Field Trip: Rockaway Beach

For the next few weeks, I’ll publish a day trip idea on Sundays, and I am counting on readers to send suggestions. This contribution is from former Tribecan Carol Adams, who owned Torly Kid on Hudson (and its sister store in Downtown Brooklyn) until not too long ago. She now operates Torly Travels, a business that helps families plan trips and personalize itineraries. 

The beaches of the Rockaway peninsula

By car
37 minutes to Jacob Riis Beach parking lot ($10 to park; it is reduced by 50 percent for COVID so arrive early) or look for street parking as you drive further east

By train
1 hour via the A train to Far Rockaway (NOT Lefferts Blvd) to Broad Channel / Beach 67 stop (one stop after Howard Beach)
Switch to the Shuttle for Beach 90, Beach 98, Beach 105 or Beach 116
For the quieter beaches, remain on the A train to Far Rockaway
Note that the subway does not go directly to Fort Tilden or Jacob Riis Park.

By NYC Ferry
57 minutes via the RW ferry from Pier 11 to Rockaway, Beach 108th Street and Beach Channel Drive

Beach 97 and Beach 106 are the best spots for eats.

Breakfast: Rockaway Beach Bakery on 87th, open 8 to 4, Tuesday to Sunday. Take your goodies to the boardwalk at Beach 92 to watch the morning surfers.

Lunch: I recommend the food court at Beach 97th or the famous arepas at Caracas on Beach 106th. You won’t find the traditional fried beach food at the food court but rather an international smorgasbord of tasty treats including Peruvian La Cevicheria, Colombian Palenque and Mexican Super Burrito.

Dinner: Thai Rock and Bungalow Bar are next door to each other on Jamaica Bay and a great place to be at sunset. Uma’s at Beach 92 and Rockaway Beach Blvd. is a popular spot for dumplings and kabobs.

Boardwalk restrooms are open. Many of the boardwalk restaurants are open for grab-and-go to take to the beach. However, live music and events on the boardwalk have been suspended. Bike rentals are not currently available.

Rockaway Beach Surf Shop at Beach 116 has been around for almost 50 years and carries all things surf including apparel and beach items. My teens and I can roam for hours among Lola Star’s Rockaway, chock full of whimsical gifty items. We frequent Zingara Vintage at 91st and Rockaway Boulevard.

At Beach 92, don’t miss Station RBNY. They offer surfboard and wetsuit rentals, surf lessons and surfboard lockers so you don’t have to take your board on the train.

The Rockaway peninsula runs from Beach 3rd Street on the western end in Far Rockaway all the way through to Beach 193rd Street, then through the village of Breezy Point and ending at Breezy Point Tip on the east (at this point you are directly south of Brighton Beach). The beaches are guarded from Memorial Day to Labor Day and are open for swimming from 10a to 6p. Restrooms and showers are open for summer 2020 and available at Beach 59, Beach 97 and Beach 116.

Beach 3 through Beach 67 are less populated and a great place to go if your beach vibe is “leave me alone.” Concessions and restrooms are pretty limited but you will have the beach practically to yourself.

Beach 86 – Beach 116 are the place to be if your beach vibe is “party.” Here you will find lots of great food and lively activity. Beach 92 is great for surfer and skateboard enthusiasts.

There are no beach chair or umbrella rentals on Rockaway Beach. However, 116th Street is lined with surf shops and there is a beach shop on the boardwalk at Beach 97.

The boardwalk ends at Beach 126 and it becomes quieter again until you reach Jacob Riis Park from Beach 153 – Beach 169. The “People’s Beach” of Riis Park is the city’s most popular gay beach. Fort Tilden — Beach 170 – Beach 193 — is an unguarded beach on an old military site that includes great hiking trails with abandoned bunkers and batteries, athletic fields and an observatory. Breezy Point, a small private bungalow colony, starts at Beach 201.


1 Comment

  1. After seeing the ferry lines all summer we decided to give it a try Monday and it was fantastic! The ride is the price of subway fare and a quick, beautiful trip. We are headed back today and hope warm weather gives us a chance to visit again before summer is out. Great city getaway!