Hey, NYC’s Beaches Are Opening This Weekend (Even If It’s Too Rainy To Go)

Forget good news-bad news, here’s some GREAT news-TERRIBLE news: for the first time in almost two years, all the various NYC beaches are opening on time and without most restrictions this Memorial Day Weekend. However, you may not be able to take immediate advantage of Hot Vax Summer, because the forecast calls for rain for much of the weekend.

But let’s focus on the positives: as of this weekend, New York City’s 14 miles of public beaches are open for sand dune frolicking, toe-exposing, beginner’s boogie boarding, metal detecting for treasure, pickup games of beach volleyball, and every other beach activity you can imagine. Those beaches are:

  • Orchard Beach in the Bronx;
  • Coney Island and Manhattan Beach in Brooklyn;
  • Rockaway Beach in Queens;
  • Midland Beach, South Beach, Cedar Grove Beach, and Wolfe’s Pond Beach on Staten Island

“This summer will be the ‘Summer of New York City’ and that’s not complete without a trip to one of our beautiful beaches,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “To all New Yorkers: have fun and stay safe!”



Rockaway Beach, May 2021

There will be no capacity restrictions this year, and no masks are required at the beaches, though officials say they are required in “all Parks comfort stations, and social distancing precautions should still be followed.”

Similar to previous non-pandemic years, beaches are open starting tomorrow May 29th through September 12th, 2021. During beach season, lifeguards are on duty daily, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; swimming is prohibited when lifeguards are not on duty and in closed sections.

READ MORE: Your Guide To NYC’s Beaches, 2019 Edition

You can get more info about individual beach statuses here, or you can sign up for “Know Before You Go,” a free text service in English and Spanish that informs NYers if public beaches are open or closed due to water quality issues. (Just text “BEACH” or “PLAYA” to 877877 to get the status of any of the City’s eight public beaches.)

You don’t technically have to be vaccinated to go work on your tan, as no one will be checking anyone’s vaccine status at public beaches—but city officials are of course encouraging everyone to do so, and are trying to make it even easier by letting you get a shot at the beach.

“With so many amazing attractions coming back, beaches coming back, you’re going to see the vaccine buses at the beaches,” de Blasio said earlier this week. “Go, get vaccinated, hit the beach. Real simple.”

Vaccines will be available at mobile trucks stationed at Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Rockaway Beach, and Orchard Beach; they’ll also be out at various parks including Brooklyn Bridge Park, Prospect Park, Central Park, Flushing Meadows, and Governor’s Island.



Rockaway Beach, May 2021

Similar to previous non-pandemic years, beaches are open starting tomorrow May 29th through September 12th, 2021. During beach season, lifeguards are on duty daily, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; swimming is prohibited when lifeguards are not on duty and in closed sections.

You can get more info about individual beach statuses here, or you can sign up for “Know Before You Go,” a free text service in English and Spanish that informs NYers if public beaches are open or closed due to water quality issues. (Just text “BEACH” or “PLAYA” to 877877 to get the status of any of the City’s eight public beaches.)

READ MORE: Your Summer Guide To Rockaway Beach Food 2021

We’ve come so far since last year: around this time in 2020, the conversation revolved around whether people would even be allowed to enter certain beaches, let alone go into the water. De Blasio was threatening to sic cops on swimmers, and Long Island officials were trying to ban New Yorkers from stepping foot on their federally-funded shorelines. Memorial Day Weekend during the early part of the pandemic ended up being a somewhat depressing and very dry socially-distanced affair for the few people who bothered going out to the beaches. Public beaches were finally reopened last summer on July 1st.



The empty beach at Coney Island
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Coney Island Malcolm Pinckney/NYC Parks

All 48 of the city’s outdoor public pools will open on Saturday, June 26th.

New York State’s beaches and pools (there are pools at Roberto Clemente State Park in the Bronx and Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park in upper Manhattan) open Memorial Day Weekend, with six-foot distancing. The state hopes to increase beach capacity to 100% by July 4th. And there are also vaccination sites at select beaches and pools.

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