Grab the sunscreen! Seven city beaches you can hit this weekend

People sit on the sand during warm weather at Coney Island in the Brooklyn borough of New York
Beachgoers hit the sand at Coney Island.
REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

After a year-plus of social distancing, New Yorkers are more than ready to enjoy the upcoming summer, and thankfully starting May 29, all New York City beaches will be officially 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, bus or car ride away.

As of now, Jacob Riss beach, which is managed by the National Park Service, is open at 50 percent 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.

Brighton Beach, Brooklyn

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 delicious food at some of the nearby eateries and enjoy the sunshine.

Coney Island, Brooklyn

Coney Island isn’t just a beach; it’s 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 percent 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, Brooklyn

If looking for a beach minus the bells and whistles, 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, Queens

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.

Jacob Riss Park, Queens

“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 favorites.

Orchard Beach, The Bronx
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, Fire Island

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. For a real East Coast treasure, check out 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!

A version of this story originally ran in New York Family. Click here to see the original story.