Summer has finally arrived which means it’s time to grab the deck chairs, stock up on sunscreen and hit the beach! While a trip to Long Island may be the most desirable escape from the New York City heat, Brooklyn locals have several beach options on their doorstep. Coney Island, Brighton Beach, and Manhattan Beach are all located in the southernmost part of the Brooklyn borough. Meanwhile, Brooklynites can enjoy a summer’s evening on the sand at Charlotte Beach right in the heart of the popular Williamsburg neighborhood. Read on to learn more about the best beaches in and around Brooklyn this summer.
1) Sunbathe and Snack on the Best Hotdogs at Coney Island
Topping the list of the best beaches in Brooklyn is of course the historic Coney Island. At almost three miles in length, the beach and boardwalk provide the perfect place to escape the sticky New York City heat. If you plan to spend your afternoon keeping cool in the water then be sure to visit the beach between 10am-6pm when lifeguards are on duty. Swimming is strictly prohibited outside of these hours.
Meanwhile, the Riegelmann Boardwalk is bustling with eateries, souvenir shops, and fun games for all. You’ll find Nathan’s Famous along the boardwalk. This popular fast food chain is home to the infamous July fourth hot dog eating contest and some of the best franks in New York.
How to get to Coney Island Beach and Boardwalk…
By public transport: Take the Coney Island-bound D, F, N, or Q train to Coney Island-Stillwell Av. On arrival, look for the Stillwell Avenue and Surf Avenue exit. From there the beach is just a short walk away. Alternatively, MBTA bus options include the B36 toward Coney Island, the B64 toward Coney Island-Mermaid Avenue, the B68 toward Coney Island-Stillwell Av., and the B82 toward Mermaid Av-Stillwell Av.
By car: Traveling from Downtown Brooklyn to Coney Island is an estimated 9 mile car drive, with the drive time varying based on traffic conditions. For this trip you will get on I-278 W and follow I-278 W and Belt Pkwy/Leif Ericson Drive to Shore Pkwy. Then take exit 7 toward Ocean Pkwy to Sea Breeze Av.
2) Unwind by the Sea at Brighton Beach, Brooklyn
Bounded by Coney Island is the smaller Brighton Beach. Visitors to Brighton Beach can enjoy a more relaxed experience compared to the hustle and bustle of Coney Island as it is typically less crowded. Again, lifeguards are on duty between 10am-6pm so if you plan to spend your day in the sea then head to Brighton Beach within this timeframe.
There are plenty of public restrooms along the boardwalk and numerous eateries in the area so there’s no need to bring a packed lunch. We recommend Clavel restaurant for an iced coffee and late brunch!
How to get to Brighton Beach…
By public transport: Take the B1 or B68 bus routes or board the Brooklyn-bound B or Q train at Dekalb Avenue to get to Brighton Beach.
By car: The 14 mile drive from Downtown Brooklyn to Brighton Beach will take approximately 30 minutes, depending on summer traffic. Get on I-278 W and follow I-278 W and Belt Pkwy/Leif Ericson Drive to Shore Pkwy. You will then take exit 8 toward Coney Island Av. where you will find plenty of parking options. Keep in mind that parking may be difficult to find on the weekend when many New Yorkers trade the city humidity for a sea breeze.
3) Skate and Bike at Brooklyn’s Manhattan Beach
Just east of Brighton Beach is Manhattan Beach which boasts sand and sea as well as playgrounds and sports grounds for an action-packed day of fun. If skating or biking is your thing then you will love the skate and bike path located on the boardwalk along the beach.
When hunger strikes, there are several picnic and barbecuing spots so don’t forget the burger buns, patties, and Cape Cod potato chips. And if you plan on spending the day at the beach you can avail of the public restrooms along the boardwalk. You will also find copious concession stands selling cold drinks and ice cream to keep you cool.
How to get to Manhattan Beach…
By public transport: The B train, which boards at Dekalb Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn, will take you to Sheepshead Bay in about 30 minutes. From there you will have to walk for approximately 25 minutes to Manhattan Beach. Alternatively, you can board the Q train at Dekalb Avenue towards Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue.
By car: When traveling from Downtown Brooklyn get on the I-278 W from Tillary St and Cadman Plaza W. Follow I-278 W and Belt Pkwy/Leif Ericson Drive to Shore Pkwy. Take exit 8 toward Coney Island Avenue and continue onto Oriental Boulevard.
4) View the Manhattan Skyline from Charlotte Beach, Williamsburg
This little hidden gem is a favorite among local Brooklynites. Charlotte Beach is located in the trendy Williamsburg neighborhood, inside of Brooklyn Inlet park. A short stroll from Brooklyn’s most popular food market Smorgasburg, visitors can feast on copious culinary delights followed by a trip to the beach. Overlooking the East River, Charlotte Beach provides a perfect view of Manhattan’s iconic skyline (especially at sunset). While it may not be the beach for sunbathing and swimming, it is ideal for evening picnics and Instagram backdrops.
How to get to Charlotte Beach…
By public transport: Traveling from Downtown Brooklyn to Charlotte Beach requires connecting trains and a bus journey. If time is on your side then hop on the Q train at Dekalb Avenue to Atlantic Avenue – Barclays Center. From there you will take the N train to 86 Street. The final leg of your journey involves a quick bus ride on the B1 bus route to 86 St/19 Av. We recommend traveling by ride-share applications like Uber or Lyft, or driving if you have access to a car.
By car: Getting from Downtown Brooklyn to Charlotte Beach takes about 20 minutes by car. Travel via Kent Avenue taking I-278 E to N 7th St.
5) Snack and Surf at Rockaway Beach, Queens
Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk is located in Queens, about an hour long car ride from Downtown Brooklyn. The beach is the length of 150 blocks with several markets, food stands, and public restrooms located along the boardwalk. There are also bike and skate paths, sports facilities, and playgrounds.
Rockaway is a popular spot for surfers and swimmers alike, however access to the sea is prohibited outside of the 10am-6pm timeframe when lifeguards are on duty so plan accordingly. Beachgoers have numerous tasty food options at restaurants and bars throughout the neighborhood. We recommend grabbing a classic cream cheese bagel at Rockaway Bagels for breakfast, a slice of pizza in Whit’s End Pizza Parlor’s backyard for lunch, and an afternoon snack of decadent cheese fries at Rippers on the eastern end of Rockaway Beach.
How to get to Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk…
By public transport: Board the A train to Rockaway Beach at Jay Street MetroTech station, Downtown Brooklyn. After arriving at Broad Channel you will hop on the Rockaway Park Shuttle train for one stop and get off at Beach 90 St. From there the beach is a short stroll.
By car: Get on the I-278 W from Tillary St and Cadman Plaza W before taking exit 22 to merge onto the Belt Parkway E. You will then continue on Flatbush Av. South towards Rockaways. Keep in mind that Flatbush Avenue is a toll road so don’t be surprised by a toll charge after your trip.
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