Which Brooklyn Beach is Best for You?

Guide to Brooklyn Beaches

••• Coney Island Boardwalk. Photo by E. Freudenheim

It's a hot day and you want to take the kids to the beach, somewhere local. Where to go? Brooklyn has three Atlantic oceanfront beaches, all of which are public and free. And, for more info and pictures, see Brooklyn's best Atlantic Ocean beaches

Like most beach communities, these Brooklyn beaches are in full operation from Memorial Day to Labor Day. During that time, there are lifeguards on duty at the beach, and rides and attractions are open daily starting around noon.


The NYC Parks Department Public Beach in Coney Island

Coney Island is easily accessible by public transportation. It's big, busy, and it's advisable to wear beach shoes on the sand. Extras include the boardwalk, proximity to Coney Island amusement park rides, a long fishing pier, the baseball park at which Brooklyn Cyclones play, and the NY Aquarium. There are fireworks on Friday nights after sundown. There's cheap food aplenty. The area is historic. This seaside stretch of Brooklyn has been undergoing a transformation in the past few decades. Recently the area became home to a new concert venue, The Ford Amphitheater. If you're on a budget and looking for some fun free (or almost free) activities in Coney Island, put these on your beach itinerary. If you happen to visit Brooklyn in June, you should definitely go to the Mermaid Parade, an annual Brooklyn parade in Coney Island. 

From Easter until Memorial Day, most of Coney Island's rides and attractions are open on weekends only.

The boardwalk, New York Aquarium and Nathan's Hot Dogs are open daily year-round. Although the area is at its busiest during the summer months, it's an interesting place to visit during the off-season as well. A winter highlight is spending New Year's Eve watching the fireworks at the annual celebration at Coney Island.

Or start the new year taking a dip in the frigid Atlantic participating in the New Year's Day Polar Bear Plunge

The NYC Parks Department Public Beach in Brighton Beach

The beach in the neighborhood called Brighton Beach is about a mile and a half walk down the boardwalk from Coney Island. It is also busy, and it's advisable to wear shoes on the sand. Extras include the ability to go two blocks to the main shopping drag that is very Russian and Eastern European; one can find ice cream of course, but also borscht, Russian-owned cafes and food stores, and colorful people-watching. Public transportation is good. If you didn't pack a lunch, you should definitely grab a meal at Tatiana, a restaurant and nightclub on the boardwalk. The main street in Brighton Beach is filled with a potpourri of delightful restaurants, and you mustn't leave with a slice of baklava from Gulluoglu

Before you go to Brighton Beach, check out our list of the best things to do in Brighton Beach. 

The NYC Parks Department Public Beach in Manhattan Beach

The beach at Manhattan Beach is the smallest and perhaps the most family-friendly of Brooklyn's three public beaches. It is surrounded by various park facilities such as playgrounds, bbq areas, and ball fields.

It is the only Brooklyn beach where visitors can have a BBQ near the beach. However, it is less accessible by public transportation, requiring either a subway ride and long walk or a subway ride and then a bus. The best way to get to Manhattan Beach is taking the B train to the B49 bus. It's still a bit of walk from the bus. The beach is quiet and worth the trek. 

Edited by Alison Lowenstein