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!

2020 Eco-Cruise Schedule



Sat, May 2, NoonM**
Sat, May 9, NoonB**
Sun, May 10, NoonM**
Sun, May 10, 3 PMM**
Sat, May 16, 10 AMM**
Sat, May 23, 5 PME**
Sun, May 24, 5 PMM**
Sun, May 31, 5 PME**

Sun, Jun 7, 6 PMM
Sat, Jun 13, 5 PMB
Sun, Jun 14, 6 PME
Fri, Jun 19, 6 PMB
Tue, Jun 23, 6 PME
Tue, Jun 30, 6 PME

Thur, Jul 2, 6 PMB
Mon, Jul 6, 6 PMM
Wed, Jul 8, 6 PME
Fri, Jul 10, 6 PMM
Tue, Jul 14, 6 PMB
Thur, Jul 16, 6 PMB
Sat, Jul 18, 6 PME
Mon, Jul 20, 6 PME
Wed, Jul 22, 6 PMM
Thur, Jul 23, 6 PMB
Sun, Jul 26, 6 PMM
Tues, Jul 28, 6 PMM
Thur, Jul 30, 6 PMB

Sat, Aug 1, 6 PMB
Sun, Aug 2, 10 AMM
Tue, Aug 4, 6 PME
Wed, Aug 5, 6 PMM
Tue, Aug 11, 6 PMM
Sat, Aug 15, 5 PMB
Sun, Aug 16, 10 AMM
Sat, Aug 22, 10 AMM
Sat, Aug 22, 5 PME
Sun, Aug 23, 10 AMM
Sun, Aug 23, 5 PMM
Sat, Aug 29, 5 PMM
Sun, Aug 30, 10 AMB
Sun, Aug 30, 5 PME

Sat, Sep 5, 10 AMM
Sat, Sep 5, 5 PME
Sun, Sep 6, 10 AMM
Sun, Sep 6, 5 PMM
Sat, Sep 12, NoonM
Sat, Sep 12, 3 PMB
Sun, Sep 13, 2 PME
Sat, Sep 19, NoonE/M
Sat, Sep 19, 3 PMM
Sun, Sep 20, 4 PMM
Sat, Sep 26, NoonM
Sat, Sep 26, 3 PMB
Sun, Sep 27, NoonE

Sat, Oct 3, NoonM
Sat, Oct 3, 3 PMM
Sun, Oct 4, NoonE
Sat, Oct 10, NoonM
Sat, Oct 10, 3 PMM
Sun, Oct 11, NoonB
Sun, Oct 11, 3 PMM


E Excursion Around (Newark) Bay

B Boating Through Bergen (Upriver)

M Meadowlands (wetlands) Discovery


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