It's hot enough out that you're surely in need some sand, ocean, burgers, and booze. But you can't spend another summer begging your coworker's roommate's brother's friend's babysitter's bodega owner's cousin to borrow their car, and you (probably) can't afford to helicopter out, so we’ve put together a list of 15 great beaches accessible from New York sans car, along with all the details on how to get there.
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Robert Moses State Park
How to get there: Take the $24.25 (round-trip) LIRR to Babylon, then transfer to the $2.25 S-47 Suffolk bus to Robert Moses State Park.
An easy train ride, followed by an even easier bus ride, is all that stands between you and five miles of idyllic oceanfront, an 18-hole golf course, picnic areas, surfing, and best of all, fewer crowds than the always jam-packed Jones Beach.
If you're looking for an activity-filled beach day, this historic NJ beach offers seven miles of shoreline feature hiking and biking trails, fishing, Fort Hancock walking tours, and the oldest operating lighthouse in the US. Oh, and also, Gunnison is a nude beach. No tan lines. Amen.
How to get there: Take the 6 train to Pelham Bay Park, then transfer to the Bx12 bus to Orchard Beach.
Dubbed the “Riviera of New York City,” this manmade Bronx beach spills over the Long Island Sound and is only a quick train ride and bus transfer away. If the idea of tanning all day bores you to death, there are also basketball courts, tennis courts, and picnic areas. Come sunset, nothing beats a relaxing stroll on the hexagonal boardwalk.
How to get there: Take the F, D, N, or Q trains to Coney Island or W 8th St.
Even if you're didn't make it out for the iconic Mermaid Parade, there's still plenty to take advantage of at this legendary Brooklyn beach, from carnival games, to amusement park rides, to simply enjoying the sand and waves. And it truly wouldn't be summer in New York without the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest (participate at your own risk).
How to get there: Take the Q or B train to the Brighton Beach stop.
Right next door to Coney Island, this popular beach gives you plenty to do beyond crisping in the sun. Grab some borscht and vodka at any of the nearby eateries, then make your way to the surrounding neighborhood -- known as Little Odessa -- for an even more immersive cultural experience.
How to get there: Jump on the $36.25 (round-trip) LIRR to Bay Shore, (or $33.25 to Sayville, depending on what beach you want to go to), then catch a $19 (round-trip) 20-minute ferry ride to the island.
As an alternative to playing Frogger in the crowded Hamptons, Fire Island -- home to 26 miles of coastline -- offers something for everyone, from the family-oriented Fair Harbor, to the scene-y Ocean Beach, to a large gay community in the Pines. It's also a no-traffic heaven; the island is free of cars and paved roads, and the only way to get around is by foot, bike, or golf cart.
How to get there: Take the LIRR to Greenport for around $41.00 (round-trip), then take a $2.00 10-minute ferry ride.
Still not as overcrowded or obnoxious as the Hamptons (so long as you avoid the sceney restaurants and bars), Shelter Island remains a great escape for kayaking, paddleboarding, hitting a craft beer gem, or just lounging around in the sand by the water.
How to get there: Take the A train to Broad Channel before switching to the S train to Rockaway Park-Beach 116th, or take the ferry from Wall St and get dropped off at Jacob Riis Park.
How to get there: Hop on the LIRR to Long Beach for around $19-$26 (round-trip).
This modest Long Island town is home to a five-mile stretch of sands ideal for volleyball and frisbee, as well as a pretty great local music scene. It's also just an hour from the city on the LIRR, and beach packages cost $22, including a round-trip train ticket and a beach admission voucher.
How to get there: Take the $20.50 LIRR from Penn Station to Freeport, then hop on the usually over-packed Jones Beach shuttle bus.
Since the bus is always so damn overcrowded, the trip to Jones Beach is a little less ideal than the others. But all that hassle will seem worth it once you get there, thanks to mini golf, lots of big concerts, two swimming pools, and a massive beach.
Jersey Shore and Long Branch
How to get there: The New Jersey Transit bus will get you all over the shore, including Seaside Heights, Toms River, Seaside Park, Cape May, and Atlantic City no problem. But you can keep a glimmer of hope that the Garden State isn’t all about GTL by making your way to Long Branch, which has $31.50 beach packages available (beach pass included), where you’ll stumble across high-end shops and tons of waterfront eateries.
There's one simple rule to live by here: go for the beaches and boardwalk; stay for the top-notch hooligan watching.
How to get there: Take the B or Q to Brighton Beach, then hop on a five-minute ride on the B1 bus to Oriental Blvd.
If you're looking for a quieter Coney Island alternative, Manhattan beach is your best bet. After gawking at all the mansions surrounding this family-friendly Brooklyn beach, build a miniature sand castle version of your own, or enjoy some beach volleyball and a BBQ.
South Beach and Franklin D. Roosevelt Beach
How to get there: For South Beach, take the Staten Island Ferry to St. George Terminal, then transfer to the S51 bus to Father Capodanno Blvd/Robin Rd. For FDR, take the Staten Island Ferry to St. George Terminal, then transfer to the S51 to Father Capodanno Blvd/Seaview Ave.
If you’re in the mood for something a little off the beaten path (or pizza), head to Staten Island for views of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, jogging along the boardwalk, kayaking, and fishing. Bonus: the Staten Island Ferry is free (and you can drink on it!).
How to get there: If you aren't willing to shell out for seaplanes or helicopters (or a rental car), and don't want to deal with the Jitney, you can still get to the Hamptons by way of the LIRR’s "Cannonball." Just reserve a seat on this $49.25 train leaving from Penn Station every Friday, and you can go non-stop to Westhampton, Southampton, Bridgehampton, East Hampton, and finally Montauk.
Sure, there are plenty of Long Island towns that are less expensive (and offer more) than the Hamptons, but believe it or not, it's still totally possible to have fun there for under $15. Skip the Jitney traffic and hop on the train to visit any of the excellent public beaches on the East End.
Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard
How to get there: Hop on board the Seastreak catamaran to MV for panoramic views of Manhattan, Roosevelt Island, Queensboro Bridge, the Long Island Sound, and Block Island. Ferries operate every Friday from Memorial Day through Labor Day, but prices are hefty, at $250 round-trip.
This quaint, if slightly touristy, town is full of adorable, Candy Land-esque "gingerbread" cottages for your ogling pleasure, plus four public beaches perfect for fishing, boating, or lounging.
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