New York’s 14 miles of public beaches offer the residents wonderful spots for cooling off and a bit of summer fun on the sand during the sweltering hot months.
After the season, they are perfect for jogging, biking, beach yoga, or quiet hours of fishing off the pier. From Coney Island to Orchard Beach, there’s a stretch of sandy beach to enjoy nearby.
1. Bayshore Waterfront Park
2. Brighton Beach
3. Cherry Grove Beach
4. New York Beaches: Coney Island Beach
5. Fort Tilden Beach
6. Jacob Riis Park Beach
7. Jones Beach
8. Long Beach
9. Manhattan Beach
10. Midland Beach
11. Orchard Beach
12. Robert Moses State Park
13. Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk
14. New York Beaches: South Beach
15. Gunnison Beach
What are the 15 Best New York Beaches?
The 15 Best New York Beaches according to local experts are:
- Bayshore Waterfront Park
- Brighton Beach
- Cherry Grove Beach
- New York Beaches: Coney Island Beach
- Fort Tilden Beach
- Jacob Riis Park Beach
- Jones Beach
- Long Beach
- Manhattan Beach
- Midland Beach
- Orchard Beach
- Robert Moses State Park
- Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk
- New York Beaches: South Beach
- Gunnison Beach
Attraction Spotlight: Shelter Island
Just off the eastern edge of Long Island sits a much smaller island: Shelter Island. Part of Suffolk County, despite being separated by the rest of the county by water, Shelter Island is home to just over 2,400 people. It's a beautiful and unique place with a lot of interesting history and stories to tell.
To the Mahanset Indiands who once lived there, Shelter Island was known as "Manhansack-aha-quash-awamock", which would translate to "Island sheltered by islands" in English. It was an ideal place to live, with the surrounding bay waters offering plenty of fish. The English settlers first landed on the island in the mid 17th century, naming it Shelter Island due to its unique location between the North and South Forks of Long Island.
A peaceful haven, totally protected from the elements on both sides by those forks, Shelter Island has been a popular coastal retreat for many years, offering a wonderful way to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy all the advantages of being on a quiet, calm, charming island location. In addition to its calming atmosphere and beautiful scenery, the island has grown and evolved over time to a point where it can now boast of many highly rated eateries, shops, accommodation options, and more. Whether you're looking to eat, sleep, work, or play on Shelter Island, you'll be guaranteed a great time.
Dining on Shelter Island
If you're looking for some good quality dining experiences over on Shelter Island, you've got a lot of options to choose from. From fine dining establishments to more casual family restaurants, there are all sorts of eateries around Shelter Island to suit every palate and tantalize every tastebud. From casual cafes to ice cream shops, bakeries, cocktail bars, and seafood joints, Shelter Island has it all.
Those looking for a friendly atmosphere and old-fashioned, hearty American cooking should check out The Islander (63 N Ferry Road - 631 749 1998), which offers a nice selection of well-cooked comfort food to please people of all ages. For something a little more elegant and refined, visit the Red Maple at The Chequit (23 Grand Ave - 631 749 0018) or stop off at the 18 Bay Restaurant (23 N Ferry Rd - 631 749 0053) for some award-winning dishes with only the finest, freshest ingredients.
Stay at Shelter Island
A day trip to Shelter Island can be a nice way to spend some time, but it's such a beautiful place with so much to offer, you really won't want to live and need to at least spend a couple of nights there to enjoy the full beauty and magic of the island. Fortunately, Shelter Island is home to many high quality accommodation options, including inns, guest houses, B&Bs, and private rental houses.
Head on down to the Two South Ferry B&B (2 South Ferry Road - 631 749 3208) or the West Neck Guesthouse (31 W Neck Rd - 631 599 3430) to enjoy a warm welcome, cozy rooms, an authentic atmosphere, and super service, all at great prices. Stop off at The Pridwin (81 Shore Rd - 631 749 0476) or The Chequit (23 Grand Ave - 631 749 0018) for a more elegant setting, with beautifully decorated and furnished rooms, ideally suited for romantic getaways.
Shopping at Shelter Island
As well as being home to many great dining locations and accommodation options, Shelter Island is a great place to do a little shopping, with lots of stores, both small and large, waiting to welcome you in and show off their wares. Whether you're in the market for books, jewelry, antiques, clothes, toys, or something else altogether, you can find it on this island. Head over to Finley's Fiction or Black Cat Books if you're searching for a super story to enjoy while you admire the scenic surroundings of your Shelter Island getaway.
You may also want to visit Dworkin and Daughter Antiques or Fallen Angel Antiques for a little piece of history to add to your collection. Kids will love the Toy Store at Jack's, while adults will appreciate the Shelter Island Wines and Spirits. And of course, no visit to Shelter Island can be complete without admiring the works of local artists at Artists of Shelter Island or checking out all the unique, adorable objects in the charming Cornucopia Gift Shop.
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Attraction Spotlight: Jones Beach Island
Located in Wantagh on Jones Beach Island near Long Island, New York, Jones Beach State Park is the largest public recreational bathing park in the world, offering 6.5 miles of Atlantic Ocean beaches and a public amphitheater presenting seasonal concert programming.
Jones Beach Island is a barrier island located off the southern coast of Long Island in New York, named for Long Island explorer Major Thomas Jones, who first visited the region in 1692. Jones constructed the first brick house on Long Island and owned more than 6,000 acres throughout the region by his 1713 death, including part of the land that now comprises Jones Beach State Park. Jones Beach State Park’s land was donated to the New York State Park System in 1929, with park creation overseen by famed city commissioner Robert Moses, who was serving as president of the Long Island State Park Commission at the time of the park’s founding. The park was Moses’ first major public project and proved to be a major development challenge, with much of its land located only two feet above sea level, creating dangerous submerging conditions during inclement weather. Workers dredged sand from the bay’s bottom to raise the island’s land to 12 feet above sea level and planted beach grass throughout the island by hand. An Italianate-style water tower was constructed as the park’s centerpiece, and bathhouse facilities were designed by architect Herbert Magoon. The park was officially opened to the public in August of 1929, accessible via a causeway constructed to connect the facility with mainland Long Island that would eventually become the Wantagh State Parkway.
More than 1.5 million visitors attended the park during its first season of operation, causing significant overcrowding and delays along the Wantagh Causeway, which led to the creation of the Meadowbrook Parkway by the Town of Hempstead. The following year, the park added additional bathhouse facilities and an Indian Village, headed by Rosebud Yellow Robe, who became a New York City public celebrity throughout the mid-20th century. The park’s original theater was deemed unsafe in 1945 and replaced by a new amphitheater facility with seating for up to 8,200 patrons. Throughout much of the 20th century, the park was the home of the Boardwalk Cafe, which offered expansive ocean views. The restaurant was demolished in 2004. In the summer of 2017, the park’s West Bathhouse facility was reopened as a vintage restaurant and bar known as The Landing.
Today, Jones Beach State Park is the largest public recreational bathing park in the world and is considered a major landmark of the New York State public parks system. As one of the most-visited state park facilities in the United States, the park attracts more than six million annual visitors, making it the most-visited public beach on the American East Coast. The park is designed around the theme of an ocean liner and features more than 2,400 acres of summer maritime activities, including public beach spaces, batthhouses, a nature center, sporting fields, and a historic public amphitheater.
More than 6.5 miles of oceanfront beach area are offered at the park, along with a half-mile stretch of bayfront beaches offering stillwater bathing. Outdoor natural activities offered at the park include swimming, sunbathing, and surfing. Swimming is permitted only when lifeguards are on duty at the park, and kayaking and sailboarding is permitted at the park’s Field 10 and boat basin. Fishing is offered at Field 10 along several fishing piers, with regional Night Fishing Permits required for visitors wishing to fish after sunset. Volleyball, shuffleboard, deck tennis, basketball, and softball field areas are offered, along with an 18-hole pitch-and-putt golf course and miniature golf facilities. Bird watching and seashell collecting serve as popular activities along the park’s shoreline, and a two-mile boardwalk offers strolling opportunities.
Public facilities within the park include the Jones Beach Boardwalk Bandshell and the Northwell Health Theater, which offer public concerts throughout the season. Museum exhibits and nature activities are offered at the Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center, which features a Discovery Bone Cove, a butterfly garden, and live marine animal habitats. The park’s new full-service restaurant, The Landing, offers daily lunch, brunch, and dinner service and serves a variety of New York-produced beers and wines. Concessions stands are also offered throughout the boardwalk during the summer months.
The park is accessible via car, boat, bicycle, and seasonal public transit bus from the Wantagh State and Meadowbrook State Parkways. Many local visitors and New York City tourists take the Long Island Railroad to its Freeport stop and catch a seasonal bus for the remainder of the route. Parking accommodations are offered for more than 14,000 vehicles, including limited oceanfront parking. Boat anchoring is also permitted on the park’s bay side. Bicycle parking is offered for free at the park, though bicycles are not permitted within the park’s limits.
Ongoing Programs and Events
The park hosts a wide variety of special events throughout the year, including several public walk and nature discovery series for children and adults. Nature walk and discovery programs highlight local ecosystems and wildlife and offer crafting activities and group scientific experiments. The park is the home of the annual Bethpage Air Show, which is held over Memorial Day weekend and features flights by the United States Navy’s Blue Angels and the United States Army’s Golden Night Parachute Team. Other annual special events include a Father’s Day hike and a Fourth of July fireworks spectacular.
1 Ocean Pkwy, Wantagh, NY 11793
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Attraction Spotlight: Jacob Riis Beach
Despite being a coastal city, New York can’t boast the same huge stretches of beautiful beaches and sandy shorelines of other coastal locations like Los Angeles or Miami. Nevertheless, the city does actually have a stunning set of beaches, beloved by New Yorkers and tourists alike, and one of the most popular of all can be found in Jacob Riis Park.
Jacob Riis Beach, also known as ‘The People’s Beach’, is a highly popular gathering spot for locals and travelers alike. With the Big Apple being best-known for its busy city streets and sprawling metropolis, places like Jacob Riis Beach offer a nice getaway from the hectic hustle and bustle of the downtown districts and major tourist attractions.
Many first-time visitors to New York City aren’t even aware of the existence of Jacob Riis Beach but absolutely fall in love with the place on first sight. Recent renovations in the area and the opening of new concessions back in 2015 have helped raise awareness about the beach and make it more of a popular spot, but even on busy days, there's more than enough space at Jacob Riis Beach for everyone to find their patch of sand and enjoy a relaxing moment on the shores of NYC.
Jacob Riis Beach is part of Jacob Riis Park, which was built back in the early 20th century and named after a journalist and photography who pushed for the park's creation. The area was actually used as a military base for some time and struggled to gain too much popularity, but was turned over to the National Park Service in the 1970s and made a big comeback.
Well-known for its beautiful Art Deco buildings, including a bathhouse that was constructed back in 1932, the park is a highly popular recreational area featuring a wide array of concession stands, a pitch and putt golf course, a boardwalk, basketball courts, and various play areas for children. Jacob Riis Beach is one of the most popular parts of the park and is entirely situated on the southern side, facing out to the Atlantic Ocean.
The beach is divided up into 14 individual bays, with each one being separated by jetties and rocks. Each bay is numbered, with Bay 1 at the eastern end and Bay 14 at the most westerly point of the beach. The most popular part of Jacob Riis Beach tends to be from Bay 6 all the way down to Bay 14, and this area is served by several concessions and amenities. The art deco bathhouse of Jacob Riis Park can be admired from Bay 4, and the first five bays are situated by the Neponsit Beach Hospital.
Bay 1 is unofficially a nudist beach, so families, younger visitors, and those who prefer to keep their clothing on are encouraged to focus on the other bays. Popular activities at Jacob Riis Beach include simply sunbathing and enjoying the sand on sunny days, as well as swimming or paddling in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, but swimming is only allowed when lifeguards are around.
There are plenty of amenities to be found at Jacob Riis Beach to make your day on the sand as fun and stress-free as possible. The recent renovations to the area included the construction of several new concessions and rental stands. Chairs and beach umbrellas can be rented via the boardwalk area, and items like these can also be purchased from certain stands.
Restrooms and showers can also be found along the beach, and the new and improved Riis Park Beach Bazaar offers a lot of tasty snacks and refreshments of all kinds, including typical beach fare like hot dogs, ice creams, seafood, ice pops, and more.
Jacob Riis Beach is busiest in the period of the year from Memorial Day through to Labor Day, and this is the only time food and beverages can be bought from the various stands. This is also the only time of year when lifeguards are on duty, so if you want to do some swimming at Jacob Riis Beach, you'll need to do it between the end of May and the beginning of September.
If you find yourself in need of snacks or other services at this New York City beach at another time of year, it's only a short trip along the coastline to the Rockaways, where several great eateries can be found on the Rockaway Beach Boardwalk.