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NYC Beaches

We scanned the shorelines for the city’s prime sunbathing and swimming spots, as well as the coolest nearby attractions.


With the biggest waves in the city, a two-year project to build new sports and concert venues, and a boardwalk lined with artisanal food vendors, this surfing hot spot has become one of the busiest oceanfronts in the five boroughs. You have ample concession options, thanks to the Rockaway Beach Club; this summer, newcomers such as Steve’s Ice Cream and Lobster Joint join returning favorites like Rockaway Taco, Caracas Arepa Bar and Veggie Island. • Boardwalk between Beach 9th and Beach 149th Sts, the Rockaways, Queens (718-318-4000, nyc.gov/parks). Beach daily 6am–9pm, boardwalk daily 6am–10pm.
Photo illustration: Bryan Mayes; Photograph: Jessica Lin


New York’s most famous boardwalk leads you past three miles of sandy dunes, which are often crowded with families enjoying a beach day. Once you’ve had your fill of gazing at the waves, check out one of the shore’s other attractions, such as hot-dog purveyor Nathan’s Famous, the rides at Luna Park and the iconic Coney Island Cyclone. • Surf Ave between Ocean Pkwy and W 37th St, Coney Island, Brooklyn (718-946-1350, nyc.gov/parks). Daily 6am–9pm.
Photo illustration: Bryan Mayes; Photograph: Virginia Rollison


The sandy plot along Staten Island’s eastern waterfront (and in between equally scenic South Beach and Cedar Grove Beach, a former private club that opened to the public last summer), features some of city’s most pristine—and least crowded—shores. • Father Capodanno Blvd between Greeley and Seaview Aves, Staten Island (nyc.gov/parks). Daily 10am–6pm.
Photo illustration: Bryan Mayes; Photograph: Jessica Lin


Robert Moses developed the one-mile stretch of sand that circles Pelham Bay, which is the only bathing spot in the Bronx. The park received a culinary upgrade this year, as local eatery Havana Cafe takes over the three concession stands, with each selling cuisine the borough’s known for: Italian, seafood and Latin. • Park Dr at Orchard Beach Rd, Bronx (718-885-2275, nyc.gov/parks). Daily 6am–8pm.
Photo illustration: Bryan Mayes; Photograph: Jakob Layman


This stretch of boardwalk just east of Coney Island feels worlds away, reflecting its surrounding Russian neighborhood that earned it the nickname “Little Odessa.” Like its western neighbor, though, the park has benefitted from upgrades to its bathrooms and facilities (which are utilized by  sparser crowds). • Brighton Beach Ave between Corbin Pl and Ocean Pkwy, Brighton Beach, Brooklyn (718-946-1350, nyc.gov/parks). Daily 6am–9pm.
Photo illustration: Bryan Mayes; Photograph: Melissa Sinclair