Jacob Riis Park Beach & Boardwalk Guide

Looking for a wonderful beach in New York City? Check out Jacob Riis!

Known as "The People's Beach" Jacob Riis Beach is popular with city residents as well as visitors. The beach is run by the National Park Service, and kept relatively clean, if simply so. Facing the Atlantic Ocean, Jacob Riis Beach appeals to visitors who like some waves and attracts a diverse crowd. The Art Deco bathhouse, first opened in 1932, is a beautiful backdrop, but isn't open to the public. The far east portion of the beach is unofficially clothing optional.

In 2015, new concessions opened on the Boardwalk at Jacob Riis, which has made the beach a much more popular destination. There is still plenty of space on the beach, but there are definitely bigger crowds visiting on weekends to enjoy the excellent vending options, including sandwiches from Court Street Grocery, cotton candy from Brooklyn Floss, artisanal ice creams and ice pops. You're even allowed to buy and drink beers and alcohol in a designated area.

Jacob Riis Park Phone: 718-318-4300

More: New York...MORE City Beaches

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    Getting to Jacob Riis Park Beach

    Jacob Riis Park beach
    ••• Padraic / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

    Subway/Bus to Jacob Riis Beach:  (Travel time from Manhattan is about an hour and 30 minutes)

      • 2 (or 5 at rush hour) to Flatbush Avenue, then take the Q35 bus to the park
      • A or S to Rockaway Park then Q35 or Q22 bus to the park

        Driving to Jacob Riis Beach: Access to Jacob Riis Beach is available along Rockaway Beach Blvd, West of 149th Beach Street. Get directions to Jacob Riis Beach on Google Maps or put 155th Street, Rockaway, NY into your GPS.

          Parking at Jacob Riis Park: There is a large parking lot with plenty of space for everyone visiting the beach, just a short walk from the beach. Parking is $5/day, and there are seasonal parking passes available as well.

          Ferry to Beach: New York Beach Ferry

          Bus To The Beach: The NYC Beach Bus offers service to Jacob Riis/Fort Tilden from Williamsburg and Barclay's Center in Brooklyn. A one-way ticket is $10, round-trip is $14. They even have a service that will rent you a beach chair or umbrella to use at the beach.

        • 02 of 03

          Jacob Riis Park Beach Basics

          Jacob Riis
          ••• Riis bathhouse. Salim Virji / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

          Located in Queens, Jacob Riis Beach offers a mile of ocean-front sun and sand. The beachfront runs from Beach 149 to Beach 169 with a wide variety of facilities for visitors, including spray showers, restrooms, playgrounds and water fountains.

          Swimming is only permitted when life guards are on duty, which is from Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day weekend, daily from 10-6 p.m.

          Attended Restrooms are available and are kept fairly clean.

          Spray Showers are located along the boardwalk.

          Chairs/Umbrellas: New for 2015, as part of the Riis Park Beach Bazaar chair and umbrella rentals are available on the Boardwalk at Jacob Riis! There are also chairs, towels and other items for sale from vendors -- particularly on the weekends when the beach is busiest.

        • 03 of 03

          Eating at Jacob Riis Beach

          Riis Park Beach Baazar
          ••• Courtesy of Riis Park Beach Baazar

          New for 2015 there was extensive options for food and services at Jacob Riis, as part of the Riis Park Beach Bazaar. They will be returning in 2016 with food concessions open from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend from 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. daily, but vendors have not been announced yet.

          2015 vendors included: Ample Hills Creamery (ice cream), Brooklyn Star (chicken and waffle cones), Court Street Grocers (sandwiches, hot dogs), Wild Feast Foods (fresh seafood), Fletcher's BBQ (smokey bbq), Bolivian Llama Party (Bolivian cuisine), and La Newyorkina(Mexican ice pops).

          If you drive to the beach, you can also do what we did before the vending arrived and make the short trip to Rockaway Beach and experience some of the great dining there.

        My Take

        Jacob Riis is definitely one of my favorite NYC beaches to visit -- and I especially appreciate the ample parking when visiting on a busy weekend. It's such a large beach it never feels crowded. There can be strong waves and even a bit of an undertow, so be cautious and listen to the lifeguards.