It's no surprise that Rockaway Beach attracts over 1 million visitors each year -- the beach is beautiful, with clean, soft stretches of sand, waves and welcomes everyone from families to surfers. The most popular stretch of beach runs from the mid-80s to the mid-100s, where the services are the most concentrated. Head east or west if you want a quieter stretch of sand. The beach here has fun surf for splashing and swimming (though there can be a strong undertow) and great sand for building sandcastles or just relaxing.
And they also have some of the best beach food anywhere. I can't go to Rockaway without stopping at Rockaway Taco for some of their amazing fish tacos, but even the beach concession stands are a cut above with everything from ice cream and iced coffee to arepas and burgers.
More: New York City Beaches
1. Eating at Rockaway Beach
Concession stands at the Rockaway Boardwalk feature some top-notch beach fare. Located at Beach 86th, Beach 96th and Beach 106th Streets, you can find great choices from local New York City food operations. Some highlights include:
- Caracas Arepa Bar
- CitySticks - popsicles, ice cream and iced coffee at 97/Beach
- Rippers - burgers, fries, fish sandwiches and fresh juice at 86/Beach
- Uma's - Central Asian cuisine at 97/Beach
Off of the boardwalk, Rockaway Taco and DiCosmo's Italian Ices have stands on 95th Beach Street just a block from the Boardwalk -- both are delicious (& you can actually have a fish taco!) and well worth the short walk.
2. Rockaway Beach Basics
Located in Queens, Rockaway Beach & Boardwalk offers beach-goers 170 acres of ocean-front sun and sand. The beachfront runs from Beach 9 to Beach 149 with a wide variety of facilities for visitors, including spray showers, restrooms, playgrounds and water fountains.
Restrooms are available on the Boardwalk at 116 Beach Street, 97 Beach Street and Beach 59th Street Playground.
Spray Showers are available on the Boardwalk at 116 Beach Street, 102 Beach Street, 96 Beach Street, Beach 59th Street Playground and Beach 17 Playground.
Chairs/Umbrellas: Although no one rents chairs & umbrellas along the beach, many stores at 116 Beach Street (near the subway) sell them relatively inexpensively.
Surfing at Rockaway Beach: Rockaway is New York City's only surfing beach, with two stretches for surfing between 67-69 Streets and between 87-92 Streets.
Whaleamina: Originally from the Children's Zoo in Central Park, Whaleamina was located at the Boardwalk entrance at Beach 95th Street before being destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. There are plans to create more Whaleamina-inspired art.
3. Getting to Rockaway Beach
Subway/Bus to Rockaway Beach: (Travel time from Manhattan is about an hour and 15 minutes)
- If you want to head to the more popular, section of Rockaway Beach, change from the A train at Broad Channel to the S train there are several stop from 90th to 116th Beach Streets.
- Alternatively, you can take the J/Z to Woodhaven Blvd and take the Q53 or Q21 to 108st.
- The A train (Far Rockaway/Mott Avenue Branch) also serves Rockaway Beach, with stops from Beach 67 Street to Beach 36 Street (Beach 44 Street has the shortest walk).
Driving to Rockaway Beach: Access to Rockaway Beach is available at the end of Flatbush Avenue, or by taking the Belt Parkway. Get directions to Rockaway Beach on Google Maps or put 8601 Shore Front Parkway Rockaway Beach, NY into your GPS.
Parking at Rockaway Beach: In addition to street parking near the beach, there is a free parking area located between Beach 94 and Beach 95 Streets from Rockaway Beach Blvd to Shore Front Pkwy. There is another free parking lot from Beach 11th - 15th Streets.