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Discover the Top 25 US Beaches, including 2 Unexpected NYC Locations

Travel & Leisure magazine has recently released its list of the “25 Best Beaches in the USA,” and it includes two unexpected locations in New York City. While the coastal gem of Long Island was surprisingly snubbed, Brooklyn’s Coney Island and Rockaway Beach in Queens were recognized for their sandy entertainment options and miles of boardwalk. These two crowded spots were praised alongside popular beaches like Hawaii’s Poipu Beach and California’s Santa Monica Beach.

Coney Island, described as a “seaside wonderland of nostalgia and kitschy fun,” offers more than just amusement parks and games. It boasts access to volleyball and basketball courts, making it stand out among other beaches. Visitors can also enjoy a visit to the New York Aquarium, located near the beach. And after a day of fun at Coney Island, a trip to the original Nathan’s Famous on nearby Stillwell Avenue is a must, despite the long lines. Baseball fans can even catch a Brooklyn Cyclones game at the boardwalk’s Maimonides Park, with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and Luna Park.

Rockaway Beach in Queens has also undergone a major facelift in recent years. The 1932 art deco Jacob Riis bathhouse underwent a $50 million renovation, and the beach has become a hub for vintage shops, food trucks, and trendy bars. The opening of the swanky Rockaway Hotel and pool in 2020 added a touch of posh to this South Queens surf haven.

While Coney Island and Rockaway Beach made the list, it’s surprising that other notable beaches in the area were not mentioned. Coopers Beach in South Hampton on Long Island is often listed as one of the nation’s top 10 beaches and placed third best in the US last year. Fire Island National Seashore, a beloved destination for both Long Islanders and city visitors, also didn’t make the cut. Nevertheless, the inclusion of Park Point Beach in Duluth, Minnesota, raises questions about the criteria used in the rankings.

Beyond New York City, the list includes other noteworthy beaches. Ocean Beach Park in New London, Connecticut, and Watch Hill in Rhode Island, home to Taylor Swift’s oceanfront mega-mansion, are both recognized. Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, Massachusetts, near the setting of “The Perfect Storm,” was selected over any destination on Cape Cod or Martha’s Vineyard. Asbury Park in New Jersey, known for its rock legacy with clubs like The Stone Pony, and Ocean City, Maryland, also made the list.

Overall, Travel & Leisure’s list of the “25 Best Beaches in the USA” showcases the unexpected inclusion of two New York City locations, Coney Island and Rockaway Beach. While some notable beaches were overlooked, the list offers a mix of popular coastal destinations and hidden gems across the country. Whether you’re a city dweller or a beach enthusiast looking for your next vacation spot, these beaches provide plenty of sandy entertainment options and a chance to soak up the sun.

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