What could be better than hitting the beach on a sizzling summer day? For savvy New Yorkers, it’s finding a beach that’s free, relatively close and subway accessible. Watch out for riptides and have fun!
Home to the “world famous” Cyclone roller coaster, circus sideshows, the New York Aquarium, and Luna Park, which is a new three-acre amusement park. There are three miles of beach and plenty of playgrounds and amusement rides. Eat at Nathan’s Famous, the Luna Grill or any number of boardwalk eateries. Bring a change of clothes: With all the fun stuff to do, you might be there for a while.
Subway: D, F, N, Q to Coney Island-Stillwell Ave., Surf Ave., Brooklyn, 718-965-8900 or 311; coneyisland.com
Coney Island’s neighboring beach town is heavily populated with Russian immigrants. Soak up the colorful culture along with the sun. Savor the pirozhki, kolbasa, perogies and vodka at the boardwalk shops. Russia is the first language in many eateries, so be prepared to point and nod at the food you want. Bring your appetite, your camera and your sense of adventure.
Subway: B, Q to Brighton Beach, Brightwater Ave, Brooklyn, 718-965-8900 or 311; www.nycgovparks.org/facilities/beaches
Jacob Riis Beach
This mile-long beach and popular picnic area also has miniature golf, paddle tennis, baseball, basketball and volleyball. Bring a ball to take advantage of the courts. Eat at the concession stands, or save money and bring a picnic.
Subway/Bus: 2 to Flatbush Ave., then take the Q35 bus to Riis Beach, Beach 169th St. to Beach 149th St., Queens, 718-318-4303 or 311; www.nyharborparks.org/visit/jari.html
Plenty of playgrounds for kids as well as handball courts. It’s the city’s only surfing area and the waves can be mighty. Eat at one of the pizzerias and burger joints on the boardwalk. Bring your wetsuit, board and pack lots of food to BBQ in one of the provided pits. Bottled water is expensive here: bring a water bottle to refill for free.
Subway: A train to Broad Channel then take Shuttle to 116th St., Beach 9th to 149th sts., Rockaway Beach, Queens, 718-318-4000 or 311; www.nycgovparks.org/parks/rockawaybeach