Enjoy sand, waves and waters at these family-friendly beaches. Go early or late in the day to avoid crowds.

Also see our guides to boating and destination playgrounds.


Coney Island Beach & Boardwalk


With nearly 3 miles of free sandy beaches, Coney Island’s rolling waves have been cooling off New Yorkers for centuries. Cleaner than it used to be with lots of character and attractions.

* Find courts for beach volleyball, handball, and basketball as well as playgrounds, amusement rides at Luna Park and the New York Aquarium.

* Lifeguards are on duty 10am to 6pm, every day from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

* Wear your bathing suit; changing in the public bathrooms is forbidden.

* If Coney’s beach is too crowded, walk to clean, calm Brighton Beach among Little Odessa’s Russian and Ukrainian shops and restaurants.

🍽  Get a hot dog (or corn dog) and fries, at  Nathan’s Famous German-style all-beef dogs on toasted potato buns at Feltman’s of Coney Island. Grab a slice of thin-crust pizza at legednary Totonno’s,  seafood at Paul’s Daughter ,Caribbean food at Footprints Cafe, tacos, tortas & Las Frutas Locas. at Dona Zita Mexican Restaurant. Dessert options include gelato at Coney’s Cones and candy apple and homemade marshmallow balls at 75 years-old Williams Candy

🚊 Near the last stop, Stillwell Avenue, of the D, Q, N, or F train.

🚙 Drive to Surf Avenue for (mostly metered) street parking or pay less than $20 in the lot at MCU Stadium.

Robert Moses State Park


Swim and play on a lovely five-mile Atlantic Ocean beach on the tip of Fire Island. Choose from four “Fields.” Field 2, bordering a golf course, tends to be the least crowded. Fields 3 and 4 are radio-free zones. Field 5 has a boardwalk nature trail that leads to the iconic Fire Island Lighthouse, look out for deer and other wild animals.

🌭 Concessions available at Field 4.

Orchard Beach


Bronx’s sole public beach, a 1.1-mile-long stretch along the Long Island Sound, was dubbed the “The Riviera of New York” when it was created in the 1930s

* Features include a two playgrounds, one of them in the sand, a hexagonal-block promenade (skates & scooters welcome), a central pavilion, a large parking lot, and 26 courts for basketball, volleyball, and handball.

* Changing areas and showers available. Swimming allowed while lifeguard on duty (10 am–6 pm). Water is calm with small waves but not always the cleanest.

* No fee for beach access. Can get crowded and a bit rowdy so come early.

🌭 Ge the usual at two snack bars, or bring your own meal at two areas with picnic tables.

* Nearby attractions in the beautiful 2,700 acre Pelham Bay Park include horseback riding, historic Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum and the inclusive Playground for All Children.

Rockaway Beach


This clean beach on the Atlantic Ocean features wide stretches of soft sand, a 5.5-mile boardwalk, playgrounds and a vibe so cool it was featured in a Ramones song.

* Ride the waves at the city’s only legal surfing beach (67-69 Street) with private, semi-private & group surf lessons & camps for kids & adults  with Skudin Surf or Locals Surf Camp (whose owners run a great cafe/coffee shop a  few minutes inland).

* Visit nearby Fort Tilden, a decommissioned U.S. Army Base with WWII historic artifacts and public art – look for Nancy Baker Cahill’s Liberty Bell with  augmented reality.

* Free parking lots at  11th to 15th Street  and 95th Street; also free street parking. Or arrive in style via ferries ($2.75) that depart frequently from Wall Street/ Pier 11 & Sunset Park (or take the subway).

🌭 Find some of the best food in NYC at the concessions, especially the one at 97th Street. Get excellent burgers at Rippers on 86th Street and an array of food and drink at Riis Park Beach Bazaar. A block inland at Rockaway Beach Boulevard (aka Restaurant Row) dine outdoors at Bungalow Bar or pick up inventive pizzas at Whit’s End.



Great Captain Island


Greenwich is home to two islands situated roughly two miles off of Greenwich Harbor, Great Captain Island and Island Beach. It’s a bit of expense of effort to get to the islands, but worth it.

* The islands are preserved in their natural state, no cars or stores, with many different species of birds. Visible across the lagoon in June and July are large colonies of nesting egrets and herons. Near the handsome Great Captain Island lighthouse  (built in 1829),  spot an osprey nesting platform.

* Single Entry Park Passes (($9/ages 5-64) must be purchased at at the Eastern Greenwich Civic Center (90 Harding Rd, Old Greenwich, CT, Monday – Friday 9:30 am-3:30 pm) before boarding the ferry.

* Parking tickets available at the kiosk machine in the ferry parking lot.

* Ferry tickets must be purchased before boarding at the dock.

* Boats depart every half hour or hour depending on the day (see the schedule).

* Or take ‘The Cruise to Nowhere,’ a relaxing two-hour tour of local waters ($20). Bring your own refreshments,


Greenwich Point Park

Old Greenwich

This pretty beach in a large green park with lots of trees and paths is super kid-friendly – gentle waves, lots of animals including geese and small crab to collect and covered wood pavilions for shade not far from the water. Clean up at bathrooms with outdoor showers and changing stalls.

From May 3 to October 31, daily non-resident beach passes must be purchased in advance at the Eastern Greenwich Civic Center (90 Harding Rd, Old Greenwich, CT) Monday – Friday 9:30 am-6 pm. Limited quantities available. Pricey but prevents crowds.

🌭  The concession stand sells an array of hot dogs, hamburgers, sandwiches, ice cream and other food. Pick up crêpes, salads, sandwiches, soups, fresh juice and smoothie drinks, all natural ice cream and sorbet from Méli-Mélo downtown before or after.

Rye Beaches & Kayaking


Swim in the calm Long Island Sound at two adjacent white sand beaches.

Stroll the quarter-mile boardwalk at Playland Beach, next to an old-time amusement park.

Beach is open 11 am to 6:30 pm; parking $10/car, beach $4/ages 12+, $3/ages 5–11. Play mini-golf for $5/person.

Oakland Beach, run by the town of Rye, is open to non-residents Monday-Thursday 9 am- 6 pm, Friday-Sunday after 12 pm. Adjacent to a large green park with shady paths. Kayak & SUP rentals available.

Parking $5–$20/car, beach $10–$20/ages 16+.

Take a short walk to the Read Wildlife Sanctuary with gardens and a butterflies.

Lifeguards on duty. Bathrooms available.

🌭 Concessions available by the beach Eat pizza, salads, burgers and more on a patio or indoors on at The Barley Beach House.

Harbor Island Park & Beach


This lovely marina in the suburbs has a small harbor beach with calm water (don’t expect waves), swan sightings, fishing on a pier, crabs & clams, fun spray showers and lots of greenspace. Swimming allowed when lifeguards on duty (10 am-5 pm).

The large playground between the beach and the parking lot has lots of inventive equipment – a great way to brush off the sand before getting in the car. The Village of Mamaroneck Fire Department’s Carnival takes over the park in the evenings in late June/early July.

🌭 Concessions available and lots of food options on nearby Mamaroneck Ave; we recommend Sicilian slices from legendary Sal’s Pizza and all-natural paletas from Paleteria Fernandez. Picnic tables available.

Croton Point Beach


Swim in the Hudson River, lounge in a wide expanse of sand and explore a 508-acre park with stunning views of Haverstraw Bay.

* Hourly Kayak & SUP rentals available.

* Bathrooms are open but showers are closed.

* Weekend only through June 20.

New Jersey

Spring Lake Beach

Spring Lake

This beautiful beach with a long boardwalk in a small seaside community manages crowds with daily online ‘Beach Badges.’ Select a date and area on the website, then pick up at the Spring Lake Train Station (Mon-Fri 8 am–3 pm & Sat-Sun 8 am–5 pm).

* Lifeguards on duty 9 am-6 pm daily.

* No playgrounds on this quiet beach but lots of sand and waves.

* Plenty of free parking on Ocean Ave.

* Only small soft coolers with food and non-alcoholic beverages permitted. Some leave larger coolers on the boardwalk.

* Visit the shopping district on 3rd Ave for beach chairs, children’s beach toys, umbrellas, lotions, food, clothes & more.

* Masks required when accessing the bathrooms and snack bars.

* About a 1.5 hour dive from midtown Manhattan.