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Aerial view of New York City at dusk

Exploring the Hudson River: Fall Colors, Conservation & Creativity

New York Roundtrip - Example 8 Day Cruise aboard National Geographic Sea Lion
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"America's First River," the Hudson, has developed as a place of regeneration, transformation, nature, and adventure. This 8-day itinerary takes you deep into the Hudson River's ever-changing valley, which has been designated the Hudson Valley Natural Heritage Area and a component of the National Estuarine Research Reserve. National Geographic Sea Lion brings you across the Hudson Valley, where you can learn about the region's rich maritime history and how the arts have played an important part in preserving its natural beauty.
Bear Mountain Bridge over the Hudson RiverBuzzling New YorkHudson River, New YorkEnjoy the landscape view of CatskillAerial view of New York City at dusk
  • Encounter fall wildlife while kayaking Constitution Marsh.
  • Visit Storm King Mountain Art Center.
  • Photograph the many iconic lighthouses and bridges along your journey.
  • Explore Sleepy Hollow and hear Washington Irving’s ageless tale re-told.
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrive New York City | Embark

This evening, we embark National Geographic Sea Lion and sail out of New York Harbor north into the Hudson River.

Day 2: Cruising the Hudson River | Constitution Marsh | Bannerman Castle

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
With the dawn, we awake to the beauty of the Hudson River Valley. The place to be is on deck as we spend the early hours of the day cruising with the river unfolding before us. We cruise slowly by West Point Military Academy before arriving at Constitution Marsh, where we launch kayaks to explore the protected riverside wetland. Watch for birds: belted kingfishers sitting quietly or darting up a slough sounding their rattling call, or hawks like northern harriers quartering over the marshland. Or, simply stop for a moment and relish the stillness of the wetland. The island protecting the marsh was presented to the nation on behalf of early American authors, Anna and Susan Warner, to be forever preserved as a historic and natural landmark.

Next, we make the short trip north for a cruise around Bannerman Castle on Pollepel Island. This abandoned military storage facility with a storied history dates back to the early 1900’s. On shore, take in a special musical performance as our first evening on the Hudson fades to night

Day 3: Catskill | Rogers Island | Hudson

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning, we call at the village of Catskill. Visit the home of renowned landscape painter Thomas Cole, now a National Historic Landmark Site. Passionate about American wilderness, Cole is recognized as the founder of the Hudson River art movement.

Later, as our ship is anchored near the picturesque Hudson-Athens Lighthouse, opt to join a kayak excursion through the waterways of Rogers Island Wildlife Management Area or choose to visit the quiet town of Hudson.

Day 4: Kingston

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning, we are at Kingston, where the Rondout Lighthouse marks the entrance to the creek with the town a short distance from the river. At Kingston, we learn the story of the sloop Clearwater and the organization, founded in part by legendary American folk musician Pete Seeger and dedicated not only to the care of the vessel, but to many conservation and environmental projects in the area. Conditions permitting, we embark the sloop and sail out of the harbor for a unique experience on the Hudson. Later, we stop by the Hudson River Maritime Museum, featuring exhibits on a variety of subjects, especially focused on the conservation of this great waterway.

Day 5: Esopus Island | Esopus Meadows Lighthouse | Cruising the Hudson

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today, we are off exploring the Hudson in the Esopus area. By kayak and Zodiac, we cruise Esopus Island, now a quiet less-visited mid-river islet. Over the years, this skinny little island—not even a mile long and mere yards wide—has seen its share of intriguing visitors from Native Americans’ gatherings to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s parties. Even the legendary and notorious Aleister Crowley camped for 40 days and nights in solitude on Esopus Island in the summer of 1918 during the waning days of the First World War. Our day of exploration takes us to Esopus Meadows Lighthouse, considered one of the most scenic on the Hudson. Later, meandering slowly along the great riverway, the splendor of the river surrounds us.

Day 6: Storm King Mountain

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The mountain, called “Butter Hill” in earlier days, later became known as Storm King, encouraged in part by writer Nathaniel Parker Willis, who wrote, “The tallest mountain is looked upon as the most sure foreteller of a storm. When the white cloud-beard descends upon his breast in the morning there is sure to be a rain-storm before night.” Storm King was a regular subject of Hudson River School painters, as they depicted the natural splendor of the mountain while wrestling with the approaching industrialization and commercialization of the Hudson, a contentious duality to this day. Art is alive on the western flanks of the mountain. The 500-acre Storm King Art Center seeks to bring art, nature and people together in the open air of the sculpture park. Later, we ascend to the higher reaches of the mountain itself to take in the magnificent views back down towards the river and beyond.

Day 7: Bear Mountain Bridge | Popolopen Creek at Fort Montgomery | Sleepy Hollow

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
We awake in sight of Bear Mountain Bridge, the morning’s golden hour offering the opportunity to photograph the bridge against the backdrop of the Hudson fall. If conditions look good, we set out for a morning kayak exploration where Popolopen Creek meets the Hudson at Fort Montgomery. On our way south, we pass Iona Island, part of the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve. Soon, we arrive at Sleepy Hollow. “A drowsy, dreamy influence seems to hang over the land, and to pervade the very atmosphere,” wrote Washington Irving about the town. We disembark and hear a re-telling of Irving’s tale before a walk along the 13 Bridges Trail. In the late afternoon we stop at the Sleepy Hollow cemetery as the sun sets on our Hudson River adventure

Day 8: New York | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
This morning we disembark in New York Harbor to begin our homeward journeys


National Geographic Sea Lion

Dining Room

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

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Sea Bird & Sea Lion's Category 1 and Category 1 Single Cabin.
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Cat 1
Main Deck Cabins #300-305. Conveniently positioned between the dining room and lounge, these cabins feature two lower single beds, a writing desk and a large window.
Sea Bird & Sea Lion's Category 1 and Category 1 Single Cabin.
Select a Date
Cat 1 Single
Main Deck Cabins #300-305. Conveniently positioned between the dining room and lounge, these cabins feature two lower single beds, a writing desk and a large window.
Sea Bird & Sea Lion's Category 2 and Category 2 Single Cabin.
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Cat 2
Bridge Deck cabins #100-104 and Upper Deck cabins #200-212, 215. These well-located cabins include two lower single beds, outside access and a window.
Sea Bird & Sea Lion's Category 2 and Category 2 Single Cabins.
Select a Date
Cat 2 Single
Bridge Deck cabins #100-104 and Upper Deck cabins #200-212, 215. These well-located cabins include two lower single beds, outside access and a window.
Sea Bird & Sea Lion's Category 3 Cabins.
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Cat 3
Bridge Deck cabins #105, 106 and Upper Deck cabins #214, 216, 217, 219. These cabins feature a seating unit with table, outside access and two large windows. Upper Deck cabins include two lower single beds which can convert to a double bed and a pull-out


Single supplement varies by itinerary. A solo traveler matching program may be available but is subject to availability.
Kids under age 18 save $500 per person

Rubber boots are not included on your cruise; please supply your own. Rubber, waterproof boots that are mid-calf or higher, with a strong, ridged non-skid sole (essential for wet landings) are highly recommended. Click  here for information about rubber boots rental.
  • 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 7 Dinners
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Assistance by the onboard National Geographic Photography Expert
  • Beer, wine, cocktails, and spirits aboard the ship. We are also pleased to offer a selection of super premium wines and liquors that are available for purchase.
  • Complimentary Starlink-enabled Wi-Fi internet is available to all guests aboard Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic fleet, enabling email, messaging, and social media.
  • Park and site entrance fees, special access permits, and port taxes
  • Excursions, hotels, and airport transfers, as indicated in the itinerary 
  • Selection of exploration tools curated to your destination, such as Zodiacs and glass-bottom boats, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, snorkeling equipment (including wetsuits, masks, and fins), and other state-of-the-art gear
  • Guidance and company of leading expedition staff
  • All meals as indicated in the itinerary, both aboard and onshore. Meals are inspired by regional cuisine and locally sourced where possible
  • Hors d’oeuvres inspired by regional cuisine and locally sourced where possible
  • 24-hour access to snacks, premium coffees and teas, non-alcoholic beverages, and filtered water
  • Presentations on your destination by expedition staff and expert guest speakers
  • Complimentary reusable water bottle to fill at onboard water refill stations
  • The services of a physician, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, or paramedic  where available
  • Morning stretch classes and 24-hour access to exercise equipment where available
  • 24-hour access to lounges, observation decks, library stocked with regionally relevant literature, and other shared spaces 
  • Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic certified photo instructor
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Crew gratuities
  • Laundry, spa treatments, scuba diving, Wi-Fi and phone services (except when indicated as included)
  • We strongly recommend our guests to take Travel Protection Plan. A Plan with comprehensive coverage to protect you from cancellation fees, costs incurred due to trip delays/interruption, damaged or lost baggage, medical assistance, and evacuation during your travels
  • Airfare (except flights when indicated as included), pre- and post-expedition extensions, additional hotel nights, and private transfers (except when indicated as included)
  • Travel protection plans and passport, visa, and immigration fees 
  • Enhanced and premium Wi-Fi plans, which may enable video chat, web browsing, and streaming (connectivity permitting)


When to Go

Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.


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Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!
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