10 Things to Know about Going to the Beach in Brooklyn

A Guide to Brooklyn Beaches

Coney Island beach and amusement park, NY
••• Getty Images/Rudi Von Briel

Brooklyn is home to many beaches, from the famous shores of Coney Island to smaller less known beaches like Manhattan Beach. If you're visiting Brooklyn during the summer, you should definitely schedule some beach time. However since these beaches are free and open to the public, they attract crowds. Locals escape the heat by spending their days enjoying an ocean breeze. 

Brooklyn has three major beaches.

Coney Island is the most famous and often the busiest. It's also home to Nathan's, where you can get one of the famed hot dogs. If you visit Coney Island on July 4th, you can watch the hot dog eating contest. After you spend your day at the beach, you can enjoy the rides at the Luna Park, visit the aquarium, watch a Brooklyn Cyclones baseball game or ride the original Cyclone roller coaster. Coney Island has many summer long concert series, fireworks displays, and screens free movies on the beach.

Brighton Beach is a Russian enclave and the boardwalk houses Tatiana, which has some of the best Russian food in the city. The beach is less crowded than Coney Island, and once you've gotten in some rays, you can explore Brighton Beach Avenue, the vibrant main street with its many Russian shops and restaurants. Pick up some snacks at Taste of Russia or Brighton Bazaar.

Manhattan Beach is a located on the southern tip of Brooklyn and is a bit harder to get to, but it still gets crowded with locals.

 If you have a car, it's easier to reach this beach. If you have kids it tow, there are playgrounds. It's popular with families because the water is calm. It doesn't have a scene like Coney Island and Brighton Beach, but it's a great place to get some peace during the warmer months. 

If you are looking to explore the rest of NYC, Queens also has many beaches including Rockaway Beach.

Rockaway has undergone a transformation in the last few years and the boardwalk is now filled with artisanal food vendors. The neighboring, Jacob Riis Park has a beach, and also houses food trucks and a bazaar in an art deco bathhouse. The beaches are accessible through public transportation and there is NYC beach bus that stops in Brooklyn and takes folks to beaches in Queens and Long Island. Just to note, there is a fee to get on most Long Island beaches. 

If you're sticking around Brooklyn, here are some tips to help make your visit to the beaches easier. 

10 Things to Know about Going to the Beach in Brooklyn

  1. New York City beaches open for the summer on Memorial Day in May, and remain open until Labor Day.
  2. The beaches are free.
  3. The lifeguards are on duty daily, but only from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  4. Swimming is prohibited when lifeguards are not on duty and in "closed sections." "Closed sections" are marked with signs and/or red flags.
  5. Visitors can reach Brooklyn's three Atlantic Ocean beaches by public transportation. However, it might be easier to get to one of them (Manhattan Beach) by car.
  6. None of Brooklyn's beaches offer towel or chair rentals, and none have locker rooms, changing rooms or full showers, though foot showers and bathrooms are available.
  1. Water Cleanliness and Beach Conditions:
  2. As for beach cleanliness, it's the luck of the draw.
  3. If bringing small children to the beach, make sure they have sneakers or something to protect their feet; although no glass is allowed on the beach, the sand often disguises sharp objects.
  4. Beach conditions can change rapidly. To avoid disappointment, it is always smart to check on beach conditions before setting out. So, call 311 for status of the NYC beaches, to make sure they are open and that it is safe to swim. The Parks department is watching the weather but also such issues as water quality and bacteria count.
  5. (Read more: Are Brooklyn beaches safe for kids and weak swimmers? )There are 14 miles of beach in New York City, all public and managed by the NYC Parks Department. 

Edited by Alison Lowenstein