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5 Must-See islands of New York

February 1, 2022

When you think of ‘New York’ the first thing that comes to mind, is the Empire State Building, Times Square, Statue of Liberty, Broadway...the list goes on. However, not many people know about New York’s hidden gems, which are New York’s islands. The city of lights is known to have about 36 to 42 islands in total, around its region and most of them are easy to access via boat or even on foot by the city’s bridges. From gorgeous coastlines to mesmerising lakes and rivers, New York’s islands are something to see! We’ve rounded up the top New York islands you must visit on your next trip to the big apple.  


Roosevelt island 

Located on the East River, Roosevelt Island sits between Manhattan and Queens and is one of the nicest places in Manhattan to relax. It’s a manmade island full of cherry blossoms and green spaces. There’s also plenty of things to do, places to eat.  One of the primary attractions is the Blackwell Island Light, a charming lighthouse that provides visitors with the best view of the city. Other must-see buildings include Renwick Ruin and Strecker Lab (all part of the former smallpox hospital), the Octagon Tower (an abandoned asylum), and the Blackwell House, which used to belong to the owners of the island, built-in 1796, which makes it the sixth-oldest house in New York City. Towards the southern end of the island, visitors can find the picturesque Four Freedoms Park, where The Franklin D. Roosevelt statue is situated.  

The island can be accessed via the aerial tram that operates 250 feet above the city, look out for the cutting-edge Cornell Tech campus, a serene park, and gorgeous views of the Manhattan skyline. 


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Little Island 

Built-in 2021, Little Island is by far the newest and smallest island in NYC. This breathtaking man-made island can be found in Hudson River Park near 14th Street and offers spectacular views of Manhattan and New Jersey. The island creates an immersive space between nature and art and is perfect to visit all year round. Feast on delicious street food from the many food trucks and enjoy some performances and music festivals at the amphitheatre. The park is open to the public, but you’ll need to reserve a ticket if you’re planning to visit during the high season. The island is accessible via bike, car, and public transportation such as the subway and buses.  


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Goat island  

A visit to Niagara Falls isn't complete without a stop at Goat Island in Niagara Falls State Park. The island splits the Niagara River in two before it roars over the American Falls and the Horseshoe Falls (Canadian Niagara Falls). This Island gives you an interesting and unforgettable view of the famous falls. First things first: There are no goats on Goat Island, even though there used to be back in the 1770s. The island was turned into a national state back in 1885 and was claimed to be the nation's first state park. A fun attraction on the island is the Cave of the Winds, which takes visitors to the lower level of the Bridal Veil Falls, where the rushing water creates stormy conditions. Be prepared to get wet!  For food, you can have a sit-down lunch or dinner or a sunset cocktail at the Top of the Falls Restaurant. Its large windows overlook Terrapin Point and the Horseshoe Falls. Goat Island is a beautiful New York island with stunning and up-close views of the magnificent falls.  

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Image Source: Niagara Falls Live 


Heart Island 

In the town of Alexandria, you will find the beautiful Heart Island. No, the island is not heart-shaped, but it does have a sweet love story associated with the island's castle. Yep, you heard it right, there is a massive castle on this island that dates to 1900. The castle is named Boldt Castle, which was created for the millionaire George C. Boldt with the help of the architectural firm G.W. & W.D. Hewitt and hundreds of tradesmen. Moreover, the castle was a gift to Boldt’s wife, Louise who tragically died after 10 years of being married to him. In addition to this, Boldt Castle is a six-story castle, that includes 120 rooms, a powerhouse, tunnels connecting the rooms, Italian-style gardens, a children's playhouse, a drawbridge, and a dovecote. Heart Island is the place to visit historic and beautiful architecture and remarkable landscapes surrounding the castle. 


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Fire island  

A bit further from the city, Fire Island is the perfect location for a weekend gateway. You may have heard about Fire Island’s bustling party scene, however, the island has so much more to offer than just that. The island is on the southern shores of Long Island and is 30 miles long. It has beautiful sandy beaches for the most romantic beach walks in addition to jet-skiing and other water sports for the more adventurous. During your visit to the island, you can even enjoy some of New York’s wildlife, as friendly deers tend to greet visitors in the Sunken Forest, Davis Park, and Cherry Grove. In addition to this, birdwatching and camping options are available as well. Visitors can access Fire Island only by the Fire Ferries.  

fire island

 Image Source: Daily Mail 


So, there you go, the top 5 islands of New York City! Visiting these gorgeous hidden gems are great for beating the hectic life of the Big Apple as well as relaxing and enjoying the amazing views these islands have to offer.  

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Top 5 islands to visit in New York:

  • Roosevelt island
  • Little Island
  • Goat Island
  • Heart Island
  • Fire Island