The 10 best beaches near NYC

Summer's here! Time to put on those shades, fill the cooler and lie out on the sand at the best beaches near NYC.

A visit to one of the best beaches near NYC is a great way to cool off during the city's sticky summer. The best part: They're totally free. Jump on the NYC Beach Bus and visit these spots if you need a weekend escape. Or if you'd like to go farther out, see our list of off-the-beaten-track beaches, all an hour away or less. The city-run beaches are open for swimming from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.

RECOMMENDED: See more things to do in NYC this summer

Best beaches near NYC

1

Fort Tilden Beach

NYC’s best-kept secret and lifeguard-free three-mile stretch of clean sand, trees and grassy dunes is so isolated that even on a summer weekend you’ll get a good 50 yards of beach to yourself. Since Fort Tilden Beach is nearly inaccessible via subway or car (unless you have a fancy fishing license), we suggest biking there. Oh, and don’t forget to pack some grub—the area is pretty sparse in terms of eateries and stores.

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Rockaways Free
2

Coney Island Beach

Coney Island is one Brooklyn standby that perfectly juxtaposes old and new. While some might say its peak has come and gone, others would disagree, particularly Dick Zigun, the founder of Coney Island USA, the nonprofit responsible for organizing Coney Island's famed events, including the Mermaid Parade. "The beach is still the main attraction," says Zigun of the shore's three miles of southern exposure. "Some people might prefer the Riviera or Montauk, and maybe our sand isn't as pristine, but we've got half-naked New Yorkers here!"

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Free
3

Brighton Beach

Brighton Beach is largely Russian and Ukrainian, as if its nickname, Little Odessa, weren’t a dead giveaway. Located next to Coney Island, the sandy strip is lined with Russian eateries, so you can get your fill of borscht, kebabs, caviar and vodka while doing some serious people-watching along the boardwalk.

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Free
4

Jacob Riis Park Beach

If you need to escape the city scene, venture to this sandy spot, which is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area. "We're a pretty laid-back beach," one lifeguard tells us. "We have a very eclectic crowd here—all shapes, sizes and ethnicities." Although there aren't many concession stands and restaurants close by, Riis Park Beach Bazaar opens Memorial Day weekend with delicious eats and pop-up vendors.

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Free
5

Jones Beach

Jones Beach is one of New York state’s biggest, with 6.5 miles of sand, two swimming pools, a two-mile boardwalk, miniature golf and the Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center, which offers educational tours. It’s also particularly good for long strolls on the boardwalk with your iPod.

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Long Island Free
6

Orchard Beach

Orchard Beach was created by Robert Moses in the 1930s: It's the Bronx's only public beach and spans 1.1 miles and 115 acres. Dining opportunities at Orchard Beach are limited—there are practically no restaurants, just concession stands. So make a day of it and pack a picnic lunch. The beach's 26 sporting courts are also popular—once your time on the sand is up, get into a game of handball.

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The Bronx Free
7

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 and cool kids can grab all manner of beachy drinks and eats (there's usually live music, too). Fishing, skating, volleyball, sunning and, of course, swimming are also favorite activities. Rockaway Beach is also an excellent place to test your surfing prowess. If you're a novice, summer is the ideal time to start riding low waves, while more experienced boarders should savor hurricane season (September and October).

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Rockaways Free
8

Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach is within walking distance of Brighton Beach, on the east end of the same Brooklyn peninsula. Originally created in 1877 as a summer resort, it's now a popular destination for family picnics and barbecues. If you're tired of the obligatory game of beach volleyball, there are tennis, basketball and handball courts, and two baseball diamonds. A quick heads-up: Ditch the car and take public transportation, as parking costs $20.

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Brooklyn
9

Midland Beach

In the mood for a soothing, hassle-free beach experience? Head to Staten Island's Midland Beach. Part of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Boardwalk and Beach, Midland Beach is known for its popular fishing pier and bike path. It's also home to bocce courts, the Midland Beach War Memorial, the Sea Turtle Fountain and sprinklers (loved by youngsters), and a roller-hockey rink.

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Staten Island Free
10

South Beach

Adjacent to Staten Island's Midland Beach is South Beach. Refurbished after Hurricane Sandy, South Beach has all-new fountains and playing fields. Lie on the sand and listen to the sounds of the Back to the Beach concert festival, or enjoy a meal at the South Fin Grill restaurant on the boardwalk.

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Comments

6 comments
Sarah S
Sarah S

Plum Beach,NY .This one is just beautiful!!!

Lisa W
Lisa W

Coney Island Beach? Really? Trashiest place on earth. How about the lovely Long Beach? A simple train ride from Penn. Grocery store and small shops to stop at on your walk over from the train station. Or Long Branch in Jersey. Another easy train ride, with nice place to get lunch and a sno-cone establishment. Oh yes, jones Beach is beautiful, until you get stranded there when the buses decide they don't want to come and pick up the beachgoers to take them back to the train station (common story).

Melissa H
Melissa H

Don't forget your Packable Pails when heading to the beach! They collapse in one easy motion and fit in your beach bag, suitcase and more!

www.packablepails.com

Robert Bass
Robert Bass

I have been going to New York City's Beaches since I was a child. I am now just short of being officially a senior. I also frequent Long Island beaches, Florida beaches and Caribbean beaches. I mention this to say I notice the differences. Since the Bloomberg era going to the beach in New York( especially Rockaway) has become a less than pleasant experience. First when you finally get down to the sand with all of what you bring ,the first thing that you may find is that there is no life guard there-only Park Department employees( usually unpleasant) telling you that you can not even stick your toes in the water because there is no life guard. You may have to drag all of your belongings about a 1\4 mile to the nearest life guard. When you finally do get there you will be hearded into a small area of ocean. If any one strays out side of the small flagged area the Parks Department or the life guards will be happy to remind you of your transgressions by blowing their whistles which occurs about every three minutes. In short The City is so afraid of getting sued or that some one will drown in ankle deep water that a peaceful day at a New York City Beach is a thing of the past

Milagro
Milagro

whoah this blog is excellent i love reading your articles. Keep up the great work! You realize, a lot of people are searching round for this information, you can aid them greatly.

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