6 Best Beaches Near NYC
Editor’s Note: Travel might be complicated right now, but use our inspirational trip ideas to plan ahead for your next bucket list adventure.
Beach vacations often imply jetting off to a tropical island and shelling out major cash to soak up ocean breezes and sandy shores. While a trip to a faraway beach sounds delightful, we know it’s not always possible to have the time or funds for a trip to an exotic beach destination.
Beachfront getaways are within reach for nearly everyone, including residents of New York City. True, there are no beaches on Manhattan Island, but you’ll find beaches in every other New York City borough. Beaches in NYC offer most of the same pleasures as those faraway shores, as long as you can do without the palm trees. Nearby Long Island also boasts a range of beaches and seaside towns, just a short trip from the city.
We’ve rounded up some details on the best beaches near New York City. There’s a New York beach that will meet the needs of every city dweller, whether it’s for a day trip or weekend getaway. NYC beaches reopened for swimming on July 1, and NYC Parks recommends wearing a face mask when you're not in the water and maintaining at least 6 feet of social distance between groups.
1. Coney Island Beach
Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn offers three miles of coastline and a lively atmosphere. After a dip in the ocean and a bit of sunbathing, there’s lots more to do. Grab a Nathan’s hot dog and stroll down the boardwalk for some of the best people watching in town, or head over to Luna Park for some excitement. Don’t go home without taking at least one spin on the iconic Cyclone roller coaster, Coney Island’s historic thrill ride.
2. Rockaway Beach
Set on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens, this large urban beach is the city’s only legal surfing beach. This popular New York beach is accessible by public transportation, so no worries about parking or getting a ride. Snack bars, barbecue pits, concession stands, restrooms, and showers are among the available amenities. The new Rockaway Hotel makes it a perfect weekend getaway, easily accessible from Manhattan or Brooklyn on the NYC Ferry.
3. Orchard Beach
The only beach in the Bronx, Orchard Beach was once called “The Riviera of New York City.” Set on the western end of the Long Island Sound, the waters are calm for bathing without ocean waves. Orchard Beach is part of Pelham Bay Park with amenities that include snack bars, playgrounds, picnic areas, restrooms, showers, and courts for basketball, volleyball, and handball.
4. Midland Beach
The Borough of Staten Island boasts some of the best beaches in New York. The free Staten Island Ferry takes Manhattanites to Midland Beach with its playground, handball and shuffleboard courts, sea turtle fountain for kids, and veterans memorial honoring local residents who served in America’s wars. The Midland Beach Fishing Pier welcomes anglers, and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk leads to adjacent South Beach, also a popular New York City beach.
5. Brighton Beach
Another Brooklyn beach, Brighton is in the southern part of the borough along the Atlantic Ocean, not far from Coney Island, Manhattan Beach, and Sheepshead Bay. The community is known as “Little Odessa,” recognizing its tight-knit population largely from former Soviet Union countries. Their shops, restaurants, bars, and clubs offer traditional fare like borscht, caviar, Russian vodka, and dumplings.
6. Long Beach
One of the best beaches near New York City is Long Beach, set on a peninsula south of Long Island in Nassau County. Its two-mile long boardwalk was rebuilt after Hurricane Sandy, and benches overlook its pristine sandy shore. Walk or bike on the boardwalk, surf in the waves, or relax on the beach. It’s a convenient escape from the city with a Long Island Railroad stop just a few blocks from the beach.