Best Beaches In & Near New York City

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New York City is on practically everyone's bucket list – but not their bucket and spade list! But while few come here for the beaches alone that's not to say NYC isn't home to some great sandy spots. It would be fair to say the beaches of the Bronx and Queens aren't the archetypal palm-lined, white sand expanses you may be dreaming of. On the other hand they are definitely sandy, always cosmopolitan and some even have great surf.

With many of the beaches within an easy metro ride, they attract a diverse bunch and can be people-watching paradise. It is during the summer that New York's beaches come into their own. As the temperature rises it seems everyone (and sometimes their dog) are looking for a way to cool down.

Whilst the well-heeled might turn their noses up at the city beaches and head for the Hamptons, the rest hit the city beaches in search of a sea breeze. A word of warning – it can get kind of busy on some of NYC's most popular beaches. Spots like Coney Island and Rockaway are pretty much standing room only on Memorial and Labor Day!

So forget Broadway, 5th Avenue and a trip up the Empire States Building everyone visiting should check out at least some of the best beaches in New York.

  • 1. Brighton Beach

    Brighton Beach
    © Gianni Carco

    Travel time from New York City: approx 0.5 hrs

    The easternmost portion of Coney Island Beach, Brighton Beach is located close to Luna Park amusement park and the New York Aquarium. Partially sheltered by the tip of Long Beach to the south, it is sometimes known as 'Little Odessa' because of historic immigration to the area from Russian-speaking Europe.

    Part of the Borough of Brooklyn, Brighton Beach is at its busiest on summer weekends, when New Yorkers make use of… read more »

  • 2. Jacob Riis Park Beach

    Jacob Riis Park Beach
    Steven Pisano

    Travel time from New York City: approx 0.5 hrs

    Jacob Riis Park Beach makes up the westernmost part of the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens. Named after the social journalist who urged the city authorities to purchase the land to create a public park and beach, its long length of sand is dotted with original art deco structures from the 1920s and 30s, including the bathhouse (bath pavilion).

    The beach's northern end is paralleled by a 140 foot wide concrete boardwalk… read more »

  • 3. Coney Island Beach

    Coney Island Beach

    Travel time from New York City: approx 0.5 hrs

    Brooklyn's iconic seafront is home to a generous stretch of sand backed by a boardwalk and vast array of amusements. This is the beach people instantly think about when you mention NYC beaches, and judging by the summer crowds it is the one they go to as well!

    Only marginally less busy than nearby Rockaway, Coney Island beach is guaranteed to be jam-packed when the mercury hits the red. And… read more »

  • 4. South Beach (Staten Island)

    South Beach (Staten Island)
    Tommy Miles

    Travel time from New York City: approx 0.5 hrs

    With beautiful views back towards Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, South Beach is a long stretch of sand where Upper Bay opens out into Gravesend Bay. Its northeast end – closest to the bridge, is edged by Battery Hudson historic landmark and the Camp Gateway campground, while its opposite end runs into Midland Beach without a break. The Franklin D Roosevelt boardwalk and bike path follows its entire 1.5 mile length.

    South Beach is… read more »

  • 5. Rockaway Beach

    Rockaway Beach
    Shinya Suzuki

    Travel time from New York City: approx 0.5 hrs

    Long Island's Rockaway Beach stretches along the Jamaica Bay oceanfront a short distance from the take offs and landings of JFK Airport. Forming the southernmost parts of the Borough of Queens, it holds the record for being the largest urban beach in the United States.

    Sometimes called the 'Irish Riviera' because of the number of residents in the neighbourhood with ancestors back on the Emerald Isle, Rockaway Beach had to undergo… read more »

  • 6. Gunnison Beach

    Gunnison Beach
    Richard Arthur Norton

    Travel time from New York City: approx 0.5 hrs

    Washed by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Gunnison Beach is a beach that is difficult to fault. It is situated within Fort Hancock and the Sandy Hook Proving Ground Historic District, part of Gateway National Recreation Area. Its views include those of Verrazano Narrows Bridge, connecting Staten Island and Brooklyn, New York. During the summer months there are even direct ferry services between Manhattan and Gunnison Beach, making it… read more »

  • 7. Orchard Beach

    Orchard Beach

    Travel time from New York City: approx 0.5 hrs

    A lovely broad stretch of clean sand, Orchard Beach edges Pelham Bay for a length of well over a mile. Brought to a definitive stop at either end of the bay by stone seawalls, it faces out towards Long Island from the East Bronx on Long Island Sound.

    Part of Pelham Bay Park, the beach is subdivided into 13 sections backed by a paved promenade spotted with food stores and other… read more »

  • 8. Greenwich Point Park

    Greenwich Point Park

    Travel time from New York City: approx 1 hr

    Greenwich Point Park Beach is located on a narrow peninsula of land that juts out from the northern shoreline of Long Island Sound. A private beach with public access via a day pass system costing around $10 per person plus parking, it was known to the Siwanoy people as Monakewego, or 'shining sands.'

    Visit at low tide and you'll see exactly why, although most beachgoers choose to wear beach shoes or… read more »

  • 9. Jones Beach

    Jones Beach

    Travel time from New York City: approx 1 hr

    This six mile white sand beach faces out into the Atlantic Ocean from the chain of islands that form the southern extent of New York's Long Island. Although one of the most popular and most visited beaches in the region, its size helps to ensure it never feels overly crowded, even on busy summer days.

    Named after a seventeenth-century militiaman, Jones Beach includes a two mile boardwalk and an outdoor concert… read more »

  • 10. Asbury Park

    Asbury Park

    Travel time from New York City: approx 1 hr

    Hitting its heyday in the 1920s, Asbury Park Beach in New Jersey remains an attractive proposition for those seeking out a day beside the Atlantic Ocean waves. Rated as one of the state's top beaches, in more recent times it has had some allure with the surfing community, while still drawing in those looking to relax on a wide expanse of clean sand.

    There are plenty of places to eat and… read more »

  • 11. Cedar Beach

    Cedar Beach
    Terry Ballard

    Travel time from New York City: approx 1 hr

    A landscape as far from the skyscrapers of New York City as it's possible to get, New York State's Cedar Beach in Babylon lies on the long and narrow Jones Beach Island, itself off the southern shores of Long Island. Facing out into the waters of the New York Bight, Cedar Beach comprises a huge area of broadly flat pale sand.

    Home to numerous beach volleyball courts (used by the… read more »

  • 12. Cooper's Beach (Southampton)

    Cooper's Beach (Southampton)
    Shinya Suzuki

    Travel time from New York City: approx 2.5 hrs

    This beautiful and serene beach in Southampton, Long Island, has a stretch of white sand running along the Atlantic Ocean. You can walk on the beach, sit in the sun, or you can surf and bodyboard. A local eatery, Serenity, has a Lobster Bake every Friday and Saturday, and there are live concerts. You will also find a concession stand, bathhouse, and chair and umbrella rentals.

    The wide sandy beaches attract… read more »

  • 13. East Hampton Beach

    East Hampton Beach
    Nicole Mayone

    Travel time from New York City: approx 2.5 hrs

    Main Beach is on the eastern edge of Long Island in East Hampton, New York. This prisitine shoreline has sand which is soft and stretches endlessly between the dunes and the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

    There's plenty to do at this upmarket location. You can rent surfboards, kayaks, or paddle boards or even take a lesson if you are just learning. There are lifeguards to make sure that you… read more »

More beaches near New York City