Timeout New York Kids

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Best beaches in NYC for families this summer

Families flock to these beaches in NYC, as well as other nearby shores, to enjoy sand, surf and more.

  • Brighton Beach

  • Brighton Beach

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Coney Island

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Coney Island

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Coney Island

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Jacob Riis Park

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Jacob Riis Park

  • Jones Beach

  • Long Beach

  • Long Beach

  • Manhattan Beach

  • Manhattan Beach

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Rockaway Beach

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Rockaway Beach

Brighton Beach


The summer season is here which means the city's beaches are open and ready to greet families. (The beaches in NYC open for swimming on May 25—just in time for Memorial Day weekend.) We've found eleven sandy spots where your crew can enjoy the sun.

Note: Some of the beaches in NYC are still recovering from Hurricane Sandy. For updates, visit NYC Parks' Beach Recovery Guide.

Brighton Beach
Remember, a journey to Brighton Beach isn't complete until you dine at a local Russian spot, or order takeout for an oceanside picnic. It beats packing a cooler. Brighton Beach Ave, Brighton Beach, Brooklyn (nycgovparks.org). Subway: B, Q to Brighton Beach.

Coney Island Beach
Taking your tykes to Coney Island is your duty as a New York parent. OD on cotton candy, gawk at the snake lady, take a ride on the iconic Cyclone or visit action-packed Luna Park. The New York Aquarium also reopens on Memorial Day weekend (it's been closed since Hurricane Sandy). Surf Ave from Corbin Pl to W 37th St, Coney Island, Brooklyn (nycgovparks.org). Subway: D, F, N, Q to Coney Island–Stillwell Ave.

Jacob Riis Park Beach
Airplane-obsessed tots can feel the rumble of jets en route to JFK at this underutilized beach near the airport. If you've got wheels, head to nearby Floyd Bennett Field to inspect antique aircraft in Hangar B (open daily 9am–5pm; free).  From Beach 169th St to Beach 149th St, Rockaway Beach, Queens (718-318-4300, nyharborparks.org). Travel: 2 to Flatbush Ave–Brooklyn College, then take the Q35 bus to Riis Beach.

Jones Beach
While this shore was forced to scale back its operations in 2011, there are still 6.5 miles of sand and a two-mile boardwalk to enjoy. If swimming in the waves intimidates your tots, take them to one of the beach's two pools. Ocean Pkwy at Wantagh Pkwy, Wantagh, NY (516-785-1600, nysparks.state.ny.us). Travel: LIRR to Freeport, then take a shuttle bus to the beach (round-trip from Penn Station $17.50, children ages 5–11 $1.50, children under 5 free). Enter at Field 4.

Long Beach
At this not-too-crowded beach just a few blocks from the LIRR, boardwalk vendors rent out umbrellas ($13) and lounge chairs ($8 each), so you don't have to lug them from home. Nevada Ave, Long Beach, NY (516-431-3890, longbeachny.org). Travel: LIRR to Long Beach (round-trip from Penn Station plus beach admission $21, children ages 5 to 11 $, children under 5 free; beach admission only $12, children under 13 free).

Manhattan Beach
Manhattan Beach may seem like a bit of a paradox, considering that the sandy areas are bordered by a concrete promenade, but the atmosphere is calm and quiet: a more peaceful alternative to neighboring Coney Island. Oriental Blvd, Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn (nycgovparks.org). Travel: B, Q to Brighton Beach, then take the B1 bus to Oriental Blvd.

Midland Beach
There are plenty of activities to keep youngsters occupied at this Staten Island beach. In addition to swimming in the surf, kids can run through sprinklers at the Sea Turtle Fountain, play on equipment at the Playland Playground and enjoy treats from the many concession stands. A stroll down the 2.5 mile Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk is also a must. Father Capodanno Blvd at Naughton Ave, Staten Island (nycgovparks.org). Travel: Staten Island Ferry, then take the S51 bus.

Orchard Beach
The crescent-shaped beach, created by Robert Moses in the 1930s, is only 1.1 miles long and is entirely man-made, with minimal waves. Dining options are limited, so make a day of it and pack a picnic. Pelham Bay Park, Park Dr at Orchard Beach Rd, Bronx (718-885-2275, nycgovparks.org). Travel: 6 to Pelham Bay, then transfer to the Bx12 bus to Orchard Beach Circle-City Island Rd.

Robert Moses Beach
This Long Island state park is a little farther out, but it might be worth the extra travel time if Jones is too crowded for you—and if you have a car (the easiest way to get here). Be forewarned that the easternmost stretch, called Field 5, is clothing-optional. Robert Moses Causeway, Babylon, NY (631-669-0470, nysparks.com). Travel: Southern State Pkwy to Robert Moses Causeway at exit 40. $10 parking fee.

Rockaway Beach
Encompassing more than 170 acres of sand, this family-friendly beach attracts New Yorkers from all five boroughs. Seven playgrounds keep kids happy while wave riders enjoy the city's only surfing areas. Fishing, skating, volleyball, sunning and, of course, swimming are also favorite activities. Rockaway Beach is also an excellent place to test your surfing prowess. The boardwalk and the area's playgrounds are in the process of being rebuilt after Hurricane Sandy—the city expects to have temporary concessions and bathrooms set up in damaged areas by May 25. Boardwalk at Beach 117th St, Rockaway Beach, Queens (718-318-4000, nycgovparks.org). The A train is still under construction from Hurricane Sandy; visit the MTA's site for information.

Sandy Hook
Hop aboard the SeaStreak ferry in Manhattan for a 45-minute ride to immaculate, shell-strewn Sandy Hook. After they've been dropped off near the lighthouse in the Fort Hancock Historic District, kids (four feet and up) can climb 95 steps and a nine-rung ladder to the top. Sandy Hook, NJ (732-872-5970, nps.gov/gate). Travel: Take the SeaStreak ferry from E 35th St at FDR Dr, or from Pier 11 at Wall St. Round-trip ferry $45, ten-trip card $205; children under 13 free.

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