Sure, you can hitch a ride to Rockaway Beach, as the Ramones famously directed, but why do that when someone else can do all the work? We’ve mapped out a minute-by-minute guide to one of the best beaches near NYC, from the party bus that’ll pick you up to the spot to enjoy cocktails and scenic views after a long day of fun in the sun.
Start the day by making a busload of new friends on the Rockaway Beach Bus, which picks up passengers at bars throughout the Lower East Side, East Village, Williamsburg and Bushwick—and, get this, offers unlimited booze and throwback hip-hop tunes during the journey to Rockaway hot spots such as Rippers and Rockaway Brewery.
Looking to pop your surfer cherry or brush up on your boarding skills? Book a lesson with Locals Surf School, and meet your guide at the shore near Beach 69th Street.
After an hour of instruction, you’ll want to relax, so hop on the boardwalk to scope a spot on the sand around Beach 73rd Street, where there are fewer sunbathers.
Then refuel at Rippers (8601 Shore Front Pkwy), about a 10-minute walk away—just follow the sound of the crowd enjoying drinks and DJs.
From there, venture inland to shop relaxed wares like jumpsuits, kaftans and Maui Babe Browning Lotion at year-round boutique Off Season (92-12 Rockaway Beach Blvd).
Then continue past the Beach 90th Street train station to Jamaica Bay and grab a spot on the deck at Thai Rock (375 Beach 92nd St; 718-945-5111). This magical piece of paradise has excellent Thai food, killer mai tais, sweet classic-rock jams and perhaps the best sunset views in New York City. For real.