With summer officially here, there is nothing more relaxing than a day at the beach! Restrictions on swimming at NYC beaches were lifted this week, so why not do your summer right and take a dip, or soak up the sun, with the proper precautions of course.
There are plenty of options for beach fun or relaxation within the 5 boroughs, in addition to Long Island and New Jersey. Taking into account no more than 2 hours of travel from Midtown via public transportation, from Asbury Park Beach to Long Beach, we’ve rounded up destinations that might just have you saying “Sea You at the Beach.”
While it might sound like the usual fun and games, it’s important to practice social distancing, and take proper precautions because, believe it or not, there is still a pandemic lurking out there! To start, spending the whole day at the beach might sound great, but try to limit the length of your visit. Other rules to keep in mind:
- New York State beaches are currently open at 50% capacity (controlled from entrances and exits)
- While swimming, on the beach or on the boardwalk, maintain a 6 feet distance from others
- Beach chairs and blankets should be at least 10 feet apart from others
- Refrain from any large group activities
- Wear a mask when you’re unable to maintain social distancing
- Lastly, when it comes to groups, it’s recommended keeping it to those you live with.
New York City
Coney Island Beach
Probably the most popular local beach (some may argue Rockaway), there are many reasons to visit Coney Island’s beach, its three-mile sandy shoreline and boardwalk being one of them.
To-Do: Even though it ‘s Opening Day has been pushed back, Luna Park is always a good choice for amusement park fun once they do open.
Food/Drink: If you’re looking for a break from the sand, take a stroll on Coney Island’s iconic boardwalk. From Nathan’s Famous hot dogs to cold one from Coney Island Brewery, or a few scoops of Rita’s Italian Ice, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Check this list for current food and drink options that are open on the boardwalk and nearby.
Getting There: Located in Brooklyn, you can take the D, F, or Q train to the last stop ‘Coney Island – Stillwell Avenue.’ The subway station is just a 5-minute walk from the beach! Directions.
If Coney Island is too busy for you, head to it’s quieter neighbor Brighton Beach. Still, you want to make sure you get there early enough to get a good spot.
To-Do: What makes Brighton Beach special, is the history that surrounds the area. If you want to do more than swim, check out their boardwalk, where you will find posters describing the beach’s 19th and 20th-century attractions. If you stroll a few blocks from Brighton Beach Avenue, you’ll find bungalows that remain after all these years.
Food/Drink: If you are looking for food and drink options, stop by the popular beach-side spot restaurant, Tatiana. With an extensive Mojito cocktail list, the Jalapeno-Mango, and Spring Cocoa Mint sound promising. No trip to Brighton Beach, however, is complete without a visit to Gulluoglu for some baklava, a traditional Turkish dessert.
Getting There: Located in Brooklyn, you can take either the B or Q train to Brighton Beach. The beach is also a 5-min walk from the subway. Directions.
Rockaway Beach is great for people who like to do more than just lay on the sand, with its 5.5-mile boardwalk and surf-ready water. The only beach where you can surf in NYC as a matter of fact. Head to Beach 90 Street into the 100’s, for all the action.
To-Do: Edgemere Farm is located at Beach 45th Street, is a volunteer-run half-acre urban farm. You can bike it or take the Q22 bus. Stop by for some freshly picked vegetables, flowers, and herbs!
Food/Drink: For food, pop by the hip burger spot Rippers, known as NYC’s only real beach burger shack. If you’re just looking for a drink, head over to Connolly’s, and grab yourself the ‘Best Pina Colada in New York City’. After all of this, if you’re not too full, the right thing to do is pick up a lobster roll from Lobster Joint.
Getting There: Located in Queens, Rockaway Beach is accessible off the A train and Rockaway Shuttle (which extends to connect with the A at Rockaway Boulevard in the summer). Directions.
Despite its name, Manhattan Beach is in fact in Brooklyn and quite the popular summertime destination.
To-Do: Small and less crowded than most, a lot of beachgoers tend to have picnics on the sand.
Food/Drink: If you would ‘rather not’, food options fall in line with the same ones as Brighton Beach, as they are within a short distance from one another. You can also stop by the popular Kashkar Cafe or Hot Potato House for some authentic Eastern European eats.
Getting There: Located in Brooklyn, take the Q train to Brighton Beach, then take a 20 min walk, or jump on the B1 bus. Directions.
The Bronx’s only public beach, Orchard Beach can get crowded. For this reason, it is a good idea to try and get there a little earlier in the day, especially now that beaches are at 50% capacity.
To-Do: Orchard beach offers 1.1 miles to enjoy. If you want to do something different, however, stroll through Pelham Bay Park or check out the promenade which is perfect for sunset walks.
Food/Drink: Head to City Island for some great food and drink options, which is about 20 minutes by foot from the beach. The Original Crab Shanty offers seafood dishes among other items, like baked clams, buffalo wings, or mozzarella sticks. If you are looking for something sweet, grab a waffle cone or soft serve from Likety Split Ice Cream.
Getting There: Located in the Bronx, take the 6 train to Pelham Bay Park, then catch the Bx29 bus to City Island Avenue, which will leave you with a short walk to the beach. Directions.
With one of the city’s most popular fishing piers and a 2.5-mile stretch, South Beach is another to add to the list.
To-Do: Whether you want to bike ride along the scenic trail, jog along the boardwalk while taking in the views of the Verazzano Bridge, or check out the Fountain of Dolphins, there are many options for beachgoers. Of course, you can also fish off of the Ocean Breeze Fishing Pier!
Food/Drink: Grab a slice of pizza at Staten Island’s original Goodfellas Pizza, which is currently open for pick up. You can also walk to Juicy Lucy BBQ for their award-winning brisket, or Donna Summer Fries, a take on Disco Fries, a New Jersey diner classic.
Jacob Riis Beach
There is a reason that Jacob Riis Beach is nicknamed the “The People’s Beach.” While it is best known for its Art Deco Boathouse, the vibe on the boardwalk is always lively.
To-Do: Fort Tilden which was once a U.S. Army Coast Artillery Post, and served as housing for military and their families during World War II, is currently accessible for passive recreation and has cool abandoned buildings that are still standing amongst marshes, grasslands and sand dunes. Fort Tilden is about a 25 min walk from the beach.
Food/Drink: Riis Park Beach Bazaar recently brought back its outdoor dining (and alcohol), so grab a beer at the beer garden, clams at Rockaway Clam Bar, or try some Moroccan bites at Cuisine By Claudette.
Getting There: Located in Queens, take the A or S to Rockaway Park, then the Q35 or Q22 bus to Jacob Riis Park. Directions.
Whether you want to relax by the 5-mile stretch of sand or stroll down the boardwalk, Long Beach has a chilled-out vibe and is one of the oldest beach-side communities.
To-Do: The Kennedy Plaza Farmers’ Market held in front of Long Beach City Hall, Wednesdays, and Saturdays 9am-2pm.
Food/Drink: If you love seafood, you will definitely enjoy the lobster grilled cheese or ahi tuna from Pop’s Seafood Shack & Grill, which also offers a relaxed outdoor vibe. Alternatively, if you are just looking to grab something to-go, bagels from Max Bialystock are rated the best bagels in Long Beach. Before heading home, check out Dough Hut, for handmade donuts. With flavors like pumpkin spice and french toast, you wouldn’t want to miss out.
Entry: A beach pass must be purchased ($12 for residents and $15 for non-residents). Non-resident daily passes will only be sold until the beach reaches capacity, so try to get in early if you can.
With 6.5 miles of sand, Jones Beach has the longest stretch of sand on Long Island and is famous for its white sand. Jones beach is great for a day of surfing, fishing, and minigolf.
To-Do: Wild Play Element Parks is right on the boardwalk and features a 700ft zip line stretching along the beach, aerial adventures for adults or kids, and a 40ft jump.
Food/Drink: For food options walk over to Jones Beach SoBol, for some beachy acai bowls or smoothies.
Asbury Park Beach
Asbury Park is a great place to stroll the boardwalk or enjoy the beach and surf.
To-Do: Along the boardwalk, you will find the Wooden Walls Project where art fills the empty walls of the boardwalk, with murals from internationally-recognized artists.
Food/Drink: If you start to feel a little hungry, Pizza Porta just reopened for outside dining and pick up, or grab some chicken and waffles at Cardinal Provisions. In the mood for some coffee? You will find the popular coffee shop, High Voltage, also located on the boardwalk.
Getting There: Asbury Park is best reached via train on New Jersey Transit‘s North Jersey Coast Line toward Bayhead. From Penn Station to Asbury Park, it’s about a 2-hour ride.
Entry: Beach passes are required, available for purchase through the Viply mobile app each day at 6:30 pm, for the next day. Monday to Friday passes are $5, and $7 on weekends and holidays.
Sandy Hook Beach
At the northernest point of New Jersey’s shoreline, the 7-mile Sandy Hook is great for fishing and bird watching.
To-Do: The beach is home to Sandy Hook Lighthouse, the oldest working lighthouse in the United States.
Food/Drink: As far as food goes, there are usually different food truck vendors in the parking lots at the beach. It is a good idea to take food with you as well, as the food truck situation might be limited due to the current regulations.
Getting There: Take a 45-minute, ride on the Seastreak Ferry ($28 one way for adults) which departs from East 35th Street and Wall Street Piers seven days a week.
With this list, there is no reason you should have to venture far to enjoy a day at the beach, with plenty to do (even with the usual haunts not accessible ATM) and food and drink within reach. If you do make it out, be sure to practice social distancing, wear a mask, and stay safe.