Visitors to NYC typically come to see famous landmarks like the Empire State Building, watch a Broadway play, walk through Central Park, eat at one of hundreds of delicious restaurants and shop at iconic Fifth Avenue stores. But if you’re visiting New York City in the summer, you should consider heading to one of the city’s many beaches — there are approximately 14 miles of public beaches — to take advantage of a little surf and sand. If the idea is enticing, here are five of the top beaches in NYC.
Coney Island has been the playground of New Yorkers for more than a century now, and it can be yours, too. Besides the famous amusement park attractions, which number more than 50, Coney Island has nearly 3th miles of beaches, all part of the New York City Parks system. While the beach and boardwalk are always open, lifeguards are only on duty from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The beach and amusement area do get crowded, but the advantage of this beach is that there is so much more to do if you get tired of making sandcastles. Nathan’s Hot Dogs, The Cyclone Roller Coaster, the New York Aquarium — the sun will set before you run out of things to do at Coney Island.
The New York City borough of Staten Island has many beaches along its eastern shore, and South Beach is the best of them, mainly because of its stunning view of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The South Beach Boardwalk runs nearly 2 miles, and includes strolling and cycling lanes. It also features an 835-foot long fishing pier, a shade gazebo, snack bars, restrooms and the ever-popular Fountain of Dolphins, which is surrounded by water sprays for kids of all ages to enjoy.
Jacob Riis Park
Jacob Riis Park in the Rockaways features a stretch of public beach called “The People’s Beach,” and both the park and beach are maintained by the National Park Service. The Riis Park Beach Bazaar features many food vendors and beach equipment rental services, and the site of live music on some summer days. Jacob Riis is perhaps best-known for its historic 1932 Art Deco bathhouse, which is no longer in use. There are also ball courts and a promenade.
Jones Beach is located in Wantagh, south of Long Island, but city dwellers and visitors make the trek out here to enjoy all that this state park has to offer. This includes beaches on both the ocean and bay sides of the island. The ocean beach features 6.5 miles of white-sand beaches, as well as picnic areas, concession stands, miniature golf, a boardwalk, shuffleboard and more. There is a harbor seal watching spot on the bay side, as well as the 15,000-person capacity Northwell Health at Jones Beach outdoor amphitheater, where well-known performers play all summer long.
Thanks to the Ramones, you’ve likely heard of “Rock-Rock, Rockaway Beach.” Even if you haven’t, consider visiting this iconic NYC beach — the only legal surfing beach in the city. Besides the surf and sand, Rockaway features concessions, restrooms, a splash pad, playgrounds and a boardwalk. Unlike the other beaches mentioned here, which you must get to using a car, bus and/or subway, Rockaway Beach is also accessible via the New York Ferry. (Note that a stretch of Rockaway Beach is closed for the Summer 2018 season, due to sand erosion.)
Occasionally, the city or park system may close a beach due to water quality. You can text “BEACH” to 877-877 to receive real-time alerts for beach opening, closing and water quality information.