6 beaches near New York: Where to go for sun, sand, and surf

Published by: BouncePosted
Beaches near NYC

Being on the Eastern seaboard, it makes sense that there are plenty of beaches within driving distance of New York. For city-weary New Yorkers, Atlantic Ocean beach destinations in New England, Long Island, and the Jersey Shore are welcome sources of respite from the hustle and bustle. Most impressively, however, is the collection of public beaches located across the waterfronts of the five boroughs. 

When you don’t have a full weekend to dedicate to driving up the coast, taking a train or bike to a New York beach is one of the best ways to spend a summer afternoon. Luckily, many of these beaches are accessible using public transit, have plenty of amenities, including beach bag and luggage storage, and have tons of fun activities for your day in the sun. 

From the Bronx to Staten Island, there are so many excellent beach options to choose from. Here are the best beaches in and around New York: 

Newsletter Banner

Love discounts and traveling?

Sign up for our newsletter and get 10% off your next booking.

Brighton Beach Boardwalk, NYC

Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach and Brighton Beach are both located in the southernmost part of Brooklyn near Coney Island. While these aren’t as famous as the iconic Coney Island, these are just superb New York City beaches (and neighborhoods) to visit. 

Manhattan Beach is a quiet, residential area with a small beach that's popular among neighborhood residents and Brooklynites. Brighton Beach is a bustling, lively neighborhood with a longer beach than Manhattan Beach. It’s popular with both locals and tourists, as there are plenty of amenities. Brighton Beach feels more like a party, whereas Manhattan Beach is ideal for low-key relaxation on the water. 

Distance from New York City

Brighton Beach is located near the Brighton Beach subway station, which is served by the B and Q trains. Manhattan Beach is located a bit further east of Brighton Beach, but it's still easily accessible by public transportation. You can take the B1 or B49 bus to Manhattan Beach or take the Q train to the Sheepshead Bay station and then transfer to the B49 bus. If you're driving, there is also a large parking lot near the beach.

Activity recommendations 

Brighton Beach is also known for its lively boardwalk, which features shops, restaurants, and attractions. Additionally, Brighton Beach is home to a large Russian-speaking community, and you'll find many restaurants and shops that specialize in Russian cuisine. This neighborhood is absolutely worth exploring once you’re done soaking up the sun. 

Like any beach, the main attraction at Manhattan Beach is the water. Whether you want to swim, lounge on the sand, or play beach volleyball, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the water and sun.

Manhattan Beach is known for its excellent fishing conditions, and many locals and visitors come here to cast a line. The beach has several piers and jetties where you can fish, and there are also nearby bait and tackle shops if you need supplies.

Brighton Beach is most popular during the summer months when the weather is warm, and the beach is bustling with activity. However, be prepared for large crowds and higher prices during peak season. New York Public Beaches are generally open from Memorial Day weekend through the first half of September.

Coney Island Beach in New York

Coney Island Beach

Coney Island is perhaps the most famous of New York City beaches, and for good reason. The beach is about three miles long and offers a beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean. It's a popular destination for everyone during the summer months. The beach also offers a boardwalk with plenty of restaurants, shops, and attractions. Coney Island is (literally) world-famous for its amusement park, which is adjacent to the beach, and features rides, games, and other fun activities.

Distance from New York City

Coney Island is located along the southern shore of Brooklyn. You can get to Coney Island from Manhattan (and the rest of the five boroughs) by subway, which takes about 45 minutes to an hour. You can always drive, but traffic and parking make the trip more complicated. 

Activity recommendations 

Coney Island is most famous for its amusement park and boardwalk, which offer a wide range of entertainment options, including rides, games, and attractions like the Cyclone roller coaster and the Wonder Wheel Ferris wheel. Coney Island is also known for its beach for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking. Coney Island is also famous for its hot dogs, especially the iconic Nathan's Famous, which hosts an (infamous) annual hot dog eating contest on the Fourth of July. 

The peak season for Coney Island’s public beach is typically from Memorial Day weekend in late May through Labor Day weekend in early September, when the weather is warm, and the amusement park and beach are fully open. 

Beaches in the Bronx, NY

Orchard Beach - The Bronx 

Known for its unique crescent shape and boardwalk, Orchard Beach is the most popular public beach in the Bronx. The beach conditions are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and volleyball. The beach is over a mile long and is lined with a boardwalk that offers beautiful views of the Long Island Sound. There’s a great selection of food stands and vendors serving up Caribbean and Latin American flavors.

Orchard Beach is popular for live music and dancing, with frequent performances by DJs and live bands playing near (or even on) the beach. Orchard Beach has a rich history, dating back to the 1930s when it was built as a public works project during the Great Depression. History buffs still travel to the area to see historic landmarks and buildings along the beach, especially the iconic and well-preserved bathhouse.

Distance from New York City

The easiest way to get here from Manhattan is the 6 train to Pelham Bay Park Station. This is the last stop on the 6 train and takes about an hour from Midtown. From Pelham Bay Park Station, you can transfer to the BX12 or BX5 buses that go directly to Orchard Beach. You can take a taxi or Uber directly from Manhattan to Orchard Beach. The ride will take 30-45 minutes or even longer. This is the considerably more expensive option, and it might not save you as much time as you’d expect

Activity recommendations 

Orchard Beach is a popular destination for beach volleyball, with several courts available for use. The beach also hosts several volleyball tournaments throughout the summer. Things can get VERY competitive on weekends, so you’ll have to show up early.

Orchard Beach is home to restaurants, food trucks, and stands that offer everything from classic beach fare like hot dogs to iconic Caribbean cuisine from the Puerto Rican and Dominican communities. The most popular is Vistamar. 

The beach is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but you can take a walk along the beach if you’re exploring the neighborhood during spring or fall. 

Staten Island beaches

Midland Beach and South Beach - Staten Island 

Midland Beach and neighboring South Beach are the two most popular public beaches located on Staten Island. They’re both solid options for swimming, sunbathing, and playing beach sports. Midland Beach has a boardwalk that's perfect for a leisurely stroll or bike ride. The boardwalk offers beautiful views of the water and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which connects Staten Island to Brooklyn. The Ocean Breeze Fishing Pier is also a popular spot for casting a line and enjoying the epic views of the city. 

Distance from New York City

Subway and bus are the best options to get here if you don't have tons of cash to spend on a rental car or taxi. From Manhattan, take the 4 or 5 train to the Bowling Green station in Manhattan, then transfer to the S53 bus towards Bay Ridge. Get off at the Midland Avenue/Sand Lane stop, which is right by South Beach. 

The most fun method of transport is the Staten Island Ferry from Manhattan to the St. George Ferry Terminal. From there, you can take the bus to the Seaview Avenue/Sand Lane stop, which is a short walk from the beach.

Uber and Lyft are also options and can take you directly to Midland Beach, but there will be traffic on the bridge, and these can be expensive on weekends. 

Activity recommendations 

The Turtle Circle is easily the most adorable attraction near Midland Beach. It features a sea turtle fountain and several bronze turtle sculptures, and it’s a great spot for families. Midland Beach is also located very close to a few of the best attractions on Staten Island, including the Staten Island Zoo and the Staten Island Museum.

New York Public Beaches are generally open from Memorial Day weekend through the first few weeks of September. This is when the weather on Staten Island is truly excellent. 

Fire Island on Long Island

Fire Island - Long Island 

Located on the southern portion of Long Island, Fire Island is known for having some of the best beaches in New York. The island is home to over 32 miles of pristine beaches along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, including both ocean and bay beaches. The beaches are clean, wide, and sandy, with crystal-clear waters and excellent surf conditions. It’s a popular weekend trip from New York for younger travelers, especially in the LGBTQ+ community, as it's famous for its vibrant nightlife and cultural scene. Recently, the island has enjoyed new notoriety for its portrayal in the comedy Fire Island. 

Distance from New York City 

The only way to reach Fire Island is by ferry or private boat, as there are no cars allowed on the island. The total trip should take less than two hours from Manhattan. 

Activity recommendations 

One of the most popular beaches on Fire Island is the wide and sandy Ocean Beach, which is a great option for families and surfers. Other Fire Island beaches, like Kismet and Saltaire, are quieter and more secluded, making them great for a peaceful day at the beach. These beaches are surrounded by paths for hiking and walking as well. 

Fire Island is famous for its lively gay and lesbian communities, particularly in the towns of Cherry Grove and Fire Island Pines. These towns have been popular summer destinations for the LGBTQ+ community for decades and offer a lively nightlife scene with restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.  

Fire Island’s beaches are generally open between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day. Keep in mind these weekends are incredibly busy, so a midsummer trip is ideal. 

Rockaway Beach in Queens

Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk 

Rockaway Beach is a popular destination situated along the Rockaway Peninsula in New York City. It’s known for its beautiful sandy beaches and vibrant and historic boardwalk. Its real claim to fame is being the best place to surf in New York, where the waves of the Long Island Sound create excellent surfing conditions. 

Distance from New York City

One of the best NYC beaches, Rockaway Beach is located in Queens and can take between 45 minutes to over an hour to travel by car or public transportation. The quickest way to get to Rockaway Beach from Manhattan is by taking the A train, which runs directly from Manhattan to the Rockaways and takes about 45 minutes to an hour.

Activity recommendations 

Rockaway Beach is the most popular destination for surfers in New York City, with several surf schools and shops offering lessons and equipment rentals. While you may not associate the Big Apple with catching some waves, this is easily one of the coolest things you can do in the summer. On land, the boardwalk at Rockaway Beach is one of the longest in the world, stretching for miles along the coast. It's a popular spot for walking, running, and biking, and offers beautiful views of the ocean.

Rockaway Beach has a rich history dating back to the early 1900s when it was a popular summer destination for New York City residents. Today, you can still see several historic landmarks and buildings along the boardwalk and the surrounding neighborhoods. 

If you're interested in surfing, the best time to visit Rockaway Beach is in the fall, from September to November, when the water is still warm, and the waves are typically larger. For the full beach experience, Rockaway Beach is open from Memorial Day weekend through mid-September when lifeguards are fully staffed. 


For residents, you can easily hit all of the best beaches in New York in a single summer. For travelers, picking the closest public beach and spending an afternoon enjoying the sun, surf, and sand is a great way to live like a local, especially if you're visiting New York on a budget. Either way, Bounce has you covered for all your luggage storage needs in New York, so the only things you’ll have to worry about are remembering to put on sunscreen and whether or not to turn a beach afternoon into a prolonged weekend trip from the city.

Newsletter Banner

Love discounts and traveling?

Sign up for our newsletter and get 10% off your next booking.

Get the
Bounce app

Instantly find locations nearby to drop off your luggage wherever you go.