The City can get pretty hot in the summer season and what better way to cool off than going to the beach and fighting with a seagull for your turkey sandwich? Pack a bag with all your essentials: sunscreen, flip-flops, towels and, of course, your Metrocard. You won’t need any gas money on this trip because MTA is going your way.
1. Orchard Beach
For my Bronx natives, Orchard Beach is a bus ride away. This is the only public beach in the Bronx open since the 1930s. Orchard held a bad reputation for its polluted water and dirty sand but once the word got around, NYC Parks has really cleaned up their act. The beach is also known for its 26 sporting courts; you can enjoy some handball or watch a little street ball after your swim.
2. Coney Island
For a more adventurous day, get on the D train and head straight to Coney Island. It’s an aged attraction that never seems to get old to us New Yorkers. An amusement park, boardwalk and sandy feet all wrapped in one. Home of the infamous Cyclone and Nathan’s annual 4th of July hot dog eating contest, Coney Island holds enough history to become a national monument. It may sound over-the-top but just wait until you’ve seen the annual Mermaid Parade, only then will you be a believer.
3. Brighton Beach
Alongside Coney Island is Brighton Beach. The Brighton area is filled with Russian speaking natives giving it the nickname, Little Odessa. Brighton is filled with live Russian culture and many Jewish immigrants as well. It is the home of the annual Brighton Jubilee Festival. The festival is a grand event with kiddie rides, diverse merchandise, international food and more. Brighton is the place to be to dip your feet into some diversity.
4. Jacob Riis Park Beach
Hop on the A train and head over to the Rockaways. Jacob Riis Park Beach is a serene and quiet beach. It’s the perfect place to get away from the city life. There are few concession stands so a picnic is the best suggestion. Riis is known for its dangerous rip currents. It’s highly important that you read up on how to survive these currents before entering the water…or you can just spend your days building sand castles and soaking in the sun.
5. Beekman Beer Garden Beach Club
(Please note: there is currently construction of the pier happening, so Beekman Beer Garden will be closed for the 2015 season.) If you’re in love with the city life, you’ll enjoy the urban oasis, also known as The Beekman Beer Garden located near Pier 17. This is a different kind of beach; no bathing suits allowed…(but don’t forget your clothes!) Enjoy the beautiful view of the city with a nice drink from the long bar and a delicious burger from the restaurant tent sitting on the couches with sand at your feet. With continuous music playing all day from 12 noon till 3am, Beekman is the best “beach” in the city. Perfect for a day out with the girls or even a game day with the guys. Equipped with ping-pong and pool tables, corn hold and chess. There’s much to choose from in this crazy city. Either way, your paradise is just a Metrocard swipe away.
6. Robert Moses Beach, Long Island | A $23 train and bus ride.
7. Fire Island | Take the Long Island Railroad to Bayshore, where you can catch a 20-minute ferry ride.
8. Long Beach, Long Island | Take the Long Island Railroad to Long Beach, beach packages cost $22 and include a round-trip train ticket plus beach admission voucher.
9. Sandy Hook, New Jersey | A 40 minute ride on the Seastreak, $45 for a round-trip ticket.
10. Shelter Island | Take the Long Island Railroad to Greenport, where you can catch a 10-minute ferry ride.
11. Jones Beach | Take the Long Island Railroad from Penn Station to Freeport then hop on the Jones Beach shuttle bus.
12. Long Branch, New Jersey | Catch the NJ Transit from Penn Station to Long Branch, which has $31.50 beach packages available, beach pass included.
13. Franklin D. Roosevelt Beach, Staten Island | Take the Staten Island Ferry to St. George Terminal before transferring to the S51 bus to FR Capodanno Blvd/Seaview Ave.
What’s your favorite NYC beach?
Original 2013 Reporting: Denise Pina // 2015 Update: Jessica Tiare Bowen
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