Miles of coastline extend around New York City's boroughs, which are bordered by the Atlantic Ocean along Brooklyn's southern coastline and by the waters of the East and Hudson Rivers around Manhattan. Over 14 miles of public beaches are offered throughout the city, including internationally-renowned sites such as Coney Island.
1. Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk
Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk is the largest urban beach and boardwalk facility in America, stretch more than five and a half miles along New York City's Atlantic shoreline. The 170-acre beach is NYC's only legal surfing beach area, letting visitors catch waves at its sections between Queens' 67/69 and 87/92 Streets. Visitors can enjoy barbecues at the park's day-use picnic sites or pick up games of beach volleyball, basketball, baseball, or handball at its various public courts. History buffs can snap photos at the beach's Rockaway Doughboy Statue, which honors the lives and loss of fallen area World War I soldiers, while birdwatchers can spot migratory birds at the Sandpiper Playground. Other major attractions include a roller hockey rink, concession areas, and children's playgrounds.
8601 Shore Front Pkwy, Rockaway Park, NY 11694, Phone: 718-318-4000
2. Jacob Riis Park
Jacob Riis Park is a delightful public oceanfront beach in the Rockaways, located within the Gateway National Recreation Area. The park, which is named in honor of famed New York City photographer and journalist Jacob Riis, is located adjacent to Fort Tilden near Rockaway Beach, accessible via the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge. It is famed for its 1932 Art Deco-style bathhouse, which was modeled after the city's Jones Beach bathhouse and is preserved as an historic site today. A boardwalk spans the beach's northern end, while the Central Mall concourse stretches throughout its central area. Visitors can swim, subathe, or enjoy family-friendly games at the park's 18-hole Pitch and Putt Golf Course. A variety of sporting courts are also offered, along with day-use picnic sites and barbecue grills. Don't miss the Riis Park Beach Bazaar where you will find great beach eats, including hot dogs, ice creams, seafood, ice pops, and more.
Rockaway Beach Blvd, Rockaway Park, NY 11694
3. Fort Tilden State Park
Fort Tilden Historic District is one of New York City's unspoiled hidden gems, located within Queens' Gateway National Recreation Area adjacent to Jacob Riis Park. The district preserves the former historic United States Army installation of the same name, overseen by the National Park Service since its decommissioning. Though most of the fort's former facilities have been abandoned and partially reclaimed to nature, several buildings have been repurposed, including Battery Harris East, which serves as a 360-degree viewing platform for observing the surrounding New York City skyline. Beachfront areas are open to the public for fishing and relaxation, though swimmers should exercise caution, as no lifeguards are staffed on duty. As the historic site also serves as an important habitat for the threaten piping plover, visitors should exercise caution not to disturb nesting sites or step on eggs.
Breezy Point, NY 11697
4. Brighton Beach, New York
Brighton Beach, commonly referred to as "Little Odessa" due to its strong Eastern European heritage, is a lively beachfront community in South Brooklyn, located directly adjacent to famed beachfront entertainment spot Coney Island. The beach and neighborhood have been featured in a wide variety of films, literature, and theatrical productions, including Neil Simon's Tony Award-winning 1983 drama Brighton Beach Memoirs and its subsequent film adaptation. Lifeguards are staffed on duty daily throughout the summer months at the beach, which offers opportunities for families to swim, surf, and sunbathe along the Atlantic Ocean shoreline. Traditional Russian and Eastern European restaurants line nearby Brighton Beach Avenue, offering a more laid-back and authentic alternative to the carnival-like atmosphere of Coney's Surf Avenue.
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5. Coney Island
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Coney Island is one of America's great historic beachfront boardwalk entertainment centers, known around the world for its thrilling classic rides, carnival-like games and amusements, and other boardwalk vendors and attractions. The famed beach's boardwalk is open to the public year-round, stretching over three miles along Brooklyn's southern coastline on the Atlantic Ocean. Visitors can swim, surf, or sunbathe along the area's family-friendly beachfront or enjoy a plethora of midway games and sideshow attractions further ashore. At Luna park and Deno's Wonder Wheel Park, visitors can ride classic rides such as the historic Cyclone rollercoaster and one of the only eccentric wheel Ferris wheels in the world. Convenient access to top Brooklyn attractions such as the New York Aquarium and MCU Park is also provided along Surf Avenue.
1904 Surf Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11224
6. Orchard Beach
Orchard Beach is the only public beach in the Bronx, located along Long Island Sound within Pelham Bay Park. The 1.1-mile beach, which was originally referred to as the "Riviera of New York" at its opening, has been expanded several times to include landfill islands within the Sound, primarily in 1937 as part of expansions by city parks commissioner Robert Moses. Today, the charming beach offers a 13-section shorefront connected by a hexagonal block promenade, open to the public during the summer months for swimming when lifeguards are on duty. Barbecue grills are available in the beach's north and south picnic areas, with more than 25 courts provided for beachfront volleyball, basketball, and handball. Other amenities include an American-style concession stand, two children's playgrounds, and restrooms and changing facilities.
7. Manhattan Beach Park
Manhattan Beach Park is a favorite summer beachfront destination for families all around the New York City area, located along Brooklyn's southern tip in the neighborhood of the same name. The neighborhood, which was originally developed in 1877 as a resort area containing attractions such as the Oriental Hotel, is located adjacent to Brighton Beach and offers a less-crowded alternative to the bustling beachfront of nearby Coney Island, with opportunities for swimming and sunbathing along the public shoreline area. The impressive Manhattan Beach Playground, newly renovated in 1997, offers a water fountain, a sprinkler system, and whimsical motifs of marine life. Basketball, baseball, handball, and beach volleyball courts are also offered, along with barbecue grills and day-use picnic areas.
760 Oriental Blvd, Brooklyn, NY 11235, Phone: 212-639-9675
8. Long Beach, Long Island
Long by name and long by nature, Long Beach New York occupies a 3.5mile stretch on Long Beach Barrier Island. It takes around 90 minutes to travel from Manhattan to Long Beach by car or train, which is why this particular beach is one of the most popular in New York. There is a wonderful 2.2mile boardwalk which runs along the edge of the beach offering great walks and easy access to the beach and the ocean. Visitors come to Long Beach to soak up the sun, swim and body board in the ocean, build sand castles or try out a new water sport like surfing, wind surfing or kite surfing.
Ocean Beach Park, Long Island, NY 11561
9. Robert Moses State Park, Long Island
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Boasting a shoreline of nearly 5 miles, the Robert Moses State Park is a very popular oceanfront park located at the western end of Fire Island, Long Island. The beach has 4 separate demarcated fields for swimming and body boarding, each of which has lifeguards in attendance. Each field also features concessions where you can rent all the necessities for a fun day on the beach, grab a drink or snack and find a restroom or shower. You are welcome to bring along a picnic and enjoy a BBQ at one of several picnic areas. Popular beach activities include volley ball, surfing and fishing.
600 Robert Moses State Pwy, Babylon, NY 11702
10. Coopers Beach, Long Island
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Fine white sands and the azure waters of the Atlantic Ocean await visitors to Coopers Beach Long Island, one of the most popular beaches in the New York Area. The attractive beach is backed by sand dunes and a good sprinkling of seaside mansions which form part of the historic town of Southampton. Visitors can find everything they need to enhance their day at the concession, which rents chairs, umbrellas and more. Coopers Beach is lapped by small waves which make this an ideal location to bring younger children. However, larger waves do roll in at certain times making Coopers Beach equally good for body-boarding and surfing.
268 Meadow Lane, Southampton, NY 11968
11. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Boardwalk and Beach, Staten Island
Located just a short ferry ride from Lower Manhattan, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Boardwalk and Beach is a treasured recreational area for New York locals. The beaches open for swimming in late May each year, but there are plenty of other fun activities to enjoy during the cooler months. The beach features a scenic biking trail and tennis courts and there is a special area for senior citizens with chess tables, bocce courts and benches. Fishing and kayaking are other popular activities at this beach. During the summer season there are lifeguards on duty from 10am to 6pm. Children will love splashing in the sea turtle fountain.
Things to do on Staten Island
12. Asbury Park Beach, New Jersey
Located just 90 minutes from New York and Philadelphia, Asbury Park Beach is a popular destination for sun seekers. The mile-long beach beckons bathers and castle-builders to come and have some fun in the sun from late May through Labor Day (during these months lifeguards are on duty and beach permits are required). If you love surfing you can head to the Surfing Beach between Deal Lake Drive and 8th Avenue, which is designated for surfers only. Here you can sign up for surfing lessons and Surf Camp during the summer months. There are restrooms and toilets and seasonal concessions where you can hire chairs and umbrellas.
Boardwalk at First Avenue, Asbury, NJ 07712
13. Jersey Shore
The Jersey Shore or New Jersey’s Shore Region is a Mecca for sun lovers. The shore region boasts more than 90 miles of soft, white sand beaches and you will be as a loss as to which one you want to visit first. The miles and miles of beaches offer everything you need for a fun family day at the seaside including 16 dedicated surfing beaches were surfers do not have to compete with bathers. If you would like a bit more than just a day at the beach you can head to Island Beach State Park for fishing and bird watching or make your way to the Breakwater Beach Water Park at Casino Beach.
14. Chimney Bluffs State Park
Offering one of the best views out over Lake Ontario, the Chimney Bluffs State Park was shaped by glacier movements at the end of the Ice Age. Today visitors come to enjoy the unique scenery and the long, narrow pebble beach at the base of the bluffs. The beach is a treasure trove of smooth, jewel-like pebbles which are great fun to collect and compare. Swimming is not allowed (no lifeguards) but some people enjoy wading. You can hand-launch a kayak or canoe and spend some time admiring the amazing scenery from the water. Limited parking is available and there are restrooms and picnic tables.
Chimney Bluffs State Park, 7700 Garner Rd, Wolcott, NY 14590, 315 947 5205
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15. Shelter Island
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Located in Suffolk County, near the end of Long Island, Shelter Island is surrounded on 3 sides by Shelter Island Sound. You can reach Shelter Island by ferry from Green Port or North Haven, which are connected to New York State Route 114. A large portion of the island is a Nature Conservation area and has been left in its natural state. Here visitors can explore 4 different nature and bird watching trails. There are several beaches along the islands’ 20-mile coastline, of which Crescent Beach and Wades Beach are the most popular, offering services like lifeguards and comfort stations. Hay Beach is undeniably the most romantic beach on the island.
Shelter Island, Long Island, NY 11964
16. Hither Hills State Park
Located in the Long Island region, Hither Hills State Park provides access to a long and sandy ocean beach, ideal or all kinds of beach activities. The park is also home to a 180-site campground which directly overlooks the beach. In summer the beach offers a range of water sport opportunities including surfing and windsurfing, SUP, sea-kayaking and body boarding. Fishing is rumored to be great and night-fishing permits can be bought. Other activities include biking, horseback riding, castle-building and swimming. There is also an accessible children’s playground. In winter, people come to the park to enjoy snow-shoeing and cross country skiing.
Hither Hills State Park, 164 Old Montauk Hwy, NY 11954, 800 456 2267
17. Fair Haven Beach State Park
Fair Haven Beach State Park is located in the Finger Lakes Region, where it is a popular recreation area on the east shore of Lake Ontario. Fair Haven is undoubtedly one of the most scenic lakefronts in the area and boasts a 1500ft sandy beach, towering bluffs and undulating woodlands. There is a 600ft stretch of bathing beach (with lifeguards on duty), a large campground and some cabins. Activities include swimming, fishing, hunting, boating rentals and launches, SUP, kayaking and hiking. There are full-service campsites, ball fields, bike trails and an 18-hole golf course. The good news is that your pets are allowed to join you.
Fair Haven Beach State Park, 14985 State Park Rd, Fair Haven, NY 13064,
315 947 5205
18. Southwick Beach State Park
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Southwick Beach is located in the Thousand Islands region, adjacent to the Lakeview Wildlife Management Area on the eastern shore of Lake Ontario. Southwick Beach State Park welcomes day-trippers and campers to come and enjoy a long stretch of sandy beach, ideal for swimming, soaking up the sun, surfing, wind-surfing and paddling. The campground is close to the beach and offers shady sites, some of which have sea views (20 sites have electric hook-up). All sites have picnic tables and grills. Other park amenities include a children’s playground, various sports fields, a picnic pavilion, nature trail and hiking and cross-country skiing trails.
Southwick Beach State Park, 8119 Southwicks Place, Henderson, NY 13650,
315 846 5338
19. Wilmington Town Beach
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Located in the Whiteface Mountain Region, Wilmington Town Beach is a popular recreation area located a little off the beaten track, on the shore of Lake Everest. There is a small sandy beach area with shallow water which is great for children to wade and swim and there are restrooms and a playground. You can hire a variety of water sport equipment including aqua bikes, kayaks, canoes and paddle boards. Besides water fun, visitors can play a game of volley ball or take a short hike along the nature trail. There are many birds to be spotted along the trail or at the water’s edge including ducks, osprey and more.
Wilmington Town Beach, Bowman Lane, Wilmington, NY 12997, 518 946 2256
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