Outdoors & Recreation
Surf City: NYC's Best Beach Spots
by Heather Liang, 05/08/2013
South Beach. Photo: Joe Cingrana
Staten Island may be best known for its many acres of parkland, the incredible views from the Staten Island Ferry and Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden—but you may be surprised to learn that this borough has the most beaches of any in New York City. The beaches are free and open to the public, and parking is ample and also comes at no charge; so it's no wonder that many people flock here once the warm weather arrives. Staten Island's shore stretches from Fort Wadsworth up north by the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge down to the southern tip of the island, all along its eastern border. Beginning up at the top, take a walk, run or bike along the Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk and Beach, a 2.5-mile stretch of stroll-friendly beach area that extends down to Great Kills Park. Along the way, be sure to stop and dip your feet in the Atlantic Ocean at South Beach and Midland Beach, where relatively calm waves make for the perfect place to bring your family and hang out along the surf. Both beaches also include playgrounds and water fountains, along with seasonal concession stands lining the boardwalk that offer typical beach fare. Further south is Cedar Grove Beach, more colloquially known as "Gateway Beach," part of Gateway National Recreation Area and Staten Island's newest beach addition. Located within Great Kills Park, Cedar Grove Beach fell under Parks Department management only within the past few years, making it a sort of hidden gem, though it's been gaining in popularity. Lastly, all the way down toward the very bottom of the south shore you'll find Wolfe's Pond Park, a secluded and more rustic area that not only features beautiful beachfront amenities but also space for barbecuing, playgrounds, sports courts, dog-friendly areas and places to view wildlife and plant life—and much more.