Take A Break From City Life At This Popular New York Beach

If you're in New York City, and jonesing for some island beach vibes, you'll be happy to learn that you won't need to take a plane for a sandy beach — just a subway. Yes, we know that Manhattan is technically an island, but we wouldn't recommend taking a dip in the East River or the Hudson. Enter stage right: Rockaway Beach. 

Rockaway Beach is located at the tip of Queens. Boasting an old-timey boardwalk, sunny climes, and sandy beaches, you might forget you're in the Tri-State area! It's easy on your purse strings as access to the beach is free. If you've ever taken the A train, you might notice that some trains post their final destination as Rockaway Beach. That's because the A train actually stops just a short distance from the waterfront. 

The MTA suggests alighting at any station between Beach 67 St to Beach 36 St. But if you haven't budgeted for the almost two-hour commute to get there from Manhattan, there are more island-vibe conveyances at your disposal. Beachgoers can take the Rockaway Ferry that departs from Wall Street or the Brooklyn Army Terminal to catch some island breezes before they arrive at Rockaway.

If you want to get the party started, you could also book the Rockaway Beach Bus, an air-conditioned coach bus that offers free cold refreshments while you travel in style.  Tickets are $29.95 one way, but the real deal is $39.95 for a round-trip ticket.

Rock out to The Ramones and catch some waves

Once you've arrived at Rockaway Beach, what's the 4-1-1 on activities? Well, to paraphrase William Shakespeare, "Once more unto the beach, dear friends!" Of course, if you're looking to top up your tan, head straight to the beach. New York Magazine suggests heading to Beaches 3 to  32 for quieter, tranquil vibes with less foot traffic. On the other hand, Beaches 90 to 106 are where the party scene is at, so choose accordingly! Enjoy the ocean breeze while you tan, and swim in the waves to cool off. If you want more beach activities, and you've noticed a bevy of surfers in the water, why not join them? Local Surf School is founded by local Rockaway residents and offers beginner to intermediate group lessons with all gear included for $100 per person. Even if it's your first time surfing, their instructors will guide you through the techniques to help you catch your first wave.

In addition, the area has a long history of supporting musicians and local artists. We're sure you've been humming "Rockaway Beach" by The Ramones this entire time, and there's an amphitheater you can visit between Beach 94 and 95 streets that offers performances and live musicians all summer. Best of all, there's a grassroots movement afoot to name the amphitheater the Rockaway Beach Ramones Amphitheater!

Where to eat and stay

After a day of sunning your buns, surfing up a storm, and rocking out to The Ramones, you're going to get a bit peckish. Luckily, the boardwalk has a plethora of choices no matter what whets your appetite. TimeOut has published a list of the best bars and restaurants on the boardwalk, and they include a taco joint called — you guessed it –  Tacoway Beach. They also recommend Connolly's pub which has been for over a century and La Cevicheria for Peruvian fare. Of course, this wouldn't be New York without the proverbial New York slice, so head to Boardwalk Pizza for your hit of mozzarella and pepperoni. For the healthy vegetarian, there is Cuisine by Claudette where you can order acai bowls, quinoa bowls, cauliflower wings, and more. For coffee, there's the Greenhouse Cafe near the Ferry docks, and the Rockaway Beach Bakery for your croissant and muffin needs.

One of the best things about Rockaway Beach is it makes for a fantastic day trip from the hustle and bustle of city life. However, if you want to spend more than just an afternoon on the beach, you can stay in the Rockaway Hotel. This hotel offers a pool where you can reserve cabanas and sip cocktails at the rooftop bar. Upon arrival, you're bestowed with a welcome drink and given access to free bicycles, beach chairs, and umbrellas to take with you to the beach.