Note: This guide was updated in 2024.

Rockaway Beach has seemingly been in a constant state of recovery ever since Superstorm Sandy tore through town in 2012, but finally, after years of rebuilding the boardwalk and fortifying the beaches, the entire stretch of sand from Beach 116th to Beach 86th is fully open to the public, no construction equipment in sight. 

Not that there haven't been some changes. The wide, bleacher-like steps that lead down to the beach at each of the boardwalk's concession stands are gone, buried under a massive concrete barrier that is, in turn, buried under tons of sand. It's a little disorienting at first, like an enormous sand dune suddenly appeared at boardwalk level. But if it helps protect our beloved, precariously situated peninsula, we are all for it.  

Construction of all the new jetties has been completed
Construction of all the new jetties has been completed (Scott Lynch)
The beach (Scott Lynch)
The Amphitheater at Beach 94th, maybe to be named after the Ramones
The Amphitheater at Beach 94th, maybe to be named after the Ramones (Scott Lynch)
Rockaway Beach (Scott Lynch)

There's also a new 300-plus capacity amphitheater right off the boardwalk at Beach 94th; a movement is afoot to name it the Rockaway Beach Ramones Amphitheater, but that's not official yet. Whatever name it eventually gets, it currently hosts movies, community events, and live performances all summer long. Plus the new playgrounds are in great shape, along with the skate park and pickle ball courts, with everything located steps from the beach. 

What to Eat, Where To Drink   

Beach 108th and 109th 

Pastry chef extraordinaire Tracey Obolsky is selling ice cream this cream at Coastal under the name Rockaway Beach Creamery
Pastry chef extraordinaire Tracey Obolsky is selling ice cream this cream at Coastal under the name Rockaway Beach Creamery (Scott Lynch)
Boardwalk Bagel (Scott Lynch)
Coastal (Scott Lynch)

If you're traveling by NYC Ferry, there are a few good options on your way from the boat to the beach (and back again). Board Walk Bagel and Delicatessen has been holding it down on Beach 108th since the early aughts and still totally satisfies with all manner of bagels, sandwiches, and other solid beach-picnic fare. Or get fancy with Margie's at the stylish Rockaway Hotel, which features a full-service restaurant at street level for brunch and dinner, a rooftop party spot with ocean views, and the Greenhouse Cafe, a grab-and-go coffee and pastry shop with a separate entrance on Beach 108th. 

But the biggest news in this part of town is that the pastry chef Tracey Obolsky, whose Rockaway Beach Bakery over near Beach 88th features some of the best baked goods in all of New York City, is making ice cream under the name Rockaway Beach Creamery. Sold out of a yogurt parlor called Coastal on the corner of Beach 109th, the Rockaway Creamery menu features a rotating selection of flavors like Peanut Butter and Jelly, Riptide Coffee Toffee, and Mint Fudge, all three of which are superb. 

Beach 106th 

Caracas Arepa Bar in 2022
Caracas Arepa Bar (Scott Lynch)
Egg and pesto sandwich at Brothers
Egg and pesto sandwich at Brothers (Scott Lynch)

Once you get to the boardwalk, there are two excellent ways to fuel up (and have fun!) at the Beach 106th concession stand. The fabulous and freaky Brothers carries its usual selection of ridiculously good sandwiches (egg with pesto on an English muffin is a breakfast for the ages), pastries, smoothies, sweet tunes, and all-around joyful vibes. And the last remaining outpost of Maribel Araujo's incomparable Caracas Arepa Bar features a half-dozen varieties of her jaw-stretching headliners as well as empanadas and lots of alcohol. 

Beach 97th 

Beach 97th concessions
Beach 97th concessions (Scott Lynch)
Seany Pizza (Scott Lynch)

The largest boardwalk concession sits at Beach 97th, and as always, the lineup here is stacked. Seany Pizza has a full array of terrific wood-fired Neapolitan pies, La Cevicheria is serving its magnificent bowls of Peruvian-style seafood (get the 97th Street Special, a tower made with a little of everything), and Oddfellows is on hand to satisfy all of your ice cream cravings. You can find booze here, too, at the Sand Shark Bar, which in addition to all the usual frozen drinks has several sake-based cocktails for the summer. Beach 97th also hosts free concerts and DJ dance parties every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday all summer long.

Beach 92nd 

The Bungalow Bar
The Bungalow Bar (Scott Lynch)
A plate of pelmeni at Uma's
A plate of pelmeni at Uma's (Scott Lynch)

Can a restaurant that appears on every "where to eat in Rockaway" list be considered under-appreciated? Uma's, a friendly Uzbek spot on Rockaway Boulevard right off Beach 92 that almost never has a wait for a table, sometimes feels that way. The meaty, noodle-y lagman soup, the grilled kebabs and stuffed samsas, and especially the platter of pelmeni, or "Russian ravioli," all make for a superb supper after a long day in the sun. If you're looking for a boozier way to end your day, consider downing a few by the bay with a bunch of local boaters at Bungalow Bar, which also has a full food menu of "American classics."

Beach 86th and 87th  

Rippers (Scott Lynch)
The Hardbody at Rippers
The Hardbody at Rippers (Scott Lynch)
Rockaway Beach Surf Club
Tacoway at Rockaway Beach Surf Club (Scott Lynch)
Tacoway Beach (Scott Lynch)
Fish tacos and watermelon juice at Tacoway Beach
Fish tacos and watermelon juice at Tacoway Beach (Scott Lynch)

A pair of Rockaway hall-of-famers dominate this end of the boardwalk. At the Beach 86th concession, the always-a-party Rippers slings those glorious "hardbodies" (loaded up double cheeseburgers) and piles of excellent fries, as well as hot dogs, vegan burgers, and beer. And the OG Andrew Field continues his run as Rockaway's taco king at Tacoway Beach, feeding the masses in a funky back plaza at Rockaway Beach Club on Beach 87th. Get the fish taco for sure, and a chorizo one, and either the fresh pineapple or watermelon juice; that, right here, is the taste of summer.    

Beach 67th

Carne asada burrito at Super Burrito
Carne asada burrito at Super Burrito (Scott Lynch)
Super Burrito (Scott Lynch)
Rockaway surfing (Scott Lynch)

The best part about going to Beach 67th? You can just stay on the A train to get here, no transfer to the shuttle required. Plus it's usually much less crowded than all of the beaches mentioned above. The downside: the ocean is mostly surfers-only (there's one swimming area, with lifeguards, a couple of jetties to the east), and until recently, there wasn't much beach-food infrastructure to fuel a big classic day-at-the-beach sport of outing. 

The surfer-only situation in the water remains the same this year, but these days there are plenty of places to eat and drink over here. Start at the San Francisco-style Super Burrito on Beach 69th, which, despite the strip-mall vibe of the exterior, makes the absolute best burrito in the city, whether stuffed with carne asada, al pastor, grilled shrimp, or chicken. Get it smothered in sauce for added goodness. 

There are also three food pop-ups located right on the boardwalk. Slutty Sammys is a grilled-cheese stand, Routes and Rails is firing up jerk chicken, and Josie's Delites specializes in empanadas. 

Rockaway Tiki Bar
Rockaway Tiki Bar (Scott Lynch)
Rockaway Tiki Bar (Scott Lynch)
Rockaway Tiki Bar (Scott Lynch)

Finally, Rockaway Tiki Bar, which opened up under the elevated A train at the start of the 2021 season, has been hopping with post-beach revelers ever since, everyone downing large tropical drinks, snacking on Hawaiian-style bar food, and dancing to live music.    

Getting There Is A Breeze With The MTA 

Rockaway Beach (Scott Lynch)
Rockaway May 2023 (Scott Lynch)
Beach 67 St Station (Scott Lynch)

As always, the best way to hitch a ride to Rock-Rock Rockaway Beach is via the A train. Transfer from the A to the Rockaway Shuttle for the Beach 90, 98, 105, and 116 stops. During summer weekends, you catch the shuttle as far north as Rockaway Boulevard, so you can take either the Far Rockaway or the Lefferts Boulevard-bound A trains, or just stay on the Far Rockaway A for Beach 67th Street and points east. 

You can also hop on the NYC Ferry, which runs between Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan, the Army Terminal in Sunset Park, and Beach 108th on the peninsula.



Take the A and Rockaway Shuttle to Rock-Rock-Rockaway Beach!

Plan Trip