New York can be overwhelming. Especially, when it’s 85F outside, it’s the last place you want to spend your weekend at. The great news is that most of the beach destinations around New York are within commuter proximity by the train, car or ferry. Here are some ideas for great weekend getaways to make the most of your summer.
Sandy Hook, NJ became one of my favorite beach destinations, and there are several reasons for that.
*Perfect last-minute destination
Firstly, it takes only 45′ to get there by ferry. Take a seat at the upper deck and enjoy the ride. Secondly, Sandy Hook is a part of National Recreation Area with many beautiful beaches to choose from, small and quiet, big and windy – surfers paradise. Lastly, it has a lot of bike trails. If you don’t like to spend long hours under the sun, just hop on a bike and explore the area. There is a beautiful historic lighthouse in the middle of the spit, view points with the scenic view, and even the defunct US Army station to explore. Rent a bike in Highlands or Sandy Hook and go for a ride. (There is a free shuttle bus going from Highlands to the beaches of Sandy Hook, but it’s so much better and convenient with the bike).
There are changing rooms, bathrooms, showers, and snack bars for your convenience too. Nearby Highlands and down the coast are restaurants, bars, night life and places to stay. For classy seafood dinner go to Bahrs Landing Restaurant. If you are looking for less formal, more to-go option, check out Moby’s Lobster Deck. For live music and fun beach bar atmosphere Inlet Cafe is a great choice. Stay overnight, or take the last ferry and enjoy beautiful sunset and New York at night.
A Day Trip to Hamptons
Well, the Hamptons is not a destination for budget travel, but a day trip might be a perfect option. The Hamptons should ideally happen on a weekday in order to avoid the crowd. Renting a car is preferable, so you are more flexible and can easily move from one attraction to another. Relax after a long way to Hamptons at the Gurney’s beach. Have a quick lunch at the terrace or right at the beach to get that healthy sun-kissed glow. For less pretentious beach experience, Kirk Park in Montauk is at your disposal. Then drive to the very end of the island to see the Montauk Lighthouse and enjoy a beautiful ocean view from the top. Go for a wine tasting at my all time favorite Channing Daughters Estate. The variety of grapes they work with is impressive, from Ribola Gialla and Tocai Friulano to rare Teroldego and Lagrain. I was very impressed with their pure, clean style Chardonnay, and seasonal choice of vermouth. Learn about other great New York state wine producers.
To end the day, have dinner and enjoy a panoramic view from the deck at the Baron’s Cove in the quaint town of Sag Harbor.
Montauk, Long Island
A Day trip to Fire Island
*Perfect last-minute destination
Small town ambiance, laid back beach environment, car-free community, this is how I would describe the Fire Island. It’s about 2-3 hours from New York, and it’s perfect for a one-day beach escape. Ocean Beach is an unofficial capital of Fire Island, full of bars, restaurants, little shops and markets. Looking for a quiet rest away, we opted for Kismet, less crowded, with quaint country-like atmosphere community to the west. There is nothing fancy about the restaurants here, there are only a few of them, in fact. Have a drink on the outer deck of Kismet Inn or have dinner at the Surf’s Out as the sun goes down. Sunsets are amazing here.
Newport, RI + Province Town, MA
*Perfect long weekend destination
Newport was one of the most important Colonial seaports in the British Empire, before the American Revolution. It is also known as a New England summer resort where many of the nation’s wealthiest families spent summers in their magnificent mansions, such as the Vanderbilts, Astors, and the Widener family. If Cape Cod is your final destination, make half day stop at Newport to see famous mansions that reside along Bellevue Avenue and enjoy the sights of Cliff walk.
P’town, located at the very tip of Cape Cod, remains my favorite summer destination. It’s the most fun and artsy coastal town known for its long wide beach line, sand dunes and artist community.
Enjoy fun bike rides through the dunes and the beach forest. Stop and check out several different beaches, such as Race Point Beach and Herring Cove. Climb the Pilgrim Monument for the best view of Cape Cod, and walk along Commercial Street to feel the vibe of the town. Make a step back in time and have a glass of beer and enjoy some jukebox music at Old Colony Tap. Dine at one of the restaurants overlooking the harbor and choose from a menu that features best seafood options. I enjoyed pan roasted lobster at the Lobster Pot, just next door from the beer place.