The Insider’s Guide to Rockaway Beach
Summer’s not over yet, but it is time to squeeze in a few more beach days while you still can. Fortunately, stunning shoreline, primo people-watching and next-level eats are just a train ride away.
9 a.m.: Grab Breakfast at Brothers
Start your day with some heartfelt offerings from Brothers, a very posi-vibes-oriented concession at Beach 106th Street. There are no wrong choices, but an egg sandwich and a cold brew may be the right move. Enjoy some (relative) peace staring at the ocean before the rest of New York City arrives.
10 a.m.: Head to the Beach
You want to secure an ideal spot on the sand, so getting there on the earlier side is wise. Surfing is permitted from Beach 87th to Beach 91st, so if you don’t plan on swimming, this might be a good place for you to set up camp and take it all in. Swimming is not permitted at the surfing beaches, so if you want the best of both worlds, we recommend sitting near the surfing beaches and walking along the water toward the action whenever you need a break from baking in the sun. And remember, you don’t want to be too close to the surf, because when the tide rises, having your stuff swept away really kills the vibe.
12:30 p.m.: Burgers and Beers at Rippers
Sure, a little past noon may seem early for a beer, but when it’s actually a michelada and it’s accompanied by a cheeseburger and fries, it’s really no big deal. The menu is short and sweet, including burgers, fries, hot dogs and ice cream, but with options for all diets. And if this is your first time ordering from Rippers, a “hardbody” is a double cheeseburger and “beach juice” is their version of white wine sangria: very sweet and very strong. There’s live music most days, especially on the weekend, and the lines are long but worth it. Will it feel like Bushwick on the beach? A little bit, but in the best way.
3 p.m.: Shop Rockaway Beach Boulevard
You may not think of Rockaway as a shopping destination, but both Off Season and Zingara Vintage are worth the trip. For more of a treasure-hunt shopping experience, get lost in Zingara and allow owner Erin Silvers to be your guide. Head to Off Season for status skin-care products and bathing suits, and stay for the pop-ups sometimes hosted in the shop’s backyard. Previous pop-ups have included banh mi sandwiches, tattoos and limited-run artist collaboration tees.
5 p.m.: Piña Colada at Connolly’s
It’s not a trip to Rockaway if you don’t get a frozen drink at Connolly’s. Famous for their piña coladas, Connolly’s is a local haunt in the basement of a large old home on Cross Bay Parkway. People-watching is a sport in Rockaway, and Connolly’s really brings the heat. Remember to bring cash and order a rum floater with your drink.
6:30 p.m.: Take a Sunset Sail
OK, so maybe you’ve watched the sunset from a boat before, but with the Manhattan skyline in the background? Yacht Rock Charters will pick you up, with up to five friends, at the dock at Thai Rock and take you on a two-hour sunset cruise on Jamaica Bay. The boat is crewed by Jarad Astin, a licensed 50-ton Coast Guard captain, and his wife and first mate, Christel. The sail is BYOB and Bluetooth is available for that party playlist you’ve undoubtedly been working on all summer. (Plus, not to be a complete millennial, but think about the Instagram opportunities here.)
7:30 p.m.: Dinner at New Park Pizza
If you’re driving back to the mainland, it is absolutely mandatory to get a well-done slice at New Park Pizza. It’s not technically in Rockaway, but it’s definitely a New York icon.