Summer in NYC is always a hot one, but thankfully with all the different pools, beaches, and water sprayers throughout the city, it is possible to find ways to cool down. Arguably one of NYC’s best beaches is Rockaway Beach, and there’s tons more to do there besides just digging your toes in the sand–plus, it’s completely free! Here is the ultimate guide to Rockaway Beach.
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Getting To Rockaway Beach
Finding a friend with a car in NYC is like finding a needle in a haystack. So unless you’re one of the lucky ones, you’ll have to rely on public transportation to get to Rockaway Beach–but trust us, it’s not all bad!
Arguably the most popular way to get to Rockaway Beach is by ferry. In fact, NYC ferry and Mayor Eric Adams just announced a ferry express route to the Rockaways is launching this weekend, making it much easier to get to the beach! Learn more about that here.
Take a Far Rockaway-bound A train which stops at Beach 67th St, Beach 90th St, and so on.
Take the Far Rockaway branch from Atlantic Terminal or Jamaica to the Far Rockaway station. It’s a short walk to connect to a bus that will get you closer to the beach.
Take the Q22 toward Rockaway Beach Blvd, the Q35 or Q53 SBS toward Rockaway Park-Beach 116 St, or the Q52 SBS toward Arverne.
Best Beaches in Rockaway Beach
Rockaway, Queens is home to many lovely beaches, and we’ve picked out a few of our favorites!
This is the beach to go to if you’re looking to surf. It’s less crowded than many of Rockaway’s other beaches, so you’ll likely have more space around you. There are no concessions here, and due to the waves swimming is often restricted, but if you’re looking to just hang on the sand to watch people surf this is the spot to go.
Beach 90th – 98th
For a livelier, more crowded scene, this is the spot to go…but definitely expect crowds on summer weekends! Here you’ll find the boardwalk and many places to grab a drink or a bite.
Beach 105th – 116th
This stretch of beaches is often quieter and not very crowded, therefore it’s a great spot for families. Plus, if you’re lugging a lot of beach gear for the kids there’s a paid parking lot by 116th Street.
Best Restaurants & Bars in Rockaway Beach, Queens
We know you’re going to get a little hungry after a long day at the beach, and we have just the fix! From beachside bars to luxurious restaurants, check out our favorite places to eat in Rockaway Beach below!
1. Tacoway Beach
Located inside the Rockaway Beach Surf Club, this sit-down taco shack serves the most deliciously crispy beer-battered fish tacos and mushroom “meat” tacos for the vegans. They also offer a selection of fresh juices to help you cool down, including watermelon juice and pineapple mint juice.
Where: 302 Beach 87th St
2. Cuisine By Claudette
This casual health-conscious cafe has been a Rockaway staple since 2012. They serve made-from-scratch baked goods, gourmet coffee, and mouth-watering food. For a lighter meal choose an açai bowl or a juice or smoothie. If you’re feeling a bit on the hungrier side, they have bigger dishes such as sandwiches, wings, pitas. Plus, they have a ton of vegan options!
Where: 143 Beach 116th St
Rippers is the ultimate beach burger shack. Come here to get a juicy, grass-fed burger on a potato bun, an all-beef frank with sauerkraut, or a cold fruit smoothie. If you want something smaller their cheese fries are a great choice, and they also have a vegan burger option!
Where: 8601 Shore Front Pkwy
4. Whit’s End
Whit’s End is the spot to go to if you’re looking for a tasty wood-fired pizza. Choose from toppings like brussels sprouts and purple garlic, or choose something like a sashimi platter, baked clams, or shrimp scampi.
Where: 97-02 Rockaway Beach Blvd
5. Caraca’s Arepa Bar
Caraca’s is truly the go-to summer spot when at Rockaway Beach, as this location is only open during the summer. Head here for absolutely killer arepas and sides such as sweet plantains, deep fried yucca balls, and white rice and black beans.
Where: 106-01 Shore Front Pkwy
6. Rockaway Beach Surf Club
This surfer beach spot is the perfect hangout spot on a summer day. Enjoy the outdoors at a picnic table and enjoy light bites like fish tacos. There are also tons of drinks to choose from including pints and tasty, fruity cocktials.
Where: 302 Beach 87th St
7. Bungalow Bar
This bar features an outdoor deck, tiki bar, live music, and weekend DJ sets, making it the perfect summer tiki-esque bar. Their seafood is the star of the show, including dishes like Mussels, Tuna Poke, and Fried Calamari, but they also have burgers, sandwiches, and pasta.
Where: 377 Beach 92nd St
8. Connolly’s Bar
If you’re heading to Connolly’s you better be ordering their signature piña colada. Coconut not really your style? They have other frozen drinks as well, including vodka-spiked frozen pink lemonades, and you can even add a boozy floater for an extra dollar!
Where: 155 Beach 95th St
9. Rockaway Brewing Company
Less than a 10-minute walk from the beach, this brewery offers beachgoers six rotating beers on tap. They have both indoor and outdoor picnic-style seating,
Where: 46-01 5th St
10. Sayra’s Wine Bar
This Black-owned wine bar is perfect for if you’re looking for a bit more of an upscale spot to grab a drink in Rockaway. Enjoy a glass of wine on their outdoor covered patio, and pair it with a tasty light bite such as a jalapeño grilled cheese or charred brussels sprouts.
Where: 91-11 Rockaway Beach Blvd
11. The Rockaway Hotel + Spa
This hotel offers a few options for food and drink including Margie’s on the ground floor, as well as The Rooftop on the 6th floor! Starting with Margie’s, they serve simple American classics with reinvented twists on seaside favorites. With deals like $2 oysters on Wednesdays and half price cocktails on Monday, there’s a deal every day of the week!
As for The Rooftop, not only are you catching unprecedented sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline, Jamaica Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean, but you can also dine on light bites (quesadillas, pizzas, charcuterie) while you sip standout cocktails like the Shark Bite (ghost pepper tequila, cucumber, watermelon, lime, and tajin) and the Ruby Sky (ALB vodka, lemon, pomegranate, and egg white).
Where: 108 10 Rockaway Beach Dr