Liberty State Park
Morris Pesin Dr., Jersey City, N.J. 201-915-3440
Put-in spots exist all over Manhattan, but real paddle pushers head straight to Jersey’s Liberty State Park. Parking is free (two short-term spaces are reserved for easy unloading), and once you’re in the water, it’s less than a quarter-mile to the Statue of Liberty—where the perspective from sea level is unforgettable. Just stay outside the white buoys surrounding Liberty Island or you’ll have the Coast Guard after you. Continue east to pass by Governors Island. If you’ve got the chops, cross the harbor to Manhattan; half the fun is dodging Circle Line and Staten Island Ferry traffic. Don’t have your own boat? Atlantic Kayak Tours (845-246-2187) runs about eight trips per year from this park and provides all equipment.