Now that spring has arrived, it’s time to start daydreaming about your summer getaways. For New Yorkers especially, a weekend getaway is crucial to maintaining sanity as the temps creep upwards of 90 degrees and the city empties out every weekend from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Being part of the hustle and bustle in the greatest city in the world can take a toll on even the heartiest New Yorker, and we all deserve a chance to unwind. But if a tropical paradise is out of reach, or you just don’t want to stray too far from your beloved NYC, you still have tons of beaches to choose from!
A classic summer destination for New York’s well-heeled, and a warm-weather extension of the city’s thriving social scene, the Hamptons offers quintessential Northeast luxury in eastern Long Island, boasting huge, amenity-rich houses and some of the best events around (if you can score an invite). Once you’ve hit the beach or caught rays by the pool, Southampton’s Jue Lan Club or Kozu, and countless other restaurants with upbeat vibes, offer great food and drinks. If you’re ready to party, AM nightclub (formerly 1Oak) might just be the place for you.
Montauk, traditionally a blue-collar fishing village, is a more accessible option for a wider audience, though it’s become known in recent years as a raucous party spot. Starting last year, town officials have been enforcing existing noise codes to try and keep the peace, but those who intend to party will always find a way. There is no shortage of delicious food from restaurants like The Crow’s Nest, and bars including Sloppy Tuna have kept the party going (Fireball shots included).
If the first two things that come to mind when you think of the Jersey Shore are Snooki and fist pumping on a bar, then you really need to update your reference points and give this place another look. The Jersey Shore boasts 127 miles of coastline with beaches and fun activities including water parks, shopping, amusement parks, and arcades. While places like Belmar and Seaside Heights have their own unique reputations to uphold, other areas offer vastly different experiences.
Long Beach Island has long been a beloved Jersey Shore destination, and Asbury Park – home to the Stone Pony and the birthplace of Bruce Springsteen’s career – has seen a complete revival in recent years, thanks to new developments like The Asbury Hotel. Jersey’s coastline boasts beautiful beaches, rich history, iconic boardwalks, and great fun for every personality.
Known for its abundance of Kennedys, Cape Cod offers up clam shacks, shingle-style cottages and serene beaches to summer vacationers and locals alike. You’ll find a much slower pace than Manhattan, and even during its busiest tourist months there is still an easy-going atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy biking, kayaking, the summer theater, whale watching and golf, and don’t forget about the beautiful beaches. If the serenity of Cape Cod is still a bit too noisy for you (although we doubt it) try Wellfleet on outer Cape Cod.
For a bit of natural wonder, Martha’s Vineyard is filled with nontidal ponds – bodies of standing water, usually shallow and home to marsh plants and animals – making this a great place for nature lovers and outdoor swimmers. Amazing seafood is another reason you’ll want to plan a visit to the Cape. There’s something about being able to pick your own live lobster to eat on the beach that says summer. Pass the butter, please!
Between the WaterFire Festival in Providence, the abundance of historic mansions in Newport, and the chance to watch the Pawtucket Red Sox in – you guessed it – Pawtucket, there is no shortage of fun things to do in RI. If you prefer to spend your summer days laying on the beach with a sun hat larger than the quahogs at Point Judith Salt Pond , you can do that here, too. Rhode Island may be small, but there are over 100 beaches to choose from along the state’s 400-mile coastline.
Rhode Island also boasts its own parks, vineyards and wineries, breweries, nature and science centers, and more.
Ocean City, Maryland
Just a bit south of D.C., and about four hours from NYC, is Ocean City, Maryland. OCMD is a local favorite of anyone who grew up the Mid-Atlantic, all of whom tout the lively boardwalk, theme park, attractions, and the incredible beach as their favorite reasons to visit. If you decide to spend your summer vacation in Ocean City, make sure to enjoy the boardwalk at night – the beach gets a real party crowd in the summer. On the bay side, hot spots like Seacrets and Fager’s Island will keep your crew partying all day and well into the night. Besides the usual beach fare of corndogs, cotton candy, and boardwalk fries, you’ll want to have some of Maryland’s famous Blue Crabs (with extra Old Bay).