5 Beaches in Close Proximity to NYC

One of the pleasures of living in New York City is its proximity to the water. Seagulls crow over Red Hook, sailboats glide through the harbor, and an ocean breeze wafts up the Hudson River. Yet little of New York’s 578 miles of coastline makes a pleasant destination for a beach day, so it’s worth venturing to the Atlantic shore or outside city limits.

Here are five refreshing summer escapes that are easily accessible by using both public transportation and Uber:

Orient Beach State Park

On the eastern end of Long Island’s north fork, Orient Beach State Park extends for eight miles along Gardiner’s Bay. Its 364 acres are blissfully undeveloped, populated mostly by terrapin turtles, deer, and osprey, with plenty of secluded spots to lay a blanket. Part of the park is a maritime forest, so you’ll find shade under oak and red cedar trees, plus nature trails by the saltwater marsh. Walk to the sandy spit at the end of the park for stunning views of Shelter Island and Long Beach Lighthouse. You can get there by taking the Long Island Railroad to Greenport, then take an uberX to Orient Beach State Park (about $45).

Fort Tilden

New York City’s nicest beach is, bizarrely Fort Tilden, a former Army base in Queens. There’s a pristine shoreline, gentle dunes, an Atlantic breeze—and overgrown military remnants. A concrete battery, which once held enormous cannons, is now an observation deck with views of the skyline and migrating birds. Cultural organizations have taken over some of the old buildings, so after an afternoon in the sun you can tour on-site art installations by MoMA PS1 and the Rockaway Artists Alliance. All of this makes for a memorable summer day, so take the A train to Rockaway Park Station at Beach 116 Street, then uberX to Fort Tilden (about $10).

Robert Moses State Park

This 875-acre park is the only part of Fire Island accessible by car, and though it’s just a little farther east than Long Beach, it’s much less crowded. Families are drawn to the picnic areas and mini-golf course at Robert Moses State Park, while surfers and fishermen head out to Democrat Point. The park’s five miles of shoreline also attract egrets and piping plovers, with harbor seals visiting in winter and early spring. At the end of the day, you can walk to the car-free village of Kismet for a waterfront bite. Get there by taking the Long Island Railroad to Babylon, then uberX (approximately $21) to the park.

Jones Beach

Jones Beach attracts six million visitors a year for good reason: its lengthy shoreline is only 20 miles from the city. With sports fields, a nature center, and concerts, there’s enough to entertain everyone. Thankfully, there are also sections of the barrier island with nothing to do besides sunbathe. If you walk beyond the concession stands and bathhouses, you’ll find quiet stretches of white sand and more seagulls than people. Get to Jones Beach by taking the Long Island Railroad to Freeport, then uberX (about $17) to Jones Beach.

Sherwood Island State Park

The Connecticut beaches on Long Island Sound are quieter than their New York cousins, but just as convenient. Sherwood Island State Park is a scenic and low-key choice, covering 234 acres of sand, woods, and wetlands. Visitors can spread picnic blankets on the grass beneath oak trees and wander the nature trails along the salt marsh. It’s a nice, out-of-the-way place for a beach day. You can take the Metro North to Westport, then uberX (approximately $8) to Sherwood Island.

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