If you’re visiting New York City in the summer and you’re jonesing for some beach time, there are a number of hot spots for cooling off that you can access via public transportation from Manhattan. And yes, Jones Beach is one of them, a perfect opportunity for a good ole American pun. Other notable and iconic shores, include: Coney Island, Fire Island & Rockaway Beach. So let’s take a closer look at what each city respite offers and how you can get there.
Located in the southwestern part of Brooklyn, Coney Island is a 4-mile long and 0.5 mile wide peninsula that extends into Lower New York Bay. It’s often associated with its amusement parks, unique rides and other attractions, but there is also a broad public sand beach that begins at 37th Street and stretches almost 3 miles through to the beginning of the Manhattan Beach community. Parallel to the ocean is the infamous Riegelmann Boardwalk, which runs the entire length of the beach and features everything from amusements and attractions to the aquarium, food shops and arcades. The beach itself offers various recreational opportunities, including courts for beach volleyball, handball and basketball.
How To Get There
If you’re coming from Manhattan, there are a few different ways that you can get to Coney Island. Here’s a snapshot of how to do so:
- Starting Point: Times Square – you can take the Q, F or D lines to the “Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue” stop. It will generally take about an hour. Once you exit the subway, it will be approximately a 5-minute walk to the infamous Coney Island sites.
- Into biking? The approximately 18 mile journey from Manhattan to Coney Island can typically be done in under 2 hours via the Hudson River Greenway and the Brooklyn-Queens Greenway.
Fire Island is 31 miles long; it’s approximately 4 miles off of and runs parallel to the South Shore of the mainland of Long Island. The island is a popular outdoor recreation destination that boasts protected beaches and resort communities. It’s often touted as an unspoiled island community that lacks any hint of pretentiousness or class distinction, as well as any paved roads! Walking, biking, red wagons and golf-carting are the preferred modes of transportation on Fire Island as cars are limited with the exception of utility, construction and emergency access vehicles.
How To Get There
There are three ferries that service Fire Island, and which one you take will depend upon where you’re coming from and where you’re heading. Here are the location details:
- The Bay Shore Ferry is located in the hamlet of Islip, Suffolk County, New York on the south shore of Long Island. It arrives and departs from the following locations: Ocean Beach, Kismet, Fair Harbor, Ocean Bay Park, Saltaire, Seaview, and Dunewood/Atlantique. To get to the Bay Shore Ferry from Manhattan, you can take the LIRR out of Penn Station and then take the 20 minute ferry ride to the island.
- To get to the Sayville Ferry from Manhattan, you can take the LIRR out of Penn Station and then hop in a cab to the ferry service terminal. The Sayville Ferry services: Fire Island Pines, Cherry Grove, Sailors Haven and Water Island. Fire Island Pines and Cherry Grove are both popular LGBTQIA+ communities. In Cherry Grove you can anticipate light-hearted, high-spirited fun while in Fire Island Pines, you can expect a more upscale social scene and enjoy the inspiring view from its notoriously beautiful harbor. Sailors Haven offers a magnificently wide open beach with amenities that include: snack bars, picnic areas, lifeguards, restrooms and a marina.
- Lastly, the Davis Park Ferry services Davis Park and Water Hill. Located in Patchogue, New York, the Davis Park Ferry is about 90 minutes from New York and can be reached by the LIRR via Penn Station. The ferry ride itself is a quick 20 minutes across the Patchogue Bay. Known as the quietest sections of Long Island’s barrier island, these two also account for the easternmost on island. Davis Park offers live music on the ocean and 250+ rental properties while Water Hill boasts a beautiful natural setting with wilderness camping and nature trails.
The world famous Jones Beach State Park is located on the south shore of Long Island and boasts 6.5 miles of white sand beach on the Atlantic Ocean. In addition to its massive beach, Jones Beach offers fishing, crabbing, mini golf and a 2-mile long boardwalk that features concession stands and the Jones Beach Boardwalk Bandshell, which hosts live performances and free music. Additional amenities include: pools, picnic tables, playgrounds, a museum/visitors center, showers, a gift shop and more.
How To Get There
The best part? It’s less than 20 miles from the city and about $20 for a roundtrip adventure! The beautiful oceanfront setting and natural grounds of the park have remained relatively undeveloped, which makes it easy to forget that you’re so close to the hectic pace of urban life.
- Hop on the LIRR at Penn Station and get off at Freeport.
- Take a deep breath and embrace the experience that is the typically jam-packed Jones Beach shuttle bus.
Located in Queens and originally known as the “Irish Riviera” because of its large Irish American population, Rockaway Beach is the largest urban beach in the United States, ranging from 3rd Street to 153rd Street along the Atlantic Ocean. What else does Rockaway have that no other NYC beach can brag about? The city’s only legal surfing beach, which is located between 67th-69th Streets and 87th-92nd Street. In addition to these two distinguishing factors, visitors can also enjoy a variety of concessions, playgrounds and other outdoor activities, including: roller hockey, skate parks, and handball and volleyball courts
How To Get There
The good news is that there are plenty of ways to get to Rockaway. Whether by subway, by ferry or by bus, your end destination is guaranteed to provide you with a good time.
- Take the A train from Manhattan and get off at whichever beach stop you seek – Beach 67th Street, Beach 90th Street, etc.
- Enjoy a ferry ride for under $3 one-way as well as an ocean breeze and relaxation before relaxation.
- Book a roundtrip ticket on the OvR Rockaway Beach Bus for less than $30 and reap the benefits of cold, refreshing beverages. The adult kind.
These are just a few of the NYC summer gems that you can experience with only a bit of planning while you’re visiting the city. If there’s another popular New York beach you’d like to learn more about, let us know and we’ll be happy to help you!