Rockaway Beach at a Glance
by nycgo.com staff, 05/28/2014
- /must-see jamaica bay
- more in outdoors & recreation/
When it comes to the Rockaways, The Ramones knew what they were talking about. The sand and surf of Rockaway Beach are not hard or far to reach—just an A train ride (and, for the busiest parts of the beach, a transfer to the S shuttle) will get you there. On weekdays, you can also take the Seastreak Ferry, while on summer weekends, the New York Beach Ferry and the NYC Beach Bus become options. Once you arrive, there's no shortage of summer fun.
If you'd like to load up on gear—and learn to surf—your first stop might be Boarders Surf Shop. The neighborhood institution, owned by a native father-and-son team, sells custom surfboards and skateboards and hosts surfing camps for kids. They also offer board rentals at Beach 68th Street every weekend and surfing lessons at Beach 69th Street through New York Surf School.
Another popular surf school, Skudin Surf, is named for competitive surfers (and brothers) Cliff and Will Skudin, whose expertise will have even novices hanging ten in no time (OK, you might fall off the board a few times before you figure it all out).
If you're ready to go with your board and wetsuit, you can head straight for the water. The two surf beaches are located between Beach 67th and 69th Streets, and Beach 87th and Beach 92nd Streets, and they're free to the public. Those looking for a quick, fun way to get from place to place (note that numerous sections of the boardwalk are being rebuilt, an estimated three-year project) may want to consider renting a set of wheels from Paul's Bicycle Shop on Beach 116th Street.
Food and Drink
If you get hungry at the beach, you'll find plenty to fuel your continued surfing. Rockaway Taco is just a tiny shack, but its fish tacos, quesadillas, fried plantain chips and fresh guacamole have made it something of a local legend—there are those who say its offerings are on par with the Mexican food you'd find on the west coast. Nearby, there's also the Veggie Island farmers' market and DiCosmo's Italian Ice.
Other worthwhile spots for dining and imbibing include Rippers, run by the same people who brought you Roberta's in Bushwick. Here, you can load up on the likes of hamburgers, cheese fries and beer. So maybe take your mom's advice and wait till after you're done surfing and swimming before eating (to be fair, they also have fresh juices). If you're just looking for a quick place to get a bite and relax, consider Cuisine By Claudette, where you can sink into a comfortable couch and sip a coffee while nibbling on a French pastry. The Cookout, which is part of the Rockaway Beach Surf Club, serves barbecue fare that's perfect for the beach setting.
There are upscale cocktails at the Playland Tavern, to go along with music from DJs and food from the delightfully named Bolivian Llama Party. Uma's, which opened in 2013, projects surfing videos more or less constantly and hosts live music performances and movie nights.
Finally, Thai Rock offers Thai food, a full bar, live music and even kayak and jet-ski rentals. For an idea of just how festive the restaurant's atmosphere can get, we recommend taking a gander at the photos page on their website.
Rockaway Beach Fitness Events:
June 21–September 6 (Saturdays)
Yoga on the Beach at Beach 108th Street
A yoga instructor from a local dance and yoga studio leads this hatha yoga class geared to beginners. Attendees should bring a mat, large towel or blanket—and some water to drink, particularly on hot mornings.
June 25–August 27 (Wednesdays)
Zumba Under the Stars at Beach 108th Street hockey rink
As the day winds down, enjoy the backdrop of the beach's beauty while getting some exercise.
July 15–August 19 (Tuesdays)
Shape Up NYC: Zumba Fitness at Beach 17th Street, O'Donohue Park performance space
The popular Zumba regimen melds workout routine and Latin-inspired dance moves, providing a fun and invigorating way to get in shape.
Event dates and times are subject to change. Check online or by phone to confirm in advance.