NYC’s many fabulous public beaches beaches open on Memorial Day and close on Labor Day. They have lifegueards on duty from 10am-6pm daily and most also have a series of attractions apart from the obvious pleasures of acres of pristine sand, blue water and sun to bask in. People play hand ball and volleyball on the beach, there are food concessions, beach umbrellas and beach chairs for hire and altogether cooling off down on the beach is a great way to escape the heat and general grime of NYC in summer.
For a list of both public and private beaches go to New York Area Beaches and that gives you a comprehensive list. And if you also want a list of swimming pools so you have a choice of swimming in the surf or in a pool go here and click on the Swimming in NYC heading in ther right hand column
You can get to all these public beaches for the cost of a singe Metro ride $2.75 or if you want to travel in style you can catch the Beach Bus which will cost you $25. The busiest beach you can go to is Coney Island and going there puts you close to lots of food and attractions but if you want a quieter time choose one of the others. Please note that car access is pricey and parking fees are usually around the $20 for a day mark.
The least busy beach is Fort Tilden beach at Breezy Point, Queens. You have to bike it to get here because there is no public transport or car access. Like a number of NYC’s beaches it has had to undergo considerable rehabilitation post Hurricane Sandy but it is now open and back in beautiful condition. Enjoy your summer