Sometimes you just need to escape your everyday life and enjoy some time at the beach. In southeastern New York, you and your family can take a break from the grind at Rockaway Beach. This beach sits on one of New York’s barrier islands with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the sound on the other. Surrounded by water, these islands offer vacation rentals along the water’s edge or with stunning views from a block away. This vacation location is a neighborhood in one of New York City’s boroughs, Queens, where you’ll find many charming Rockaway Beach vacation rentals.  Here’s a look at the top 9 Rockaway Beach vacation rental locations in the area.

1. Rockaway Beach

Rockaway Beach
Source: Flickr / PRObettyx1138

Catch some waves and enjoy the sunshine at Jacob Riis Park Beach in Rockaway Beach. It’s easy to spend an entire day since concession stands are all around the edge of the beach. At Fort Tilden Beach, walk the nature paths and explore the ruins of a former American fort built in 1917. Stop by Breezy Point Surf Shop that offers an interesting collection of beach items from upscale sandals and sunglasses to surfboards and clothing. Enjoy dinner out at any of the local seafood restaurants with the freshest seafood you’ve ever had.

2. Seaside

Stunning View of The Beach
Source: Flickr / Doug Kerr

Head a dozen blocks south to arrive in the Seaside neighborhood with its selection of modest vacation rentals. In the afternoon and early evening, walk the boardwalk that runs along the edge of the beach to do a little shopping and to grab a bite to eat at one of the concession stands. In the evenings, take the entire family to Casino Pier for the rides, carnival games, and mouthwatering funnel cakes and Italian water ice.

3. Rockaway Park

Fort Tilden 3, Queens
Source: Flickr / Jay Gorman

Traveling south, you arrive in the neighborhood of Rockaway Park with its family-friendly slant on beach life. While away the days playing in the surf, reading a book as you work on your tan, and building sandcastles at Riis Park Beach. When hunger strikes, take a walk along the boardwalk and stop at Rippers for the best burgers and dogs on the beach along with hand-cut french fries. In the evenings, check out Riis Park Beach Bazaar, where you can catch a live music concert and on Friday nights, enjoy the Friday Night Campfire.

4. Roxbury

Natural garden at the foot of New York Harbor
Source: Flickr / joiseyshowaa

Reserve a vacation rental in Roxbury along the Jamaica Bay so you can pass the days boating, fishing, and kayaking. Take the kids to the Silver Gull Beach Club for a day on the beach or some time hanging around the pool with its collection of water slides. For more time on the beach, stop by Gateway National Recreation Area and splash in the water. Be sure to check out the historic art deco bathhouses that line the start of the beach.

5. Breezy Point

Breezy Point Surf Club
Source: Flickr / Dan DeLuca

At the southern end of the Rockaway Peninsula, you come to the neighborhood of Breezy Point with its stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and New York City in the distance. Spend a day at the Breezy Point Surf Club with its easy access to the beach and a large community pool. Rent bikes and ride them around the neighborhood, or out to the historic Breezy Point Lighthouse that warns ships if they travel too close to the shoreline.

6. Arverne

Lakeview
Source: Flickr / Andy Arthur

Behind Rockaway Beach sits the neighborhood of Arverne that offers vacation rentals along Jamaica Bay. See the marshlands out at Brant Point Wildlife Sanctuary with its unique habitat and bird life. Take a pair of binoculars with you to get a closer look at nests and shy birds. On the other side of town, you can spend an afternoon at Dubos Point Wildlife Sanctuary with its salt marshes. At Marina 59, rent a boat or kayaks for a day out on the water.

7. Far Rockaway

Jamaica Bay Skyline
Source: Flickr / Jeffrey Bary

Head north to find a vacation rental in Far Rockaway along the Reynolds Channel. Options include condos and single family homes along quiet residential streets. Days pass slowly as your family spends time together boating, biking, and swimming. On the channel, you and your family can hire a charter to take you out for a day of fishing. Explore the other towns that are within easy driving distance along the peninsula or do some shopping in town.

8. Atlantic Beach

Atlantic Beach
Source: Flickr / Brazucany.TV

North of Rockaway Beach and on the next barrier island, you and your family can find a posh vacation rental in the upscale beach community of Atlantic Beach. Shell Creek Park has a little of everything with a waterfront location. You and your family can play tennis, join a game of baseball, and splash in the spray park. Let the younger kids play on the playground equipment. On the way home, catch a bite to eat at one of the locally-owned restaurants.

9. Long Beach

Memorial Day Weekend 2013 at Sun and Surf Beach Club
Source: Flickr / Marianne O’Leary

Join the crowds when you stay in the popular beach community of Long Beach. To learn a little more about the local history, take a tour of the House at 226 West Penn Street, a historic home. Spend a day shopping in the downtown area and grab dinner at one of the local eateries. Catch the train into downtown New York City for a Broadway play or a day at one of the museums.