Beaches & Lakes

Take the Subway to NYC Beaches: Coney, Rockaway, Orchard Beach

Fourteen miles of sparkling sand and crashing waves can be found in four of the five boroughs (sorry river-locked Manhattan), which is good news for NYC families. Because as much as we enjoy hitting the Jersey Shore, Fire Island, and other Long Island beaches, we're not big fans of renting cars and sitting in traffic.

New York City's beaches are just a subway, bus, or ferry ride away. From the "Bronx Rivera" to iconic Coney Island and the Rockaways, these urban seasides often offer just about everything suburban beaches do except the out-of-town commute.

The Best Beaches for Families on Long Island

Summer is heading our way. Soon you'll be digging out the swimsuits and sunscreen with one hand while filling a picnic basket with the other.

Stretching along the north and south shores of Long Island are dazzling beaches known for their family-friendly vibes and natural beauty. Whether you have younger kids looking for tranquil shores or older kids looking to body surf, there is a Long Island beach for you. It's time to get ready for cool sea breezes and the feeling of sand between your toes.

At Long Island's family beaches you'll find picnic areas, swimming pools, and bathroom complexes along with food trucks and umbrella rentals. Use our guide to choose the best beach for your family's needs. These beaches are open Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, unless noted. Prices listed are for summer 2017.

If you're in the mood to travel, check out our list of the best family beaches near New York City or our guide to the Jersey Shore area. For more family fun, see our Long Island amusement and water parks guide.

Best Jersey Shore Beaches for Families: Sandy Hook to Cape May

Make your New Jersey kid a beach baby and go "down the shore." New Jersey boasts 130 miles of shoreline and some of the prettiest beaches anywhere. Whether your family is looking for a busy boardwalk with children's rides, a beachside water park or sprinkler playground, towering lighthouses, toddler attractions, or something a bit quieter, the Jersey Shore has it. 

We've rounded up 10 of our favorite Jersey beaches, from a national park on the northern shore down to the busier southern beaches of Cape May and Atlantic City. So pack the car (and the kids) for a beach day trip or a long weekend—the summer possibilities are endless. And for more beach fun, check out our Jersey Shore Family Guide, including a roundup of our favorite boardwalks.

Family Friendly Waterfront Dining in Fairfield County

It took me a long to admit this to myself, but since we're among friends I'll just come out and say it: I do not enjoy eating in restaurants with my children. Or, at least I didn't. Now my kids are older and reasonable and do not have temper tantrums if their grilled cheeses are cut into quarters instead of halves--or at any rate they don't do it often. Even though, for a long time, my idea of "family friendly waterfront dining" was grabbing a blanket, some drinks, and those precisely cut grilled cheese sandwiches and heading to my town beach, I have recently branched out to actual restaurants where I leave the picnic basket at home. In the warmer months, there's nothing quite like a meal with a waterfront view, and the options in Fairfield County do not disappoint. Here are some of our favorites.

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