Best New York Family Beaches Open for Summer 2021

beaches in new york - coney island

Best New York Family Beaches Open for Summer 2021

After a year plus of social distancing, New Yorkers are more than ready to enjoy the upcoming summer, and thankfully starting May 29th, all New York City Beaches will officially be open from 10 am to 6 pm. 

New York has many beaches, and we are incredibly privileged to have so many beautiful destinations that are a subway or car ride away. And while kids and families cannot wait to make the beach life part of our summer again, the way to go about anywhere in NYC while it reopens does require a bit of due diligence. For as of now, Jacob Riss beach, which is managed by the National Park Service, is open at 50 % capacity. Robert Moses State Park last summer would post on their Facebook page when they closed the beach due to capacity. As we know, in COVID life, this may change in the weeks ahead and since this is a new experience for everyone, we do suggest checking websites and Facebook pages before you head out. 

Psst..check out Free Tickets to NYC Attractions for Those That Get the Vaccine


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

Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, 50min 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 visit The New York Aquarium, and now that the amusement parks Luna Park and Deno’s Wonder Wheel are open at 33% capacity, these are also fun spots to venture to before you take your place on the sand. 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 you 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, 1 hr, 28min- 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 Riss Park 1 hr, Queens, 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. After spending most of the last year not being able to go out with the kids the 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!