7 NYC Beaches to Escape to This Summer

We're about halfway done with Summer, so time to start taking advantage of those precious beach days.

Not everyone thinks of white sand beaches when they think of NYC, but the Big Apple has some of the best and they won't take you 4 hours to get to. Here are seven awesome NYC beaches you should visit before summer ends, regardless of whether your body is beach-ready or not.

1. Coney Island, Brooklyn

So famous there’s even a film named after it (also known as Fatty at Coney Island). Coney Island, which Vogue called “New York’s coolest beach,” is home of the Coney Island Circus Sideshow, the Mermaid Parade, and weekly fireworks every Friday night.

Cruise the Cyclone Rollercoaster, munch a hotdog at Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs, stroll the boardwalk, tan on the beach, or go for a swim. There's so much to do and for a full list, check out the Coney Island Fun Guide.

Directions: Take the D, F, N or Q trains to Coney Island/ Stillwell Avenue. Drops you off just two blocks from the beach.

2. Rockaway Beach, Queens

Rockaway Beach, where you'll find everyone from young families, to reggae street artists, to punk rockers, to surfers; Rockaway is NYC's most happening beach community. A long sand beach with ample space, a classic boardwalk, and the city's only legal surfing beach, this is often the number one choice for city-dwellers looking for a clean break.

Directions: Located between 67th - 69th Street and 87th - 92nd Streets. Take the A train or grab the S at picturesque Broad Channel. Head to Beach 90 Street for the surfer beach or to Beach 116 Street for the swimmers beach.

3. Orchard Beach, the Bronx

Orchard Beach, the Bronx's only public beach, was once called "The Riviera of New York" when it debuted in the 1930s. The 115-acre beach has a 1.1-mile-long promenade, a central pavilion, snack bars, food & souvenir carts, two playgrounds, two picnic areas, a large parking lot, and 26 courts for basketball, volleyball, and handball. And a Willy Wonka factory...just kidding, but this place has everything.

Directions: Take the 6 train to Pelham Bay Park and connect to the Bx12 bus for Orchard Beach.

4. Great Kills Park, Staten Island

Have a killer time at Great Kills Park! Lol. Ok, that's enough of that.

This park opened in 1949 and boasts four beaches for the price of one: New Dorp Beach, Cedar Grove Beach, Oakwood Beach, and Fox Beach. Each is frequented by boaters, fisherman and ospreys - in fact, these lush islands have the only ospreys on Staten Island.

Directions: Take the Staten Island railway to Bay Terrace, then three blocks to the east gets you to the Great Kills Park.

5. Long Beach, Long Island

This tight-knit beach community known as the “the city by the sea” is located on Long Island’s south shore and offers more than three miles of sand, a two-mile long boardwalk, concerts, and a glitzy view of New York City if you catch it right.

Heads up: some beaches here cost $12 for admission for ages 13 and up, although you may want to buy a LIRR Beach Getaway Package which includes a round-trip train ride plus beach access for around $21.

Directions: The Long Island Railroad (LIRR) takes less than an hour from Penn Station in Midtown, Manhattan.

6. Sandy Hook, New Jersey

The seven-mile stretch of ocean and bay beaches are excellent for surfing, swimming, and relaxing. Nature lovers will cherish the 300-plus species of migratory birds, as well as the area’s dense pine forests.

Directions: Sandy Hook is on the northernmost point of New Jersey's shoreline, just under an hour from New York City via ferry from Manhattan's South Street Seaport.

7. Jones Beach, Wantagh

Swim, fish, tour historic exhibits, play miniature golf, shuffleboard, hoops, concerts at the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater or marine biology at the Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center, there's lots to do at Long Island's famous Jones Beach. Oh, and with more than 6.5 miles of sand on the Atlantic Ocean, it's one of NYC's largest beaches.

Directions: 52 min (41.1 mi) via I-495 E and Meadowbrook State Pkwy. Alternately, you can take the LIRR to Freeport Station and connect to the n88 NICE Bus.