These are the trips you’ve heard about 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 either Capt. Bill or Program Director, Capt. Hugh Carola – both of whom are US Coast Guard-licensed captains.

Open (public) Eco-Cruises are scheduled 
in advance and open to 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;
  • 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 (up to 15 persons max per boat depending on participants’ ages). Either one can be booked for the itinerary of your choice. Call Capt. Hugh at 201-968-0808 for more info and to book.

Combination Environmental Education programs can be arranged for school, Scout and camp groups of up to ~25 persons (~50 if both boats and captains are engaged in the program. “Combos” include a pair of 1.5-hour Eco- Cruises backed with age-appropriate land-side activities over a 3-4 hour period. Call Capt. Hugh at 201-968-0808 for more info.

PLEASE NOTE: Hackensack Riverkeeper doesn’t require monetary consideration for Eco-Cruises. Since 1997 however, Eco-Cruise participants have supported our work and mission through their tax-deductible donations. Your confirmation & reminder emails will include addition donation info. Feel free to call with any questions. We trust you’ll “join 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 WMA is home to a staggering amount of wildlife including shorebirds, waterfowl, herons, raptors, muskrats and terrapins.

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 sadly abandoned after 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 201-968-0808 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!

2021 Eco-Cruise Schedule



Sat, May 1, NoonB
Sat, May 1, 3 PMM
Sun, May 2, NoonB
Sun, May 2, 3 PMM
Sat, May 8, NoonM
Sat, May 8, 3 PMM
Sun, May 9, NoonM
Sun, May 9, 3 PMM
Sat, May 15, NoonE
Sat, May 15, 3 PMM
Sun, May 16, NoonE
Sun, May 16, 3 PMM
Sat, May 22, 2 PMM
Sat, May 22, 5 PMB
Sun, May 23, 2 PMM
Sat, May 29, 2 PME
Sat, May 29, 5 PMM
Sun, May 30, 2 PME
Sun, May 30, 5 PMM

Sat, Jun 6, 2 PMB
Sat, Jun 6, 5 PME
Sat, Jun 12, 10 AMB
Sat, Jun 12, 6 PMM
Tue, Jun 15, 10 AMB
Tue, Jun 15, 6 PMM
Sat, Jun 19, 6 PME
Sun, Jun 20, 10 AMM
Mon, Jun 21, 10 AMM
Mon, Jun 21, 6 PMB
Wed, Jun 23, 10 AMM
Wed, Jun 23, 6 PMB
Fri, Jun 25, 10 AMM
Fri, Jun 25, 6 PMM
Tue, Jun 29, 10 AMB
Tue, Jun 29, 6 PMM

Thur, Jul 1, 6 PMM
Tue, Jul 6, 10 AMM
Tue, Jul 6, 6 PMB
Thur, Jul 8, 6 PME
Mon, Jul 12, 6 PMM
Wed, Jul 14, 6 PMM
Fri, Jul 16, 6 PMM
Mon, Jul 19, 10 AMM
Mon, Jul 19, 6 PME
Wed, Jul 21, 10 AMM
Wed, Jul 21, 6 PMB
Thur, Jul 22, 6 PME
Mon, Jul 26, 10 AMB
Mon, Jul 26, 6 PMM
Thur, Jul 29, 6 PMM
Sat, Jul 31, 10 AMM

Sun, Aug 1, 10 AMM
Wed, Aug 4, 10 AMM
Wed, Aug 4, 6 PMB
Sun, Aug 8, 10 AMM
Tue, Aug 10, 10 AMM
Tue, Aug 10, 6 PME
Sun, Aug 15, 5 PMM
Sat, Aug 21, 10 AMM
Sat, Aug 21, 5 PMB
Sun, Aug 22, 10 AME
Sun, Aug 22, 5 PME
Sat, Aug 28, 10 AMB
Sat, Aug 28, 5 PMM
Sun, Aug 29, 10 AMM
Sun, Aug 29, 5 PME

Sat, Sep 4, 10 AMM
Sat, Sep 4, 5 PMM
Sun, Sep 5, 10 AME
Sun, Sep 5, 5 PMB
Sat, Sep 11, 10 AMB
Sat, Sep 18, 1 PMM
Sat, Sep 18, 4 PMB
Sun, Sep 19, 1 PMM
Sun, Sep 19, 4 PMM
Sat, Sep 25, NoonB
Sat, Sep 25, 3 PMM
Sun, Sep 26, NoonE
Sun, Sep 26, 3 PMM

Sat, Oct 2, NoonM
Sat, Oct 2, 3 PME
Sun, Oct 3, NoonM
Sun, Oct 3, 3 PME
Sat, Oct 9, NoonE
Sat, Oct 9, 3 PMM
Sun, Oct 10, NoonB
Sun, Oct 10, 3 PMM


E Excursion Around (Newark) Bay

B Boating Through Bergen (Upriver)

M Meadowlands (wetlands) Discovery


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