Outdoors & Recreation
Surf City: NYC's Best Beach Spots
by Heather Liang, 05/14/2014
City Island. Photo: Alex Lopez
Take a trip to NYC's northernmost borough to experience the "Riviera of New York," also known as Orchard Beach. Designed in the 1930s as a retreat up north, this sandy beach features 13 sections, totaling just over one mile in length and around 115 acres. The only public beach in the Bronx, Orchard Beach is an extension of the famous Pelham Bay Park—the largest public park in the City—and also includes a promenade with concessions, playgrounds, picnic areas and 26 courts for sports like handball, volleyball and basketball. Unlike at the other beaches we've covered, here you'll be dipping your toes into the Long Island Sound. A favorite of sunbathers in the hot summer weather, Orchard Beach is also a popular destination for a stroll when the weather cools off. Not far off of Pelham Bay Park and Orchard Beach lies City Island, a small island that is only 1.5 mile long and half a mile wide. While there aren't any beaches on City Island, it's a wonderful place to enjoy warm weather: you can rent a boat to go out fishing, learn how to sail at a yacht club or just sit near the water and devour some of the best seafood in NYC. It's also a bicycle-friendly area, with bike paths that provide some spectacular views. The small-town nautical charm of this island can't be matched. Interesting fact about City Island: it is home to many types of birds, particularly aquatic species, including swans, herons, egrets and other gulls.