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A sandy beach may not be the first thing that comes to your mind when someone says “New York City” but consider that it is surrounded by water, not to mention the stretch of land name Long Island that is attached to it, and the famed Jersey Shore on the other side….it turns out there are numerous attractive beaches relatively close to New York City.
Whether you are stuck in the city on a sweltering mid-summer day surrounded by skyscrapers or there on a weekend visit, it is good to know that in almost no time you can escape to the beach! Here is a list of my top five, including how to get there:
Long Beach, Long Island
This is the first New York City beach I ever went to, mainly because I lived in Manhattan, and it is a very easy and comfortable train ride from New York Penn Station to the Long Beach stop on the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). They even sell round trip tickets that include the beach pass. Once you get off the train the beach is literally across the main road and steps away.
It is a long beach, hence its name, with a great boardwalk about two miles long. You can rent bikes and bike along the boardwalk, or just find yourself a spot on the beach to soak in the sun.
When you get hungry, the city of Long Beach has numerous restaurants, pizza shops, ice cream parlours and the like located along Park Avenue with a casual atmosphere for eating in or taking away.
Montauk, Long Island
You can also ride the LIRR all the way to the last stop, which is Montauk. It’s a long train ride from NYC, about three hours, but there are plenty of beach hotels in the area where you can stay and spend a couple of days on one the beaches in the area, such as Ditch Plains Beach or Montauk Beach. In the summer there are numerous car and taxi services available that make getting around town easy.
When you have had enough sun, you can feast on the freshest seafood at Gossman’s, have a beer at the outdoor patio of the Montauk Brewing Company, or check out the Montauk Point Lighthouse, the first ever built in New York State. For more on what to do in Montauk, see A Day in Montauk, NY.
Jones Beach, Long Island
Over six miles of white sand can be found on Long Island’s Jones Beach, one of New York’s largest beaches with over six million visitors in an average summer season. Part of Jones
Beach State Park, it is considered “the people’s beach”, and there really is something here for everyone, including biking, surfing, swimming, or taking in a concert.
Most people drive here as there are large parking lots available. However, one can also get here on the LIRR and a connecting bus.
Eating options are a little more limited, and most people bring their own food to the beach. We managed a quick lunch when we were there at the Boardwalk Cafe, which has burgers, hot dogs and the like and is located near a lot of concession stands for more options for snacks, ice cream etc.
For more information on what to do, see Jones Beach, NY.
Long Branch, New Jersey
Heading over to the other side of Manhattan is the long coastline of New Jersey, known as the Jersey Shore, which has something like 44 different beaches to explore. The first beach I ever went to in New Jersey, and still one of my favorites, is Long Branch. All the beaches on the Jersey Shore can be easily accessed on the New Jersey Transit system, or you can rent a car.
Long Branch has a renovated boardwalk and several grand hotel and dining options nearby, so it comes close to feeling like a beach resort.
Along with a clean beach and 8.2 mile long boardwalk, Long Branch has a center called Pier Village. When you need a break from the beach you can grab a sandwich, get a coffee or saunter through the shops there
Asbury Park, New Jersey
This once was a major recreational getaway, which has undergone a lot of renovation. It is still the spot to catch live bands play at places like the Stone Pony, or to play arcade games.
The beach itself is crowded and lively, with an atmosphere that is a little on the funky side. You can go on and off the beach, getting sweet lemonades and French fries from the board walk. Afterwards take a stroll to the renovated convention centre and stop for some ice cream from Betty’s Ice Box.
When you get hungry, you can get some dinner at the renovated restaurant Café Moonstruck, which was the famed Raspberry Café back in the eighties.
Whichever you choose, it is sure to add a very memorable day to your vacation if you plan to take in a New York or New Jersey beach day.
About The Author
Irena Springer has lived in the New York area for over twenty years and has loved exploring it, as well as traveling throughout the U.S. and Europe. She likes to write and blog about travel, and can be found on her travel blog The Full Itinerary.