Quick Escape to the Beach
Who needs South Beach when you have Fire Island, the Hamptons and several other beaches only a few hours away. And don’t fret if you don’t have a car. There are plenty of beaches you can visit via the subway or LIRR. Here’s a list of the closest beaches to NYC, along with details on how to get there.
Water Taxi Beach on Governors Island
Water Taxi Beach Governors Island is not your typical beach. You might not be able to swim or set up your cooler full of beer, but you can lounge in the sand while taking in a gorgeous view of lower Manhattan. Or, stop by for dinner and some entertainment at “The Beach,” a live outdoor venue after dark when the beach turns into a “playground for the 21+ crowd,” according to the beach website.
The only way to get to the beach is by boat from Brooklyn and Manhattan on the Governors Island Ferry. It departs from the Battery Maritime Building. Best part? The ferry is free!
For special events, the New York Water Taxi will take people to the Island. The cost of the Taxi should be included in the ticket price unless the concert is free. If that’s the case, the round trip fee is still only $5.
Location: 1 Carder Rd., Manhattan
How to get there by subway: Take the 1 train to South Ferry Station, the 4, 5 train (weekdays) to Bowling Green, or the W (weekdays only) or R train (weekdays and weekends) to Whitehall St. Station
Estimated Time from Times Square-42nd Street Station to the South Ferry Station: 27-33 minutes
Estimated Time from Times Square-42nd Street Station to Bowling Green: 25-32 minutes
Estimated Time from Times Square-42nd Street Station to the Whitehall St. Station: 36 minutes
How to get there by bus: M1 (weekdays only), M6, M9 and M15
Rockaway Beach/Jacob Riis Park
Rockaway Beach Location: B 9- B 149 streets, Queens
Jacob Riis Park Location: From Beach 169th St. to Beach 149th St.
Not only does Rockaway Beach offer free beach admission, but it s also one of New York City’s most popular destinations. This is a great beach for everyone in the family! There are seven playgrounds for the children and volleyball and skating for the older kids. Rockaway is also the only surfing area in the city! Surfing not your thing? No problem! Visit for an afternoon and take in the sun while you sunbathe, swim and, even, fish for dinner.
Other activity options at Rockaway include yoga, movie nights and concerts. For more information on the events, check out the beach’s event page.
You can also opt to take a ferry out to Jacob Riis Park which is essentially an extension of Rockaway Beach. According to New York Magazine’s website, the beach is “An eclectic mix of sun-seekers” and “the isolated east end has long been a prime gay pick-up spot.” The park also offers golfing through the Pitch and Putt Golf Course concessionaire. Admission to the beach is also free.
You can get to the park by bus or subway, but the ferry is a great option if you would like to do a little sightseeing on the way there. From the ferry, guests will be able to see The Statue of Liberty, The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, Coney Island Lighthouse, Breezy Point, Jamaica Bay and The Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge.
How to get there by subway: Take the A train to Broad Channel, transfer to the S to Rockaway Park-Beach 116th St.
Estimated Time from Times Square-42nd Street Station: 1 hour and 58 minutes- 2 hours and 19 minutes
Estimated Travel Time: 1 hour
How to get to Jacob Riis Park by subway: Take the 2 to Flatbush Ave.
How to get to Jacob Riis Park by bus: Q35 Bus to Riis Beach
Estimated Travel Time: 1 hour- 1 hour and 30 minutes
How to get to Jacob Riis Park Area by Rockaway Beach Ferry: This option is only available Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. The ferry departs from Pier 11 (11 Bush Terminal Yard in Manhattan), located at Wall St. and the East River. For more information on the departure times and directions, visit the New York Beach Ferry website.
How to get there: Take Long Island Railroad from Penn station or David Brothers Taxi from Manhattan (68th St. and Third Ave. or 53rd St. and Second Ave.) to Bayshore, then take a ferry to Fire Island. Click here ( HYPERLINK “http://www.nps.gov/fiis/planyourvisit/getting-to-fire-island.htm” http://www.nps.gov/fiis/planyourvisit/getting-to-fire-island.htm) to read about the various ferry options.
Fees: Ferry, $13 one-way on weekday, $9.50 one-way on weekend, $14 for round-trip ferry; Taxi, $18 one-way, $21 one-way on holidays and Sundays; free beach admission
Location: Ocean Beach, NY
Fire Island is the perfect escape from the energy of the big city. Take a day trip and get lost in nature. Fire Island is home to maritime forests, high dunes, historic landmarks and wildlife. The trip there might take 2 ½ hours, but it’ll be worth it. The beaches offer a quieter and more serene experience than others. There are also a number of events to experience from a “Jr. Lighthouse Rangers” summer program to the 25th Annual “Barefoot Black Tie dinner Dance” on August 13. Check out the events page for details.
How to get there by subway: Take the 6-line to Pelham Bay
How to get there by bus: Take the Bx12 bus to Orchard Beach
Estimated Travel Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Location: Pelham Bay Park at Orchard Beach Rd., the Bronx
This beach offers a hexagonal boardwalk, 26 courts for tennis, paddleball and basketball and a bandshell for concerts in addition to the water. Beach admission is free.
How to get there by subway: Take the B or Q-line to Brighton Beach, then the B1 Bus to Oriental Blvd.
Estimated Travel Time: 1 hour
Location: Oriental Blvd., Brooklyn (Stretches from Ocean Ave. to Mackenzie St., on the eastern end of Coney Island)
Manhattan Beach is surrounded by mansions and is more remote than other beaches. There is also a concrete promenade to walk along. This beach also has free admission.
How to get there: Long Island Railroad Express from Penn Station
Estimated Travel Time: 1 hour
Cost: A roundtrip train and beach admission package is $17 from Manhattan or Brooklyn and $14 from Jamaica. Beach admission only is $7.
Location: South shore of Long Island (Stretches from Maple Blvd. to Brookline Ave.)
According to New York Magazine’s website, this beach was “a celebrity-studded resort in its early 20th century heyday.” Visitors can surf on this beach. Check the 2011 schedule for where to surf.
How to get there: Long Island Railroad from Penn Station to Freeport, then transfer to the Jones Beach shuttle bus
Estimated Travel Time: 1 hour
Cost: There is a round-trip train and bus package for $15 from Manhattan or Brooklyn and $11 from Jamaica. Beach admission is $8 per day in summer; $6 per day during the regular season or $59 for a season pass.
Location: Off the Wantagh Pkwy (South Shore of Long Island, roughly between the Wantagh and Meadowbrook Pwys)
Jones Beach is well-known for their amphitheater’s big-name summer concert series. The beach also has bike paths, a nature center, an Olympic-size pool and a “no radio” policy.
Brighton Beach and Coney Island
Coney Island is a great place to visit if you’re looking to fill your afternoon with more than sunbathing by the water. Visit the Coney Island Museum Thursdays through Sundays from noon until 6 p.m. where the admission is only 99 cents. There is also a circus sideshow, where visitors can see 10 live acts and attractions. Or, take in a film or burlesque show at the beach during the summer. Finally, be sure to ride one of the roller coasters or other rides if you’re a daredevil. If you are visiting Coney Island to see Brighton Beach, all you’ll need is money for the subway ride. The beach doesn’t charge an admission fee.
How to get to Coney Island by subway: Take the D, Q, N, or F-line to Coney Island Terminal-Stillwall Ave.
Estimated Time from Times Square-42nd Street Station: 1 hour and 5 minutes
How to get to Brighton Beach by subway: B or Q-line to Brighton Beach
Estimated Time from Times Square-42nd Street Station: 1 hour and 14 minutes- 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Coney Island Location: Corbin Place to West 37 Street, Brooklyn
Brighton Beach Location: Stretches east from Corbin Place to Coney Island
Jersey Shore/Cape May
According to New York Magazine’s website, “ The beaches of the much maligned Garden State may bring to mind rowdy crowds, funnel cake and skeeball, but not so [in] Cape May: a serene throwback to Victorian times, with slate sidewalks lit by gaslight, period houses and antiques shops.” However, it takes a four-five hour bus trip to get there.
How to get there: NJ Transit from Penn Station to Asbury Park
Estimated Travel Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes
Cost: The cost is $10.05 one-way and $15.25 for an off-peak round-trip. Beach admission is $4 on weekdays and $5 on weekends and holidays.
Cape May alternative directions: Take the NJ Transit Bus 319 direct from Port Authority to Cape May Transportation Center.
Cost: It is $29.45 roundtrip for adults and $13.25 roundtrip for children and seniors.
Location: Ocean Ave., Asbury Park (Stretches from First to Eighth Aves. along Ocean Ave.)