Rockaway Beach in Queens, New York

A boy climbs on a lifeguard tower as strong waves at Rockaway Beach in the Queens borough of New York City. (photo credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Summer is almost over, but it is not too late to enjoy all things water related. Here’s a look at some of our favorite free beaches and pools in the city.


Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk
1st St, Far Rockaway to 149th St, Neponsit
Queens, NY 11356
(718) 318-4000

Who knew that you could surf in Queens? At Rockaway Beach, surfers have a whole section of the ocean all to themselves. Of course, there is plenty of water just for swimming, plenty of sand for sunbathing and plenty of playgrounds to occupy the kids. So, just take the A train to the shuttle and head down to Rockaway.

Manhattan Beach
Atlantic Ocean (Oriental Boulevard)
Brooklyn, NY 11235
(718) 946-1373

Does Manhattan Beach live up to its reputation as “the cleanest beach in NYC”? Hop the B or Q train to the B1 Bus and go check it out. With playgrounds, baseball diamonds, tennis and volleyball, Manhattan Beach poises itself as a less-crowded alternative to Coney Island.

South Beach and Midland Beach
Lower New York Bay, from Fort Wadsworth to Miller Field
Staten Island, NY
(718) 987-0709

Play in the Dolphin Fountain or the Sea Turtle Fountain, walk the Boardwalk, fish at the Ocean Breeze Pier or visit the Freedom Circle war memorial. There’s even a senior park with checkerboard tables and Bocce Ball courts. And if you visit when one of the borough president’s “Back to the Beach” celebrations are taking place, you will get food and fireworks to boot.


Riverbank State Park
679 Riverside Drive at 145th St.
New York, NY 10031
(212) 694-3600

For a mere $2 for adults and $1 for kids, you can swim in this gorgeous Olympic-sized pool — 69 feet above the Hudson River! Riverbank State Park is a 28-acre facility sitting on top of the North River Wastewater Treatment Plant. But with the panoramic views of the George Washington Bridge and the Jersey Palisades, you would never know it.

Asser Levy Recreation Center and Pool
E. 23rd St. and Asser Levy Drive
New York, NY 10010
(212) 447-2020

If you love swimming and love “free”,  the Asser Levy pool will be a big favorite…especially that it’s as clean and well-maintained as any body of water in the city. As a great extra, the nearby Asser Levy playground was built for disabled children.

The Floating Pool Lady
Barretto Point Park, at Tiffany Street and Viele Avenue
Bronx, NY 10474
(718) 430-4601

And for now something completely different…The “Floating Pool Lady” is a beautiful freshwater seven-lane pool on the top of a barge docked in Barretto Point Park. Take advantage of it, because the barge sails away on September 6.

Hamilton Fish Recreation Center
128 Pitt Street
New York, NY 10002
(212) 387-7687

There is no deck furniture and the locker rooms are pretty spartan, but it’s still one of the only free Olympic-sized pools in Manhattan and just a quick ride away on the subway.

Astoria Pool
19th Street and 23rd Drive
Astoria Park
Long Island City, NY 11105
(718) 626-8620

This is the largest pool in NYC and has the most history. It was the site of the 1936 Olympic Trials for the U.S. Swim team. It is surprisingly clean for such a huge pool and completely free. It does have a few rules though: you have to bring a lock to secure your belongings and the pool is closed from 3 p.m. to

Shari Simpson-Cabelin is a blogger with Dusty Earth Mother.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Watch & Listen LIVE