The 5 Best Beaches in New York

Written by Kyler Matthews
Updated: July 4, 2023
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Swimming is both fun and a great way to get your body moving! But where can you go to enjoy swimming at some sandy beaches in New York? The state is well known for its massive skyscrapers and busy city life, don’t let its concrete jungle fool you — New York is also home to many very beautiful east coast beaches as well! So, what are the best beaches in New York?

For beachgoers finding themselves in New York, here are five of the best beaches to check out.

5 Best Beaches in New York
Each of these beautiful beaches is a short drive from New York City.

Beach Manners and Regulations

New York has a few specific rules and regulations about swimming and beach activity. Beachgoers must wear approved flotation devices if they wish to swim more than 50 feet from the shoreline. They should also be aware of posted signage regarding any other specific rules for the beach.

Swimming should also take place within clearly marked areas. Any type of boat or watercraft must pass an inspection in order to be on the beach. There are perhaps separate regulations for wading and playing in the sand as well.

Visitors are to practice their best water safety practices while swimming. Visitors should also remain aware of their own swimming abilities when in the ocean. Adhering to these regulations helps ensure everyone’s safety and enjoyment while visiting the best beaches in New York.

Additionally, visitors should also take note of the beach’s posted hours and check the weather forecast before embarking on their visit. Ultimately, familiarizing oneself with the swimming regulations will ensure an enjoyable and safe beach experience. Now let’s get to talking about the beaches!

1. Rockaway Beach

Rockaways, Queens, New York beach front and ocean during summer. Blue skies and white sand.

Rockaway Beach is located in Queens.


Rockaway Beach is the ideal place for surfers in New York. It is the most consistent surf break in the New York City area and oftentimes the most crowded spot too. Actually, it’s said roughly half of all NYC lifeguards work on Rockaway Beach.

But Rockaway Beach is also a beloved summer vacation destination for people of all ages from around the world. From surfers taking advantage of the beach’s only legal surfing spot, to swimmers enjoying the sand and water, this coastal area offers something for everyone.

Long-time residents of the Rockaway Peninsula enjoy it year-round, but especially during Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend when millions of visitors flock to the beach. Visitors can enjoy everything from concessions to playgrounds and other outdoor activities, making it an ideal way to spend summer days in New York City.

The peak season to visit Rockaway Beach is from May to June. That’s when the temperature ranges between 43 degrees Fahrenheit and 91 degrees Fahrenheit, and the humidity is usually around 75%. These ideal weather conditions create the perfect climate to head out to Rockaway Beach. 

Fun Fact: After Superstorm Sandy struck New York City in 2012, Rockaway Beach became a symbol of hope and resilience, with citizens coming together to rebuild the beach.

2. Orchard Beach

Orchard beach ,New York city,United states of America

Orchard Beach is the only beach in the Bronx.

©emin kuliyev/

Another positive thing about swimming is that it helps lower stress and anxiety levels in our bodies. Which, we all know does wonders for improving our sleep quality at night. So, another best beach in New York is Orchard Beach. Orchard Beach can be said to be the Bronx’s summer hot spot for a great time!

Situated on the Long Island Sound, Orchard Beach is a vibrant and popular hotspot for those seeking a fun-filled summer. As the only beach in the Bronx, the 1.1-mile shoreline is adorned with various recreational activities. These activities range from basketball, volleyball, and handball courts, to playgrounds, snack bars, and restaurants. The calm waves crashing on the shoreline as you enjoy so many great activities will complete your perfect summer experience.

So, if you’re looking to go to the beach, Orchard Beach on the Long Island Sound is a great choice. And once you get there, you can relax, get a tan, and swim around in the water all day long.

3. Brighton Beach

Brighton Beach is an oceanside neighborhood in the southern parts of New York City borough of Brooklyn

Brighton Beach is just a few minutes away from Coney Island Beach.

©John A. Anderson/

If you wander down the boardwalk to the east of Coney Island, you’ll come across Brighton Beach, which is a great spot to escape the crowds, chill out, and soak up the sun. There are fewer tourists, more locals, and plenty of opportunities to socialize, exercise, or just enjoy the fresh air.

At Brighton Beach, you can find a variety of animals, including seagulls, oystercatchers, and even some dolphins. The beach is a wonderful place to watch the sunset and spot marine life. There is also a variety of sea birds that can be spotted, including a number of species of gulls and terns.

The beach is also home to a large colony of oystercatchers. The birds roam the shoreline looking for food and can often be heard calling out in the evenings. Brighton Beach is an ideal place to spend time with nature and explore its wonders. With so much wildlife on display, it is truly a magical place to visit. So if you are looking for a peaceful, tranquil spot to relax and unwind, Brighton Beach is the perfect spot!

4. Coney Island Beach

Aerial view of Coney Island, New York

Coney Island beach is the best of both worlds: sun and ocean waves, as well as amusement parks and entertainment.


Another great beach to visit in New York is Coney Island Beach. Once a getaway for the city’s wealthy elite, Coney Island transitioned into a resort in the 1800s. At the turn of the century, its amusement park attractions drew crowds from all around.

Located just steps away from the Coney Islands Beach is Luna Park. Luna Park features a variety of rides, games, and more for when you’re done swimming. And in case you just need a break from the sun, there is the nearby Coney Island Museum. The museum is a great option, giving you an overview of the neighborhood’s exciting history. Coney Island has pretty much one of the best beaches for amusements and more!

5. Jones Beach

A boat on a sandy beach in New York

Jones Beach State Park is home to many birds of prey, like falcons, kestrels, and



©Joe Trentacosti/

Jones Beach State Park is located in Nassau County, on Jones Beach Island. It is a barrier island linked to Long Island by the Meadowbrook State Parkway, Wantagh State Parkway, and Ocean Parkway. The beach runs along the Atlantic Ocean, sporting beautiful white sand.

Swimming is a high-lighted attraction at Jones Beach State Park. However, there are many other activities available as well, like the zip line action park, splash park, miniature golfing opportunities, softball diamonds, and basketball courts to play on. And for kids, they have a children’s playground, fun picnic areas, miles of surf fishing areas, fishing docks and a boat basin, outdoor dancing, and more! Families are able to go and enjoy a section of the beach for a day, while everyone has something to do.

Fun fact: Did you know that Jones Beach was designed to appear and look like an ocean liner? Jones Beach offers many activities (as you can see) to all those who come swimming at the park. If you’re in New York and find yourself wanting to go for a swim, you won’t regret checking out Jones Beach State Park.

Bonus: New York State Parks with a Beach

Here are some of the state parks with beaches in New York:

  • Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh is an ideal swimming destination for beachgoers. Its 2-mile-long stretch of white sand is the perfect place to cool off in the summer heat, and its crystal-clear waters offer excellent visibility for swimmers of all ages. Whether you’re looking to take a dip, swim laps, or just bask in the sun, Jones Beach has something for everyone.
  • Robert Moses State Park in Babylon is also a great swimming spot. This beach is the perfect place to spend an afternoon splashing around or taking a leisurely swim. Its calm waves make it ideal for swimmers of all skill levels, so you can take in the scenery while enjoying some excellent swimming opportunities. Whether you want to wade out into the water or take a dip in one of its pools, there’s no shortage of fun at Robert Moses State Park.
  • Hither Hills State Park in Montauk is a great beach for swimming and other activities. With its shallow waters, large sand dunes, and stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, this is an ideal spot for swimmers looking to get away from it all. You can take a dip in some of the park’s tidal pools or explore the nearby coastline while swimming around in the refreshing blue waters.
  • Sunken Meadow State Park in Kings Park is a popular spot for swimmers, offering expansive views of the Long Island Sound and plenty of beachfront fun. With its shallow waters and gentle waves, this park is ideal for beginner swimmers looking to take their first dip in the ocean. Whether you want to swim laps or just enjoy the scenery, Sunken Meadow State Park has something for everyone.
  • No matter which beach you choose, swimming on Long Island is always a great experience. With its stunning views and varied shorelines, Long Island has plenty of options for swimmers looking to make the most out of their time in the water.
  • Heckscher State Park in East Islip is also a great swimming spot to consider. With its beautiful beach and gentle waves, this park is perfect for swimmers of all ages and skill levels.
  • Orient Beach State Park in Orient is one of the most popular swimming beaches on Long Island, with its gorgeous views of Gardiner’s Bay and a wide variety of aquatic activities.
  • Wildwood State Park in Wading River is another excellent swimming destination for beachgoers. With its miles of sandy shoreline and plenty of crystal-clear water, this beach is the perfect place to take a dip and cool off. Whether you’re looking for peaceful swimming or want to join in on some aquatic fun, Wildwood State Park won’t send you home with any regrets.
  • Montauk Point State Park in Montauk is another great swimming beach. Whether you want to take a leisurely swim or explore the varied coast, Montauk Point State Park is another great choice.
A coin operated binoculars on the boardwalk at Sunken Meadow State Park overlooking a beach toward Connecticut over the Long Island Sound.

Sunken Meadow State Park has a fabulous beach, but it can get crowded on the weekend. The north shore is rocky while the south shore is sandy, so there is plenty of variety here.


Summary of The 5 Best Beaches in New York

1Rockaway BeachQueens
2Orchard BeachThe Bronx
3Brighton BeachEast Coney Island
4Coney Island BeachConey Island
5Jones BeachJones Beach Island

The photo featured at the top of this post is © John A. Anderson/

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About the Author

My education is in psychology and social anthropology, and I love watching nature documentaries. I have an overall passion for learning about wildlife wherever I can — both human and animal cultures alike.

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