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Things to do in Rockaway Beach NYC – a guide

Many people do not even know that New York City has beaches nearby – like Coney Island in Brooklyn and The Hamptons, in Long Island. However, it is essential to remember that these beaches do not compare with other famous destinations, such as Miami or West Palm Beach. But… it is what it is!

One of the most famous beaches in the city is Rockaway Beach in Queens – just minutes from JFK airport. Honestly, I don’t think it is a place that tourists should go – but locals can take advantage of the destination to spend a day – or more – during the summer. Check my recommendations on things to do in Rockaway Beach!

Learn more about Rockaway Beach

Featured in a Ramones song, Rockaway Beach attracts about 1 million visitors each year. The atmosphere is quite different from the concrete jungle in Manhattan – it seems like you are in another city, just like some beach cities: crowded in the summer and super quiet in the colder months. This peninsula has a population of about 13 thousand people. The beachside boardwalk, a little over 5 miles long, was revitalized and opened around 2015 – as the region got severe damage from Hurricane Sandy. From the subway station to the beach, you will walk about five minutes

Beach

You can locate yourself by the “Beach streets”. The area between Beach 67 and Beach 77 is usually quieter and attracts a lot of surfers and there are some surf schools – these are the city’s only legal surfing beaches. The area between Beach 80 to Beach 100 is the busiest, with concessions of restaurants and many families. However, it is worth remembering that the beach goes from Beach 9th Street to Beach 149th Street. The waters are calm – but very cold!

The structure is also great: there are many public restrooms along the boardwalk, plus sprays showers and even free sunscreen. At the entrances to the beach, there are beach mats, making the beach accessible to strollers and wheelchairs. There are also sports courts and playgrounds for children and a bike path near the boardwalk.

Things to do in Rockaway Beach

Besides the boardwalk and the beaches, here are some suggestions on things to do.

The Rockaway Hotel 

This hotel opened last year, and it’s fantastic! In addition to the brand new facilities and the pool, it also has a beautiful rooftop bar overlooking the beach and the mainland – the drinks are delicious, and the atmosphere is cute. In addition, there is also a restaurant. So it can be a great option for a staycation or for a happy hour or dinner after the beach.

I love this bar and restaurant! Open year-round, it’s close to the Crossbay Bridge, with panoramic waterfront views and breathtaking sunsets. It features an outdoor deck, indoor and outdoor area, and a menu with seafood and fish – everything is very delicious, especially the fish tacos! I’ve been there three times, and I love it!

Rockaway bazaar

Located on Beach 97, it has local food vendors, pop-up stores, and music performances, in addition to other events. It is worth following the project on Instagram to check the calendar.

Locals Surf School

It’s a surf school, and they offer daily lessons every year! There are individual classes, group classes, and packages and there are classes for adults and children!! Learn more.

Rockaway Jet Ski

It is a jet ski rental company – with in Rockaway at sunset, Coney Island, and also in the NYC landmarks (Statue and Skyline) tours. They also offer the option of renting a jet ski and do it in free style, without a tour. Find out more details on the website.

How to get to Rockaway Beach

  • By subway – the A line goes to Rockaway Beach. Departing from One World Trade Center station, it takes about 45 minutes to get there – and you need to transfer to the Shutlle train at the Broad Channel Station.
  • Also, NYC Ferry has a route to Rockaway Beach, departing from Pier 11, with a stop at Sunset Park – and the ferry option can be a delight.
  • And remember that NYC Ferry just launched a new and exclusive summer route, which goes straight from Pier 11 to Rockaway Beach, without stops (weekends only) and the best thing is that for this specific route, you can book your spot in advance and avoid the huge lines! Learn more!

General tips 

  • New York City beaches are open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.
  • During beach season, lifeguards are on duty daily, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Swimming is prohibited when lifeguards are not on duty and in closed sections. Closed sections are marked with signs and/or red flags.
  • It is not allowed to drink alcoholic beverages on the beach.

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