As summer’s ending and pumpkin-spiced everything season is just around the corner, it’s time for you to make use of these final days of heat at some of New York’s premier local beach establishments (and New Jersey…if you must). Remove yourself from the smells of fresh sewage and subway sweat and gaze into the infinite abyss of fresh air at these five beach getaways.
Sandy Hook, NJ
There are way too many spots on the Jersey Shore that remind everyone of MTV, so I went with the less meathead-filled option. Sandy Hook, a Gateway National Park located on the northern tip of Jersey Shore, is just a $45 round-trip ferry ride to an oasis of beach glory. Seastreak ferries leave from 35th street and 1st Ave. in Manhattan and from Wall Street at two separate times on the weekdays and three on the weekends, making this journey very simple. If you’re driving, it’ll cost you a mere $15 to park. Once you arrive, there are shuttle buses to several beaches within Sandy Hook so you can explore the area even further. Most food and bars are located within the Highlands, outside of the actual park, so make sure your coolers are packed with your beach goods (and alcohol) for the day.
Robert Moses, NY
Bobby Moes, as I like to call it, may look and feel similar to the famed Jones Beach, but in my humble opinion, it is far superior. Located on the western end of the Fire Island National Seashore of Long Island, this state park has more frills and thrills than its sister park. With five fields to choose from and a gorgeous lighthouse that is within walking distance, this is really a beach treasure that’s just starting to get the recognition it deserves. While traffic is the worst, the bridges to the beach offer spectacular views and sunsets that surpass Manhattanhenge. The LIRR offers deals from Manhattan and Brooklyn for $24.25 round trip, which includes public bus transportation to the park. If you’re driving, you have to pay $10 car entrance fee but it will be worth every dollar.
Long Beach, NY
Little known fact: Long Beach is actually a city…with its own mayor. Larger known fact: This is, by far, the easiest beach to get to outside the city. Long Beach is a gem with a gorgeous, new boardwalk rebuilt after Hurricane Sandy packed with restaurants and bars galore. It’ll cost you $12 to drive. If you don’t have a vehicle, the LIRR has an awesome deal where $22 round trip from Manhattan and Brooklyn will get you there with beach access and a participating merchants voucher. Praise the LIRR: words I never thought I’d say.
By now, the entire city seems to know someone who knows someone with a house in Montauk or the Hamptons, and every sunny weekend, the entire city flocks there. The LIRR has express trains running every Friday, traffic heading out there is insane, and the Hampton Jitney buses are packed. Basically, this has somehow become the Brooklyn of summertime. Yet, Montauk is so much more than a hipster oasis with terrible bumper-to-bumper jams. Besides the slew of beaches to choose from, including Hither Hills State Park and Ditch Plains, Montauk also has their very own lighthouse, the ever famous Gosman’s Dock for seafood lovers, and the Surf Lodge Bar for those wanting to get rowdy. Make sure you buy those shorts that say “The End” on the back, or you haven’t really experienced Montauk to the fullest.
Fire Island, NY
Where else can you find cute family cottages, streets littered with wagons and bicycles instead of cars, and the best drag queen shows on earth, all within a five minute radius of the ocean? Fire Island – and if you have yet to experience it in all of its rocket fueled glory, you best hop on all of the transportation deals. With $35, give or take, you can score a round trip ferry and taxi services to your destinations. The hot spots of Ocean Beach, Cherry Grove, Ocean Bay Park, and The Pines are worth exploring even while on the island, since water taxis can take you there and back throughout the day. You’ll feel as if you’re island hopping to places far from reality.
Once completing any of the above local beach getaways, it is custom to never want to return to NYC again. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.