As the weather gets warmer, and the city streets get hotter, my family and I love to go on little beach getaways outside of Manhattan. Our beach destination of choice: Long Island.
Even though we have a car, we often find that not driving is not only greener, but easier, especially in the Summer months when traffic into and out of Manhattan is at its absolute worse.
We have found that despite the comfort in being able to throw everything in the car, the hassle of driving there and back, the traffic, the cost in gas, and parking has made commuting to the beach a much better option.
If only going for the day, we pack our lunch, a few books and activities, leave early in the morning to avoid the mad rush, and enjoy the ride out. The LIRR is our transportation option out there, and I enjoy the big seats, quiet rides, and air conditioned cars.
The trip requires a subway ride to Penn Station, a LIRR railroad connection, and then a short bus connection to the beach. It might sound awful, but I assure you, it is still a faster commute to the beach then taking the crowded highway roads there and the time spent really connecting and talking as a family is faster achieved when not stressed out because of the miles of cars in front of you.
Here are three of our favorites:
Robert Moses State Park
This is one of our favorite beaches to take the family to because we have found it to be less crowded and less noisy. It’s a bit of a longer distance than say Jones Beach, but it certainly is worth the trip. Field 5 is the closest to the Fire Island lighthouse, but it’s a bit of a walk to get to (not easy to do with little kids) and it can be very crowded on weekends in the Summer. It is also the location of the clothing optional beach, one frequented by a diverse group of people, whether they be single, couples, or families, and one of my favorite for topless sunbathing back in the day. The beach itself is beautiful. The water is great for boogie boarding and surfing (Field 2) and overall it’s relaxing and quiet. There is food accessible, but we always bring our own.
LIRR tickets for weekend beach service are $19.00 from New York and Brooklyn, and $15.00 from Jamaica. The connecting S47 bus service, provided by Suffolk Transit, from Babylon Station to Robert Moses operates approximately every half-hour on weekends; hourly on weekdays. The last bus departs Robert Moses at 6:30 PM. Daily service begins June 22 and continues through September 7.
Fire Island, Ocean Beach
This is the ultimate “local” getaway for us.I loved visiting as a single girl, I love it even more as a mom. It is a place where my kids have spent hours playing in the sand, splashing in the water, and being rolled around in a red wagon or two. There’s tons to do, and not as crowded as Kismet, another family-friendly part of Fire Island.
No cars on the island make for wonderful times hiking, exploring, or bike riding and discovering new spots. The people are lovely, the beach is gorgeous, and the sunsets are absolutely breathtaking.
Fire Island has several destinations that cater to every single lifestyle, which is why we love it so much. You can read more about Fire Island and its various beaches here:
Whether camping or renting a house or hotel room, a getaway to Fire Island with the family is truly a treat, and getting there is half the fun. Accessing the island by ferry is incredibly fun. The ride is short and the kids love it.
Some times, if finding lodging on the island itself is hard, we look on the mainland and then just take the ferry back and forth.
This is our option if we want to reduce the number of commute transfers and we just want to get to the beach. Long Beach has an awesome boardwalk. We love the small community. You can walk to local pizza places, and mingle with the friendly locals. It’s quiet and clean, and if you get there early enough in the day, it’s just stunning.
A short walk from the LIRR’s Long Beach Station, it’s also on our list of favorites.
LIRR tickets for weekend beach service are $19.00 from New York or Brooklyn, and $16.00 from Jamaica. Hourly service is available from Penn Station, Brooklyn and Jamaica; with direct weekend service from Penn Station. Weekday service begins June 22 and continues through September 7. The LIRR also offers discounted rail and beach admission passes.
For more information on the wonderful discounts and great beach getaway destinations offered through the LIRR please visit their website.