Outdoors & Recreation

Surf City: NYC's Best Beach Spots

by Heather Liang, 05/08/2013

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  • Brooklyn
    Second on our list of beachiest boroughs is Brooklyn—with four locations where you can sun yourself on the sand or cool off in the ocean. By far the most well-known beach in all of NYC, Coney Island has a long and storied history. Once the largest amusement area in the country, Coney Island hit a rough patch following World War II after some neglect, but in recent years it has been revived into one of the greatest places for a true NYC experience. This neighborhood has it all, including nearly three miles of beach property, a boardwalk, amusement park rides (like the famous Cyclone and Deno's Wonder Wheel), sports, playgrounds, bicycling, greenways—and access to famous restaurants like Nathan's (scheduled to reopen by Memorial Day) and attractions like the New York Aquarium (reopening on May 25). Another household name in beaches is the neighboring Brighton Beach, made famous not only by the 1983 Neil Simon play Brighton Beach Memoirs but also by its proximity to Coney Island and its delicious Eastern European food, courtesy of the large Russian population that resides here. Brighton Beach features its own small beach, which makes it feel more local and intimate than nearby Coney Island. Travel further east and you'll hit Manhattan Beach, a more suburban and small-town beach area, perfect for families, with its playgrounds, sports fields/facilities and dog-friendly areas, along with barbecuing spaces. Located along the Belt Parkway near Sheepshead Bay is Plumb Beach, a narrow sliver of shorefront that's more suitable for water-based activities than for sunbathing. Known for the abundance of horseshoe crabs that breed here, the high winds in this location also make this beach ideal for windsurfers and kite boarders, and the presence of public restrooms and food trucks make it a popular rest stop for bikers traveling along the adjacent Greenway.

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