Summer weekends are all about the beach for many New York City families. But if you just can’t stomach the Hamptons traffic, there’s a great destination even closer to the city, which is perfect for a family day trip. Jacob Riis Park Beach is situated along Jamaica Bay, towards the southwestern end of the Rockaway Peninsula. This summer, the National Park Service is partnering with the team behind the now-defunct hipster flea market party, Brooklyn Night Bazaar, to bring food, drinks, live music and more to the boardwalk. Here’s how to do the new Riis Park Beach Bazaar with ease.

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photo: Riis Beach Bazaar

What To Do

Whether you’re in the mood to chill out or get down, there’s no shortage of activities at the Beach Bazaar. Feeling sporty? Join in on a game of beach volleyball, soccer or ultimate Frisbee. On weekends, you can also rock out to free performances from one of the featured live bands and DJs; check out the full schedule of acts here.

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photo: Riis Park Beach Bazaar

A rotating selection of pop-up vendors selling everything from vintage clothing and jewelry to handmade accessories and sunglasses set up along the boardwalk, providing the true “bazaar” element of the destination.

Of course, the main attraction is the beach. Umbrella and beach chair rentals are available (reserve in advance online), and bikes of all kinds are available to rent at nearby Wheel Fun Rentals. The park is also home to a playground if the kids get tired of the surf and sand. The Beach Bazaar provides two great maps to help visitors get the lay of the land, with spots such as food vendors, bathrooms, first aid and more clearly identified.

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photo: Riis Park Beach Bazaar

What To Eat (And Drink)

Food vendors are on hand inside the beach’s historic art deco bathhouse. But if you’re thinking corn dogs and cold pizza, think again. Sample an eclectic assortment of grub including fresh seafood from Wild East Foods, Coney Shack’s Southeast Asian-inspired tacos, and a chicken and waffle cone from The Brooklyn Star.  The “BarZaar” is stocked with local beers, wines and refreshing frozen cocktails, and when you’re ready for dessert, cool off with a deliciously homemade scoop of local Ample Hills ice cream (they even created a special Riis Beach flavor) or try some gourmet cotton candy from Brooklyn Floss.

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photo: Riis Park Beach Bazaar Facebook page

Get a Pass

Save time and money by purchasing an all-inclusive beach pass, giving you the ultimate Riis Beach Bazaar experience.

$19 will get you 2 beers or wines from the bar (valued at $8 each) and 1 meal from a food vendor ($10 value).

$33 will get you 2 beers or wines from the bar (valued at $8 each), 1 meal from a food vendor ($10 value) and 1 beach chair rental ($15 value).

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photo: Riis Park Beach Bazaar Facebook page

Getting There

Jacob Riis Park Beach is accessible via the Belt Parkway or Flatbush Avenue. No car? No worries. You can reach the beach by ferry from Pier 11 at Wall Street, NYC Beach Bus (making stops in Williamsburg and at the Barclay’s Center in Downtown Brooklyn), or the Bushwick Beach Bus.

Jacob Riis Park Beach
Mon – Friday: Noon – Dark
Saturday – Sunday: 11am – Dark
157 Rockaway Beach Blvd.
Queens
Online: riisparkbeachbazaar.com

Have you ventured out to the Beach Bazaar yet? Tell us what you thought of it in the comments!

—Angela Johnson-Archer