Aussie’s Guide to the Best Day-Trip Beaches from NYC


We all know that as Australians, we have very clear standards when it comes to beaches. We are lucky to have grown up with some world-class beaches at every turn so as much as we may love New York, a first look at the local beaches can be a little dis-heartening.

You need to go down to Florida or the Caribbean to find beaches that can even attempt to rival the ones we have back home but unfortunately very few of us are able to head down there every weekend. So, if we want any chance to soak up the sun this summer, we need to make do with the local beaches. As dreaded at that may sound, there are actually some that can make for a fun day out.

Most of you will already know of (and are likely already planning weekend getaways to) the Hamptons or Fire Island beaches, but there are also a number of beaches much closer to NYC that are perfect for a simple day trip!

Rockaway Beach

One of the best-known beaches to any non-NY native thanks to the Ramones and their song Rockaway Beach from their Rocket to Russia album. This beach is also probably the best beach in the area for surfing, meaning there is a solid crowd year-round.
It is also surprisingly one of the cleanest beaches in NY!

How to get there: You can get there by taking the Far-Rockaway bound A train or you can go by ferry taking the Rockaway route from downtown Manhattan.

Jones Beach State Park

Generally considered to be the nicest beach in the NY area, Jones beach runs for over 6.5 miles and is surrounded by a state park.

Great tip as well for this beach is that it is also the home of the Jones Beach Theater, right on the water, which has some great outdoor concerts during the summer months. There are some seriously good acts heading there this year including TLC, Luke Bryan, Dave Matthews Band, Matchbox Twenty, Sting, Smashing Pumpkins and The Offspring! You can find the full list of artists and purchase tickets here.

If you’re still looking for a reason to head to Jones Beach, there is also an outdoor adventure park called WildPlay with some great activities including a zipline and bungy jumping.

How to get there: Take the LIRR to Freeport then jump on the local n88 bus that will take you directly to Jones Beach. Services are fairly frequent during the summer months, especially on weekends.


Coney Island Beach

OK we will admit, this may not be the nicest beach on the list but it does have one major selling point – Coney Island! You can spend part of the day enjoying the fun and frenzy of Coney Island (you absolutely cannot miss a ride on the Cyclone!) followed by a relaxing afternoon on the beach. If you want to be super touristy don’t forget to stop by Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs for lunch.

You can also grab a drink at the well-known Coney Island Brewery and tap into your cultural side by spending some time wandering through the Coney Art Walls.

How to get there: Easiest way to get there is by taking a (long!) subway ride to the end of the Q, F or D line.


Brighton Beach

Not far from Coney Island, this beach is a little more laid back and less touristy than its neighbor. Having said that, it is still one of the busiest beaches during the summer so if you do head over make sure to get there early!

It is generally referred to as ‘Little Odessa’ due to the strong Eastern European community in the area, meaning there are some great food options!

How to get there: You just take the B or Q subway from the city

Jacob Riis Park Beach

Locally known as the People’s Beach, it is definitely one of the most popular beaches in NY. It has a beautiful coastline and a must-see art deco bathhouse from the 1930s. It is even included in the US National Park Service.

There is a long boardwalk with a number of food concessions, and there are even areas of the beach where you are allowed to have alcohol. During the summer, there is the Riis Park Beach Bazaar where you can rent beach chairs and umbrellas for the day.

How to get there: Not the easiest beach to get to if you don’t have a car as there is not direct transportation. You can take the 2 to Flatbush Ave and from there the Q35 bus to Jacob Riis. For a more scenic route, you can take the Rockaway ferry and from Rockaway beach there is a free shuttle bus that will take you to Jacob Riis.


Long Beach

Generally known for its boardwalk, this beach has some of the whitest sand in the area! The town of Long Beach is also super cute with a farmer’s market and hosts a number of festivals during the summer. Much of the area was destroyed during Hurricane Sandy in 2012 so most of what you will see including the boardwalk are newly built.

This is however a paying beach (still so shocking to us Aussies that this is even a thing!) and will cost you around $15 to get in.

How to get there: The LIRR will take you directly there from Penn station. There is generally a summer LIRR Beach Getaway Package where you can get your train ticket and beach entrance for about $27. These packages don’t usually get posted online until closer to the summer season so definitely keep an eye out for it!

Let’s not forget our neighbors in New Jersey-

We may all know the Jersey Shore thanks to the TV show, but there are actually some really nice beaches down ‘The Shore’ (as the locals call it) and quite easy to get to for a day trip. The beaches are sandy, the water tends to be a little warmer and yes, you will absolutely see the next generation of Jersey Shore wannabes who alone make a day down the Shore worth it.

Sandy Hook Beach

We sadly know this beach due to the terrible devastation it faced from Hurricane Sandy. Over the past few years, the area has fully rebuilt, and it is a very cute little town with a not so crowded beach at the very top of the Jersey Shore. Many food trucks set up there during the summer and you can even visit the 250-year-old lighthouse that survived the Hurricane.

How to get there: It is a nice ferry ride from the city on the Seastreak


Asbury Park

Another beach made famous by an artist, this time by the Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen, naming his debut studio album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.

The beach has a great and active boardwalk and a small shopping outlet that includes restaurants, antique stores and art galleries. It also hosts the Oyster and Jazz Festivals during the summer that are a major draw.

How to get there: There is a direct train from Penn Station on the NJ Transit Coast Line

Long Branch Beach

Long Branch is actually quite a fancy resort town in New Jersey so its beach does not disappoint! It has a nice boardwalk with some finer dining options and hosts a number of events during the summer. The beach itself is quite wide and sandy with swimming-friendly water (there is a designated swimming area with lifeguards)

It unfortunately is a paying beach with a daily rate of $5 during the week and $7 on weekends.

How to get there: Roughly a one hour ride from Penn station by train. The station is about a 15min walk from the beach.


There are many more beaches along the Jersey Shore that are well worth a stop including the infamous Seaside Heights which is surprisingly a very nice and family-friendly beach, Ocean City and the stunning Cape May right on the tip. These however are not directly accessible by public transport so without a car are a little hard to get to for a day trip.

Here at AWNY we always have your back and despite what locals or guidebooks may tell you, these are some beaches to avoid!

Midland Beach, Staten Island Beach

You will actually find this beach in a number of guides for one reason only; the view of the Verrazzano bridge and lower Manhattan & Brooklyn skylines. Frankly, that is the only reason to go to this beach.

Due to its location, it is a very windy beach, the sand and the water are both incredibly dirty and full of rubbish and seaweed. On top of that, there are no concessions or food stands anywhere in sight!

Fort Tilden Beach

This is a smaller and quieter beach just west of Jacob Riis beach which may at first sound nice but it is also where clothing is optional. Let’s just say there are no Gisele’s running around that beach without their bathing suits.

There are no lifeguards on the beach nor are there any food outlets around. Transport as well is tough especially on weekends when, if you don’t have a car, you generally need to trek over from Jacob Riis beach (so at that point just stay there).

Orchard Beach in the Bronx

Locals love to call this beach the Riviera of New York, but the French Riviera it definitely is not! This is the only public beach in the Bronx and has a number of times needed to close due to high levels of bacteria in the water. The local joke is that you never let the water go above your knees if you don’t want to catch anything.

It is a manmade beach so very shallow and being more inland tends to accumulate a lot of rubbish in the water.

So while these may not be the most stunning beaches in the world, there are a number of beaches near New York that can offer a fun day out during the summer and give us our beach fix until we are able to enjoy the Aussie beaches once again.

Author: Australian Women in New York

Australian Women in New York (AWNY) sources stories and guides that will help make you win the Big Apple. We also love to profile fabulous Aussie and Kiwi women.

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