NYC Parks’ Beaches are Open: 9 FREE Family Beaches

beaches in new york - coney island

NYC Parks’ Beaches are Open: 9 FREE Family Beaches

Grab your towel: NYC Parks beaches will be opening for Memorial Day Weekend! 

Now, through Sept. 8th, you and your family can hit the beach. NYC parks maintains 14 miles of beaches around the city, so you and your family have plenty of options for a relaxing beach day this summer.

We’ve rounded up information about all nine of NYC Parks’ beaches so you can find the one that fits your family the best. And the best part? All of these beaches are free and open to the public!

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 via 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, 1 hr 15 min via 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 via subway (from Midtown)

If your ideal day at the beach involves you, your family and a good book with out all the bells and whistles, 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 via 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.

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

orchard beach
Photo: Alex Mitchell

Orchard Beach, Bronx, 1hr 45min via 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.

Photo Credit:

Midland Beach, Staten Island – 1hr 20min via 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.

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

Sunbathe in the shadow of the Verrazzano Bridge. South Beach is one of the city’s most popular beaches, and for good reason. Visitors can bike, jog on the boardwalk, kayak, play tennis, fish and more. Don’t leave without stopping to see the popular Fountain of Dolphins!

Cedar Grove Beach, Staten Island – 1hr 30 min via subway (from Midtown)

If you’re looking for a new favorite beach spot, why not check out the city’s newest beach? The converted oceanfront bungalow colony, Cedar Grove Beach offers a more tranquil experience than some of the neighboring beaches and is a popular choice for local families.

Wolfe’s Pond Beach, Staten Island – 1hr 45 min via subway (from Midtown)

You’ll want to take a day to check out the city’s best-kept secret. Wolfe’s Pond Beach on Staten Island offers access to the ocean without the chaos that tends to come with some of the city’s more well-known beaches. Get away from the summer crowds with a secluded beach day.

Relevant Directory Listings

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New Settlement Community Center

<p>Offering a host of healthy, fun and exciting programs for children ages 6 months and up, including ballet and hi-hop dance with Alvin Ailey, group and private swimm classes, mixed martial arts, youth technology, piano, violin and guitar lessons, and more.</p>

British Swim School - Manhattan

<p>The premier learn-to-swim provider for people of all ages, offering programs for children ages 3-months through adults.  British Swim School uses gentle teaching methods and a survival-first approach to help people of all experience levels become safer, stronger swimmers. British Swim School’s safe, fun, and effective instructional program has made it the preferred choice for parents and students for over 40 years. Come see the British Swim School difference!</p>

Polaris Productions Theater Camp

<p>Kids will learn, rehearse, and perform the wonderful Maurice Sendak and Carole King musical, Really Rosie. For 10 weekdays, campers will take part in physical and vocal warm-ups and learn choreography, staging, and vocal parts. They’ll develop skills in acting, singing, character development, and more. This camp will ignite your child’s imagination and passion for performing, build their self-esteem, and help them form lasting friendships. They’ll have fun! At camp’s end, the kids will perform Really Rosie for family members and friends. Kids of all levels of experience, ages 8 through 13, are welcome to join.</p>