Ah, the beach. Sun, sand surf and a long, hot drive. Well, not necessarily. Here's a round-up of nearby beaches, some accessible from subway, bus or the Long Island Railroad. If you want to explore further, check out our complete listing at NYMetroParents.com.
Brighton Beach, Coney Island and Coney Island Boardwalk: On Atlantic Ocean, from West 37th Street to Corbin Place. Take F or Q to last stop; take the B36 to Surf Ave. and West 8th Street; or take the B68 to Neptune Avenue. 718-946-1350. Attractions: Two-mile long boardwalk, New York Aquarium, rides, eateries, outdoor spray showers. Cost: Boardwalk FREE; Aquarium $12 adults, $9 kids. Open weekdays 10am-6pm, weekends 10am-7pm.
Manhattan Beach: On the Atlantic Ocean on Oriental Boulevard, from Ocean Avenue to Mackenzie Street. Take the Q train to Brighton Beach, connecting to B1, B49 at Manhattan Beach-Oriental Ave. 718-946-1373. Attractions: Beach and boardwalk. Not too commercial. Cost: FREE.
Orchard Beach and Promenade: On Long Island Sound in Pelham Bay Park. Take the 6 train to the last stop, Pelham Bay Park. 718-430-1890. Attractions: Hexagonal-block promenade, changing areas, showers, food stores, specialty shops, playgrounds, picnic areas, basketball, volleyball, and handball courts. Open year round; 10am-6pm Memorial Day through Labor Day weekends. Cost: FREE.
Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk: On Atlantic Ocean, from Beach 1st Street, Far Rockaway, to Beach 149th Street, Neponsit. Take the A train to last stop, Rockaway Park. 718-318-4000. Attractions: Basketball and handball courts, roller hockey rinks, sitting areas and playgrounds along the boardwalk and adjoining areas. Open sunrise to sunset. Cost: FREE.
Water Taxi Beach: Public/private partnership run by New York Water Taxi. 2-03 Borden Ave, Hunter's Point Ferry Terminal, Long Island City. Take the 7 train to Jackson/Vernon Stop or G 21st Stop; exit on Jackson Avenue. Or take the LIRR to LIC/Hunters Point; exit the platform on Borden Avenue. By water taxi: Check the Water Taxi website for schedules and service notices at www.nywatertaxibeach.com Attractions: Picnic table area, bars and food vendors, open sand area. NO pets, swimming, coolers, outside food or drink. Open till Columbus Day weekend: Opens at 6pm, Monday and Tuesday, 4pm, Wednesday-Friday, noon, Saturday, 1pm Sunday and holiday weekend Mondays. Closes 10pm. Cost: FREE.
Midland Beaches and Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk: On Father Capodanno Blvd. from Fort Wadsworth to Miller Field, Midland Beach. Take Staten Island Ferry (FREE) to S51; or S53, S79 to Father Capodanno Blvd. 718-390-8000. Attractions: Sprinklers and a playground, handball and shuffleboard courts, seasonal concession stands, changing stations. Site of the annual Back to the Beach Celebration: food, games, sand castle building, boardwalk vendors, live music and fireworks. Open daily 10am-6pm. Cost: FREE.
South Beach: Father Capodanno Blvd. and Sand Lane. Take Staten Island Ferry (FREE) to buses S51 or S53 to Father Capodanno Blvd., S79 from 86th St. station in Bay Ridge. 718-816-6804. Attractions: Children's playground, handball and shuffleboard courts, bocce courts, roller hockey rink, ball fields, fishing pier, and newly renovated picnic and changing areas. Open daily 10am-6pm. Cost: FREE.
Wolfe's Pond Beach: On Raritan Bay and Prince's Bay, Holton to Cornelia Avenues. From Staten Island Ferry, take S78 to the corner of Hylan Boulevard and Cornelia Avenue. 718-984-8266. Attractions: Swimming, rowboats, daytime freshwater fishing, saltwater fishing (permitted October-May), picnic grounds, outdoor fireplaces, and a model yacht pond. Restrooms available. Open 10am-6pm Memorial Day through Labor Day weekends. Cost: FREE.
Jones Beach (Wantagh): 33 miles from Manhattan via Meadowbrook Parkway south and Wantagh Parkway south. A discounted summer LIRR package ticket includes round trip rail fare to Freeport and MTA Long Island Bus service via the N88 to and from the Central Mall, and the East and West Bath Houses; $15 from New York or Brooklyn, $11 from Jamaica. 516-785-1600. Attractions: Beach, showers, recreation programs, pool, playground, picnic tables, performing arts theater, museum/visitor center, marina, golf, gift shop, food, and fishing. No pets allowed. Open year round. Cost: FREE.
Camp Hero State Park (Montauk): Route 27 (Sunrise Highway) east to the end, 130 miles from New York City. 631-668-3781. Attractions: Beach, biking, bridle path, fishing, hiking, cross country skiing. Dogs allowed on a leash. Open year round, sunrise to sunset. Open 24 hours to fishermen with permits. Cost: FREE.
Gilgo State Park: From north: Meadowbrook or Wantagh Parkway south to Ocean Parkway east or Robert Moses Causeway south to Ocean Parkway west. From west: Ocean Parkway east from Jones Beach. From east: Ocean Parkway west from Captree State Park. 631-669-0449. Attractions: Fishing. No pets allowed. Open April 1-December 31, 24 hours a day with valid New York State Sport Fishing Permit. Cost: FREE.
Governor Alfred E. Smith/Sunken Meadow State Park (Kings Park): 46 miles from Manhattan; Long Island Expressway exit 53. 631-269-4333. Attractions: Beach, biking, bridle path, fishing, food, golf, hiking, nature trail, picnic tables, playground, playing field, recreation programs, showers. Dogs allowed only in undeveloped areas of the park with a leash. Open year round, sunrise to sunset Cost: $5 per car.
Heckscher State Park (East Islip): At the end of the Heckscher State Pkwy, 50 miles from Manhattan on the south shore of Long Island, within the East Islip/Great River area in Suffolk County. 631-581-2100. Attractions: Beach, biking, boat launch sites, camper recreation, campsites, fishing, food, hiking, nature trail, pavilions, picnic tables, playground, playing field, pool (fee), recreation programs, showers, tent/trailer sites. Dogs allowed in undeveloped areas only, on a leash not more than six feet. Open year round, daily 7am-sunset. Beach and pool open June 22-September 2. Cost: $5 per car May 25-September, weekends/holidays September 7-October 14.
Hither Hills State Park (Montauk): 122 miles from Manhattan via Sunrise Highway east. 631-668-2554. Attractions: Beach, biking, bridle path, camper recreation, campsites, dumping station, fishing, food, hiking, hunting, nature trail, picnic tables, playground, playing field, recreation programs, showers, tent/trailer sites. Dogs only allowed in certain areas, on a leash not more than six feet. Open year round, sunrise to sunset. Beach open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Cost: FREE.
Long Beach (Long Beach): From LIRR: A few blocks from Long Beach Station. Discounted package ticket includes one-day round trip rail fare to Long Beach and admission to the beach. Fare is $18 from New York or Brooklyn, and $15 from Jamaica. Hourly service from Penn Station, Brooklyn and Jamaica. Express trains from Penn Station 9:45am Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Weekday service June 25-September 3. 516-431-1000. Open weekends daily June 25-September 3. Cost: $6 over age 13.
Orient Beach State Park (Orient): 118 miles from Manhattan on the north shore via Long Island Expressway east to the end, then Route 25 east to the Park. 631-323-2440. Attractions: Beach, biking, fishing, food, hiking, nature trail, pavilions, picnic tables, playground, playing field, recreation programs, showers. No pets allowed. Open year round, sunrise to sunset. Swimming season opens late June to early September. Cost: FREE.
Robert Moses State Park (Babylon): 48 miles from Manhattan via Southern State Parkway to Robert Moses Causeway (exit 40), south to Park at western end of Fire Island. 631-669-0470. Attractions: Beach, fishing, food, golf, marina, picnic tables, playground, recreation programs, showers. No pets allowed. Open year round, sunrise to sunset.Cost: FREE.
Shadmoor State Park (Montauk): Route 27 east to Montauk Village. The park is one-half mile east of the village on the right, at the southwest corner of Route 27 and Seaside Ave. 631-668-3781. Attractions: Beach, biking, fishing, hiking. Dogs only, on a leash. Open year round. Cost: FREE.
Wildwood State Park (Wading River): 73 miles from Manhattan via Long Island Expressway to exit 68. North on Route 46, to Route 25A east. Left onto Sound Avenue; left at traffic light onto Hulse Landing Road. Park entrance is on the right. 631-929-4314. Attractions: Beach, biking, camper recreation, campsites, fishing, food, hiking, nature trail, picnic tables, playground, recreation programs, showers. No pets allowed. Open year round. Camping season begins first weekend of April and ends Columbus Day. Cost: $4 per car May 25-September 2, weekends/holidays, September 7-October 14.
Croton Point Park: Croton Point Avenue, off Route 9. 914-862-5290. Attractions: Beach, boating, fishing, picnicking, hiking, playground, nature center. Beach open Saturdays, Sundays and holidays; park open seven days a week, 8am-dusk. Cost: Parking $8, beach FREE.
Osceola Beach: Taconic Parkway north to Route 6, Jefferson Valley/Mahopac exit. Located on East Main Street on the right. 914-245-3246. Attractions: Beach, picnic areas, playgrounds, rides, games, fishing, boating, pony rides. Open 9am-6pm. Cost: $10 adults, $6 children.
Rye Playland Pool and Beach: Off I-95 exit 19 in Rye. 914-813-7010; www.ryeplayland.org. Attractions: Beach, pool, boardwalk, rides, boating, arcade, mini-golf. Open seven days a week, June 26-Labor Day, 10am-6:30pm. Cost: Parking $5 Tuesday-Friday, $7 Saturday and Sunday, $10 holidays. Beach: $3 adults, $2 children (under 50"). Pool: $4 adults, $3 children. Lockers and umbrellas available for a small fee.
Calf Pasture Beach: Calf Pasture Beach Road, off I-95 exit 16 in Norwalk. 213-854-7806. Attractions: Miniature golf, fishing, softball fields, volleyball courts, sailboat/windsurf/kayak rentals. Open Memorial Day through September. Cost: Parking $15 per car.
Jennings Beach: South Benson Road, off I-95 exit 22 in Fairfield. Attractions: Playground, bathhouse, food concession. Cost: Parking $15 weekdays, $25 weekends per car.
Penfield Beach: Fairfield Beach road, off I-95 exit 22 in Fairfield. 213-256-3010. Attractions: Playground, picnic area with public grills, food concession, restrooms. Open Memorial Day-Labor Day. Cost: Parking $15 weekdays, $25 weekends per car.
Seaside Park Beach: Barnum Dyke, off I-95 exit 27 in Bridgeport. 213-576-7233. Attractions: Picnic area, food concession, bathhouse, restrooms. Open Memorial Day-Labor Day. Cost: Parking $5 per car.
Sherwood Island State Park: Off I-95, exit 18 in Westport. 213-566-2305. Attractions: Fishing, food concession, bathhouse, swimming areas. Open Memorial Day-Labor Day. Cost: Parking $7 in state/$10 out of state weekdays, $10 in state/$15 out of state weekends.
Weed Beach (swimming hole): Nearwater Lane, off I-95 exit 27 in Darien. 213-656-7325; www.SwimmingHoles.info. Attractions: Public grills, picnic areas, tennis courts (reservations required), restrooms. Open Memorial Day-Labor Day. Cost: Parking $25 per car.