A Rockaway beach day is everything you want for a lazy beach day out of the city. Not much of a planner? You don’t need to be. You can start early in the morning with a ferry to Rockaway Beach from downtown Manhattan, or take the A train (with a quick transfer to the S) you will be only three blocks from the beach boardwalk, shops, and restaurants. You can wander up and down the main street to check out vintage and antique stores as well as local artisan boutiques. If your idea of a day at the beach is a picnic, all you need to bring is your swimsuit and a blanket. On the corner of Beach 90th and Rockaway Beach Blvd is a shopping plaza with a drug store and grocery market that has everything you need for a picnic, so you can travel light, and if you want to make your way up to Riis Park and The Peoples Beach you can rent a bike! The boardwalk is bicycle friendly and stretches from Beach 9th Street to Beach 126th, just continue on Rockaway Beach Blvd straight to 150th and to Jacob Riis Park. Lime bikes are available for rent with a cell phone and credit card by downloading the app, you’ll be riding along within minutes. Bicycle rentals are available at surf shops also offering surfing lessons and board rentals, a few blocks walk from the beach. There are coffee shops, bakeries, and one of the most perfect breakfast nooks ever, period. If you choose not to picnic, the boardwalk has healthy and light options, ethnic foods, comfort foods, burgers and beers, frozen drinks and sangria. Rockaway beach is the perfect quick escape to soak in some sunshine and catch the waves.
Sometimes all you can muster for beach activity is staggering to the ocean’s edge and a lazy splash, returning to your towel for more relaxing. Somehow, you still get hungry. From ethnic food options on the boardwalk to a culturally diverse restaurant scene only blocks away from the beach, with honorable mention to bodega/deli shops cause we all love us a good sandwich, Rockaway beach has it all. The restaurants off the boardwalk are a must try. They say food tastes better near the ocean, have you heard this? So for the total Rockaway Beach package plan for dinner at a local restaurant to complete your vacay-day; featuring cuisine from Jamaica, Peru, Uzbekistan, Italy, and more that I cannot wait to try. You’ll have to go and discover your own Rockaway. Just a heads up for any byo dining experience you might encounter, the Ship to Shore Wine Shop offers international wines of a wide variety at multiple price points.
Public transportation is recommended and suggested for Rockaway beach access, so travel light and eco-friendly! Driving is a yes but parking can be a nuisance, as it is a city beach and it can become quite busy. Other than the ferry, the subway is the next popular option. A pretty centrally located subway station landmark to use as a begin travel point is Penn Station, New York. Take the A Train to Rockaway Broad Channel and transfer to the S (shuttle), then walk a few blocks to the boardwalk. (Beware! You do not want to be on the train going to Ozone Park Lefferts Blvd.) If you do take the ferry from the Seaport area of Fidi, it is best to get the ferry early in the morning as the line gets long quickly and remains a long wait in the sun all day. There is a shuttle bus from the ferry to different street points along the beach/boardwalk, depending upon which amenities you prefer. The boardwalk provides an easy stroll up and down to find the right spot. Certain parts of the ocean and beach are reserved for surfing and there are two separate public patios with restaurant options located on the boardwalk at Beach 98th street and Beach 90th street. A surf day, a picnic day, a lunch-and-shopping-at-the-beach day, or a day of it all with a bicycle ride up to Riis park beach and a mini-food tour, but anyway you do a Rockaway beach day is a great day.