Summer in New York City is all kinds of wonderful: Between all the artistic and cultural events and open-air performances and fairs, there’s no shortage of activities to engage in. For new city dwellers, however, finding a nearby and accessible beach is a mystery, prompting a flurry of online searches. Worry not, beach bums! We have put together a guide to get you out of the concrete jungle and onto some of our favorite sand in less than two hours:
For just $22, you get a round-trip rail ticket and a beach pass to enjoy this Long Island oasis. The ride is pleasant too! Aside from the overwhelming fragrance of sunscreen, being on a train with everyone and their beach chairs, umbrellas and towels immediately makes you feel like you’re on vacation! Once you arrive, the beach is a short walk from the train station and there are a few places to grab food and drinks to take on the sand or joints to sit at and enjoy a bite before or after the beach.
This seven-mile stretch of beach in New Jersey gives you lots of breathing room and clean oceanfront to enjoy. And if you get bored of just laying on the sand (does anyone ever?), you can go look for any of the 300 species of area birds. Getting there is painless and pleasant, albeit expensive—but hey it’s good to treat yourself once in a while. From Pier 11, the Seastreak Ferry will take you to the docks at Sandy Hook. Then a free school bus drives you over to the beaches. Roundtrip tickets will run you $45.
This peninsula is peppered with beaches and concessions but people are generally attracted to the stretch that hosts our favorite Arepa joint, Caracas, and Rockaway Taco. There are a few options—ferry, bus, rail—to get you there but the least expensive is the good old subway. Take the A train to Far Rockaway, then at Broad Channel transfer to the S Beach shuttle that goes to 116th Street. And if you don’t know where you’re going, don’t worry, follow your cooler holding, sun oiled fellows.
This close Queens beach, which is a slice of the lovely Gateway National Recreation Area, feels far far from the city and is less crowded than its neighbor, Rockaway Beach. And this summer thanks to the Riis Park Beach Bazaar, the area will sport food stands, chair rental, other sundries and free weekend concerts. To get there, take your pick of bus, ferry or the subway. The best route depends on where you’re coming from but here’s a good link to map out your sunny day escape.