Amid the hustle and bustle of daily life, you might forget that New York City is surrounded by water, and even better, miles of gorgeous beaches from Long Island to the Jersey Shore. But don’t stress over choosing between the price tag of the Hamptons versus the Snookie-ness of Jersey, there are plenty of kid-friendly beaches accessible by public transportation and most no more than one hour away. The NYC Parks Department maintains 14 miles of beaches, all of which are open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day with lifeguards are on duty daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. So what are you waiting for? Pack up the sand toys and sunscreen, grab the kids and hit the beach already!

3. White Sandy Shores on Long Island

The closest Long Island beach to NYC's border is Long Beach. The 3.5 mile stretch of white sand gives kiddos lots of space for sandcastles and wave jumping. Plus, the 2.2-mile oceanfront boardwalk offers plenty of shopping and dining for you. Don’t feel like leaving the beach for lunch? No problem! Most local restaurants will deliver right to the beach. There’s also a food truck scene on Riverside Blvd. between the train station and the beach and a large Waldbaum's supermarket adjacent to the train station.

For More Fun: Need a break from the sand? Long Beach offers 8 playgrounds - check out Magnolia Park or Pacific Park located beachside. Meanwhile, surf enthusiasts of all levels can practice their skills in some of the best waves on the East Coast.

Travel Time: 1 hour on LIRR from Penn Station. The fastest way to the beach on weekends and holidays is the Long Beach Express train, which gets you there in just 46 minutes.

Getting There: LIRR sells a combined round trip rail and beach permit for $22. Take the LIRR from Penn Station or Atlantic Terminal to Long Beach Station; the beach is a short walk from the train.

Photo courtesy of Ivan J. via


Share your favorite local beach spot in the Comments below.

-Ashly Grzyb