Beat the Heat: Best NYC Summer Getaways

Anyone who has spent a summer in the city knows how scorching hot it can get. When you’re looking for a new way to cool down (aside from ducking into an air-conditioned building), pack your swim suit and head to the beach! Here are a few of New Yorkers’ favorite sandy spots:

Pier 25 is located in Hudson River Park in the Tribeca neighborhood. Head here for sand volleyball and 18-hole mini golf along the water. You can even spend time on the water by renting paddle-boards, kayaks, or sailing.

Manhattan Volleyball

Manhattan Volleyball

Okay….perhaps this one isn’t a beach per say, but if you’re just looking to splash around for an afternoon, head to Astoria Pool to get Olympic laps in with a view of the Upper East Side. And here’s a secret tip: free sunscreen is available at public pools in NYC. Look for dispensers for SPF 50 protection!

For more of a sandy getaway (but without a car), take public transit to Midland Beach on Staten Island, Orchard Beach in the Bronx, or Jacob Riis Park on Rockaway Beach Boulevard. Click here for a few more car-free swimming trips.

Can’t decide if you want to relax on the beach or hike in the woods? You can have both! Pine Meadow Lake in Harriman State Park has clear blue water fed from a natural spring. Swimmers enjoy lounging in the sun on the boulders, then jumping into the water below to cool down. Canopus Lake in Clarence Fahnestock State Park has a large sandy beach and trails that wind through the forest. This is also a popular spot for fishing.

There are a few beaches that have earned a spot on New Yorker’s bucket lists. When you ask for recommendations in the office, you may hear:

  • Coney Island- Come for the legendary hot dog eating contest, stay for the amusement park!
  • Fire Island- Take a ferry to the narrow island, where you can explore lighthouses and learn about the history of the island (think: pirates, shipwrecks, and early colonies).
  • Rockaway Beach- Surf’s up! The city’s only legal surfing beach is located here.
  • Plumb Beach- When you need a break from windsurfing, take a walk to discover horseshoe crab breeding areas and beach plums, an indigenous fruit.

Taking a long weekend? The Hamptons and Martha’s Vineyard are famous escapes for a reason. On Long Island, the Hamptons offer boutique shopping and renowned restaurants after a day of biking or walking on the beach. Massachusetts is home to Martha’s Vineyard, where people go to slow down. This isolated island is only accessible by boat or air, which contributes to the retreat-like feel. 

The Hamptons

The Hamptons

Making the trip down to the infamous Jersey Shore is also a possibility for those looking to beat the heat. Popular getaways ‘down the shore’ include Asbury Park, Long Beach Island, Ocean Grove, and Sandy Hook (also accessible by ferry).

Before you head out, it’s always a good idea to check the rules of your destination. Some parks allow pets, but others do not. Many beaches are only open for the summer season, which is Memorial Day through Labor Day. Some beaches offer plenty of concessions and food options, while some are more rustic and isolated. And finally, always be cautious in the water, as currents can be dangerous. Most importantly, have fun in the sun this summer season!

Kim Hill