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While the Big Apple is known as an urban jungle, it’s possible to escape the concrete and skyscrapers at one of the beaches in NYC. You can find sandy pockets of relaxation across NYC’s five boroughs and even more beaches near New York City if you’re willing to drive a bit. Specially, you will find the best spots to relax in the two boroughs that are part of Long Island: Brooklyn and Queens.
Moreover, the best beaches in New York have all the convenient amenities you’d expect, including picnic areas and lifeguards. Many of these oases also have playgrounds and areas for fishing, swimming, and water sports.
So, whether you’re looking for a secluded spot to sunbathe and appreciate nature, or you prefer an inexpensive, family-friendly beach vacation, you can find it here. In this guide, you’ll find the 15 best beaches in Queens, Brooklyn, and the surrounding NYC neighborhoods. I’ll also share some top accommodations to help you plan your perfect beach vacation from NYC.
1. Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, one of the best beaches in NYC
Brighton Beach is one of the top beaches in Brooklyn, New York. If you’re looking for a clean, uncrowded beach, with a unique charm, check this one out.
In the 1970s, Russian immigrants flocked to this part of Brooklyn, and their Eastern European influence is still apparent today in the bakeries, restaurants, and shops. It’s worth strolling along the boardwalk to people-watch, nibble on Russian snacks, or dip into a surf shop for last-minute items. You’ll also find a few parks and playgrounds here, including Brighton Beach Playground right along the boardwalk.
Overall, it’s nice to spend a couple of hours here basking in the sun and swimming in the Atlantic Ocean. If you want to up the thrill factor, you can always go next door to Coney Island, one of the most exciting things to do in Brooklyn.
- Where to stay: Best Western Plus Brooklyn Bay Hotel
2. Coney Island Beach, Brooklyn, another amazing New York City beach
If you travel southwest from Brighton Beach, you’ll find Coney Island, another well-known beach in Brooklyn, New York.
Coney Island Beach has a rich history as a seaside resort town, and while it had its heyday in the 20th century, visiting it is still one of the best things to do in New York City. Along with its large public beach, there are also several parks, a skating rink, and an aquarium.
That said, Coney Island has one of the most famous boardwalks in NYC, thanks to its amusement piers. Luna Park and Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park are relics of the past, so be sure to check them out, especially if you have kids, since they are the most popular amusement parks in NYC.
Here, you can ride the Wonder Wheel, which opened in 1920 and features traditional stationary cars and rocking ones that slide on the Ferris wheel’s tracks. The B&B Carousell is over 100 years old and has a traditional roll-operated organ, while the Coney Island Cyclone was one of the first wooden coasters in the country.
During your visit, you must try a hot dog from Nathan’s Famous, which opened in 1916 and sold hot dogs for five cents. It’ll cost you more today, but it’s a Coney Island tradition!
- Where to stay: Best Western Brooklyn – Coney Island Inn
3. Orchard Beach, the most beautiful beach in the Bronx, NYC
Orchard Beach may be the only beach in the Bronx, but it’s a beautiful place to cool down, relax, and have some summertime fun. This public, artificial beach is part of Pelham Bay Park, one of the best parks in NYC, so you can rest assured that there is plenty to do here.
Sometimes referred to as “The Bronx Riviera,” Orchard Beach sits on the coast of Long Island Sound, offering lovely views, convenient amenities, and family-friendly facilities. In fact, this is one of the best family beaches near NYC since it’s clean, nearby, and has lifeguards on duty during the summer.
Speaking of which, the peak season brings all kinds of visitors, both tourists, and locals, so the beach can get crowded. That said, there are other things to do besides sunbathing on the sand. Orchard Beach has a waterfront promenade with a central plaza, shops, and cafes, as well as playgrounds, picnic areas, and various ball courts. Also, during the summer, the bandstand hosts free concerts on the weekends, so it’s one of the best things to do in The Bronx.
4. Rockaway Beach, a lovely beach in Queens, New York
Rockaway Beach in Queens attracts a more active crowd, so if you’re up for some fun in the sun, head to this NYC beach. Located on the Rockaway Peninsula, this beach offers all kinds of outdoor activities in NYC, although it’s best known as one of the few surfing beaches in NYC.
Along with surfing, you can swim, hang out at the skatepark, or stroll the boardwalk. There are also several parks and playgrounds here, as well as facilities for basketball, handball, and roller hockey. Also, if you’re coming here with kids, you’ll appreciate the accessible bathrooms and spray showers where they can wash the sand off.
This beach in Queens is open year-round, but it’s most popular during the summer season. While you’re here, check out Rockaway Beach Surf Shop, the oldest surf shop in the U.S. Along with all the gear you need to hit the waves, you can also book surfing lessons here.
- Where to stay: The Rockaway Hotel
5. Jacob Riis Park Beach, Queens, another beautiful beach in NYC
Jacob Riis Park Beach is another beach in Queens, NY that you should check out. This swimming beach is part of Jacob Riis Park, which was built over 100 years ago on the southwestern edge of the Rockaway Peninsula.
A distinguishing characteristic of this beach is its bathhouse, which historically served as the entrance to Jacob Riis Park. It was built in 1932 in the Moorish style, and Art Deco elements were added later. While restoration efforts began in the 1990s, the project was never completed. Along with the bathhouse, Jacob Riis Park Beach has a central mall, a boardwalk, a putting green, playgrounds, and sports facilities.
As you can see, there are plenty of things to do here, and if you visit during the summer, there will be lifeguards on duty. Restrooms and outdoor showers are easily accessible throughout the crescent-shaped beach, and the easternmost portion of the beach is popular among the LGBTQ+ community, as well as nudists.
6. Long Beach, Long Island, a great family beach near NYC
If you’re looking for one of the best beaches near NYC, look no further than Long Beach. Known for its pristine environment and array of amenities, Long Beach is popular among locals and out-of-towners.
This resort community takes up the central portion of Long Beach Barrier Island and consists of three miles of white sand beach. Its boardwalk was rebuilt after Hurricane Sandy and stretches over two miles, so take a stroll and enjoy the people-watching, shops, and food stalls.
Long Beach also has designated surfing beaches with lifeguards on duty, and you can even sign up for surfing lessons. If that’s not your thing, there are volleyball courts, restaurants, bars, and specialty shops for you to peruse.
Without a doubt, this is one of the best family beaches near NYC since you can enjoy bike rentals, outdoor showers, festivals, and a free concerts series during the summertime.
- Where to stay: Allegria Hotel
7. Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn, another nice beach close to New York City
At the southern tip of Brooklyn, to the east of Brighton Beach, you’ll find Manhattan Beach, a small and serene NYC beach. This little pocket of sunshine is another popular summertime destination for New Yorkers, and it has everything you need for a relaxing day away from the stresses of the city.
Here, you can bike or walk along the waterfront promenade, play tennis, volleyball, or handball, or take your kids to one of the playgrounds. Lifeguards are on duty during the peak season, and there are ample spray showers and restrooms, so it’s a great place for families with children. Moreover, Manhattan Beach is one of the best dog-friendly beaches near NYC, as there are areas of the beach designated for pups.
So, whether you want to spend the entire day here, or check it out after visiting the other nearby beaches in Brooklyn, New York, be sure to add Manhattan Beach to your list.
8. Robert Moses State Park, one of the best beaches on New York’s Fire Island
Another Long Island favorite is Robert Moses State Park, one of the best ocean beaches in New York. It’s at the western end of Fire Island and brings in millions of visitors each year, thanks to its five miles of shoreline.
Robert Moses State Park is Long Island’s oldest state park and offers several green spaces where you can enjoy a picnic, practice watersports, or go fishing. The park also provides access to the Fire Island National Seashore, where you can see the Fire Island Lighthouse and Museum or visit the clothing-optional Lighthouse Beach.
As one of the best quiet beaches near NYC, this place generally attracts a calmer crowd and locals looking for a pleasant day trip from NYC. Pets aren’t allowed, but the beach has all the amenities you’d want for a comfortable beach day, including food stalls, beachfront stores, comfort stations, and private outdoor showers. There are also volleyball courts, a seasonal putting green, and lifeguards on duty during the summer months.
- Where to stay: Robbins Rest Retreat Vacation Home
9. Fort Tilden Beach, Queens, another incredible beach in NYC
Fort Tilden Beach is another calm beach in Queens, NY that most tourists won’t know about.
It’s next to Jacob Riis Park Beach, but it’s harder to get to, so it’s a more secluded alternative. The parking lots at Fort Tilden require a permit, so most people walk or bike the half-mile from Jacob Riis Park. If you’re up for a hidden adventure, Fort Tilden Beach will welcome you with open stretches of sand, minimal crowds, and the lulling sound of the surf.
Be aware that there are no lifeguards here, and you won’t find the usual amenities like umbrella rentals and beach shops. That said, the views are beautiful, with the sun glinting off New York Harbor and the Manhattan skyline in the distance. Once you venture off the beach, you’ll find old Fort Tilden, a former U.S. Army fort with bunkers, a historic battery, and abandoned military buildings scattered among the dunes.
- Where to stay: The Rockaway Hotel
10. Jones Beach State Park, a pristine beach in New York
Jones Beach State Park is another lovely place for a beach vacation in NYC. Located on Long Island’s southern shoreline, this is one of the most popular beaches along the Atlantic Ocean, attracting millions of visitors annually.
From its accessible amenities to its 6.5 miles of sparkling shoreline, Jones Beach stands out for its clean sand and family-oriented atmosphere. Here, you can go swimming in the sea or one of the public pools, as well as take a walk, jog, or bike ride along the boardwalk. The activities at Jones Beach include basketball, corn hole, mini-golf, pickleball, ping pong, and shuffleboard, so there’s something for everyone.
If you venture off the beach, you can visit the WildPlay Adventure Park, one of the playgrounds, or the Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center. It’s also worth seeing the 200-foot water tower in the center of town; its design was inspired by the Campanile of St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, Italy.
Overall, Jones Beach is one of the best family beaches near NYC, although pets are strictly prohibited.
- Where to stay: Jones Beach Hotel
11. Main Beach, East Hampton, a peaceful beach near New York City
For one of the best weekend getaways in NYC, head to Main Beach in East Hampton. This well-maintained beach is among the most popular summer destinations for New Yorkers and one of the best beaches in New York State.
This is also a great place to go as a family since there are lifeguards on duty, bathrooms, and outdoor showers by the beach. Adults will love the clean sand and clear water, while kids will delight in the treats at the snack bar and ocean waves that are perfect for boogie-boarding.
Along with its expansive shoreline, Main Beach has a central pavilion where you can buy beach items and grab a bite to eat, as well as picnic areas and volleyball courts. Nearby is Main Street, where you’ll find art galleries, cafes, shops, and a theater, so it’s an ideal place to spend your evening after a day in the sun.
- Where to stay: The Huntting Inn
12. Asbury Park, New Jersey, one of the best NJ beaches near New York City
While it’s known as the home of Bruce Springsteen, Asbury Park also happens to be one of the best NJ beaches close to NYC. Its shoreline stretches for about one mile, offering white sand and blue ocean waves. There are also convenient amenities like public restrooms, spray showers, beach umbrellas, and chair rentals.
Most people spend the day swimming and surfing off the coast before heading into town for some evening fun. The mix of surf, sand, and entertainment makes Asbury Park Beach one of the top beach destinations near NYC and one of the best things to do in New Jersey.
While you’re here, take a walk along the Asbury Park Boardwalk, which features cafes, a mini-golf course, playgrounds, and a waterpark. You can also see the former Asbury Park Casino & Carousel House, modeled in the Beaux-Arts style, and the Silver Ball Museum Arcade, where you can play classic pinball games.
If you’re staying here overnight, you’ll have time to explore the town, which is full of cute shops, restaurants, clubs, art galleries, and a movie theater. Depending on when you go, you might attend a music festival or other special event.
- Where to stay: The Asbury Hotel
13. Sandy Hook, New Jersey, another NJ beach near NYC that you should visit
Sandy Hook is another wonderful New Jersey beach that you should visit. Not only does it have seven miles of sprawling shoreline, but it’s also home to historic monuments, outdoor activities, and the peace and quiet you crave.
Moreover, this secluded beach near NYC is ideal for nature lovers since you can enjoy the surrounding recreational areas, which include holly forests, salt marshes, and hiking trails. A five-mile multi-use pathway is open to walkers, joggers, and cyclists, too.
Sandy Hook is a peninsular land mass that protrudes into New York Harbor, so it has both oceanside and bayside beaches. The ocean beaches boast views of Manhattan and the perfect waves for windsurfing and kitesurfing. Meanwhile, the bayside beaches have calmer waters, so they’re better suited to families with young children. Also, dogs are only permitted on the bayside beaches.
Besides swimming and surfing, you can go fishing, kayaking, scuba diving, or even visit the nudist Gunnison Beach to the north. If history interests you, be sure to check out the Sandy Hook Lighthouse, which is over 250 years old, and Fort Hancock, a deactivated U.S. Army base.
- Where to stay: Oyster Point Hotel
14. Barrett Beach Park, one of the best beaches near NYC
Barrett Beach Park is the place to go if you’re looking for seclusion and tranquility. Located on Fire Island, this beach near NYC is a little hidden gem. It’s only accessible by private boat or on foot, which keeps the crowds away and the noise pollution very low.
This area was once the resort town of Talisman, but it fell into disuse and finally underwent renovations in the early 2000s. Today, it’s one of the best quiet beaches near NYC, although it doesn’t offer much in the way of modern comforts or amenities.
That said, lifeguards are on duty during the summer season, and there are picnic areas and playgrounds along the shoreline. Barrett Beach Park is mostly known as a boater’s beach, and there are docking piers available for private charters. Even so, you can also enjoy the boardwalk trail or the park ranger-led programs and nature walks.
15. Cooper’s Beach, Southampton, a clean New York City beach you can’t miss
Last but not least, Cooper’s Beach in Southampton is a popular beach near NYC that’s lauded for its pristine shoreline dotted with historic mansions. This is a small beach that’s only open from May through September, but it’s known for exuding that luxurious air that you’d expect from the Hamptons.
As the main beach of Southampton Village, Cooper’s Beach is next to the town’s historic market and offers public restrooms, spray showers, beach umbrellas, and chair rentals. Lining the Atlantic Ocean, this clean NYC beach invites families and city dwellers to get their feet wet and enjoy the surf. Swimming, surfing, and bodyboarding are permitted, and lifeguards are on duty during the summer.
After enjoying the sea, head into town for something to eat and take a walk through the scenic streets lined with elaborate mansions and historic inns.
- Where to stay: Southampton Inn
I hope this guide helped you figure out where to go for your next beach vacation in NYC. Be sure to download this map with all the best beaches in NYC and the accommodations that I mentioned.
If you have any questions or you’d like to recommend a beach town near New York City, leave me a comment below and I’ll get back to you. Have a safe trip!