Catch a wave at pretty, accessible beaches not too far from midtown.

See our guide to more outdoor play.


Coney Island


With nearly 3 miles of free sandy beaches, Coney Island’s rolling waves have been cooling off New Yorkers for centuries. Cleaner than it used to be with lots of character and attractions.

* Find courts for beach volleyball, handball, and basketball as well as playgrounds, amusement rides at Luna Park and the New York Aquarium.

* Wear your bathing suit; changing in the public bathrooms is forbidden.

* If Coney’s beach is too crowded, walk to clean, calm Brighton Beach among Little Odessa’s Russian and Ukrainian shops and restaurants.

🍽  Get a hot dog (or corn dog) and fries, at  Nathan’s Famous German-style all-beef dogs on toasted potato buns at Feltman’s of Coney Island. Grab a slice of thin-crust pizza at legednary Totonno’s,  seafood at Paul’s Daughter ,Caribbean food at Footprints Cafe, tacos, tortas & Las Frutas Locas. at Dona Zita Mexican Restaurant. Dessert options include gelato at Coney’s Cones and candy apple and homemade marshmallow balls at 75 years-old Williams Candy

🚊 Near the last stop, Stillwell Avenue, of the D, Q, N, or F train.

🚙 Drive to Surf Avenue for (mostly metered) street parking or pay less than $20 in the lot at MCU Stadium.


Rockaway Beach


This clean beach on the Atlantic Ocean features wide stretches of soft sand, a 5.5-mile boardwalk, playgrounds and a vibe so cool it was featured in a Ramones song.

* Ride the waves at the city’s only legal surfing beach (67-69 Street) with private, semi-private & group surf lessons & camps for kids & adults  with Skudin Surf or Locals Surf Camp (whose owners run a great cafe/coffee shop a  few minutes inland).

* Visit nearby Fort Tilden, a decommissioned army base with WWII artifacts and cool art.

* Free parking lots at  11th to 15th Street  and 95th Street; also free street parking. Or arrive in style via ferries ($2.75) that depart frequently from Wall Street/ Pier 11 & Sunset Park (or take the subway).

🌭 Find some of the best food in NYC at the concessions, especially the one at 97th Street. Get excellent burgers at Rippers on 86th Street and an array of food and drink at Riis Park Beach Bazaar. A block inland at Rockaway Beach Boulevard (aka Restaurant Row) dine outdoors at Bungalow Bar or pick up inventive pizzas at Whit’s End.


Robert Moses State Park


Swim and play on a lovely five-mile Atlantic Ocean beach on the tip of Fire Island. Choose from four “Fields” with separate parking lots.

Field 2, with a golf course and expansive volleyball court area, tends to be the least crowded. It sits just east of Democrat Point, a local favorite with surfers and fishermen alike for its 4×4 drive-on access and shorefronts which face both the Atlantic Ocean and the Fire Island Inlet.

Fields 3 and 4 are radio-free zones. Look for anglers going through an underpass tunnel to fish or crab off of long piers.

Field 5 has a boardwalk nature trail that leads to the iconic Fire Island Lighthouse and a large playground area.

Look out for deer and other wild animals.

🌭 Each field has concessions, beach shops, first aid offices, public restrooms, and private outdoor showers. Scenic picnic areas complete with park grills and tables for any group size are located at fields 2, 3, and 4.


Jones Beach State Park


Play on 6.5 miles of beautiful white-sand beach on a barrier island between the South shore of Long Island and the Atlantic Ocean. Designed to evoke an ocean liner with a cruise-worthy range of activities besides swimming in the clear ocean and strolling the long boardwalk.

* Field 6 is the shortest walk to ocean with bathrooms closest to the water, but the parking lot fills up quickly. Try to arrive before 9 am or after 3 pm.

* Find lots of activities in the Central Mall between bay-side Fields 4 and 5. Wade in the shallow, wave-free bay, or take pedestrian tunnels under Ocean Parkway to access the ocean. Check out WildPlay Adventure Courses, mini golf, table tennis, pickleball, volleyball, corn hole, paddle ball, shuffleboard and bocce ball (equipment can be rented from the concession area). Choose from a small bayside playground by Field 5 and a larger one west of the mall.

🍽 The new Boardwalk Cafe in by the mall offers sit-down and to-go food including burgers, fries and ice cream. Go inside for gelato from Trahanas and Mexican from Tacos BAE.

* Field 3 hosts the classier Gatsby on the Ocean restaurant and a pool in the recently renovated West Bath House.

* Look for birds, crabs and other critters all along the beach. Farther west, experience nature close-up and hands-on at the Jones Beach Nature Center with touch pools and whale bones (10 am–4 pm).

* Field 1 & 2 are quieter then the other beach areas, but is a very long walk to the shoreline. Concessions feature lobster rolls, fried Oreos and salad.

* Lounge chairs and umbrellas available for rent ($15 each)

🚂 Take the Long Island Rail Road’s Babylon Branch to Freeport station, and transfer there for NICE’s n88 bus, which runs non-stop to the beach ($21.50 round trip).


Orchard Beach


Bronx’s sole public beach, proclaimed “The Riviera of New York” when it was created in the 1930s, features a hexagonal-block promenade, a central pavilion, snack bars, food and souvenir carts, two playgrounds, two picnic areas, a large parking lot, and 26 courts for basketball, volleyball, and handball.

🍽 The snack bar has hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, fried chicken, shish kabobs, fries, onion rings, nachos, wings, slushes and soda.

🧻 Changing areas, bathrooms and showers available.



Oakland Beach

🎟 $5–$25/parking, $15–$25/beach

A large green park with shady paths and historic structures leads to a white sand beach with gentle Long Island Sound waves. Next door to Playland Beach and Playland Park.

Only Rye residents allowed before noon Fri-Sun.

🛶 Kayak & SUP rentals available.

🌳 Take a short walk to the Read Wildlife Sanctuary with gardens and a butterflies.

🍽 Eat pizza, salads, burgers and more on a patio or indoors on at nearby The Barley Beach House.


Playland Beach

🎟 $20/parking ($10 online), $9.99/beach , $14.99/beach & pool

Stroll on a charming quarter-mile boardwalk on a white sand beach with mild Long Island Sound waves near an old-time amusement park.

Spacious changing rooms and bathrooms within a historic bathhouse.

Also go down a giant inflatable slide ($10 unlimited) or swim in a newly renovated pool with zero depth entry and a splash pad.

🌳 Take a short walk to the Read Wildlife Sanctuary with gardens and a butterflies.

🍽 Concessions available by the beach on weekends, or eat pizza, salads, burgers and more on a patio or indoors on at The Barley Beach House.


Harbor Island Park

🎟 $13/adults, $8/kids, $8-$12/parking (check or credit card only)

This lovely marina in the suburbs has a small harbor beach with calm water (don’t expect waves), swan sightings, fishing on a pier, crabs & clams, fun spray showers and lots of greenspace. Swimming allowed when lifeguards on duty (9 am-5 pm).

Cool off and de-sand in a colorful, interactive Spray Ground (10 am–5 pm)

The large playground between the beach and the parking lot has lots of inventive equipment – a great way to brush off the sand before getting in the car. The Village of Mamaroneck Fire Department’s Carnival takes over the park in the evenings in late June/early July.

🧻 Restrooms and outdoor showers

🍽  Concessions available and lots of food options on nearby Mamaroneck Ave; we recommend Sicilian slices from legendary Sal’s Pizza and all-natural paletas from Paleteria Fernandez. Picnic tables available.


Greenwich Point Park

📍Old Greenwich
🎟 $40/parking, $10/ages 5-64 (purchase online)

This pretty beach in a large green park with lots of trees and paths is super kid-friendly. Enjoy small crowds, (pricey) parking right by the beach, gentle waves, lots of animals including geese and small crab to collect and covered wood pavilions for shade not far from the water.

🧻 Clean up at bathrooms with outdoor showers and changing stalls.

🍽The concession stand sells an array of hot dogs, hamburgers, sandwiches, ice cream and other food. Pick up crêpes, salads, sandwiches, soups, fresh juice and smoothie drinks, all natural ice cream and sorbet from Méli-Mélo downtown before or after.


Croton Point Park


Swim in the Hudson River, lounge in a wide expanse of sand and explore a 508-acre park with stunning views of Haverstraw Bay.

* Hourly Kayak & SUP rentals available.



Great Captain Island

🎟 $8-$13/ferry, $10/ages 5-64

Take a ferry Greenwich Harbor to bucolic islands two miles off short.

* The islands are preserved in their natural state, no cars or stores, with many different species of birds. Large colonies of nesting egrets and herons are visible across the lagoon in June and July. Look for an osprey nesting platform near the handsome Great Captain Island lighthouse  (built in 1868).

* Boats depart every half hour or hour depending on the day (see the schedule).

* Or take ‘The Cruise to Nowhere,’ a relaxing two-hour tour of local waters ($20).

🧻 Facilities include restrooms, showers, water fountains, picnic tables, and grills. Bring your own food & drink.






New Jersey

Spring Lake Beach

📍Spring Lake

This beautiful beach with a long boardwalk in a small seaside community manages crowds with daily online ‘Beach Badges.’  Select a date and area on the website, then pick up at the Spring Lake Train Station (Mon-Fri 8 am–3 pm & Sat-Sun 8 am–5 pm).

* No playgrounds on this quiet beach but lots of sand and waves.

* Only small soft coolers with food and non-alcoholic beverages permitted. Some leave larger coolers on the boardwalk.

🛍 Visit the shopping district on 3rd Ave for beach chairs, children’s beach toys, umbrellas, lotions, food, clothes & more.

🚙  About a 1.5 hour dive from midtown Manhattan. Plenty of free parking on Ocean Ave.