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You want to run across and take a hike among the best beaches in New York. When you come across Manhattan and New York City, the Empire State of Mind automatically starts playing in your head, or at least you will picture Lady Liberty standing tall right in front of you.
Manhattan becomes moist in the summer, and we all become Monica Geller from the Barbados Episode from Friends. Yet, we forget that numerous water bodies surround it and give you access to the top beaches in New York within a small perimeter, either by vehicle or by foot.
During May, even though the climate is pleasant, there would be a slight hike in the humidity. The visitors, locals, and residents hit the trains and ferries equipped with chilly buckets of chillers, seltzers, and chairs to beat the heat and use the incoming summer days by being on the beaches for full-on activities and water adventure sports.
New York City has so many beaches that suit all kinds of travelers. It ranges from family-friendly beaches to couples and best friends wanting to escape into a paradise of the waterfronts of New York City.
These legendary beaches offer sweet tan lines, swimming, bone-chilling roller coaster rides, sea kayaking, exploring nature by hiking, and breathing in the spritz of the seaside towns.
The borough beaches, the famous Hamptons, and the famed Jersey Shore will be found. Whether you plan to visit the city for just chilling or are desperate to take a beach trip during a business trip, running off to the beach always sounds like a dream come true, and the beaches in New York are never too far from the heart of the city.
If you plan to explore the beaches of Long Island, New Jersey, it’s a different story as they have its own rules and regulations.
Remember that the NYC and Staten Island beaches are unpaid, and you can only swim when a lifeguard is on duty. These beaches stay open from the end of May through Labor Day in September from 10 am to 6 pm.
1. Coney Island Beach
Titled as one of the best beaches in New York, Coney Island is like a trip to the Willy Wonkas factory. Coney Island Beach is located at the brim of Brooklyn and can be easily accessed by the metro. It offers two amusement parks, Deno’s Wonder Wheel and Luna Park. It has the epic cyclone roller coaster, boardwalks, and the legendary Nathan’s famous hot dogs.
The actual restaurant at Coney Island is situated at the corner of Surf and Still Well, home to the yearly mouth stuffing, tummy rumbling, almost-about-to-throw-up annual hot dog eating contest on the Independence Day weekend. Manhattan Beach is located on the southern end of Brooklyn.
Manhattan Beach is a family-friendly neighborhood at the southern tip of Brooklyn with baseball fields, tennis, volleyball, handball, and basketball courts.
The Coney Island beach is a pivotal attraction for the famous mermaid parade in June, which draws crowds from the city and is the biggest art parade in the US to celebrate the warm summer at the doorsteps.
2. Brighton Beach
If you plan to take a detour from Coney Island by walking distance toward the east, you’ll come across Brighton Beach, which is located in a neighborhood that faces the Atlantic coast and is one of the best beaches in New York.
Brighton Beach is comparatively less people-y than Coney Island, and you can find different kinds of people savoring the beach with their BYO picnic tables and beach volley.
The Brighton beach is equipped with Europeans hailing from the Eastern United States. There are Russian Grocery Stores, salivating Eastern European delicacies, delis, and amazing restaurants that serve hot and fresh Pierogies. Therefore, this beach is titled Little Odessa due to the neighbouring shops.
Walking through the coastline of Brighton Beach Avenue, you can find the cutest secluded beach, Manhattan Beach. It is a popular beach towards the east end of the Brooklyn Peninsula.
This beach park offers sports such as tennis, basketball, handball, and even the American favorite baseball. For those uninterested in sports, there are several drive-in theaters where iconic movies are played all summer.
3. Jones Beach State Park
Jones Beach is one of the best beaches in New York. It is located on the south beach shore of Long Beach and is by far the most popular and heavily visited beach in New York and the entire east coast.
It spans 6.5 miles. It is a well-served beach for the public that spans a two-mile-long boardwalk. It has an art deco boathouse, several parking fields, and sporty activities like mini-golf and shuffleboard.
If you plan to catch up on extravagant concerts at the North Well Health outdoorsy arena, it gets hotshots from the industry like Jimmy Buffet and Dave Mathews.
The Jones Beach State Park rests on Jones Beach Island, a charming barrier island. It has sugary white sand, pristine cerulean water, and a boatload of amenities. The Jones Beach State Park holds the popular Beth Page air show with the Blue Angels every Memorial Day weekend.
An arena for the Fourth of July Independence Day fireworks, softball, volleyball championships, and unpaid entertainment at the band shell.
There are concession stands for Jones Beach, as it can be accessed by your four-wheeled vehicle, ferries, and cycles. If you possess the New York State Empire passport, you can hit the beaches for free of cash. Otherwise, there is a fee of $10 for vehicle use.
You must remember that when the summer season peaks, it gets crazily crowded, and the best times to visit are early mornings and evenings during the picturesque sunset.
Swimming can be allowed only when there are lifeguards on duty. Fun sports like stand-up paddle boarding, surfing, and windsurfing are allowed along the coastline at certain locations.
4. Long Beach, Long Island
An almost hour-long equivalent ride on the Long Island Railroad from Manhattan will help you reach the white and soft sand of a long beach with gentle waves, where you can relax, sunbathe, swim across the waters, and pick up a swell of waves. Umbrellas and chairs will be available to relax for rent from several renters/shops.
The long beach boardwalk is 2.2 miles long and was renovated after Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The place is freely accessible and blissful for hiking, biking, walking, and even trial across the wilderness.
During summer, there are free concerts, a boardwalk art festival, and a large farmers market selling their produce at the Kennedy Plaza on the weekends, especially on Saturdays.
If you plan to practice surfing, Skudin Surf Long Beach is located at the center of the beach. The beach has activities for all age groups, and it is located off the South Shore of Long Island, smack-dab in the middle of the island that gives it its name.
There are concession stands where a single pass is required to receive access to this famous New York beach in the summer. The prices may be a wee bit pricey as it is $12 for locals and residents and $15 for tourists.
The rails offer single-day getaway deals during the weekends and beach season, including a pass to the beach and coupons to participate in retailers along with the train ride.
5. Main Beach, East Hampton
There is a pavilion where you can sunbathe in the open, find storage to lock your items, get chillers, and snack on something while you’re at it. There are many shops and restaurants on Main Beach Street to explore.
If you plan to stay in the main beach area, you can take your peddlers to the beach to get rid of the pricey parking fee. You can do several adventure sports such as kayaking, surfing, and paddle boarding, all the materials are available for rent, and some places offer sessions if you plan to expose your skills on the water. It is one of the best beaches in New York City.
6. Robert Moses State Park
Visiting one of the best beaches in New York feels like seeing umbrellas on a rainy day. Colorful umbrellas stretched for miles at the sandy beaches of Robert Moses State Park on the west end of Fire Island’s national recreation area. This barrier island parallels a long island in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Robert Moses State Park is a peddler-friendly hub in New York City that offers closer beach visiting opportunities than the Hampton, which is just adoring. It is the only beach where surfing is allowed.
There is also the Kismet beach right next to this park situated in New York City, which is also part of the Fire Island National Seashore. Visitors can get an ocean view and breathe in the sight of the two-century-old Fire Island lighthouse.
You can hike up 192 steps to the top for 360-degree views of the island and what stretches beyond it. You can reach the Robert Moses State Park using public transportation such as a train or a bus.
7. Orchard Beach
The Orchard Beach in Pelham Bay Park is the Bronx’s only public beach in New York City and is the Riviera of New York, also called among the best beaches of New York.
It is a people-friendly spot with several amenities. The 1.1-mile crescent-shaped beach portrays the long island sound and depicts a marvelous view of the city island. There are private outdoor showers and areas where you can change.
Orchard Beach can be accessed by public transportation, and barbecuing is permitted on the northern and southern side picnic areas of the best beaches in New York.
It is the largest park beach in New York City. It is thrice the size of a central park and has kilometers of bridleways and bird-watching trails ideal for spotting young and adult ospreys.
The Orchard Beach offers several golf courses, playing fields, sports grounds, and sports courts. The Bartow Pell Mansion, situated on the park’s northern portion, is an iconic national historic landmark that features the country’s finest revival interiors.
Vehicles aren’t allowed on most of Fire Island, making it the perfect getaway for those sick of city traffic. The journey to Fire Island will involve a train, shuttle, and ferry, but once you arrive, you will realize it was worth it.
8. Rockaway Beach
The beach is situated on the Long Rockaway Peninsula in Queens and less crowded than Coney Island. The Rockaway beach is the only shoreline within the hustle and bustle of the city suitable for surfing, indicating that the waves are swell and humongous. The renovated boardwalk has Superstorm Sandy, which is ready for prime time.
Queens Rockaway Beach on the Peninsula is significantly less crowded than Coney Island, and that’s part of the appeal. The Queens Rockaway Beach offers not only great swimming.
But on the days when the waves are a little bigger, you can also surf on one of the best beaches in New York. The largest urban beach in the country stretches from Beach 3rd to Beach 153rd Streets.
You can snack on a few tacos from the Rockaway Beach Surf Club. The place is a national destination for the ever-popular food stand at the Taco Way beach. You can hitch a ride on the park bound A train subway or the ferry from the 11th pier on Wall Street to reach this lengthy piece of paradise.
9. Jacob Riis Park Beach
The People’s Beach still holds its reputation for welcoming thousands of visitors. Apart from tan, you will gain several things from the Jacob Riis Park beach, thanks to its new bazaar and the deco boathouse.
Six kilometers from Rockaway Beach and between Jamaica Bay, it is nicknamed by beach lovers as the people’s beach for access to public transit and is one of the best beaches in New York.
You can take the subway train to the Broad Channel, ride the non-greyhound bus, or reach the beach by ferry. The top attraction at Jacob Riis Park Beach is the bazaar, which offers mouth-watering New York City food. The list includes the Ample Hills ice cream, Rockaway clam bar, and Oaxaca tacos.
10. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Boardwalk, Staten Island
It is a combination of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt boardwalk and beach area. The south and midland beaches stretch 5 kilometers from Staten Island Fort Wadsworth to Miller Field’s gateway national recreation area.
It is just a small, windy ride on the ferry from lower Manhattan, and these New York beaches provide endless sandy fun for people of all communities and ages.
There is a senior beach that hosts tables for chess, comfortable benches, and courts to play bocce. The beach visitors can grasp the sightings of the Verrazano Bridge and slowly run along the boardwalk, greeted by the fountain of dolphins in New York City.
Within the Staten Island beach, i.e., the midland beach, there are less crowded options where you can drop your fishing nets at the Ocean Breeze fishing pier, the largest of New York’s best beaches. The Midland Beach war memorial, sea turtle fountain, sprinkler, and playground are known among the upcoming Gen-Z kids.
11. Fort Tilden Beach
During the weekends in the summer, Fort Tilden Beach in Queens, New York City, shows much sign of human activity even though it is located in a densely populated area.
12. Sandy Hook
If you plan to visit New Jersey, check out a sandy hook. It is one of the best beaches in New York, and it has a gateway national recreation area situated at the northern tip of the Jersey shore.
It has something for everyone: a wide, sandy hook beach manned by an array of lifeguards, fishing and nature walks, the history of the oldest operating lighthouse in the US, and the popular nude beach Gunnison.
The South Beach in Staten Island is the newest and has only been open to the public since 2011. The beach is situated in Great Kills Park, once part of an oceanfront bungalow colony, but now it’s an alternative to some other beaches in Staten Island.
For an even more remote experience, strap on the walking shoes and head down to the beach preserve, where a gentle, wooded loop leads to the bluffs with oceanic views and down to a rocky beach untouched by the masses; you can find the Amsterdam beach preserve.
14. Shelter Island
Shelter Island has become more popular recently, followed by renovating an 1872 inn with 37 rooms, suddenly having a place to stay! The Shelter Island beach features a sandy shoreline, cerulean water, and glorious sunset views.
This Long Island Beach has summer visitors from over the globe who have rented or owned a house locally or are a day visit before that.
You can have a fantastic day with your friends or loved ones at Wades Beach, a neighboring beach. At this lovely coastline, you can create new memories with your loved ones and take some time to enjoy the best beaches in New York.
Last Updated on February 9, 2024 by Sathi Chakraborty, MSc Biology