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If you love nautical activities and are visiting New York City, maybe the Central Park Sailboats have been on your “must-do” list of experiences while you’re here. If you’re a local just searching for a way to spend a leisurely Saturday check out our thoughts on what it’s like to sail the “open” waters of Central Park.

Is sailing RC boats in Central Park the most exciting activity in the city that never sleeps? Definitely not. We rented a sailboat for 30 minutes and quite honestly that amount of time was just the right amount for us to learn that maybe sailing isn’t our skill set. For most of the time, the wind was pretty tame resulting in most of the sailboat rentals stay still in the water.

It’s hard to get excited when your sailboat isn’t doing anything. Maybe that’s just a product of wanting instant gratification, but it may be frustrating for you too. It took us half of our rental time to really hone in on how to make the sailboat move.

When to Rent

Quite honestly, we arrived right when the Central Park sailboats opened on a Saturday at 1:00PM EST. The line quickly grew behind us and I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets much busier throughout the day.

So if you have your heart set on sailing your blues away, or reliving your Stuart Little dreams, I would recommend arriving when the stand opens for the given day, OR be okay with having to wait a bit for an available sailboat on some of the busier days through the week. I heard one mom buy six rentals for her kids, so I’m sure the boats go quick.

Stuart Little Price: $12.99 Stuart Little Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 06/05/2019

Where is the Central Park Sailboats

Address: E 72nd St, New York, NY 10021

The Central Park sailboats rental stand is located on the east side of the Conservatory Water pond. You will see a little stand with sailboats outside where you can rent your sailboats.

The closest bus stops include bus access to M1, M2, M3, M4 @ 5 Av/E 75 St

For our ultimate guide on New York City public transit: READ HERE

Costs to Rent Central Park Sailboats

In total after tax, we spent $11.98 for 30 minutes of RC sailboat playtime. It’s super affordable, don’t get us wrong. If you’re taking a kid to the park and need to keep them occupied for 30 minutes so you can have a breather than spend the money. If you’re going on a date, walk a little further to the rowboats instead and pony up the extra cash to be romantic.

Central Park Sailboats

We were afraid that they would only take cash, but have no fear they accept cash or card!

Optional add-ons:

  • Rental, Sailors hat
  • Rental, Sailors hat, & t-shirt

You may be tempted to buy the sailors hat like we were. But trust us, don’t do it because you will get done with sailing and be glad you didn’t.

Overall Thoughts

In the end, if you’re into remote control things, sailing, or you are with kids this may be the perfect activity for you. For everyone else, I would recommend perhaps renting bikes to explore Central Park or head over to the Loeb Boathouse and rent a rowboat on the water for about the same price for an entire hour of fun.

Author Ian Hoyt

Founder of Life Nomading, Ian Hoyt has devoted the better part of his adult life to exploring and sharing his travel experiences with others through the Life Nomading podcast, blog, and group trips. In his free time, he travels, and then travels some more, and then enjoys guilty pleasures like NYC Prince St. Pizza or local Harlem eats when at home base in New York City.

More posts by Ian Hoyt