Rockaway Boat Hotel – Boatel – Cool Night with Kids

If you are truly looking for a summer staycation that is worthy of only a very cool mama then the Rockaway Boatel project is a summer adventure that your kids are sure to enjoy. The Boatel is an interactive art installation that takes place on the docks of Marina 59, under the planes taking off from JFK airport and five blocks from Rockaway Beach. We took a visit to check it out and boy oh boy was it interesting.

The Boatel is a unique group of reclaimed/rebuilt docks and junk boats that have been artistically made over by 23 artists from New York and abroad. They are all strung together and docked in a cluster with a make shift outdoor BBQ area in the center of it all. When we visited, they were in the middle of creating a large projection screen to watch outdoor films on.

Complete with night lighting, power, and sleeping cabins, these boats provide a great middle ground to camping for kids. You check in at a bait and tackle shop and are greeted by a kind staff and a friendly, laid back atmosphere overlooking the water. We had a blast discovering all of the boats and all of them are totally one of a kind.


The Boatel is open Wednesdays to Sundays, May 16th to November 1st. We recommend that if you go with kids, weekdays are quiet and perfect for a summer adventure.

Boats cost $55-$100 per night and range in theme and design. We recommend trying to book the larger boats if you are traveling with more that one kid.

This is best for kids ages 4 and up as little ones can be hard to handle when on a dock.

Dogs are welcome.

Boatel Suggested Packing List:

Like camping but on a boat so pack the following:
Towel, hat, swimwear, shades, long sleeves, change of clothes, rain gear depending on weather, water bottle, cooler, food for grilling, liquor, juice boxes and snacks.

Each boat has pillows and sheets but it is cooler on the water than in the city, so you may want to bring a sleeping bag.

There is a deli at the bait & tackle shop on the premises that sells ice, beer, mixers, bug spray, sunblock, band aids, toiletries, fishing gear & rental poles, propane grills, and beautiful clean bathrooms with showers on land.

More Boatel Photos: