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.

Lifeguard at Robert Moses BeachRobert 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.

Surfing at Long Beach Long IslandLong Beach, Long Island

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.

Water Taxi Beach Gov IslandAsbury 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, BronxOrchard 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.

Photos: Courtesy of the author, navy beach, nydiscovery7, dougtone

View Beaches Near NYC (without a car) in a larger map


  1. The bus is a MUCH cheaper way to get to Atlantic City. Several bus companies have deals where you get gambling credits (which can be cashed in right away) that make the trip only a few dollars. I’ve done this a few times from Port Authority.

  2. Charging taxpayers $10.00 to go to the beach that God has given us for free?@!#%%$$
    What a rip off. vote these bums out of office.
    Until the Governor and our local politicans here the general public, working class taxpayers, we should boycott one day a year all Long Island Beaches!

    We are all taxed out. I thought the academy award went to the school distrcts! We need to give an award to the idiots who charge us to park at our own beach…. bastards

  3. How could you not list Coney Island??!! Beach season kicks off this weekend and it’s still just the cost of a subway ride as it was in your grandparents and great grandparents day.

    After you go to the free beach, stop by the non-profit Coney Island History Project’s free exhibit center on W12th St off the Boardwalk and view photos and artifacts. We’re open weekends, 12-6pm

  4. Coney Island…a beach??  You mean a dirt bay area that the NYC dumps billions of gallons of toxic waste into.  Research the facts….sad but true.  And, lets not forget the early eighties when they were STILL dumping medical waste in the waters.  Really NYC??  Really..the so-called capital of the world..pfff….

  5. […] of the advantages of living in New York City is the ability to visit surrounding beaches completely off the train. One such destination is the Fire Island, which is only a ferry ride away […]

  6. God gave us nature free – but things cost money to maintain.  When the children of Israel left Egypt they were on their way to the Promised Land – they offered to pay the nations to pass through them for their water.  Nothing in life is free… everything has to be paid for.

  7. While I personally wouldn’t swim in Coney Island waters…. you sound bitter.  Many major municipalities in the United States have dirty water.  Raw sewage was still flowing into the waters off South Florida up into the 2000’s (not sure if they still are now).

  8. You can also take nycbeachbus to the beaches of rockaways and riispark. you can drink on it too. nyc beach bus sound a lot cheaper than long island beaches.

  9. Roughly 35 minutes to get to Orchard Beach from Midtown??? How? in flying carpet? Orchard is at least two hours from Grand Central and 40 minutes from the Bronx zoo!


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