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20 Best Beaches in NYC (& Near NYC)

In Brooklyn, Guides, New York, See & Do by Megan I2 Comments

Did you know there are incredible beaches in NYC? Yep, and there are also many New York beaches nearby that make for a great day trip, some of which are connected by public transportation meaning you don’t even need a car to have an epic NYC beach day!

Here are some of the top beaches near NYC that are perfect for those spending summer in the city or looking for a little beach respite! This guide will cover an overview of each of these beaches near NYC, how to get there, and what they offer.

Also, be sure to check out our guide to best beaches in Brooklyn to help you pick where to lounge in the sand and sun during your time in the city!

Best New York Beaches

Coney Island

Coney Island Beach half empty from tourists

Brooklyn

Coney Island is a famous beach and boardwalk that makes for a great day spent out in the sun! This sandy NYC beach is next to one of the most iconic attractions in the city, the Coney Island amusement parks and the famous Wonder Wheel!

In the summer months, you can expect that Coney Island attracts flocks of crowds for not only beachgoers but those enjoying a day at one of the most historic amusement parks and boardwalks in the country.

Riegelman Boardwalk, aka Coney Island boardwalk, offers many amenities and places to eat so that you can spend all day there without getting bored or hungry. This is one of the best beaches near NYC due to everything available from public bathrooms, restaurants, entertainment, and convenience to public transportation.

From 10 AM to 6 PM, you can expect to find lifeguards on duty throughout the entire shoreline specifically during the summer season. Keep in mind that swimming during any other hours is prohibited!

Be sure to explore our entire guide for best things to do at Coney Island to add to your NYC beach day and our guide for how to get to Coney Island to make your entire trip a breeze.

You can take the D, F, N, or  Q train straight from Manhattan to the Coney Island  – Stillwell Ave subway station, you can also get off at Nepture Ave or Ocean Parkway Stations depending on what part of the beach you’re trying to go to.

Taking the subway is one of the fastest and most affordable options, costing only $2.75 each way and taking around 30 minutes to an hour at most if you’re coming from Brooklyn.

If you want to venture out to Coney Island by car, you can expect the ride to last around 30-45 minutes if you’re coming from Brooklyn. The most popular way to get to Coney Island is to take I-278 W and then onto Belt Parkway E. Then, most people take exit 6 on Crospey Avenue in Coney Island!

Keep in mind you’ll want to come early if you want to snag a prime parking spot during a summer day. Once you get to Coney Island, there will be many places to park depending on where you want to start out your adventure! 

Rockaways

Rockaway Beach lifeguard chair in NYC

Queens

Rockaway Beach is a beautiful beach in Queens that NYC residents love to visit all year long. This beach stretches for over 5 miles and offers a 5.5-mile boardwalk that’s great for sunset viewing, sunbathing, skateboarding, or playing volleyball on the sand.

This is one of the best NYC beaches for people who don’t want to travel too far as it’s an easy commute via the ferry service or subway from the city.

Although you can expect to find more food options during the peak summer season, you’ll find vendors all year round that offer Italian ice, pizza, hot dogs, and bars with great outdoor seating options. There are also plenty of public restrooms here.

Getting to Rockaway beach from Manhattan is quite easy by subway! First, you’ll take the A train to Broad Channel. Then, you’ll transfer to the S and stop at Rockaway Park-Beach 116th Street. From there, the beach will be a short walk away! 

You can also take the ferry service from Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan or Brooklyn Army Terminal in Red Hook, Brooklyn, which takes about an hour if you’re departing from Manhattan and 15 minutes less if you’re boarding in Brooklyn, you can see the time table here.

If you want to get to Rockaway Beach by car, you can expect the drive to take around 40-50 minutes from Brooklyn or  Manhattan. The most popular route is via the I-495 E, which is the straightest way to get there. Unlike other beaches in NYC, getting to the Rockaways won’t take long if you’re a local! 

Jacob Riis

Jacob Riis Beach near Brooklyn

Queens

The People’s Beach at Jacob Riis Park is a National Parks Service Beach that offers many concessions, ball courts, and great views. This is one of the best beaches near NYC for people who are looking for a gorgeous, quiet beach to relax at.

Lifeguards are on duty between Memorial Day and Labor Day from 10 AM – 6 PM. However, the beach and park are open from 6 AM – 9 PM every day. From Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, parking is $10 per day. At other times, parking is free. 

Once you’re at the beach, you can expect to find restrooms, outdoor showers, a playground, and food services with a nice beer garden area you can get a nice refreshing brew to cool you off on those hot summer days.

If you want to take a day trip to The People’s Beach at Jacob Riis Park, you can take the 2 train to Flatbush Avenue. From there, you can transfer to the Q35 bus. After the bridge, you can stop at Jacob Riis and get off right inside the park on the beach! 

It’s also easy to use a rideshare app to the beach, but we will warn you that it gets tricky to get a rideshare app driver to come pick you up when you’re ready to leave. We do not recommend this option, instead we recommend using the bus or coming when you have a car yourself.

If you want to drive to Jacob Riis Beach from NYC, you can expect the journey to take about 45 minutes. The most straightforward route is via Belt Pkwy. 

Midland Beach

Staten Island

Midland Beach is a neighborhood in Staten Island that shares the Franklin D. Roosevelt boardwalk with South Beach! However, Midland Beach is the more popular beach of the two and one of the best NYC beaches to check out with great views of the Verazzano Narrows Bridge!

Enjoy volleyball courts, long stretches of sandy beaches, playgrounds, shuffleboard, and the boardwalk with those bridge views! During the summer months, you can expect a lifeguard on duty making it one of the great family-friendly New York beaches.

At Midland Beach, you can expect to find many great restaurants, including Jac Mao and Violette’s Cellar. Every Wednesday, there are fireworks by the boardwalk, making it a great place to walk off dinner or go for an evening bike ride!

Midland Beach is one of the most family-friendly beaches near NYC since it offers many free parking options, grassy areas, and playgrounds all year long. 

Taking the subway from Manhattan to Midland Beach is an easy trip that won’t take longer than one hour. Simply take the SIM6 bus the entire way through until you hit the final destination!

Going to Midland Beach from Lower Manhattan or Brooklyn by car typically takes around 45 minutes since it’s a 17-mile drive. The most straightforward route is to take the I-278 W and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge until you reach Midland Beach! This is one of the best beaches in NYC for people who want to take a day trip! 

Main Beach (East Hampton) 

white sandy Coopers Beach in Southampton in the Hamptons Long Island New York

Hamptons, Long Island

Some of the best beaches near NYC can be found in the Hamptons on Long Island, as a matter of fact, there are plenty of incredible Hamptons beaches to check out and it’s even possible a day trip to the Hamptons from the city if you don’t have the time or budget to spend a long holiday on a Hamptons getaway.

The most popular thing to do in East Hampton is to visit Main Beach. In fact, some people even like to visit Main Beach from NYC! Keep in mind that if you want to spend all day at Main Beach, it’s best to leave the city in early the morning so that you have ample time once you arrive and can start thinking about heading back late afternoon or early evening if you want to stick around for dinner.

Once you’re at Main Beach, you can expect to find showers, bathrooms, changing rooms, and over 50 restaurants within just a few miles! There are also plenty of parking options and lifeguards on duty during the peak summer season.

Driving to Main Beach in East Hampton from Manhattan or Brooklyn will take approximately 3 hours total since this beach is on the Eastern end of the island.

The most popular way to get to Main Beach from the city is to take the I-495 E. Keep in mind on weekends you might sit in more traffic, so taking the train might be a better option and you can just go to the beach and not worry about parking, traffic, or a car.

If you’d rather take public transportation to Main Beach instead of driving, the LIRR and Hampton Jitney are the best options. The Hampton Jitney goes to Main Beach from Manhattan more often than the LIRR and takes about 3 hours total, be sure to check our full guide on how get from NYC to the Hamptons for all the best options.

Taking the LIRR is a great way to get to Main Beach. However, be sure to check the schedule online and buy tickets ahead of time so you know when the LIRR will be leaving. Once you buy tickets, the LIRR will take you from Penn Station all the way to East Hampton! From there, Main Beach will be a quick walk. 

Besides being one of the best beaches near NYC, Main Beach in East Hampton has been named one of the top beaches on the East Coast.

Orchard Beach

Bronx

Orchard Beach is a popular NYC beach in the Bronx that offers a long boardwalk and various courts to play basketball and volleyball and is the only NYC beach in the Bronx to check out!

Located on the Long Island Sound and Pelham Bay Park with a view of City Island, Orchard Beach is also nearby many lodging areas and restaurants! This is one of the best beaches in NYC for locals who want a quick escape from the city and don’t need to travel too far (depending on where you’re leaving from that is).

Of the beaches in NYC to choose from, Orchard Beach is considered the “Riveria of NYC,” according to NYC’s tourism page.

Keep in mind that this beach is not pet friendly and when it’s not summertime, there are no lifeguards on duty and it’s prohibited to swim in the beach. In the peak summer season, lifeguards are on duty from 10 AM to 6 PM, keep in mind that the beach closes by 7 PM.

If you want to visit Orchard Beach in the Bronx from Manhattan, you can expect the drive to take no longer than an hour from downtown Manhattan and around 45 minutes if you’re coming from Midtown or Brooklyn. The most popular route to take is FDR Dr. and I-278 E the entire way.

There is a small fee for parking which varies from weekday to weekend, expect to pay anywhere from $8-$15 depending on the day you go.

You can also take the 6 train from Manhattan to this beach the entire way through if you’re looking for a cheaper way to travel. Another option is to take the BX29 and Q50 buses until you get there! 

If you live in the Bronx, BX12 local buses serve the beach and there are many shuttles to take that operate between Orchard Beach and The Pelham Bay Park 6 Station. 

Manhattan Beach

Brooklyn

Manhattan Beach is a picturesque, residential neighborhood in Brooklyn that is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean and just east of Brighton Beach, another popular New York beach.

Manhattan Beach Park is one of the most popular destinations in the area. At this park, you can find a long boardwalk, concession stands, and the beach that is open for swimming in the summer!

This beach is located on the Southern tip of Brooklyn and you can expect it to be crowded during the summertime. However, the water is great for swimming!

Keep in mind that parking is $7 per day on weekdays and $22 per day on weekends and holidays. Also, the parking lot is only open during the summer season. However, there are many beaches and parks nearby that offer parking as well!

You can find public restrooms at the beach, which is great if you plan on spending an entire day at this popular New York beach!

If you’re driving from Manhattan to Manhattan Beach, you can expect the drive to be around 45 minutes to an hour-long, depending on how far uptown you’re located. The most popular route is to take Ocean Pkwy the whole way through.

If you want to take the subway to Manhattan Beach, you can take the Q train without having to transfer! This is one of the best beaches in NYC for people who don’t want to travel too far from the city. 

Long Beach 

Long Island

Long Beach is a city and beach in Nassau County that makes up the South Shore in Long Island and is another place to find some of the most popular New York beaches for a gorgeous summer day!

At Long Beach, you can expect to find a lively boardwalk, city beach playground, and Ocean Beach Park.

Ocean Beach Park is one of the most sought-after beaches near NYC in Long Beach. This lively area contains a long boardwalk with many different food options and events like outdoor movie nights!

This beach also has seasonal lifeguards on duty, making it a great place for families with younger children typically from Memorial Day through Labor Day from 9 AM to 6 PM.

If you want to travel from Manhattan to Long Beach Island, you have a few options. One of the cheapest options is to take the line 559 bus. You can also take the Parkway Express bus to Forked River and then go to the beach from there. 

If you want to drive to Long Beach from NYC, you can expect the drive to last around 90 minutes. The fastest way to get to Long Beach from NYC is to take the Garden State Pkwy the entire way through. 

Asbury Park

Jersey Shore, New Jersey

Located on the Jersey Shore of New Jersey is another popular beach near NYC. Ashbury Park offers a beautiful shoreline and the beachfront boardwalk draw many locals and tourists all year long!

If you decide to visit Asbury Park, you can expect to find shops, arcade games, restaurants, and cafes in addition to the sandy beaches making it a great family-friendly beach day.

Asbury Park is home to the Stone Pony live music venue and The Silverball Museum’s arcade games, making it a great place for large groups, families with children, and people who are celebrating a special event! There are also many hotels and other beaches nearby, making it a great area to stay for more than just a day.

Driving from Manhattan to Asbury Park typically takes around 2.5 hours. The quickest way to get there from Manhattan is to take the I-95 S and Garden State Pkwy! 

If you want to go from NYC to Asbury Park by subway, you can head to Penn Station and hop on the North Jersey Coast Line train toward Bayhead. Eventually, you’ll stop at Asbury Park! This subway ride typically takes around 1 hour and 45 minutes, making it both a cheaper and faster option than driving. 

Brighton Beach

Brighton Beach in Brooklyn with Coney Island in the backdrop

Brooklyn

Another one of the best New York beaches in Brooklyn tucked on the shoreline between Coney Island beach and Manhattan Beach is Brighton Beach.

Brighton Beach is famous for being a Russian enclave of the city and you can feel the influences from Russia here from the restaurants along the boardwalk and shops you’ll find on your way to or from this NYC beach.

There are ample places to pick a spot on the sand with views of the Coney Island rides in the near distance. If you’re hungry you can eat at any of the restaurants on the boardwalk or visit the Brighton Beach neighborhood for more options.

Driving to Brighton Beach from Manhattan typically takes around 45 minutes. The most popular way to get there is via Ocean Pkwy. However, you can also take the I-278 W onto Belt Pkwy if you’re not in a hurry.

If you want to visit Brighton Beach by taking the subway down from Manhattan or even from Brooklyn, you have a few options. The two quickest options are to either take the F and then the B or to take the L and then the Q. Both will get you to Brighton Beach from lower Manhattan in just over an hour. You can also take the B train straight from the East Village!

South Beach

Staten Island

Briefly mentioned earlier on this guide to New York beaches and close to Midland Beach is South Beach. South Beach is a beach in Staten Island that is located on the East Shore, which is directly south of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge.

This is the giant bridge that connects Staten Island to Brooklyn. Since it is the only platform that connects the narrows, it draws many tourists and locals that want to travel to or from Staten Island or see the views from the bridge!

Enjoy a day on the beautiful sandy stretch of beach, walk along the FDR boardwalk, or hop between Midland Beach and South Beach to switch things up since both of these NYC beaches are adjacent to one another. Be sure to catch a view of the Lower Bay from the Ocean Breeze Fishing Pier while you’re here too.

Unlike other NYC beaches, driving to South Beach from Manhattan will only take around 30 minutes if you take the I-278 W the entire way through. Taking public transportation with a combo of the subway and bus will take longer but is doable, it’s best to plug the directions into Google Maps to get the exact route you’ll need to get to this New York beach!

Sandy Hook

Jersey Shore, New Jersey

Another one of the best beaches near NYC to visit is Sandy Hook Beach using the Seastreak ferry in the city to get you to this lovely, sandy beach in New Jersey overlooking the lower New York Harbor.

This beach is open to visit year-round and is more lively during the summer season when lifeguards are on duty and you can swim and is a popular weekend getaway along with being a popular day trip.

Sandy Hook Beach is in Gateway National Park and is popular not only for a great New York beach day but also attracts surfers, winder surfers, hikers, bird watchers, and people looking for a great place to picnic along the waterfront.

Once you reach Sandy Hook Beach, you can expect to find many food trucks and vendors plus places to grill. You’ll also be able to find many places to fish from the boardwalk and bathrooms that are well cleaned. 

Driving to Sandy Hook Beach from lower Manhattan will take no more than 40 minutes if you take the I-278 W to the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge.

The easiest and most scenic way to get to this New York beach is via ferry. There are daily ferries that operate from Manhattan that take you directly to Sandy Hook in 35 minutes using the Seastreak Ferry making it very convenient for city folks to get out to this beach near NYC.

Fort Tilden Beach

Queens

Fort Tilden Beach is a beach in Queens at Breezy Point located near The People’s Beach at Jacob Riis mentioned earlier on this guide to the best New York beaches!

Located in the Gateway National Recreation Area, Fort Tilden Beach is also on the National Register or Historic Places and is known for its active volleyball courts and great food options. Although it’s lively during the summer season, you can expect to find a subdued and mellow atmosphere during fall, winter, and spring at this beach. 

Nearby Fort Tilden Beach is Jacob Riis Beach, a Ben & Jerry’s, a food court, and an abandoned military base that many love to scope out! If you’re looking for NYC beaches that have great activities and sightseeing nearby, Fort Tilden Beach is a great pick. 

If you’re looking for somewhere to grab a bite to eat, check out Riis Bazaar or the Silver Gull Beach Club.

Going to Fort Tilden from Manhattan won’t take more than an hour if you take the Belt Pkwy the entire way through if you’re driving your own car.

You can also take a bus and subway combo, like the Q22 train, that stops at Rockaway Point. From there, you can cross the Gil Hodges bridge and head to the beach! No matter how you get to Fort Tilden, most subways and buses stop just a few minutes away from the shoreline. 

Getting to this NYC beach via rideshare is much easier than leaving, we don’t recommend this option unless you’re prepared to take the bus back as it’s hard to get a driver to come to pick you up all the way out here since you’re in a bit of a remote area of the city.

Robert Moses State Park 

Fire Island, Long Island

Robert Moses State Park is a famous state park located in Fire Island, New York. This 875-acre state park is in the southern part of Suffolk County and on the western end of Fire Island. With over five miles of shoreline to enjoy, this state park offers concession stands, lifeguards on duty, swimmable waters, and great views making it one of the most popular beaches near NYC to visit!

With almost 4 million annual visitors, this state park is a must-see. Not only do visitors love to swim in this beach, but surfing, boogie boarding, and fishing is also quite popular. This beach also has a Pitch & Putt Golf Course, Water Tower, and a spacious gazebo that operates on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

Driving to Robert Moses State Park by car won’t take more than 90 minutes. You can take the I-495 E or the Southern State Pkwy the entire way through, keep in mind that Fire Island isn’t exactly car-friendly, which is great when you’re just trying to enjoy the beach. You’ll need to park at one of the paid lots at the state park.

You can also come to Robert Moses State Park from the Babylon train station with a quick bus connection after, which is what we recommend!

Jones Beach

Long Island

Jones Beach is a beach and state park located in Long Island and is one of the best beaches near NYC with over 6.5 miles of white, sandy shoreline, and oceanfront views!

With over 6 million annual visitors, Jones Beach is estimated to be not only one of the most popular beaches near NYC but on the East Coast!

If you make your way to this beach, you can expect to find an outdoor arena with many concerts and musical events throughout the summer season.

You’ll also likely find the 2-mile boardwalk and the Robert Moses Water Tower. During the summertime, Jones Beach offers many free live music events and great restaurants to eat at, such as The Boardwalk Cafe. 

Driving to Jones Beach will take just over an hour if you’re coming from Lower Manhattan and miss out on any traffic. The quickest way to get there by car is to take the Meadowbrook State Pkwy S the entire way through. 

If you want to go to Jones Beach via public transportation, the LIRR is a great way to go. Simply take the LIRR to Freeport. From there, get on the n88 bus for about 20 minutes and stop at Jones Beach, which is why so many people love this as one of the best beaches in New York because it’s easy to get to and there are so many great spots to set up a beach day along the 6.5 miles of beach!

Cedar Grove Beach 

Staten Island

Located at Great Kills Park, you can find another one of the best NYC beaches located on Staten Island. This is one of the more quiet New York beaches to check out as this spot was only opened to the public recently, even though this has been an established beach colony for a century!

Cedar Grove Beach is smaller than the other New York beaches nearby, Midland and South Beach, but don’t let that dissuade you from visiting as it’s often a much more tranquil spot to enjoy a day basking in the sun.

If you’re looking for New York beaches that are almost never crowded, Cedar Grove Beach is the perfect pick! If you make your way to this beach, you can expect to find a long trail, a view of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge.

You can find public showers and restrooms here along with concession stands if you need a snack or drink. It’s not a bad idea to pack your own snacks and drinks too since this is a more quiet area.

Driving to Cedar Grove beach from Manhattan will typically take around an hour. The best way to get there is by taking the I-278 W.

Many people also take the subway and bus combo from the city to Cedar Grove Beach. This route typically doesn’t take more than 2 hours! However, keep in mind that you will have to transfer. 

Cherry Grove Beach

Fire Island, Long Island

Another great beach near NYC located on Fire Island in Long Island that requires a well-planned day trip starting early in the am or a proper overnight trip or weekend getaway is Cherry Grove Beach, one of the most popular New York beaches and resort community.

You can expect to find many fine dining opportunities near the beach, including waterfront restaurants like Pines Bistro and Martini Bar. You can also expect to find great nightlife, which is why you might want to plan a little staycation or overnight summer getaway!

One of Cherry Grove’s most popular nightclubs is Sip N Twirl, the most popular club on all of Fire Island. If you’re looking for New York beaches that offer great nightlife and fun activities, Cherry Grove is the perfect place! 

There are only a few select ways to get to Cherry Grove Beach. The most popular way is via the Sayville Ferry.

However, you can also take a private water taxi after parking at Robert Moses State Park! From there, Cherry Grove will only be a few minutes away. 

Gunnison Beach 

Jersey Shore, New Jersey

Gunnison Beach is located within Sandy Hook, already mentioned as one of the best beaches near NYC. This beach is one of the most popular in Sandy Hook so it’s getting its very own writeup. 

Gunnison Beach is one of the only clothing-optional beaches in the entire region, so feel free to enjoy a nude sunbathing experience if that’s your preferred way to enjoy the sunshine and sand.

You can also expect to find on-duty lifeguards, snack bars, and public restrooms. Gunnison Beach boasts views of the skyline in Lower Manhattan and has a large shore-to-dune perspective that many visitors love. 

Keep in mind that parking before Memorial Day is free and parking during the peak season is $15 per day or $75 for a seasonal pass, so if you plan on coming often you might save some money by opting for the seasonal parking pass.

To get to Gunnison Beach, you can take the bus to Cropsey Avenue. From there, you won’t be far from the beach. You can also drive to Gunnison Beach from NYC via the NJ-36, which will take around 90 minutes. 

Hampton Bays

The Hamptons, Long Island

Another awesome spot in the Hamptons for great New York beaches and doable in a day trip are the beaches of Hampton Bays. Some of the most popular beaches in this area are Ponquogue Beach, Meschutt Beach, and Dune Road. 

Hampton Bays is a great place to go if you’re looking for a spot with lots of beaches next to each other. Many of these beaches offer great food options, lifeguards on duty, and warm waters that are great for swimming during the summer!

There are a few ways to get to Hampton Bays from NYC. Driving from NYC to Hampton Bays will take around 2 hours, but plan on driving around peak hours to not make this drive longer! The most popular way to get there is by taking the I-495 E. Taking the subway takes closer to 3 hours, however, there are many different ways to get there.

You can take the subway, Hampton Ambassador, LIRR, or a bus! If you take the LIRR, you can stop right in Hampton Bays.

If you do choose to do a day trip, you’ll want to leave early in the morning to maximize your time at the beach and be sure to have your timetables or return tickets in advance, otherwise, we recommend making a stay out of it and spending the night or weekend here.

Ocean Bay Park 

Fire Island, Long Island

Another one of the best New York beaches located on Fire Island on the southern shore of Long Island is Ocean Bay Park. This resort community is home to many beaches and great nightlife! 

Ocean Bay Park Beach is a great place to be during the summer if you like crowded beaches and many different options for daytime activities. There are many bars and clubs nearby, including Schooners and Flynn’s. In fact, Flynn’s offers a marina space that can hold up to 50 boats!

Getting to Ocean Bay Park from NYC will take just over two hours. The most popular way to get there is by taking the Southern State Pkwy.

You can also take the LIRR on the Bay Shore Line and stop at Bay Shore Train Station. However, once you’re there, you’ll have to take the ferry or a water taxi to Ocean Bay Park. 


Did we cover all your favorite beaches in NYC and best beaches near NYC? Let us know if we missed one of your favorites, we are always looking for excuses for an NYC beach day!

Comments

  1. Holy smokes!! That’s a lotta beaches.! I take it you’ve been to all of them. Wow

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