Escaping NYC: Summer Beaches #1

One of my biggest fears is being landlocked.

After growing up on the Gulf coast of Florida, even being in Madrid was rough. About 300 km from the nearest sea (that’s 186 miles, yanks), or one hour and forty five minutes by high speed train, we’ll call it over 3 hours by car, or a hell of a hike.

Naturally, when I arrived in NYC and realized I was essentially on a big island (don’t let the locals hear you say that), it was time to scope out the nearest seashore. While I’ve spent summers on Jones Beach/Tobay Beach in Long Island with family, I’m having a blast exploring the other, often lesser-known or visited beaches in the Big Apple’s surrounding boroughs. What more could I do but share my newly learned beach prowess with you?

 

Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach, Fire Island

32 miles of glorious, gorgeous barrier island, featuring distinct areas with their own personalities and absolutely zero cars. Good to go for a day trip if you leave early in the morning, better to stay overnight if you have a hotel reservation, a rented house, or extremely generous local friends.

I had previously visited The Pines, having the pleasure of spending some glorious time there two years ago with some awesome friends for a racerback attired, high-tea inspired, Pride-filled weekend. However, there are a number of distinct areas to visit on Fire Island, and this time, we chose Ocean Beach.

IMG_6070

Know before you go:

Other than the fact that there’s no cars, you’re also not allowed to eat on the beach lest you face a fine of a few dollars and public humiliation. A veggie burrito is much less delicious to eat when you’re tucked under a towel, shoveling it away into your face to avoid being caught while sweating from the 90 degree heat. Also, bring cash, or be prepared for exorbitant ATM fees, bumming money off of your friends, or just being a little hungry. The ferry ticket stand also does not accept cards, and that’s a cool $17 round trip right there. Finally, arrive early for the ferry – take advantage of the day and avoid long lines at the ticket booth or boarding.

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Getting there:

Full disclosure: I had a car to make this voyage happen, however, you can take the Long Island Railroad to one of three ferry docks (Patchogue, Sayville, and Bayshore), depending on where you’d like to end up. During the summer, many companies offer taxi service between the station and the beach. Additionally, the New York MTA has a sweet deal that offers discounted LIRR tickets, round-trip taxi and ferry tickets for just $32.75. Once you arrive on the island after a 25 or so minute ferry ride, follow the throngs of people towards the beach, and plop down to enjoy whatever at the beach makes you happy.

It's like they knew I was coming.

It’s like they knew I was coming.

Where to eat:

While we didn’t have anything spectacular, we had some mussels at Rachel’s Restaurant while watching the Costa Rica world cup game, but perhaps the majority of my affinity to that restaurant was being the namesake by association. New flash – Costa Rica lost.

These ferry faces.

These ferry faces.

Best to visit with:

Anyone – kids, significant other, old friends, new friends you meet on the ferry…

 

Fun Facts:

WHO, ME?!

WHO, ME?!

#1: There are deer. A lot of them. And they will eat your trash. Beware.

Best enjoyed while watching the World Cup, but can be enjoyed more often than every 4 years as well.

Best enjoyed while watching the World Cup, but can be enjoyed more often than every 4 years as well.

#2: Fire Island has its own craft beer. And it is pretty delicious. Also, worthwhile to visit their website as there is a deer parachuting down the screen. Highly amusing.

 

Do the Rockaway.

Do the Rockaway(s).

 

Fort Tilden Beach, Rockways 

A former military base, though it hasn’t been active since 1974, it sure is actively full of people… topless.

namaste, bitches.

namaste, bitches.

Know before you go:

The Rockaways were devasted during Hurricane Sandy, and Fort Tilden was just re-opened this summer for the first time since 2012. There were no lifeguards on duty, and services were minimal, but I like more out of the way beaches so it wasn’t awful at all. This beach is lovingly referred to by many as the “hipster” spot, but I found it to be full of young fun people doing things like beach yoga. Because why not?

Also cool is the Rockaway Artist’s Alliance, especially if it’s cloudy or you aren’t into baking in the hot hot sun.

source: sheepsheadbites.com

source: sheepsheadbites.com

Getting there:

Driving – Parking at Jacob Riis Park is $10, and depending on how you drive in, there may be some tolls. You can take a short hike (5-10 min walk) from the parking lot and get to Fort Tilden beach just fine.

Ferry – On Saturdays and Sundays, there’s a beach ferry from Pier 11 in Wall Street, NYC that takes you to Riis Landing – but it’s $30 round-trip. Eeek.

Bus – Try the NYC Beach Bus. It’s $12 round trip, and picks up in Downtown Brooklyn and Williamsburg (conveniently a few blocks from my house, selfishness)

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Where to eat:

There’s a food court around the Jacob Riis area. Meh. Luckily, unlike my previous review, snacks are a-okay, but as usual, keep the glass bottles away.

Best to visit with:

Friends who don’t feel uncomfortable around topless ladies. There is a fairly high chance you will be seeing them. Once you come to peace with that, anything is possible.

polis on ponies!!

polis on ponies!!

Fun Fact:

Mounted police officers. NBD.

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