1. Coney Island in Brooklyn

Top 5 magnificent beach escapes in and around New York
Sunset at Coney Island. Photo: Nyhabitat

This iconic beach is probably the best-known among the beaches in New York City. Some New Yorkers say the beach, boardwalk, and accompanying amusement park have seen their best days. It’s true that the once-popular resort destination fell into decay after the Second World War. In recent years, however, Coney Island has been revitalized: the boardwalk has been renovated, new showers and toilets have been installed and the 2.5-mile beach is once cleaner and inviting. It also doesn’t hurt that Coney Island is conveniently accessible by public transportation. A cheap subway ride from Midtown Manhattan takes less than an hour: you can catch the D, F, N, or Q train to Coney Island/ Stillwell Avenue station, which is just two blocks away from the beach. Take a ride in the famous Cyclone Rollercoaster, have a hotdog at Nathan’s Famous, stroll along the boardwalk, relax on the beach and go for a swim! For more attractions and events, check out the Coney Island Fun Guide.

2. Rockaway Beach in Queens

Top 5 magnificent beach escapes in and around New York
A Rockaway life. Photo: NYT

Rockaway Beach has been named the largest urban beach in the United States. It is also the only beach in NYC that has a surfing area: there are two separate stretches on the beach reserved for surfing. In the summer the small waves are excellent for beginners, while experienced surfers frequent this beach during the height of hurricane season in the early autumn. The beach features swimming areas, a long boardwalk, food vendors, seven playgrounds, public beach bathrooms, and of course plenty of sand to accommodate your beach towel! Rockaway Beach is also easily accessible by the subway. Take the A train, or change to the S at picturesque Broad Channel, to Beach 90 Street for the surfer beach, or to Beach 116 Street for the swimmers' beach. Join the surfers, hip Brooklynites, and local families at this versatile beach just a 1.5-hours scenic subway ride away from Midtown, Manhattan!

3. Orchard Beach in the Bronx

Top 5 magnificent beach escapes in and around New York
Orchard Beach. Photo: Nyhabitat

This manmade beach was once called “the Riviera of New York City”. It certainly boasts some attractive features: the crescent-shaped beach looks out over the Long Island Sound, while playgrounds and food vendors line the promenade. After an afternoon of sunbathing and swimming, our recommendation is to end the day at City Island which you will find at walking distance from the beach. This picturesque island has a real small fishing town feel and is famous for its seafood restaurants. City Island Lobster House has amazing crab cakes, while the Original Crab Shanty Restaurant makes great seafood pasta. To get to Orchard Beach, take the 6 train all the way up to Pelham Bay Park, and then catch the Bx12 bus to Orchard Beach.

4. Great Kills Park in Staten Island

Top 5 magnificent beach escapes in and around New York
Great Kills Park in Staten Island. Photo: Nyhabitat

Staten Island’s most famous beach is the Franklin D. Roosevelt beach, which has a boardwalk that stretches on for 2.5 miles. Lesser known is the Great Kills Park, which means the beaches here are less crowded and more private. The journey to Staten Island itself is already very scenic. First, you can take the 1, 4, 5, or R subway downtown to South Ferry Station in Lower Manhattan. Once there, you board the free ferry to Staten Island. The ferry makes its way down the New York Harbor past Liberty Island, offering amazing views of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan skyline. Staten Island has its own railway, and you can conveniently pay with your MetroCard. Take the railway down to Bay Terrace, and you’re almost there: just a 3 block walk to the east will get you to the Great Kills Park. If you walk south from here you will come across an idyllic marina filled with small boats. To the east of this marina is a peninsula with a small harbor and a lovely quiet beach area. Apart from bathrooms and showers, there is not much else here on this side of the marina, so be sure to bring your own picnic basket!

5. Long Beach in Long Island

Top 5 magnificent beach escapes in and around New York
Long Beach Barrier Island. Photo: Nyhabitat

According to Nyhabitat, Long Beach really is a gem: the white sand is soft, the beach is clean, the water is invigorating, there are great waves for surfing and parking is free! Plus, the beach is easy to get to even if you don’t have access to a car. The LIRR (Long Island Rail Road) takes you there in less than an hour from Penn Station in Midtown, Manhattan! The only downside is that the beach itself is not free: all beachgoers of age 13 and older have to buy a 12 dollar ticket to enter the beach at designated beach entrances (weekends only from May 16 – June 17 & daily from June 23 – September 3). If you’re based in New York, we advise purchasing an LIRR Beach Getaway Package: at just $21 the package includes a round-trip train ride plus beach access. Watching the sunset over the Atlantic, you’ll feel miles away from bustling New York City.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this overview of some of the best beaches in the New York City area. Of course, there are many more beaches around that we didn’t discuss here. Did we miss any of your favorites? Let us know in the comment section below!