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There are beaches in New York and around, so hectic city life should not keep you from getting some sand in between your toes. New York City has some free and relatively easily reachable beaches in its adjacency. Get your towel and sunscreen and get ready for the water and sun. Here are your options for the budget and time conscious NYC visitor or local:
Be sure to read our Guide to NYC on a Budget for more NYC summer fun ideas.
Governor’s Island Water Taxi Beach: (FREE) This is probably your fastest option to get some beach sand on your feet. In less than a 10 minute ferry ride from the southernmost point at Battery Maritime Building in Lower Manhattan near Whitehall Street you can take the ferry to Governor’s Island. At 10 am, 11 am and 11:30 am the ferry is FREE, after that a $2 roundtrip fare applies. Here is the ferry schedule. A great view of the lower Manhattan skyline and some drink and food stands as well as wooden benches are waiting for you there. You can bring your bike for FREE. The catch is that there is no swimming and the island is only open to visitors on the weekend.
Coney Island Beach: (FREE) Another beach to be reached by subway is the iconic Coney Island Beach. Take the F, Q, N, or D train to Coney Island Stillwell Avenue. You got 3 miles of sandy beaches, and exciting recreation opportunities in the same place. With beach volleyball, handball, and basketball courts as well as playgrounds and amusement rides, the beach and boardwalk can provide hours of entertainment or some relaxation time, whichever you need.
Rockaway Beach: (FREE) Another budget-friendly beach option is Rockaway Beach. There is no beach admission and you can get there with the subway. Take the blue A train to Broad Channel, and transfer there to the S to Rockaway Park-Beach 116th Street. Travelling from Midtown, you should plan in about 90 minutes of travel time. Lifeguards are on duty between 10am-6pm. As part of the Sandy rebuilding program continues, some parts of the beach might still be blocked off, but that shouldn’t keep you from going.
Orchard Beach, Bronx: (FREE) Going north by subway, this public beach in the Bronx, can be reached within 35 minutes by subway from Midtown. The beach stretches about 1 mile. No need for a beach pass, and there are courts for tennis, paddleball, volleyball and basketball, a promenade, a food stands and shops, two playgrounds and picnic areas. You can also canoe or hike around the bay. There are bathrooms and a life guard as well. Take the green 6 train to Pelham Bay Park and transfer to bus Bx29 towards Orchard Beach.
Sandy Hook Beach: Time is money, and while this is not as inexpensive to travel as the other beaches, you get there relatively quickly and in style by boat. It’s a beautiful 7-mile stretch of beach to relax on the New Jersey side. Take the Sandy Hook Ferry from Pier 11 or East 35th Street. It’s a $40 round-trip, but you get there in about 30 minutes and get to ride the ferry and see some glimpses of the Statue of Liberty. A free bus shuttle brings you from the ferry to the nearest beach in less than 5 minutes. The beach is family-friendly with bathrooms, life guards and food stands. There is no beach admission fee.
Long Beach: From Midtown, Long Beach is the closest beach on Long Island. Take the LIRR from Penn Station, and get off at Long Beach Station. It’s a short walk south and east from the station to the beach. There is a beach admission fee, but you can get the combined LIRR package for $21 that includes the roundtrip as well as discounted admission to the beach. The boardwalk is all new and repaired, and you got 3.5 miles of lovely beach. We know it’s not free, but with the continuous rebuilding after Sandy, we feel it’s important to support these beaches.
Much to explore and to enjoy during the summer months in New York City. We might offer a Coney Island walking tour soon. Check out our website at www.freetoursbyfoot.com/new-york-tours/