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

Stretching along the north and south shores of Long Island are dazzling beaches known for their family-friendly vibes and natural beauty, and we don't mean just the Hamptons. 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 these 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 from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, unless noted. Prices listed are for summer 2018.

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 guide to Long Island amusement and water parks.

15 Awesome Water Parks for New Jersey Kids and Families

New Jersey has several fantastic water parks, some of them right on the beach! From big-name parks and boardwalk favorites to the state's first municipal water park, we've rounded up 15 of New Jersey’s best water parks and an overview of what to expect from each one. We've even included a couple of fantastic indoor water parks to keep kids splashing on rainy days.

If you're looking for water fun on a slightly cheaper scale, check out our Best Water Playgrounds and Splash Pads roundup. For more summer awesomeness, visit our New Jersey Kids Summer Activities Guide and our NJ Theme Parks Guide.

Pick-Your-Own Strawberry Farms and Festivals in the Hudson Valley

If apple picking is the perfect fall activity, then strawberry picking is surely the early-summer equivalent. Not only are you able to stock up on the sweet stuff, but you’re able to visit and support local farms and, of course, spend time as a family.

Best of all, there are plenty of places throughout the Hudson Valley where kids of all ages can try their hand at picking their own strawberries. The season usually starts around the beginning of June, but be sure to call ahead first. Not into picking them yourself? Westchester and the Hudson Valley have a few strawberry festivals you can check out, instead.  

Share your picking photos with us on Facebook

Splash, Sprinkler, and Spray Parks in Fairfield County

If your kids are anything like mine, summertime is all about sunshine and splashpads. Seriously, where were these things when we were kids? We had the plastic kiddie pools and a fudgesicle or a trip to the beach and a sandy car ride home. Well, let's do ourselves a favor and skip the sand, slap on some sunscreen, and head to a sprinkler park for the day. Here's our roundup for splash pads in Fairfield County. And be sure check out our comprehensive guide to CT Beaches and Water Fun Guide for more ways to stay cool this summer. 

The Grove Resort and Water Park Is a Worthy Disney Alternative

When planning a family vacation to Orlando, Florida, you and the kids might have just one destination on the brain: Disney. But actually, as we’ve pointed out before, there’s more to Orlando than theme parks, including plenty of family resorts from which to choose.

If you’re looking off-park for a hotel, consider The Grove Resort & Spa Orlando. The 106-acre resort is just a few miles down the road from the entrance to Walt Disney World, but sits on a pretty tract of land set back from the major highways in a natural marsh and wooded landscape. It has all the favorite perks of a great family resort, including suites for housing extended family, pools, on-site restaurants, a spa, activities for kids, and even a water park.

We just returned from a long weekend at the resort and are happy to share our review.

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