8 Best New York Family Beaches

beaches in new york - coney island

8 Best New York Family Beaches

New Yorkers are more than ready to enjoy the upcoming summer! New York has many beaches, and we are incredibly privileged to have so many beautiful destinations that are a subway or car ride away.

Make some lasting memories with your kids while also having a fun summer by visiting any of these family beaches.

Psst… check out the Best Water Playgrounds and Sprinkler Parks in New York!

brighton beach new york
Brighton Beach shelter and lamp post at sunset

Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, 50 min to 1 hour subway (from Midtown)

Known for its Russian population and popular neighborhood “Little Odessa,” this neighbor to Coney Island is a famous beach located in the southern part of Brooklyn. This beach is a vibe — pack a picnic or pick up some of the delicious food at some of the nearby eateries and enjoy the sunshine.

coney island in brooklyn new york

Coney Island, Brooklyn, 1hr 15min – subway (from Midtown)

Coney Island isn’t just a beach: it is an experience. Families can also visit fun spots around Coney Island before you take your place on the sand such as The New York Aquarium, Luna Park and Deno’s Wonder Wheel.

The beach itself is always packed, so if you are looking for a quiet beach day, you may want to go early before the crowds show up.

Or embrace this busy beach and enjoy the boardwalk food stands — just make sure to get your tickets for any extra fun, like rides or the aquarium, if you plan to include these attractions to your beach day.

manhattan beach
Photo: NYC Parks

Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn, 1hr 20min – subway (from Midtown)

If looking for a beach minus the bells and whistles that you, the family, and a good book are what you have in mind, you’ll want to check out Manhattan Beach.

There is a park for the kids, and you can bring your barbecue grill and cook right by your beach spot. The waves aren’t huge, and the vibe is chill, making it perfect for families with young kids. 

Rockaway beach
USA, New York, Rockaway Beach, view of Gil Hodges Memorial Marine Parkway Bridge

Rockaway Beach, Queens, 1hr 30min – subway (from Midtown)

If you want less spectacle and more surfer destination with snack shacks (Rockaway Beach Surf Club) and food Californians call everyday life, you’ll want to pack up the beach bag (and kids) and head over to this chill beach.

It is a worthwhile day trip if you are a beach bum at heart at an hour car ride and an hour and a half subway ride.

Jacob riss park
Photo: National Park Service

Jacob Riis Park, Queens, 1hr 40min – subway (from Midtown)

“The Peoples Beach” is a neighbor to Rockaway Beach and a perfect family day destination — especially if you love the beach and good food.

Usually, not as packed as Coney Island, this beach has a Brooklyn vibe (although it’s in Queens) with their many Brooklyn food favs. The entire family will love all the beach fun, food, and sweet treat options.

orchard beach
Photo: Alex Mitchell

Orchard Beach, Bronx, 1hr 45min – subway (from Midtown)

This Robert Moses-designed beach is the Bronx’s only public beach, and it does not disappoint. At 115 acres, the beach includes a promenade, and for the kids who need to stay active, there are two playgrounds, 26 basketball courts, volleyball, and handball.

With two picnic areas, you can grab a spot to eat food from the snack bars or bring along food and munch while you enjoy the view of City Island.

robert moses state park
@RobertMosesStateParkPhoto: Facebook

Robert Moses State Park, Fire Island– Long Island, LIRR 1hr 30min (from Penn Station)

This ocean beachfront entails hopping on the LIRR; by car, it is around the same time. This beach has options that are nice for a family beach day. While not exactly crowd-free, the New York Parks site states it attracts 3.8 million visitors a year making it a popular destination for many.

The shoreline is five miles with four fields. Why it is family-friendly and it is like a vacation packed in one day. Field 2 has a volleyball court. Fields 2,3, and 4 have picnic areas with tables and grills.

For a real East Coast treasure, check out Field 5 which has a 3/4 walk that leads to the Fire Island Lighthouse; it also offers a spacious playground area for the kids. Parents: there are also private showers to rinse off that sand before you head home!

Photo Credit: nycgovparks.org

Midland Beach, Staten Island – 1hr 20min subway (from Midtown)

A trip to Midland Beach is one that families will love to take this summer! Not only is it great, but there are also a ton of activities kids can do when they aren’t swimming or lounging on the beach!

The beach is home to the popular Sea Turtle Fountain where young kids can run through the sprinklers and to the Playland Playground that is also a great spot to bring your kids to. Midland Beach also shares Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk where families can find delicious treats and refreshments.