UPDATED JUNE 2014: Get ready for the smell of sunscreen and the feel of sand between your toes. Gather up the whole family for a day at the beach to catch some waves and get back to relaxation. Our guide covers beaches in the New York City area, including Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island, New Jersey, and Westchester and Rockland Counties.
Also see our guide to the Best Beaches for Families on Long Island and in Connecticut
Brighton Beach, Coney Island, and Coney Island Boardwalk
Attractions: 2.7-mile boardwalk, New York Aquarium, rides (including the Cyclone rollercoaster), eateries, outdoor spray showers
Hours: Beach and boardwalk: Lifeguards on duty 10am-6pm daily. New York Aquarium: 10am-6pm weekdays; 10am-7pm weekends.
Cost: Boardwalk: FREE. Luna Park and Cyclone rollercoaster: $8 (must be at least 54 inches tall to ride). New York Aquarium: $18.95; $15.95 seniors; $14.95 children ages 3-12; free for children ages 2 and younger.
Attractions: Boardwalk, two playgrounds, large baseball diamond, tennis, basketball, handball courts
Hours: Sunrise to sunset (8am-8pm) daily, life guards on duty 10am-6pm
Cost: Beach: FREE. Parking: $10 weekdays, $20 weekends and holidays.
Orchard Beach and Promenade
Pelham Bay Park
718-430-1890 or 718-430-1891
Attractions: 1.1-mile sandy beach, promenade, changing areas, showers, food stores, specialty shops, playgrounds, picnic areas, basketball, volleyball, handball courts
Hours: Year-round, 10am-6pm daily. Swimming allowed Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Cost: FREE admission. Parking: $7 weekdays, $9 weekends and holidays.
Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk
Far Rockaway to Neponsit (Beach 9th Street to Beach 149th Street; see website for entrance changes)
Attractions: Basketball and handball courts, roller hockey rinks, beach tennis, skate park, surfing, sitting areas, playgrounds along the boardwalk and adjoining areas
Hours: Sunrise to sunset; lifeguards on duty 10am-6pmz
Midland Beach and Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk
Attractions: Sprinklers and playground, handball and shuffleboard courts, seasonal concession stands, changing stations. Site of the annual Back to the Beach Celebration (Aug. 18-19) with food, games, sandcastle-building, boardwalk vendors, live music, and fireworks.
Hours: 10am-8:30pm daily; boardwalk closes at dusk
Attractions: Children’s playground, handball and shuffleboard courts, bocce courts, roller hockey rink, ball fields, fishing pier, newly renovated picnic and changing areas.
Hours: 10am-6pm daily
Harriman State Park/Bear Mountain Park
845-786-2701 (Lake Welch office)
Attractions: 31 lakes and reservoirs, more than 200 miles of hiking trails, two beaches, two public camping areas, plus miles of streams and scenic roads and scores of wildlife species, vistas, and vantage points. Bear Mountain also has a small zoo with animals native to the area.
Hours: Vary by area
Cost: $8 parking per vehicle; some additional pool fees apply. $6 parking in picnic area.
Croton Point Park
Attractions: This 508-acre park on a peninsula on the east shore of the Hudson River offers a beach, boating, fishing, picnic grounds, hiking, a playground, a nature center, and camping
Hours: Beach open weekends 10am-6pm in May and June; Wednesday-Sunday July through Labor Day. Park open 8am to dusk daily.
Cost: Free beach admission; $10 parking ($5 with Westchester County Parks pass).
Glen Island Park/Beach
Attractions: Swimming, fishing, picnic grounds, playground, hiking, boat ramp, refreshments
Hours: June 26–Aug. 17: Beach open 11am-6:30pm Wednesday-Sunday; park open daily 8am-dusk.
Cost: Open only to Westchester residents who hold a New York State driver’s license with a Westchester address or a Westchester County Park pass: $60 (valid for three years); $60 seniors ages 60 and older (valid for six years). Daily parking fee is $5. Beach admission: $4; $3 children ages 5-12; free for children younger than 5.
Harbor Island Park Beach/Steven E. Johnston Beach
Attractions: Swimming, spray park, baseball, soccer, tennis (private club), boating, fishing
Hours: 9:30am-5pm daily after June 21
Cost: $7 parking on weekdays; $9 on weekends and holidays. Beach admission: $7; $4 children ages 6-12; free for children younger than 6.
Oakland Beach/Rye Town (Municipal Beach)
Attractions: Swimming, park
Hours: 9am-6pm daily
Cost: Non-residents (9am-4pm): $10 weekday parking fee, $15 weekends; $9 beach admission on weekdays, $10 on weekends. Residents (9am-4pm): $8 weekday parking fee, $9 on weekends; $7 beach admission on weekdays, $8 on weekends. From 4pm-close, parking is $5 and from 4-7pm, beach admission is $5 per person for all. Children younger than 13 are always admitted free.
Rye Playland Pool and Beach
Attractions: Pool, boardwalk, rides, boating, arcade, mini golf
Hours: Open 11am-6:30pm daily (except Mondays), June 25 through Labor Day.
Cost: Beach admission: $4; $3 children ages 5-1 and seniors with county ID; free for children younger than 5. Pool: $6; $4 children ages 5-11; $3 seniors; free for children younger than 5. Parking: $5 weekdays, $7 weekends and $10 holidays. Lockers and umbrellas are available to rent for a small fee.