Travel News Best Beaches Near NYC

All articles

Best Beaches Near NYC

In as little as one hour from New York City, you can drive to beautiful golden beaches along the northeastern coast. From sunbathing and grilling to enjoying an abundance of water activities, here are the best beaches near NYC.

Start your car rental search for the best beach trip below 👇👇

Although many beaches within NYC are easily accessible by public transportation, when the weather gets humid and sticky, there’s nothing like leaving the skyscrapers in the rearview mirror as you take to the open road.

Summer provides an ideal time to leave the hustle and bustle of the City That Never Sleeps. Wading through the warm Atlantic current, your shoulder will relax as the smell of barbecue hit your nostrils and the sea breeze plays with your hair.

The best beaches near NYC will wash away your worries, leaving a sense of pure bliss.

The Best Beaches Near NYC Are:

Beach NameDistance From NYCBeach Info
Robert Moses State Park1 h; 55 milesSwimming, picnic areas, playgrounds, beach driving
Point Pleasant Beach1.25 h; 66 milesSwimming, boardwalk, aquarium, movies on the beach
Hammonasset Beach State Park2 h; 100 milesSwimming, picnic areas, biking, boating, campsites
South Edison Beach2.5 h; 120 milesSwimming, surfing, lifeguards, close to restaurants and bars
Cape May Beach3 h; 160 milesSwimming, surfing, kayaking, fishing, historic downtown
Lucy Vincent State Beach5.5 hours; 270 milesSwimming, private beach
Explore the best beaches near NYC and play spikeball

Details of the Best Beaches Near NYC

Robert Moses State Park

Named after prominent city planner Robert Moses, this state park provides five miles of uninterrupted beach. Located on Fire Island, just an hours’ drive from New York City, Robert Moses State Park is one of the best beaches near NYC.

The beach is within 875 acres of the state park which provides beach-goers opportunities for swimming, boogie boarding, surfing, and fishing. A few hours in the sun warrants lunch at nearby picnic areas complete with tables, grills, and playgrounds for the kids. For beach driving, night fishing, and stargazing among other things, you may need a permit.

The Fire Island Lighthouse is also a noteworthy attraction where you can learn about maritime history and climb 192 steps for a view of NYC skyline from the top.

Point Pleasant Beach

Point Pleasant Beach is one of the best beaches for families near NYC. Find a car rental deal and make the hour drive south to this New Jersey beach.

Its main attraction, Jenkinson’s mile-long boardwalk, has yummy places to eat and drink, great rides for kids, and nighttime activities. You can find either metered parking or parking lots with a day rate.

Start the day off sunbathing by the Atlantic, peruse marine exhibits at the Jenkinson’s Aquarium, and catch a movie on the beach every Friday during the summer months. You’ll return to NYC relaxed and ready to take on anything that comes your way.

Kids playing in the waves

Hammonasset Beach State Park

With New York being so close to Connecticut, Hammonasset Beach is the perfect place for a weekend getaway. As one of the best beaches north of NYC, it offers a vacation-feel without having to go too far.

Hammonasset Beach State Park is one of the largest beaches in Connecticut and attracts almost one million people every year. In addition to swimming, visitors can enjoy a stroll along the boardwalk, a breezy bike ride, or a boat ride (in some areas). The beach is equipped with picnic areas, clean bathrooms, showers, and campsites.

South Edison Beach

If you’re searching for relaxation with a side of socializing, South Edison Beach is one of the best beaches near NYC for you! Even if you’re under 25, you can get a cheap rental car to make the two and half hour drive away from the Big Apple.

Situated on the tip of Long Island, South Edison Beach is sunny, warm, and known for its neighboring strip of delicious restaurants. The nearby Sloppy Tuna hosts day parties and the Surf Lodge takes over for evening hours. With smaller waves than Ditch Plains Beach, it’s the perfect place to recover from an eventful vacation day. Plus, you can feel safe sunbathing, swimming, and surfing with watchful lifeguards closeby.

Cape May Beach

A three-hour drive south of NYC, Cape May provides a lovely weekend away from harsh city lights. Its historic district is a National Landmark and has the highest concentration of Victorian homes in the United States.

In addition to the beautiful town, the nearby beaches provide access to many activities such as kayaking, swimming, surfing, fishing, and playing volleyball. There’s a reason why it’s known as “The Nation’s Oldest Seashore Resort!”

A beach tag is required for access, generally ranging from $12 to $20. Although beachfront parking is metered, free parking exists a few blocks away from the water or at Cape May Elementary School during the summer.

Cape May, one of the best beaches near NYC
Cape May via Dylan Steinberg

Lucy Vincent Beach

Although Lucy Vincent Beach is the farthest beach on this list, being about a five and a half hour drive to Martha’s Vineyard, it’s one of the best beaches near NYC. The miles put on the rental car are worth the pristine views!

A private beach for Chilmark residents and seasonal renters, a walk-on permit is required for access during the summer. The most stunning feature of Lucy Vincent Beach is the magnificent rock formations. Some have even likened the beach to places along Portugal’s coastline! Although amenities such as bathrooms don’t exist, the softness of the sand and brilliance of the water makes this one of the best beaches in it of itself.

Read these other articles to help plan the ultimate road trip to the best beaches near NYC:

Best Car Rental Discounts

The Ultimate NYC Travel Guide

Renting a Car Under 25

Best Car Rental Rewards Programs