It’s starting to get hot which means you need a trip to one of New York’s best beaches to cool off. The best part? All these beaches are easy to get to and make for the perfect weekend getaway. Check out popular spots like Coney Island or the Rockaways, or try something off the beaten path to get away from the crowds. Even if swimming isn’t you’re thing, there are plenty of outdoor activities to entertain you all day long. All you need to do is book that swanky New York vacation rental and take a quick subway, ferry, or bus ride to check out these 10 best beaches in New York!
1. Fort Tilden Beach
Once a United States Army base, Fort Tilden might be New York’s best kept secret. This three-mile stretch of clean sand, trees and grassy dunes is a great destination for fishing and bird-watching. Plus, it’s usually so isolated, that even on the busiest summer weekend, you’ll feel like you have the beach to yourself. In addition to the beach, Fort Tilden is also known for its art installations. Battery Harris East, has an observation deck that provides 360 degree views of Jamaica Bay and New York Harbor, and there are a ton of decommissioned military structures to look at as well. The best way to get here is by bike, and don’t forget to bring some snacks. There aren’t many restaurants or stores in the area.
2. Jacob Riis Park Beach
Also known as “The People’s Beach,” Jacob Riis Beach is easily accessible by public transit. It’s best known for its Art Deco boathouse which first opened in 1932 but also boasts a golf course, ball courts and a wider beach than nearby Fort Tilden. Often times overlooked for its neighbor, Rockaway Beach, Jacob Riis Park Beach is a treasure all its own and has been enjoying a recent renaissance. While you’re here, check out Riis Park Beach Bazaar for food, shopping, and a packed calendar of events.
3. Jones Beach
Jones Beach has six miles of sand with minigolf, ball courts, and even two swimming pools. It’s perfect for families, but music lovers often come here to see headliners like Gwen Stefani and Dave Matthews Band play at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater. Plan ahead because the Jones Beach shuttle bus is often overcrowded.
4. Cherry Grove Beach
Only accessible by wooden walkways, Cherry Grove Beach feels like a true getaway. With no paved roads, this beach offers more of a laid-back feel compared to other Fire Island spots. Stay at one of the idyllic, cottage vacation rentals so you’ll have plenty of time to check out the clubs, bars, and restaurants in the area.
5. Long Beach
Only about one hour away from New York City, Long Beach is a breeze to get to. Just take the LIRR from Penn Station and you’ll have your toes in the sand in no time. This seaside town saw a lot of damage after Superstorm Sandy, but after raising $42 million, there’s now a brand new boardwalk providing you with over two miles for strolling and biking. With five miles of sand, this beach is perfect for playing volleyball and frisbee and has a great local music scene. Every summer, the community hosts a concert series with weekly art festivals and a farmers’ market on Saturdays.
6. Orchard Beach
Lovingly referred to as the Riviera of New York City, this is Bronx’s only public beach, spanning 1.1 miles and 115 acres. It’s located within Pelham Bay Park and is only a quick train ride and bus transfer away. Most notable for its unique crescent shape, Orchard Beach offers stunning views of City Island. There are also 26 courts for basketball, volleyball and handball, tennis courts, and picnic areas. There aren’t many restaurants and bars, but if you get hungry, you can grab a bite to eat from one of the concession stands.
7. Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk
Rockaway Beach is the only beach near New York City where you can legally go surfing, but that’s not the only reason it’s so popular. You can reach this massive, nearly six-mile long beach in just about an hour from downtown New York. All you have to do is take the A train to Broad Channel before switching to the S train to Rockaway Park-Beach 116th, or take the new ferry. You’ll find plenty to do here besides surf and sand. There’s a fully-rebuilt boardwalk and a plethora of markets, restaurants and outdoor activities available. One of the most popular spots is the Rockaway Beach Surf Club, home to the popular food stand Tacoway Beach.
8. Robert Moses State Park
All that stands between New York City and Robert Moses State Park is an easy train ride and an even easier bus ride. This gem of a beach boasts five miles of oceanfront, an 18-hole golf course, picnic areas, surfing, and private outdoor showers. Compared to its next door neighbor, Jones Beach, Robert Moses State Park is quiet and virtually crowd free. For some of the best views outside the city, head a little farther east to Field 5. Here, you’ll find the rest of the scenic Fire Island coast and the 200 year-old Fire Island Lighthouse. It’s only 192 steps to the top!
9. Coney Island Beach
Thanks to its carnival games, amusement park rides, and the famous Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, Coney Island is pretty iconic. While the three miles of sand and waves are still the beach’s main attraction, you can also walk along the boardwalk or visit Luna Park and ride the Cyclone roller coaster. It’s the perfect juxtaposition of old and new, and the perfect place for your ultimate summer getaway.
10. Brighton Beach
Brighton Beach, also called Little Odessa, is known mostly for its large settlement of Russian-speaking immigrants and the colorful shops, food emporiums, and restaurants that came with them. It’s a little eclectic, a little exotic, and a lot unique. Where else can you find treasures like Ukrainian honey-pepper vodka? Of course, there’s always the beach, but you’ll definitely have to explore the surrounding neighborhood while you’re here.
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