Coney Island Beach, New York

WHEN people think of New York City, they imagine the Empire State Building, Times Square or Central Park – not a beach out in the sticks.

Coney Island Beach, and its neighbour Brighton Beach, seem like a world away from the lights and craziness of the US city – and that what makes it a worthwhile trip.

Coney Island Beach is beautiful place to visit even in the cold of winter
Coney Island Beach is beautiful place to visit even in the cold of winter (Adam Storer/Best Beaches)

Living in Manhattan, I have become accustomed to the hustle and bustle of New York, dodging oncoming foot traffic and doing my best to avoid photobombing thousands of tourists capturing moments of their holiday in The City That Never Sleeps.

You can’t take more than a few steps without seeing another huge digital billboard advertising the latest footwear, television show or drink.

Yet, jump on the subway for just three dollars and you can be transported to what feels like a completely different city, state and even country.

You can get either the F or the Q subway train to reach New York coast in the Brooklyn borough with various stops to get off depending on whether you want to hit Brighton Beach or Coney Island.

I visited in the winter to go to the nearby aquarium and watch the sealions in action along with see many different types of fish and crustaceans.

And just thirty seconds’ walk from the wildlife centre’s doors was the boardwalk and golden, sandy beach.

Coney Island's amusement park overlooks the beach with the two just metres apart (Adam Storer/Beast Beaches)
Coney Island’s amusement park overlooks the beach with the two just metres apart (Adam Storer/Beast Beaches)

Even at the height of winter, there were still people milling around, wandering up and down the wooden path, known as the Riegelmann Boardwalk, which stretches 2.7 miles across the two beaches and a host of tourist attractions.

Straight ahead from the aquarium exit, you are welcomed by the soft sand of the beach and a magical view of the Atlantic Ocean sprawling intro the distance.

When I visited, the sun was just setting in the early afternoon, providing a great backdrop for the seaside and the building around, with Coney Island’s amusement park to my right as rides stood tall in this particular cold January day.

To my left, there were numerous buildings lining the boardwalk including the curious-looking metal building that houses the Oceanside Grill, as well as sharks that are a part of the New York aquarium.

Travelling an hour on the subway may not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially with the countless sights to see in Manhattan alone.

Yet, this seaside hub has plenty of attractions to woo anyone to the coast – if not just to get away from the craziness of the city for just a few hours.

The Riegelmann Boardwalk stretches from Brighton Beach to Coney Island Beach, connecting two of New York's best beaches (Adam Storer/Best Beaches)
The Riegelmann Boardwalk stretches from Brighton Beach to Coney Island Beach, connecting two of New York’s best beaches (Adam Storer/Best Beaches)

Looking to visit New York and Coney Island Beach?

New York has three airports for you to arrive into, including Newark and LaGuardia.

Yet, for international flights – notably coming from the UK – you will most likely land at John F. Kennedy Airport, with flights costing from £348 for a return from London Heathrow with British Airways.

Meanwhile, staying in Manhattan can bring all of the lights and wonder with Voco Times Square South hotel available from £86 a night.

Yet, if you wish to stay near the seaside, Best Western Brooklyn-Coney Island Inn is located just 20 minutes’ walk around from the coast with rooms available from £99 a night.

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