Pop 5: Best Beaches in NYC

New York City’s best beach spots run the gamut from traditional sandy strips to adult playgrounds on the water. One thing’s for sure: these beaches provide ample people-watching, sand between our toes, and the Atlantic tides rolling in. So next time you’re in a beach bind, pick a Pop 5 spot. It’s a shore thing.

1. Water Taxi Beach (South Street Seaport, 212-896-4600, pictured above) The newest Water Taxi Beach location at the South Street Seaport provides sweeping views of the Brooklyn Bridge. That alone is enough to make the voyage to this city “beach.” Yes, there’s sand, water all around you, chaise lounges, and a house music-fueled beach party going on pretty much all weekend. Consider this the least kid-friendly version of a beach but totally worth it if you’re in the mood for tropical cocktails, a beach-y vibe, and energetic music.

2. Coney Island (Corbin Pl. to W. 37th St.) Say what you want about Coney Island, but it’s a New York classic. This beach and boardwalk combo will never get too old for the kid in all of us. Chill by the water’s edge, grab a beer and a Nathan’s hot dog, contemplate the rides over yonder at Luna Park, and soak in one of Brooklyn’s most famous sandy patches.

3. Rockaway Beach (Boardwalk between Beach 9th and Beach 117th St.) PopSugar NYC reader Kirsten prefers Rockaway Beach to any other. “I’m partial to it because I used to live there! Coming home to my co-op on the boardwalk after a long day in Manhattan was heaven,” she says. And we completely agree. Rockaway rocks a traditional beach setting, and if you’re looking to test out your surfing prowess, the tamer waves prove a great learning experience. Before you know, you’ll be trading Rockaway for Hawaii’s Pipeline. Two more beach scenes not to be missed right this way.

4. Orchard Beach (1 Orchard Beach Rd. at Park Dr.) As the Bronx’s only public beach, this just-over-a-mile-long stretch of surf and sand is considered the “riviera of New York.” The sandy beach features a promenade, central pavilion with food spots and specialty shops, two playgrounds, two picnic areas, and 26 basketball, volleyball, and handball courts. Needless to say, there’s something for everyone in the family.

5. Brighton Beach (Brighton Beach Ave. between Ocean Pkwy and Corbin Pl.) If you’re near Coney Island but not feelin’ the amusement park vibe, head toward Brighton Beach, where the amount of pelmeni dumplings outnumber that of actual beach goers. You know what I mean. Indulge in some sunbathing, frolicking in the ocean, and top off your Brighton day with some authentic Ukrainian home cooking. You won’t regret it.