5 Best Beaches in and Around New York City

Grab your bathing suits! It's swimming time.

Even longtime New Yorkers complain that there's no place cool to escape the summer heat, save for the Hamptons -- though a trip out east is usually beyond the budget of most folks. Much to many locals' and tourists' surprise, New York City and its environs are home to beaches where you can chill out and beat the steamy summer heat.

Coney Island

Valerie Conners

Robert Moses State Park, Long Island

When you stumble upon the 5-mile swath of soft sand that comprises Robert Moses State Park, you'd never believe you were anywhere near New York City's concrete jungle. Set up shop with a beach umbrella and blanket in front of the shimmering waterfront, or unpack lunch and grill up burgers and hot dogs at one of the beach's picnic areas.

You'll enjoy uncrowded and quiet shores -- radios are banned in certain areas, and depending on conditions, you may even spy the occasional surfer. If you've got an itch to tee off, an 18-hole golf course is on the water. To reach the park, take the LIRR from Penn Station to Babylon, followed by the Suffolk bus to Robert Moses State Park.

Coney Island, Brooklyn

Coney Island Ferris Wheel

Valerie Conners

Quirky Coney Island is a legend among New York City beaches. With a colorful history and an iconic boardwalk, the beach here is almost secondary to the slew of activities and food vendors that line the shores. Chill out on the beach for the afternoon, then wash off in the shower facilities before heading to Luna Park, to play carnival games, scarf down a Nathan's hot dog, and ride the adjacent Wonder Wheel. Don't forget to snap a selfie with a boardwalk backdrop.

Check the calendar before planning your weekend jaunt to the famed beach. Try to arrive during the Mermaid Parade, when all manner of men and women don colorful (and at times questionable) Merpeople getups. To hit the beach here, hop aboard the F, D, N, or Q trains to Coney Island or W 8th St.

Orchard Beach, Bronx

Orchard Beach

NYC Parks / M. Pinckney

"The Riviera of New York," has a certain ring to it, doesn't it? That's what New Yorkers call Orchard Beach, the Bronx's manmade beach on the Long Island Sound. Created in the 1930s, the crescent-shaped beach stretches for just over a mile and offers jaw-dropping views of City Island. Pack a picnic lunch or head to one of the many pushcart concessions that dot the beach. When you've grown weary of resting on the sand, take a walk along the hexagonal boardwalk, or play a game of pickup hoops at one of the 26 adjacent basketball courts.

Still feeling sporty? The beach park is also home to volleyball and handball courts, and two laygrounds for your little ones. To reach the beach, take the 6 train to Pelham Bay Park, then transfer to the Bx12 bus to Orchard Beach.

Rockaway Beach, Queens

Rockaway Beach

NYC Parks / Daniel Avila

If you're hoping to get your hipster fix while sunning yourself, get thee to Rockaway Beach. Made famous among the punk rock set in the late 1970s thanks to the Ramones' "Rock Rock Rockaway Beach" this hangout has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity over the past three years. The 6-mile stretch of beach is impressive, and officially, it's the city's only legal surfing beach. Want to catch a wave? Sign up for surf lessons through the New York Surf School.

When hunger strikes, you'll find a number of food concessions. Head to Rockaway Beach Surf Club, home to Tacoway Beach. The fish tacos are a must-order. If you're craving something meatier visit Rippers, order the cheeseburger, and thank us later.

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