This post is about several free beaches in NYC you can visit easily. We provide how to get to them, what you can expect, where to eat, and where you can get beach essentials like food, towels, sunscreen and more.
- Overview of NYC Beaches
- Coney Island on Brooklyn
- Rockaway Beach in Queens
- Orchard Beach in the Bronx
- Long Beach in Long Island
- Sandy Hook Beach in New Jersey
NYC BEACHES OVERVIEW
These are what we think are among the best beaches in New York City. All are free to visit, with the exception of Long Beach which charges an admission fee.
All of these beaches are no more than 90-minutes maximum from Manhattan and are all easily reached by subway, bus, and ferry (and by car, if you have one).
Below we provide information about the beaches, how to get there, what amenities are available and where you can buy beach essentials like food, towels, sunscreen and more.
We also include information on other activities to enjoy those beaches that have any.
TIP: If you are new to the NYC subway, then you may find the following guides helpful.
Be sure to take a look at our New York City Summer Guide for things to do beyond the beach!
Coney Island Beach
This New York City icon, Coney Island is very easy to reach by subway and totally free to visit. From Midtown Manhattan it takes less than an hour to get there.
In addition to the beach, there are a lot of things to do there, making a trip to Coney Island a great way to pass an afternoon.
Our post on things to do at Coney Island has more detail on the things to see and do in addition to the beach as well as a guide of where to eat.
One thing to do is stroll the famed boardwalk - the longest and widest in the world!
Another excellent attraction is Luna Park, an amusement park with several thrilling rides, including the historic Cyclone rollercoaster.
TIP: Luna Park is included in many of the discount tourist passes available. These passes, while not cheap, can ultimately save you a lot of money if you plan to see many of NYC's top attractions.
Read our post comparing discount tourist passes you can buy for your trip to New York City.
How to Get to Coney Island: Take the subway via D, F, N or Q train to "Coney Island/ Stillwell Avenue" station, which is just two blocks away from the beach. Use this Google Map link to get exact directions from your point of departure.
Beginning in 2021, the NYC Ferry will be transporting passengers to Coney Island.
- Bathrooms along the boardwalk.
- During beach season, lifeguards are on duty daily, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Wi-Fi hotspots and mobile charging station.
- Check the official City website for other information.
Food: Lots of vendors along the Boardwalk. Standouts are Nathan’s Famous at 1205 Boardwalk and Totonno’s Pizza at 1524 Neptune Avenue between West 15th and West 16th Street.
Where to buy beach essentials: These shops are within walking distance of the subway and the beach.
- Brooklyn Beach Shop at 1223 Riegelmann Boardwalk (map)
- Coney Island Beach Shop at 3018 Stillwell Ave. (map)
Rockaway Beach in Queens
Another free beach is Rockaway Beach, which is also reached easily via the subway or the East River Ferry in about 90-minutes from Lower Manhattan.
In addition to sea and sand, you can also enjoy a long boardwalk with food vendors and multiple playgrounds.
There are also a baseball field, basketball, volleyball and handball courts, and a skate park.
There are also many events including free Yoga on the Beach, festivals throughout the summer including family-friendly events. See their official website for information
There is also a designated stretch of beach for surfers!
How to get there: Via subway, take the A train to "Broad Channel" and transfer there to the S train to "Rockaway Park-Beach 116th Street" station.
You can also take the NYC Ferry, which is the same price as a subway ride and a lot prettier! Use this Google Maps link to get directions from your point of departure.
- Bathrooms and spray showers.
- Lifeguards are on duty between 10am-6pm.
- Check the official City website for other information
Food: Ripper’s for burgers, Connolly’s for summer drinks like Pina Coladas and, the taco truck called Tacoway Beach. See many more options here.
Where to buy beach essentials: These are all one block from the subway station.
- CVS Drugstore at 88 07 Rockaway Beach Blvd (map)
- Family Dollar Goods 86-01 Rockaway Beach Blvd (map)
- Key Food Supermarket 87-15 Rockaway Beach Blvd (map)
Orchard Beach in the Bronx
This free beach is located north of Manhattan in the Bronx. You can take a subway/bus combo to get here. From Midtown Manhattan it is just a 35-minute trip.
The beach stretches about 1 mile. There is a promenade, two playgrounds, food stands and souvenir shops, and two picnic areas.
There are also courts for tennis, paddleball, volleyball, and basketball.
How to get there: Via subway, take the subway 6 train to "Pelham Bay Park" station, and transfer to the Bx12 bus to Orchard Beach. The bus transfer is free. Use this Google Map link to get exact directions from your point of departure.
Amenities: Bathrooms. Mobile Phone Charging Station. During beach season, lifeguards are on duty daily, from 10 am to 6 pm.
Food: Orchard Beach Snack Bar has hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, fried chicken, shish kabobs, fries, onion rings, nachos, wings, slushes, soda.
Where to buy beach essentials: There are no shops on Orchard Beach, so best to make purchases before getting on the subway.
Long Beach in Long Island
From Midtown, Long Beach is the most "traditional" beach that feels like a seaside resort. Though it is not located in NYC, it is less than an hour from Manhattan.
However, there is a price to enjoy this gem. Visitors age 13 and older must buy a $15 ticket to enter the beach at designated beach entrances.
You can save on the cost of admission by purchasing an LIRR Beach Getaway Package.
- Price is $26.75 and includes:
- R/T Rail to and from Long Beach Station
- Discounted admission to the beach
- Participating vendors coupon for a round-trip ride on the Long Beach Bus (Weekends Only) and discounts at participating vendors throughout Long Beach.
How to get there: Purchase an LIRR Beach Getaway Package at Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan, take the Long Island Railroad to the Long Beach Station. The beach is a short walk east, then south.
Amenities: Bathrooms. Showers. Lifeguards are on duty, weather permitting, from 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Food: Many places along the boardwalk as well as mobile beach carts.
Where to buy beach essentials:
Long Beach Surf Shop at 70 W Park Ave, just one block from the train station (map)
Since you are departing from Penn Station, you can purchase beach items before you board the train if you have the time. There is a Duane Reade/Walgreens drugstore located in Penn Station across from the main LIRR Ticket Counter.
Sandy Hook Beach in New Jersey
This free beach has 7 miles of beautiful sand that you can get to in about 30 minutes the Seastreak Ferry. Though not cheap, you will feel miles away from the bustle of NYC, while having a great view of Manhattan in the distance.
How to get there: Take the Sandy Hook Ferry from Pier 11 or East 35th Street via the high-speed Seastreak ferry, which shuttles back and forth from Manhattan. It’s a $47 round-trip (less for children, see fares here).
A free bus shuttle brings you from the ferry to the nearest beach in less than 5 minutes.
Use this Google Map link to get exact directions from your point of departure.
Amenities: Bathrooms. Lifeguards are on duty from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
Food: Various food stands.
Where to buy beach essentials:
This is a national park, and therefore there is not a lot of shopping, There are restrooms and some food vendors, but you would be safer bringing food and beach supplies with you
You can find more information at their official website.