Located just four minutes by ferry from Manhattan’s South Street Seaport, Governors Island is a serious boon for those looking to disconnect from the frenetic bustle of the Big Apple. This summer, the getaway is home to more fun than ever before, with new restaurants and attractions setting up shop on the isle. And with ferry service extended through midnight for the first time, your exploration will no longer be restricted to daytime hours. Here’s how to fill your day (and night) on Governors Island.
Get pampered at QC NY Spa
Pack your swimsuit and purchase a day pass to QC NY Spa. Opened this past March, the latest location from Italian spa brand QC Terme is easily one of the most scenic wellness destinations in the world, thanks to its prime location directly overlooking the FiDi skyline. Housed in repurposed 19th-century military barracks is a maze of treatment rooms, water therapies like saunas and steam rooms, plus themed relaxation areas like the quirky Upside Down Room. A pair of heated outdoor pools provide the perfect place for lounging in the sunshine.
Gorge on seafood at Island Oyster
Designed to feel like a tropical escape, Island Oyster is a breezy outdoor bar that boasts panoramic views of New York Harbor. It’s not just the nautical design that adjusts your pace to island time, but also the menu of themed cocktails like the rum-based Permanent Vacation, and delightful seafood dishes like shark tacos, lobster rolls, and sustainable oysters.
Stroll NYC’s only lavender field
You read that right: Governors Island is home to the only lavender field in New York City. The fragrant grove, created by environmental organization Earth Matter NY, is located across from St. Cornelius Chapel on the southeastern side of the island. Come to meditate and take in the soothing aromas.
Try some global cuisine
Popular taco stand Taco Vista partnered with canned cocktail-makers Fishers Island Lemonade to create a fun little area to eat, chill, and play some outdoor games. Order some tacos, burritos, or burgers, and wash them down with a signature frozen lemonade slushy. Alternatively, seek out the rotating vendors at The Foodie Spot, or peck your way along the many food trucks Makina Cafe for Ethiopian, Fauzia’s Heavenly Delights for Jamaican, and Kimchi Taco Truck for Korean.
Turn up at Gitano Island NYC
Migrating from its SoHo “Garden of Love,” global nightlife brand Gitano has set up its very first Gitano Island, a 27,000-square-foot “beach club” with a restaurant and bar. It’s located right next to the ferry terminal, but could easily fit in somewhere in the Mediterranean. Hundreds of tropical plants and 350 tons of sand were transported to Governors Island to transplant the coastal concept to New York City—a dreamy setting to enjoy Mexican-inspired bites and cocktails to DJ beats.
Go glamping at Collective Retreats
Not ready to head back to Manhattan? Spend the night at Collective Retreats, which returns for another season with its glamping tents. The plush accommodations come at various levels of luxury, including four Outlook Shelters, 10 Summit Tents, and 16 Journey+ Tents. Expect dazzling food, including farm-to-table tasting menus from some of NYC’s hottest chefs at Three Peaks Lodge, heady drinks on the outdoor Sunset Terrace, and lots of room to stargaze.