SIX OF NEW YORK CITY’S BEST BEACHES
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Probably the most well-known of all New York City beaches, Coney Island is also the most entertaining. The 2.7-mile Riegelmann Boardwalk is the home of Nathan’s Famous, B&B Carousell, and the Cyclone Roller Coaster, among other attractions, but don’t let all the fun distract you. The beach itself is broad and deep, and although it gets packed on weekends, there’s always a small stretch of sand waiting to be occupied.
From Times Square Station, take the Q subway towards Brooklyn to the West 8th Street-New York Aquarium stop, or the N to the Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue stop.
Travel time: 1 hr and 15 min
Coney Island’s calmer sibling, this beach is a bit more relaxed and not quite as touristy, but Brighton Beach still stays busy with local sun worshippers and ocean lovers. Also referred to as Little Odessa, the neighborhood has strong Russian and Ukrainian roots, so don’t skip the food. When your appetite calls, step off the beach for a bowl of borscht or a plate of sweet crepes. Wash it all down with an ice-cold Baltika beer or a shot of Russian vodka. Nostrovia! Fun fact: Neil Simon’s play Brighton Beach Memoirs is set here.
From Times Square Station, take the Q subway towards Brooklyn to the Brighton Beach stop.
Travel Time: 1 hr and 5 min
Despite decimation from Hurricane Sandy in 2012, this beach is back and better than ever. As the city’s only legal surfing beach, Rockaway is terrific for sunbathing, swimming and watching the action as surfers ride the waves. Besides tons of beautiful beach, Rockaway features playgrounds, barbecue areas, baseball fields, volleyball and basketball courts, and special events all summer long.
From Times Square Station, take the A subway towards Brooklyn to the Beach 90th Street-Holland stop.
Travel Time: 1 hr and 20 min
Also in the Rockaways, this beach is a favorite among New Yorkers. Called “The People’s Beach,” Jacob Riis isn’t as crowded as Rockaway or some of Brooklyn’s beaches, and the National Park Service maintains it, so count on it staying reasonably clean. Although it’s closed to the public, the restored 1932 Art Deco Bathhouse is excellent for Instagram shots.
From Times Square Station, take the 2 subway to the Flatbush Avenue station, and transfer to the Q35 bus. Plenty of fellow beachgoers will be on this bus during the summer season. Get off at Jacob Riis Park.
Travel Time: 1 hr and 35 min
When you’re looking to venture to the beach for a day, don’t forget Staten Island. Hop the ferry and explore the two-miles of shoreline behind the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Rent a bike and cruise the two-mile path along the boardwalk and enjoy fireworks and other activities on Wednesdays at dusk. If you prefer to spend your beach time on the water, kayak or fish from the Ocean Breeze Fishing Pier.
From Times Square Station, Take the 1 subway downtown to the Staten Island Ferry. Hop on the ferry, then grab the S81 or S51 bus from the ferry terminal. The bus will stop across the street from the entrance to South Beach.
Travel Time: 1 hr and 30 min
No, it’s not on the ocean, but the Long Island Sound. When Orchard Beach opened in the 1930s, it was dubbed “The Riviera of New York City.” Today, the 1.1 mile, 115-acre refuge in Pelham Bay Park is the Bronx’s only public beach and a go-to for Bronxites. Plenty of concessions and spots to picnic, 26 basketball courts, a boardwalk, and a central pavilion provide tons to do at Orchard Beach.
From Times Square Station, Take the 2 subway uptown to the Bx12 bus toward Orchard Beach. Get off at the Orchard Beach stop.
Travel Time: 1 hr and 15 min
Tracy Kaler is a ballet dancer turned interior designer turned lifestyle and travel writer who blogs at tracysnewyorklife.com. Find her byline in The Telegraph, IN New York Magazine, TravelMag, National Geographic, Barron's, amNewYork and others. When she’s not glued to her laptop, you’ll find her wandering the streets of New York City or off discovering another part of the planet.