With towering skyscrapers, incredible food, and Broadway shows like no other, it’s easy to forget that New York City is surrounded by numerous bays and the waves of the Atlantic Ocean.
When the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple gets to be too much, check out one of these nearby spots to unwind.
Jacob Riis Park
The Park features a beautiful art deco bathhouse from the 1930’s, as well as ball courts and concessions. The park itself is a part of the National Park Service’s Gateway National Recreation Area, and rangers often lead interpretive talks and walks from the bathhouse. But the real star here is the People’s Beach, a spacious and clean sandy beach.
Manhattan Beach Park
This city park is located at the southern tip of Brooklyn, and is a favorite summer swimming spot. This is a great spot if you also want to play ball, as baseball diamonds, tennis courts, basketball hoops, and volleyball nets are nearby. Bring a picnic basket, fire up a barbeque, frolic in the waves and see what summer means for a real New Yorker.
Coney Island Beach and Boardwalk
No doubt you’ve heard of this legendary beach and boardwalk – and for good reason. Although it can get quite crowded, the nearly three miles of beach gives you lots of space to find a place in the sand of your own. Take a stroll along the beach and soak in the history. Don’t forget to catch a ride on the roller coaster!
- Franklin D. Roosevelt Beach and Boardwalk
Located on the north coast of Staten Island, Franklin D. Roosevelt Beach stretches for two and a half miles on the Atlantic. One of four public city beaches, explore the memorials and The Fountain of the Dolphins as you walk along the boardwalk. Typically, the waves are calm, making this an excellent choice for families with young children who want to splash around.
If you’re looking to really catch some waves, this is the place for you. Rockaway Beach, located on the Rockaway peninsula, is home to the only legal surfing beach in New York City. Although the beach and neighboring community were devastated in 2012 by Superstorm Sandy, the beach and boardwalk have been a testament to the resilient spirit of New York and its residents.
Just across state lines in New Jersey sits Gunnison Beach. From the sand, you’ll get excellent views of Brooklyn and the great beyond of the Atlantic Ocean. You may also catch sight of more than you bargained for, as the beach is a popular spot for nude sunbathers and swimmers.
If nude beaches aren’t your style, consider visiting Sandy Hook beach. Located near Gunnison Beach across the state line in New Jersey. If you’re looking to make a day of your visit, consider taking the Seastreak Ferry. It’s a 30 minute ride and the views are worth the trip alone. Once you arrive, a free bus will be waiting to take you to the white sands of Sandy Hook. If you’re feeling adventurous, go past Sandy Hook to the aforementioned Gunnison Beach.
A remote beach in Queens, you may want to head somewhere else if you don’t have a vehicle or at least a bicycle at your disposal. When you arrive, you will have left the crowded streets and highrises behind, trading them in for sun on your face and sand between your toes. There are no concessions at Fort Tilden, so bring along a lunch and some beverages and relax.
Long Beach and Boardwalk
An easy trip from the city, Long Beach is an easy ride away via the Long Island Rail Road. Long Beach is on a coastal barrier island of the Atlantic. The surrounding community offers playgrounds, bike rentals, and lovely neighborhoods to stroll through. You’ll need a pass to visit the beach, but visitors welcome to walk the boardwalk as you wish.
A true seaside star, Jones Beach will truly make you feel as though you’ve left the big city behind. Jones Beach offers up over six miles of ocean coastline, a half mile of bay coastline, a well-maintained boardwalk, two swimming pools, and a miniature golf course. Admittedly, it’s a bit of a trek to make it out to Jones Beach – about two hours with public transit. Once you arrive through, the journey will be worth the destination.