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 with a ferry to Rockaway Beach from downtown Manhattan, or take the A train (with a quick transfer to the S) you will be dropped off three blocks from the beach boardwalk, where there are shops and restaurants. For shopping 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 then all you really need to bring is your swimsuit and a blanket, because right on the corner of Beach 90th and Rockaway Beach Blvd is a shopping plaza with a drug store and a supermarket that has everything you need for a picnic, so you can travel light and eco friendly. The boardwalk is wide to accompany both pedestrians and those on bicycles and it is the length from Beach 9th Street to Beach 126th. You can continue on Rockaway Beach Blvd straight to 150th to get to Jacob Riis Park and The People’s beach, which is another part of the beach with a much more laid back vibe. If you are driving, this is where the parking lot is located. Rockaway Beach is a destination for many surfers. Surf shops, offering surfing lessons and board rentals are only a few blocks walk from the beach. Rockaway beach is the perfect quick escape to soak in some sunshine, catch the waves, and take it easy.
If you choose not to picnic, the boardwalk has healthy and light options, ethnic foods, comfort foods, burgers and beers, frozen drinks and sangria. Sometimes all the beach activity one can muster is to stagger over to the ocean’s edge, have a lazy splash, and return 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 for a good sandwich). Rockaway beach has it all. The restaurants off the boardwalk are a must try, featuring cuisine from Jamaica, Peru, Uzbekistan, Italy and more. 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. 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. 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 bicycle ride and a mini-food tour. Anyway you do it, a Rockaway beach day is a great day.