New York City Area Beaches
Taking your own break from the concrete jungle might give you insight into local city life that you didn’t expect. Here are some metro-area beaches to try. They’re all accessible by public transit, but renting a car or even a bike for the day will give you some extra flexibility.
Coney Island in Brooklyn is frankly not the most pristine beach you’ll ever visit. But with a wide swath of sand, boardwalk clam shacks, an amusement park, aquarium, baseball stadium and on-beach playgrounds, it’s easy to fritter away the day here. Eat: Try one of the boardwalk Russian cafes in Brighton Beach, ten blocks east. Or head to Randazzo’s in Sheepshead Bay, a few minutes east by car on the BQE or 2 subway stops on the Q. The raw bar and red-sauce seafood dishes are worth the trek. Get there: Subway, car or bike (from Lower Manhattan).
The Rockaways in Queens are still recovering from Sandy but that isn’t keeping surfers and sun worshippers away from this miles-long beach the Ramones made famous. Pick your spot strategically to be near playgrounds, bathrooms and subway. Eat: Concessions that dot the boardwalk are gradually coming back. Rockaway Taco, a few blocks behind the boardwalk is a local favorite. Get there: Subway, car or shuttle bus.
Step onto this mile-long stretch of sand on a quiet weekday and you’ll have a hard time believing you’re in the Bronx. On weekends this park, with its boardwalk and convenient facilities, is as packed as you might expect it to be. But somehow there’s room for everyone. Eat: City Island, a few minutes away by taxi service or car. We skip the overpriced lobster places and head to Johnny’s Reef, a cafeteria style joint where the steamed and fried seafood is reliably fresh if not fancy. We also like the Black Whale’s funky backyard and awesome crab cake. Get there: Subway and bus or car.
Miles of sand for walking, summer concerts on select evenings and lots of beach volleyball and boogie boarding on weekends make it the perfect Long Island Beach. The only thing missing is the boardwalk, which Sandy destroyed. Eat: Park Avenue, in front of the train station is handy for picking up snacks or lunch before walking 5 blocks to the beach. If you have wheels, head 15 minutes east to Bayside Drive in Point Lookout. The Buoy Bar or the Point Lookout Clam Bar are perfect for nursing your sunburn with a beer and basket of steamers. Get there: Long Island Railroad or car.
Thanks to the seasonal ferry service, half the fun is getting to this seven-mile stretch of beach on a barrier island off of the Jersey Shore. There are bay and ocean beaches with several miles of bike trails connecting them. Eat: The park is experimenting with a revolving series of guest food trucks this summer. If you have wheels, plan to have dinner at one of the waterfront restaurants, such at the laid back Inlet Cafe, in the Highlands across the bay. Get there: Ferry (ideally with a bike) or car. Many thanks to Eileen Gunn. To see more articles by Eileen, visit FamiliesGo!, a travel website for busy parents planning family vacations.