Whether you’re an avid surfer, professional sand castle builder, or just a big fan of the sun, come summer, we’re all dreaming about escaping to the beach. And for those of us who hail from an urban jungle, slipping into a serene seaside is doubly euphoric.
From outer borough beaches to secluded Long Island shores, these nine stretches of coastline have something in common: they can all be reached from Manhattan and NYC without a car.
Sandy Hook, New Jersey
Features: Nearly 2,000 acres of peninsula, fishing, the oldest surviving lighthouse in the United States, views of the Manhattan skyline.
Cost: $45 round trip, free beach admission
Travel Time: 45 minutes
How to get there: Take the Seastreak Ferry from Pier 11, Wall Street. Visit sandy-hook.com for more info.
Robert Moses Beach, Long Island
Features: Five miles of pristine coastline, an 18-hole pitch-and-putt golf course, various amenities (food, grilling and picnic areas, bathhouses), surfing, fewer crowds than Jones Beach.
Cost: $25 train and bus fare round trip (with LIRR package), free beach admission
Travel Time: 1hr 30 minutes
How to get there: From Penn Station, take the LIRR to Babylon Station. Head downstairs to catch the S-47 Suffolk Bus, which will bring you to Robert Moses State Park Field 3 in about 20 minutes. See our article on Robert Moses Beach for more details.
Ditch Plains, Montauk, Long Island
Features: Excellent surfing, great quesadillas and lemonade at concession stand Ditch Witch. For families looking for an adventurous bike trip, read our article on Biking Montauk. For a romantic rendezvous, head to Navy Beach.
Cost: $43 round trip LIRR ticket, Free beach admission
Travel Time: 3 hours, 15 minutes to Montauk
How to get there: Take the LIRR to Montauk. See our article on surfing in Montauk for more details and specific directions.
Features: Surfing (check the waves), two-mile boardwalk, ocean swimming
Cost: $27 round trip with LIRR package, $15 beach pass
Travel Time: 1 hr 15 minutes
How to get there: Take the LIRR train from Penn Station to Long Beach Station. The beach is a short walk east, then south.
Fire Island, Long Island
Features: Few crowds, 150-year-old Fire Island Lighthouse, family-friendly, tennis courts, a Sunken Forest, and cute nearby town.
Cost: $37 LIRR beach package (includes ferry)
Travel Time: 2.5 hours
How to get there: Take the LIRR to Bay Shore then walk to the Fire Island Ferry which will bring you directly to the island. Read our guide to Fire Island for more details.
Rockaway Beach, Queens
Features: Surfing, cheap, boardwalk, tacos, and more.
Cost: $2.75 subway ride; free beach admission
Travel Time: 1.5 hrs
How to get there: Take the A train to Broad Channel, transfer to the S to Rockaway Park-Beach 116th St.
Asbury Park, Jersey Shore
Features: What’s not to love about being on a beach with live music, a boardwalk with boutique shopping and a host of colorful characters.
Cost: $33 train, $15 beach admission
Travel Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
How to get there: Hop on NJ Transit North Jersey Coastline from Penn Station and after a quick transfer at Long Branch, you’ll be at Asbury Park.
Atlantic City, Mississippi Avenue, and the Boardwalk
Features: Fishing, beach bars, gambling, surfing, biking, people watching.
Travel Time: 2 hrs 30 minutes
Cost: $60 round-trip train ride, free beach admission
How to get there: Consult oM’s public transit guide to AC for various car-free options. Visit atlanticcitynj.com for more information.
Orchard Beach, Bronx
Features: Only public beach in the Bronx, animated crowds on weekends, 1 mile of beach, 26 courts for tennis, paddleball, and basketball, a hexagonal-block promenade, a pavilion stocked with food and specialty shops, two playgrounds, two picnic areas, canoe or hike around the bay, peaceful weekday escape.
Cost: $2.75 subway fare, free beach admission
Travel Time: Roughly 1 hour and 45 minutes from midtown
How to get there: Take 6 train to Pelham Bay Park then transfer to the Bx29 bus to Orchard Beach. Visit nycgovparks.org/parks/pelhambaypark/ for more info.
For more beach getaway ideas near NYC, read this guide to off the beaten path beaches.
View Beaches Near NYC (without a car) in a larger map
The co-founder and editor-at-large at offMetro, Lauren is a sustainable travel specialist and freelance journalist with frequent bylines in National Geographic, Bicycling Magazine and Shape. Follow Lauren’s adventures at @laurenmati.