Best Beaches in and Near Westchester: Family Fun at the Shore
As you plan your summer to-dos, a few beach days are likely on the list—right up there with visits to swimming pools and splash pads. So where to go? There are a few local spots right in Westchester, which boasts 36 miles of coastline along the Long Island Sound, as well as a whole slew of beautiful beaches close by in Connecticut, Long Island, and New Jersey.
Here’s a look at a few of our favorite beaches in the area, where kids can play in the sand and you can (fingers crossed) make it through at least a few pages of your latest beach read.
Best Beaches in Westchester
Glen Island Beach – New Rochelle
Located in Glen Island Park in New Rochelle, the beach is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 11am to 6:30pm during the season, which runs until Monday, September 2, 2019. Along with a dip in the Long Island Sound, you can have lunch at one of the picnic tables, and kids can run around and play on the grassy areas outside the main beach. The beach is for County residents only—and you’ll have to pay to park, as well as enter the beach—but discounts apply if you have a Parks Pass.
Playland Beach — Rye
Between the beach, the pool, and Playland park itself, you could easily spend all day at this Westchester institution. The beach is open every day in July and August, except Mondays and Tuesdays. You have to pay to park and you can bundle your beach admission to include the pool for an additional fee. (Kids younger than 5 are free to get on the beach, either way.) Don’t feel like packing a chair or umbrella? Rent one for $5 each. Also important: You don’t have to be a County resident to visit.
Rye Town Beach – Rye
If you’re looking for an alternative to Playland, considering heading right next door to Rye town beach. Just like its neighbor, the beach isn’t huge, so it’s manageable with little kids. On the town side, you’ll also find lots of grassy space to run around, plus the recently opened Barley Beach House restaurant. Another new feature: You can rent a stand-up paddleboard or kayak on the weekends. For non-residents, parking starts at $20 per car, if you’re staying for four hours on a weekday, and goes up from there. On weekdays, it’s $15 per person (kids under 13 are free) to get on the beach itself, and $20 on weekends.
Best Beaches a Short Drive from Westchester
Popular Jones Beach State Park is a great summer day trip destination. Photo courtesy of NY Parks and Rec
Jones Beach State Park – Wantagh
At about an hour from central Westchester, there are more than six miles of beach to choose from at this Long Island park, plus plenty of other things to do as well—from bocce ball and shuffleboard to playgrounds and mini-golf. You can pack a cooler of food and snacks, or try one of the concession stands. Parking is only $10 per car in-season (some activities are extra)—and you can go to the park's website before you park to see which lot has the most open spots thanks to the “Realtime Parking Assistant.” For more, check out our write-up on a day at Jones Beach.
Ocean Beach Park – Long Beach
Also about an hour from central Westchester, this Long Island outpost offers lots for families: from a renovated boardwalk that’s great for walking and biking, to lots of beach time. There are designated spots to enter the beach, where you can purchase a day pass (it’s $15 per person for non-residents). Starting on June 27, the beach is open every day from 9am to 6pm, and there are lots of spots to eat and places to play, plus free parking on the street. Read more in our look at Long Beach.
Calf Pasture Beach – Norwalk, CT
If you have little kids, you’ve likely already been to Norwalk to visit Stepping Stones Museum for Children or The Maritime Aquarium, but the beach is another reason to make the quick, half-hour drive from central Westchester. Along with playing on the beach, there’s a playground and a splash pad—and if you’d rather not pack lunch or snacks, you can pick something up at Ripka’s Beach Cafe. Parking is $35 per car during the week and $40 on weekends.
The beautiful beach in Sandy Hook, NJ, is worth the drive. Photo by Louise Finnell
Sandy Hook National Seashore – Highlands, NJ
It’ll take about an hour and a half or so to get to this New Jersey beach from central Westchester, but once you’re there you’ll be rewarded with some prime sun and sand time. (Check out our full review.) It’s $15 to park, and the beach is open every day in the summer. Cap off your day with a stop at the Sandy Hook Lighthouse.