What I look for in a good beach is how easy it is to get to, how much it costs, and how close other beach goer's towels will be to mine. Fort Tilden is the perfect beach to get some sun, feel the ocean breeze, and snap some beautiful photos!
Technically, Manhattan is an island so you would think it would be easy to find a good beach without having to go through too much trouble. Sadly, the more accessible city beaches are not my ideal visions of a day at the beach with their big crowds, littered sands, and questionable waters. But fear not New Yorkers, nestled away in the Rockaways of Queens is Fort Tilden State Park — a wide-open stretch of sand hidden behind grassy dunes and a decommissioned military base.
My friend, Megan, brought me here a few summers ago and I could not imagine a beach day anywhere else. To get out there, I like taking the bus, either the Q22, Q35, or the QM 16. The bus stop (Beach 169 St/State Rd) drops you off right in front of the base. The nearest subway station is Rockaway Park/166 St, as in the last stop on the A train, and is still a far walk away from the beach.
Walking down along the road lined with tall grasses, you immediately feel like you are being transported to another place far away from your city life. The beaches I know in Southern California do not look like this. Just over the rolling sand dunes is the Atlantic Ocean and your own personal patch of sand. Pack supplies of food, water, and sunscreen according, amenities are not really the draw for this beach.
Whether on your own or with friends, this day at the beach will be a good one. Enjoy!