Though a day trip to this hip Queens beach may be the weekend norm for thousands of New Yorkers, making a full weekend of it will let you really delve into the surf culture and sun-soaking on the almost 2-mile stretch of beach. If you’re feeling nostalgic for childhood beach vacations at faded, sand-covered motels, check in to the D Piper Inn (rooms are $180 during summer) or consider renting a room or entire bungalow on Airbnb or HomeAway.
Staying at Rockaway doesn’t just mean laying in the sand all day (though it totally can). If you’re looking to be a little more active, take surf lessons at surf schools like Aloha NYC, Locals, and New York Surf School, which all offer private and group classes under $100. You can also go on a jet ski adventure, go paddleboarding, and, of course, swim. A stretch of multiple days spent at the beach allows you to camp out in distinct parts; sunsoak for a day down at 97th Street -- often the most people-dense part of the beach -- and then head up to 107th Street, a further stop on the train that attracts thinner crowds but offers just as much sand, waves, and, importantly, indoor bathrooms.