel like admiring Lady Liberty, the ferry is right there waiting for you!
During weekdays between the hours of 6:00AM- 9:30AM and 3:30PM-8:00PM – you’ll find that the ferry departs every 15-20 minutes.
During other times of the day (when demand is lower) you’ll have 30-minute services. On weekends, service is provided every 30 minutes too.
Where does the Staten Island Ferry depart from?
You’ll find the departure terminal for the Staten Island Ferry at The Whitehall Terminal, located at the tip of Manhattan in the Downtown district.
You’ll then board the ferry, and be shuttled to the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island.
You’re then free to disembark, and reboard for a return journey – all free of course!
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Which Subway stations are closest to the free ferry to the Staten Island Ferry?
There are several Subway stations near the Staten Island Ferry departure terminal, so it should be pretty easy for you to get there (even if you’re new to NYC and the Subway system).
Here are your options:
- 1 train to South Ferry (this is your closest option, as it’s right next to where the ferry departs from)
- R train to Whitehall Street (another convenient options, this is only a a short walk to the terminal, and only 2 blocks away).
- 4 or 5 trains to Bowling Green (a longer walk, at 7 minutes, but still very easy to navigate).
- You can also arrive via Broad Street or Wall Street stations, but these are a longer walk at 15 minutes.
If you find the Subway a little intimidating, then you can always get a taxi or Uber to drop you off instead. Taxis are really easy to get hold of in NYC, and the The Whitehall Terminal is a popular tourist location.
Just ask your taxi to drop you at the Whitehall Terminal.
How long is a round-trip on the Staten Island Ferry?
The Staten Island Ferry takes about 25-30 minutes in each direction.
But remember, you may need to queue to board the ferry on each end, so I would plan about 90 minutes in total for this activity.
If you’re planning to ride the free ferry to the Statue of Liberty during peak hours, then factoring in extra time for queuing is pretty important.
Does the free ferry to the Statue of Liberty have good views?
Yes, the views from the Staten Island Ferry are pretty amazing, which is why it’s so popular with visitors and tourists.
Whilst you won’t get super close-up to Lady Liberty, you will get to see her from the water, and with the backdrop of Manhattan. Which is pretty magical!
The best bit? You’ll most likely do a round-trip on the free ferry to the Statue of Liberty (unless you plan on stopping in Staten Island). So you get wonderful views there and back!
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Does the free ferry to the Statue of Liberty have a toilet?
Good news! Yes it does!
The Staten Island Ferry is actually a means of public transport, so you’ll find good amenities onboard, such as toilets.
Does the free ferry to the Statue of Liberty have a cafe onboard?
Yes it does!
Because the Staten Island Ferry is actually a commuted ferry, you’ll find there are great amenities onboard.
As well as a cafe (for a decent cup of coffee!), you’ll find plenty of seating too. As you can see in the photo below!
Is there WiFi onboard the Staten Island Ferry?
If you’re visiting NYC from overseas, you might be wondering about WiFi onboard the Staten Island Ferry!
After all, many of us don’t want to be paying those roaming charges, so always take advantage of free WiFi when it’s available.
Well, good news, there is free WiFi available in the ferry terminals, and on the boat itself.
Can you get good photos of the Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry?
In fact, this is one of the best photo opportunities in the whole of Manhattan.
Not only will you get wonderful photos of the Statue of Liberty, but you’ll also get amazing shots of the Downtown Manhattan skyline too!
For the best photos, I recommend getting some shots inside and outside the ferry. The outer deck areas make for those ‘classic tourist photos’, but framing the skyline using the iconic windows of the ferry are also so intriguing and interesting!
When is the best time to ride the Staten Island Ferry?
As you can imagine, the free ferry to the Statue of Liberty gets pretty busy.
It’s also a well-used mode of public transport too – so it’s not only tourists onboard but commuters too.
Because of this, my personal recommendation for riding the Staten Island Ferry and enjoying this free ferry to the Statue of Liberty, is to avoid rush hours and commuting hours.
Around 12pm – 3pm are great time to ride the free ferry to the Statue of Liberty, as the commuter crowds will be much lower than in the early morning and early evening.
Night-time rides are also beautiful though, and riding this free ferry to the Statue of Liberty can be a wonderful night time activity to enjoy!
Anytime after 8pm, should be slightly quieter than the rush hours between 5pm – 7pm.
In terms of weather, definitely try to pick a clear day for riding the Staten Island Ferry! The clearer the weather, the better your views!
If the weather is foggy or cloudy, you might not get the best views of the Statue of Liberty.
Is the Staten Island Ferry accessible?
Both terminals are equipped with escalators and elevators, and staff who are trained to help aid accessibility issues.
Service animals are allowed onboard.
Other useful information about the Staten Island Ferry…
Here are some other useful facts about the Staten Island Ferry, that might come in handy for planning your visit…
- No smoking is allowed
- Bikes are allowed onboard
- Prams are allowed onboard
- Pets are not allowed (with the exception of service animals) unless they are caged and/or muzzled.
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Here are some fun facts you might want to know about the Staten Island Ferry…
- During the holiday season, the Staten Island Ferry is decorated with festive lights, adding to the city’s holiday spirit. It’s so cute, and definitely worth checking out if you’re visiting in December!
- Efforts have been made to make the ferry service more environmentally friendly. Some of the newer vessels are equipped with cleaner-burning engines and emission-reduction technologies.
- The Staten Island Ferry has appeared in various movies, TV shows, and books. It’s often used as a backdrop for dramatic scenes or to establish a sense of place in stories set in New York City. One of my favorite appearances, is in an iconic episode of Sex and the City!
- The ferry is one of the busiest in the United States, with millions of passengers riding it annually. It’s a vital mode of transportation for Staten Island residents and a popular attraction for tourists.
- The Staten Island Ferry operates with a fleet of several vessels, including the Samuel I. Newhouse, Sr., John F. Kennedy, and Guy V. Molinari, among others. These ferries are named after notable figures and have been in service for many years.
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Hopefully this guide to riding the free ferry to the Statue of Liberty has been useful!
The free ferry to the Statue of Liberty is really one of the best things you can do in Manhattan, so make sure you make time in your itinerary for riding the Staten Island Ferry!
So now you know everything you need to know about the free ferry to the Statue of Liberty, all aboard!