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Best Beaches In New York City

Last update: 2023-12-07

New York City may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of beautiful beaches, but the city actually has some spectacular stretches of sand perfect for beach days. The beaches around New York offer a unique urban beach experience, with amazing city views, beachside concessions, and plenty of opportunities for water sports and recreation. From the popular sands of Coney Island to the remote shores of Staten Island, here is a guide to the best beaches in New York City.

Coney Island, Brooklyn

No list of New York City beaches is complete without the iconic Coney Island. Located in southern Brooklyn, Coney Island is one of the most famous and frequented urban beaches in the United States.

Amusement park in Coney Island - NY

The Coney Island beach and boardwalk stretch for nearly 3 miles between Sea Gate and Brighton Beach. The white sandy beach has a festive seaside culture with amusement parks, games, eateries, and summer events. Rides and attractions at Luna Park and Deno's Wonder Wheel Park line the lively boardwalk. And the New York Aquarium and minor league baseball team, the Brooklyn Cyclones, add family-fun entertainment options steps from the sand.

In addition to people watching and enjoying carnival rides, beachgoers swim, jet ski, and surf fish in the Atlantic waters off Coney Island. The beach has a busier, exciting vibe than other NYC options and should be experienced at least once.

Rockaway Beach, Queens

Rockaway Beach is a popular summertime escape for New Yorkers seeking ocean waves. Located on the Rockaway Peninsula of Queens, the nearly 6 miles of beach faces the Atlantic Ocean, offering some of the best surfing conditions in the region.

Rockaway Beach on the Pacific Ocean without people

The beach is divided into named sections from east to west. Beach 116th-Beach 94th make up Rockaway Beach North while Beach 60th-Beach 9th comprise Rockaway Beach South. Amenities are found along the boardwalk, though not to the extent of Coney Island. Food stands, restaurants, surf shops, skate parks, playgrounds, and other facilities provide entertainment.

The currents can be quite strong, so swimmers should take care. But surfers flock here to ride the consistently good breaks. The beach is also a nesting area for the endangered piping plover shorebird. Leashed pets are allowed in sections, and fishing is popular in designated casting zones.

Orchard Beach, Bronx

Known as the Bronx Riviera, Orchard Beach is a 1.1 mile manmade beach along the Long Island Sound. The crescent-shaped beach has soft sand, picnic areas, sports fields, playgrounds, recreational trails, and other amenities. The calm, shallow protected waters make Orchard Beach ideal for families.

Two wooden traditional armchairs on a sandy beach at sunrise overlooking the coastline. Atlantic Ocean. USA. Maine. Old Orchard Beach.

The beach facilities include two bathhouses with changing rooms, restrooms, restaurants, and snack bars. You can rent bikes, play volleyball, shuffleboard and handball, or explore the gardens surrounding the beach. The beach is accessible by car, bike, or via NYC public transportation by bus or ferry.

Orchard Beach provides a quieter, more relaxed beach day than the Brooklyn and Queens beaches. But it still offers convenient access to the waterfront right in the city. The sandy beach and vibrant social scene make it a go-to summertime destination.

South Beach & Wolfe's Pond Beach, Staten Island

The borough of Staten Island actually has the longest stretch of public beaches within NYC city limits. South Beach and Wolfe's Pond Beach offer more natural shorelines compared to the busier beaches in Brooklyn and Queens.

South Beach is located along the South Shore of Staten Island facing the Atlantic Ocean. The 1.5 mile beach adjacent to the neighborhood of Midland Beach has bathhouses, playgrounds, picnic tables, and sports fields along its sandy shores. The waves are good for surfing and fishing charters launch from docks nearby.

Wolfe's Pond Park Beach in Staten Island NY

Wolfe's Pond Beach faces the calmer waters of the Lower New York Bay on the South Shore. The beach is smaller and quieter than South Beach, with grills, a café, bike trails through adjacent Wolfe's Pond Park. The tranquil setting and shallow waters create a family-friendly environment.

Staten Island's beaches are more remote, requiring ferry or car transportation from other boroughs. But those looking for beach amenities with more natural scenery appreciate their untamed vibe.


What are the best beaches in New York City for families?

The most family-friendly beaches in New York are Orchard Beach in the Bronx and Wolfe's Pond Beach on Staten Island. Both have calm shallow waters, playgrounds, picnic facilities, and on-site cafés. Families also enjoy the amenities at Rockaway Beach and the carnival atmosphere of Coney Island.

Where is the best surfing beach in NYC?

Rockaway Beach in Queens has some of the best surfing waves among New York City beaches. Good surf can also be found at Coney Island and South Beach on Staten Island when conditions are right.

Can you swim at New York City beaches?

Yes, swimming is allowed at all New York City beaches when lifeguards are on duty during the summer season. Ocean currents can be strong so swimmers should take care, follow lifeguard instructions, and stay in designated swimming areas.

What is the closest beach to Manhattan?

The closest public beach to Manhattan is Midland Beach on Staten Island. From Lower Manhattan, riders can take the Staten Island Ferry to Midland Beach. The ferry is free and takes 25 minutes each way.

Are there boardwalks at all NYC beaches?

Iconic boardwalks line the beaches at Coney Island in Brooklyn and Rockaway Beach in Queens. Smaller boardwalk promenades are also found at Orchard Beach in the Bronx and South Beach in Staten Island.


New York City's beaches offer diverse urban escapes along miles of shoreline within city limits. Coney Island provides vintage seaside fun while Rockaway Beach is known for its surf. Orchard Beach and Staten Island's South Beach and Wolfe's Pond Beach provide more low-key atmospheres. The NYC beaches give residents and visitors alike the chance to enjoy the seaside and a variety of recreational activities just a subway or ferry ride away. Exploring the beaches is an easy way to experience the beautiful waterfront while city sightseeing.

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