8 places New Yorkers can vacation or staycation this summer

8 places New Yorkers can vacation or staycation this summer
From City Island to Shelter Island, amNewYork hand-picked eight destinations New Yorkers can visit via public transportation.

From City Island to Shelter Island, amNewYork hand-picked eight destinations New Yorkers can visit via public transportation.

To stay or not to stay — that is the question!

Ignore the back-to-school sales and Halloween candy already popping up in stores. There’s still time for a quick day trip or stay-cation. amNewYork has selected four places in the boroughs and four outside city limits that are worth exploring while the days are still long and warm.

TO STAY:

Riis Park, known as "The People's Beach," is home to a bear garden, eateries, an arcade and glamping site Camp Rockaway (pictured).
Riis Park, known as "The People’s Beach," is home to a bear garden, eateries, an arcade and glamping site Camp Rockaway (pictured). Photo Credit: Marisol Diaz-Gordon

RIIS PARK

How to get there: By ferry or bus. Take the Rockaway NYC Ferry to the peninsula and then a free shuttle to Riis Park.

What to do: Known as The People’s Beach, Riis was envisioned as a getaway for city residents. The iconic Art Deco Bathhouse is now home to a beer garden, eateries, an arcade and a glamping site called Camp Rockaway. Riis rivals its Rockaway Beach neighbor as a foodie destination with Rockaway Clam Bar, the Meatup Grill and Brooklyn Shaved Ice as some of the offerings. There’s also a full slate of activities including music, film screenings and even volleyball clinics. Its expansive beach, however, remains the main attraction. Rockaway is known for its rough surf so only go into the water when a lifeguard is present.

When visiting Fort Tryon Park, don't leave without taking in all the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Cloisters (pictured) has to offer.
When visiting Fort Tryon Park, don’t leave without taking in all the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Cloisters (pictured) has to offer. Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

FORT TRYON PARK

How to get there: Take the A train to the 190th Street stop or the M4 of M98 bus to the last stop. Both leave you near the southern entrance of the park.

What to do: Awe-struck by the views of the Hudson River, John D. Rockefeller started buying up land in the early 1900s, tapped experts to design a park and then gave it to the city of New York. The result is the lush, 67-acre Fort Tryon Park. It is home to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Cloisters, a stunning collection of medieval art, including the famous “Hunt of the Unicorn” tapestries. Fort Tryon’s Heather Garden is said to be the city’s largest garden with “unrestricted public access.”

Stop for a meal at the New Leaf restaurant and bar, located inside one of Rockefeller’s picturesque fieldstone cottages.

For those who chose City Island, the views at its southern-most point, Belden Point (pictured), are worth the trek.
For those who chose City Island, the views at its southern-most point, Belden Point (pictured), are worth the trek. Photo Credit: Colter Hettich

CITY ISLAND

How to get there: Take the 6 Train to Pelham Bay Park and then switch to the BX29 bus to City Island.

What to do: You will definitely forget you are in New York City when you arrive at this historic seaport community in the Bronx. The 1.5-mile island is surrounded by the Long Island Sound. You can soak in the area’s rich past at the City Island Nautical Museum (190 Fordham St.) and then rent a boat for fishing or just to get out into the water. As expected, seafood eateries are everywhere. Sammy’s Fish Box (41 City Island Ave.) has a broiled seafood combo. You can’t miss the City Island Lobster House (691 Bridge St.) with its large sign featuring a lobster and hefty menu to match.

It goes without saying, but no NYC summer is complete without a Nathan's hot dog on Coney Island.
It goes without saying, but no NYC summer is complete without a Nathan’s hot dog on Coney Island. Photo Credit: Todd Maisel

CONEY ISLAND

How to get there: The F, D, N and Q subway lines all stop at Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue.

Where to go: It may seem almost too obvious but you can’t beat Coney Island for summertime fun just steps from the subway. Before you even see the sand, Luna Park and Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park lure visitors in with thrilling rides and classic carnival games. If you dare, take a ride on the legendary Cyclone roller coaster. Cool off inside the New York Aquarium where the “Ocean Wonders: Sharks!” exhibit surrounds you in a coral reef tunnel before putting you at eye level with sharks, rays and other marine life. There are plenty of places to eat on the boardwalk, but a hot dog from Nathan’s makes every day feel like a beach day.

TO GO:

BEACON

How to get there: Take the Metro-North Railroad Hudson Line from Grand Central Terminal to Beacon. The trip takes about 80 minutes.

What to do: Eat, hike and enjoy art with a great view of the Hudson River. Beacon has become a destination for art lovers since the Dia: Beacon (3 Beekman St.) opened in 2003. Located in a massive former Nabisco box-printing factory, the galleries feature art from Dia’s collection from the 1960s to the present. There are shops and restaurants and Mount Beacon, a challenging, steep hike that rewards you with a breathtaking vista. The Beacon Free Loop shuttle makes stops from the Metro North to Main Street and Mount Beacon. The Hudson Valley Brewery (7 East Main St.) features sour beers such as the Hudson Valley Lemon Lime Silhouette and the Hudson Valley Peach Silhouette.

Sunset Beach (pictured) is just one spot to check out at this Long Island destination.
Sunset Beach (pictured) is just one spot to check out at this Long Island destination. Photo Credit: John Roca

SHELTER ISLAND

How to get there: Take the LIRR from Penn Station to Ronkonkoma and transfer for the train to Greenport (times vary but at least two hours) and then a short ferry trip from Greenport to Shelter Island. The Hamptons Jitney also runs buses from Manhattan to the Greenport train station.

What to do: Quiet and scenic, Shelter Island is nestled between the North and South Forks of Long Island. Visitors come for the beaches but also to enjoy the water via paddleboard and kayak, which can both be rented on the island. The 2,000-acre Mashomack Preserve has hiking trails where you might spot an osprey or a bald eagle. Take a step back in time at the Shelter Island Heights Pharmacy (19 Grand Ave.) with its old-fashioned soda fountain counter. You can order breakfast, lunch, or ice cream in the stocked, full-service pharmacy.

ASBURY PARK

How to get there: New Jersey Transit’s North Jersey Coast Line runs from Penn Station with stops along the shore, including Asbury Park. (At some times you may need to transfer to another train at Long Branch to get to Asbury Park.) Travel time ranges from 90 minutes to 120 minutes.

What to do: This fabled New Jersey shore town is known for its musical history as much as its sandy beach. Rock legend Bruce Springsteen famously named his 1973 debut album “Greetings from Asbury Park.” And he continues to make “surprise” appearances at The Stone Pony (913 Ocean Ave.), a concert venue he helped put on the map. After decades of inaction and false starts, Asbury Park and its boardwalk are seeing a revival. Vendors and eateries boast traditional and artisan eats. The Paramount Theater and Convention Hall still cut a stately figure on the boardwalk. Relive your pinball and video game dreams at the Silverball Museum Arcade (1000 Ocean Ave.) which features vintage amusements. The Asbury, the city’s first new hotel in 50 years, opened in 2016 and features an outdoor movie theater, rooftop lounge and outdoor pool, two blocks from the beach.

NEW HOPE, Pa. / LAMBERTVILLE, N.J.

How to get there: Trans-bridge Lines runs buses from Manhattan to Lambertville.

What to do: These two Delaware River towns are located in different states but commonly linked together as popular destinations. Lambertville is located on the New Jersey side of the river, known for its quaint, antique shops, eateries and scenic towpaths. The People’s Store Antiques and Design Center (28 North Union St.) has four floors in a 19th-century building filled with vintage clothing, accessories, jewelry, painting and other items. The Lambertville Station Restaurant (11 Bridge St.) is actually a restored 19th-century train station that offers lunch and dinner as well as brunch on weekends. It’s a very short walk across the river to New Hope, Pennsylvania, a lively, artsy town with boutique stores and restaurants. Walk along Main Street to take in the scene and then stop for a meal at The Logan Inn (10 West Ferry St.), which sits in the center of it all. Get lost browsing at Farley’s Bookshop (44 South Main St.)  with its shelves packed with books and a resident cat named Butter. The New Hope & Ivyland Railroad (32 West Bridge St.) takes visitors on a nine-mile ride through the Bucks County countryside in a 1925 steam locomotive.

Lisa L. Colangelo