Brooklyn's Best Atlantic Ocean Beaches

  • 01 of 06

    Brooklyn's 3 Best Beaches: Fun, Families & Food, on the Atlantic Ocean

    Coney Island on a sunny day.
    ••• Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

    Welcome to the Beaches of Brooklyn NY

    Heading to the beach on a hot summer day? Here are some tips on where to go in Brooklyn if you want to take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean, sunbathe on a sandy beach, and enjoy good breezes on a sultry summer day.

    Brooklyn's long shoreline boasts waterfront parks on all sides, from East River State Park in Williamsburg to Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO to Owls Head Park in Bay Ridge near the Verrazano Bridge. There are also sandy beach areas where you can walk but not swim, like Plumb Beach. But Brooklyn boasts three different Atlantic oceanfront beaches, all along the coast that belong to same long shoreline that runs all the way out to the expensive Hamptons: same sun, same sand, same ocean.

    Brooklyn's public beaches are completely free. All have lifeguards during the same hours. Brooklyn beaches are open only in the summer, and swimming is prohibited (for good reason; beware rip tides) if there are no lifeguards on duty. So that means you can go...MORE to the beach early or late, from late May to early September. Just don't plan on swimming early in the morning or after work in the evening, when there are no lifeguards on duty. 

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  • 02 of 06

    Coney Island

    ••• Coney Island's beach is a five minute walk to this historic rollercoaster, the Cyclone, and also near to rides in the Scream Zone and Luna Park. It's also within walking distance of the NY Aquarium and MCU Stadium, home to the Brooklyn Cyclones.

    Come One & All! It's the Coney Island Beach!

    Wondering what's it like to go to the beach at Coney Island?

    Beach Facilities at Coney Island

    • Boardwalk: The boardwalk officially known as the Riegelmann Boardwalk, runs along the Atlantic Ocean from W. 37th Street in Coney Island to the next neighborhood, Brighton Beach, where it ends at Corbin Place.
    • Beach stuff: You can rent beach mats at the Stillwell Avenue subway station area. Bring your own towels.
    • Bathrooms: You can find bathrooms right on the boardwalk, at several locations: near Stillwell Avenue, West 16th Street, W 22 ST.,W. 2nd Street, West 8nd Street CS W 8 St, W 27 ST. and W 33 St. Sometimes they are reasonably clean, sometimes not; bring your own supplies.

    (Want to ride a bike on the boardwalk? Find out what you can and can't do along Brooklyn's boardwalk.)

    What's Near the Beach at Coney Island

    • Above all, the subway is just a few blocks from the Coney Island beach.
    • The boardwalk, Luna Park, Coney Island's resuscitated amusement...MORE park and new Scream Zone rides, landmarked historic amusement park rides such as the Cyclone roller coaster and Parachute jump, and MCU Stadium, home to the Brooklyn Cyclones baseball team, are all within short walking distance of the Coney Island beach.
    • The sobering, moving 9/11 Memorial at the MCU Stadium, is worth a visit. It is free and accessible daily.
    • Two Brooklyn food classics (from before the locavore revolution for which Brooklyn is now known) started here: the original Nathan's hot dog stand and the original Totonno's Pizzeria are nearby.
    • For a flavor of Coney of yesteryear, attend one of a hilariously irreverent old-fashioned Coney Island sideshows.
    • The wonderful New York Aquarium, with both indoor and outdoor exhibits, and a gift shop and restaurant, is also within walking distance of the Coney Island beach.
    • In summer you can watch outdoor free movies, thanks to Flicks on the Beach.
    • Visitors shouldn't miss the movies, fun programs, and museum, as well as tours, offered by the local non-profit organization, Coney Island USA.
    • Brighton Beach is another beachfront neighborhood with a Russian population, about a twenty or thirty-minute stroll down the boardwalk.

    Special Events Near the Beach at Coney Island

    Water Safety

    Always check on safety. Call 311 or check this site for conditions at Coney Island's beach. There's nothing worse than arriving at a beach just to discover it's closed or you can't go in the water!

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  • 03 of 06

    Brighton Beach

    ••• Couple enjoying the sandy beach in the Brooklyn neighborhood known as Brighton Beach, off-season. This is one of Brooklyn's Atlantic Ocean beach areas. Photo by Ellen Freudenheim

    The Atlantic Ocean Beach at Brighton Beach, Brooklyn

    Ocean air! Seagulls! The second of three Atlantic Ocean beaches in Brooklyn is the patch of sand and surf located in a neighborhood known as Brighton Beach. If you didn't know, you wouldn't expect there to be a beach right here, in a largely immigrant Russian neighborhood centered around a sunless shopping street nestled under the overhead subway tracks. But just one block from this bustling, mom-and-pop-filled Brighton Beach Avenue is a wonderful oceanfront, complete with boardwalk, sand, the surf, boardwalk cafes, and entertaining people-watching.

    Beach Facilities at Brighton Beach

    • Beach stuff: You can rent beach mats available at Brighton 2nd Street.
    • Boardwalk: The boardwalk at Brighton Beach is along the Atlantic Ocean, and it runs W. 37th Street to Corbin Place. (Find out what you can and can't do and expect from Brooklyn's boardwalk)
    • Bathrooms: There's a public bathroom on the boardwalk at Brighton 2nd, and some places...MORE to wash the sand off your feet. However, there are no full changing rooms and no showers at this beach.
    • Playground: Kids might enjoy a break at Brighton Beach Playground, located between the Boardwalk and Brightwater Court, near Brighton 2nd Street.
    • Other: There is no outdoor public swimming pool at the beach in Brighton Beach.

    About the Area

    Sometimes referred to as “Little Odessa,” Brighton Beach is a well-established Russian enclave in New York. Since 1989, over two hundred thousand people from the old Soviet Union have settled in New York City, and many of them started here. The main thoroughfare, Brighton Beach Avenue, is peppered with Russian delis and restaurants, Russian-run clothing shops, and Russian-language-newspaper stores and shop signs in Cyrillic.

    How to Get to Brighton Beach by Subway

    Take the Q and B trains to Brighton Beach Avenue (Brighton Beach).

    Or, take the F train to West 8th Street (Coney Island) and walk the 30-minute hike on the boardwalk back to Brighton Beach.

    Special Places to Eat

    Treat yourself to a meal at one of the boardwalk-side outdoor cafes. You can sit at a table outside, slurp your borscht and enjoy grilled meats, and imagine yourself in another country altogether. No passport needed. The people-watching is fabulous, as is the vodka.

    What's Nearby

    • Two blocks from the beach, Brighton Beach Avenue is a fascinating short shopping street, worth a visit. Check out the Russian restaurants and food shops.
    • It's about a twenty-minute walk along the boardwalk from Brighton Beach to Coney Island if your drink of choice is caffeinated, a half hour if it's laced with Russian vodka.
    • If driving, you can easily get to interesting ethnic and fish restaurants on Emmons Avenue in Sheepshead Bay.

    Special Summer Events

    Brighton Jubilee, a street fair along Brighton Beach Avenue featuring local crafts, international food, and four stages of entertainment the last Sunday in August.

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  • 04 of 06

    Manhattan Beach

    Manhattan Beach (But It's So NOT in Manhattan)

    Funnily, this tucked-away little beach is in Brooklyn, despite being called Manhattan Beach.

    A favorite among local families, Manhattan Beach is a forty-acre public park and beach area, complete with ball fields, surf and sand, concession stands, and room for parking. It's a good destination for a beach picnic or barbecue.

    Manhattan Beach is located at the far corner of Brooklyn, bounded by Oriental Boulevard between Ocean and Mackenzie Streets in a residential area near Sheepshead Bay, along with the Atlantic Ocean. (The residential community itself is called Manhattan Beach, just to add to the confusion, so you have a beach in Manhattan Beach, both known as Manhattan Beach, but neither is located anywhere even vaguely near Manhattan. Nobody cares.)

    Public Facilities at Manhattan Beach

    • Manhattan Beach Park Playground, located at the corner of Oriental Boulevard and Ocean Avenue.
    • Two large baseball diamonds on its eastern border
    • Tennis courts
    • Volle...MOREyball courts
    • Basketball courts
    • Handball courts. spray showers in the playgrounds
    • There is no outdoor public swimming pool at the beach near Manhattan Beach
    • There is no boardwalk at Manhattan Beach

    How to Get to Manhattan Beach by Car & Public Transportation

    The beach is located on Oriental Blvd. between Ocean Ave. and Mackenzie St. By car: Drive to the end of Brooklyn's Coney Island Avenue, turn left onto Shore Pkwy, then right onto Sheepshead Bay Road, and right again onto Emmons Avenue. Go .2 miles, then turn left onto West End Ave and in a half mile turn left onto Oriental Blvd.

    By public transit: Take the Q subway towards Coney Island - Stillwell Ave, but get off at Brighton Beach. Walk to Brighton Beach Avenue at the corner of Brighton 6 St and catch the B1 Bus towards Manhattan Beach, Kingsborough Community College. Once you are on the bus it is a five-minute ride.

    What's Nearby

    • Kingsboro Community College
    • Sheepshead Bay, which has a historic footbridge, restaurants along Emmons Avenue and some fishing party boats.
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  • 05 of 06

    Animals, Rafts & Other Beach Rules for Coney Island and Manhattan Beaches

    ••• The famous Coney Island boardwalk. Photo by Ellen Freudenheim

    Rules for the Coney Island and Brighton Beaches

    1. No glass containers are allowed on the beach
    2. No alcohol is allowed
    3. No smoking
    4. No barbecuing
    5. No open fires
    6. No amplified sound, performances or related activities without a prior permit
    7. No fishing except in designated areas
    8. No snorkels, fins, rafts or other water toys
    9. No driving on the beach
    10. Visitors must clear off the beach from 9 P.M. to 6 A.M. daily
    11. No feeding birds or squirrels
    12. No unleashed dogs, ever
    13. No dogs on the sand from May 1st to October 1st.

    As for the Boardwalk...

    After the surf and the sand, the breezes and people-watching, one of the great pleasures of going to the Coney Island-Brighton Beach shore is the historic boardwalk that connects these two neighborhoods. You can stroll, sit on a bench, have a power walk for exercise, or jog. That said, there are a few things to know about the Coney Island boardwalk, also known as the Riegelmann Boardwalk.

     

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  • 06 of 06

    Other Great Beaches

    Want to try some place other than the beaches in Brooklyn?

    Riis Park: See a Guide to Riis Park

    Jones Beach: Check out the spectacular Jones Beach

    Long Beach: Info on Long Beach

    Have fun at the beach!