These are the trips you’ve seen on TV and read about in The New York Times, The Record and the Star-Ledger. The ones you’ve always wanted to take, so…

Come join us for an incredible journey on the Hackensack River, through the marshes of the New Jersey Meadowlands, and more!

Eco-Cruises are fun, educational tours aboard Hackensack Riverkeeper’s specially rigged 30-foot pontoon boats, the r/v Robert H. Boyle II and the r/v Geraldine Theresa. Captain Bill Sheehan started the program in 1994 to increase awareness of the lower Hackensack River as a vital natural and recreational resource. Since then more than 75,000 people have explored the river with us. Most Eco-Cruises include 2 ½ hours on the water and are fully narrated by Capt. Bill and/or Program Director, Capt. Hugh Carola – both of whom are US Coast Guard-licensed captains.

Open (public) Eco-Cruises are scheduled 
in advance for individuals, couples, families and the like. Itineraries include Meadowlands Discovery, Boating Thru Bergen and Excursion Around the (Newark) Bay. It’s quick and easy to reserve your seat(s).

  • First, scroll down to the list and click the link of the trip you want. It’s an eventbrite link.
  • Once on the eventbrite site, input your contact info and click REGISTER;
  • You’ll receive an immediate confirmation email and a reminder 2 days prior;
  • BE SURE to download the Directions & Trip Tips!
  • If you prefer, you can register by calling our office at 201-968-0808.

Open Eco-Cruises are not available for group outings. To arrange a group Eco-Cruise event, see your options below.

For larger groups, Group (private) Eco-Cruises can be arranged for any available date/time other than those listed below for Open Eco-Cruises. We conduct both 2.5-hour Adult Group Eco-Cruises (10 persons max per boat) and 2-hour Youth Group Eco-Cruises (call to discuss options & COVID safety). Either one can be booked for the itinerary of your choice. Call Capt. Hugh at 201-403-1992 for more info and to book.

These programs include a pair of 1.5-hour Eco-Cruises backed with age-appropriate landside activities over a 3.5-hour period for school, Scout and camp groups for up to 50 persons depending on age. Call Capt. Hugh 201-403-1992 for more info or to book your program.

PLEASE NOTE: ECO-CRUISES ARE NOT FREE. Hackensack Riverkeeper pays TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS each year in fuel, maintenance, insurance, and staff costs – plus COVID safety. We don’t sell tickets, but we do need YOU to help us keep the boats running! Every program-related donation we receive supports clean water advocacy – and is 100% tax-deductible. Your confirmation & reminder emails will include addition donation info. Call or email with any questions and WELCOME TO THE CREW!


Our Itineraries

MEADOWLANDS DISCOVERY (M) – This trip takes participants on an excursion through the lower tidal reaches of the Hackensack River and its wildlife-rich estuary, the Meadowlands. The shallow draft of our boats enables us to visit numerous wetlands including the Mill Creek Marsh, Kingsland Creek and the Berry’s Creek Canal; the highlight of every Meadowlands Eco-Cruise being the Sawmill Creek Wildlife Management Area – the “Jewel of the Meadowlands”. The Sawmill is home to a staggering amount of birdlife including shorebirds, ducks, herons, raptors and more.

BOATING THROUGH BERGEN (B) – Join us for a trip up the Hackensack River from the southern Meadowlands to heart of the city of Hackensack. Taking the route once traveled by the coastal schooners and steamers that carried cargo to and from Bergen County, we will pass the ruins of their former docks and landings and discuss the region’s all-but-forgotten maritime history. Before turning back, we will travel upriver to the Court Street Bridge and offer participants an opportunity to get an up-close view of the USS Ling, a World War II submarine that was wrecked by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

EXCURSION AROUND THE BAY (E) – Conditions permitting, this trip will take you down the Hackensack River, the entire length of Newark Bay to Staten Island and back to explore this integral part of New York Harbor. Among other sights, we will pass Kearny Point, the former site of Federal Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., where hundreds of warships, Liberty and Victory ships were built during the WWII; and the busy docks of Ports Newark and Elizabeth where ocean-going cargo vessels are loaded and unloaded. On the way back upriver we explore the Bayonne bayshore, home to numerous parks and historic sites.

For any additional information whatsoever you may require, or to book a Group Eco-Cruise or Combo program, call Captain Hugh Carola at 201-403-1992 or send him an e-mail.

PLEASE NOTE: Regardless of itinerary or type of Eco-Cruise, we endeavor to provide the best on-water experience possible while relating the natural and human history of the region.

ALL scheduled OPEN Eco-Cruises leave from Laurel Hill County Park in Secaucus, NJ. Most private Group Eco-Cruises also leave from Laurel Hill but CAN be arranged to leave from the marina at River Barge Park in Carlstadt, NJ.

See you at the River!

2023 Eco-Cruise Schedule: May – July

(Eventbrite Registration Goes Live on May 1 at 11 am)


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