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Best swimming escape from NYC within 2-3 hours by train/bus

Melbourne, Australia
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Best swimming escape from NYC within 2-3 hours by train/bus

Hi all,

My wife and I are visiting NYC for 9 nights in August. Knowing that it will be hot, we would like to spend a night or two out of NYC. We like quaint towns, nature and good restaurants. A place where we could swim (beach or lake) and walk would be excellent. We would prefer to travel by public transport. Does anyone have any recommendations? We have never visited the US and may never get the chance to return, so it's a big decision!

Thanks

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1. Re: Best swimming escape from NYC within 2-3 hours by train/bus

Spring Lake, NJ by train

yelp.com/biz/spring-lake-beach-spring-lake

Shelter Island, NY by Hampton Jitney and ferry

nymag.com/travel/weekends/shelterisland/

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Spring Lake
Spring Lake
Jersey Shore, NJ
Shelter Island
Shelter Island
Hamptons, NY
NYC / Fire Island...
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2. Re: Best swimming escape from NYC within 2-3 hours by train/bus

We have lived on Fire Island for 30+ years during the warmer months and quite often commuted back and forth to our offices in the City (though we are now retired) as the trip from the ferry dock to the office is about 2-2½ hours.

Fire Island is located about 4 miles out into the Atlantic Ocean off the south shore of Long Island; it runs east-west for approximately 35 miles parallel to Long Island and together they form the Great South Bay. Fire Island is comprised of about 20 communities, each having its own personality. The entire Island is within the National Seashore System and there are sand dunes, forests, deer, rabbits, foxes, raccoons, bird sanctuaries, and 10s of thousands monarch butterflies that migrate between Mexico and Canada.

The Atlantic coast beaches are the most pristine on the east coast of the USA. Most private cars are not allowed on the Island and consequently folks walk or take water taxis.

Visitors to Fire Island that we know generally head to Sailors Haven, Cherry Grove and/or The Pines (ferries from Sayville) where there are facilities, snack bars, groceries, restaurants, bars, clubs and/or discos. All three are within 20-45 minutes walking distance from each other; or you can take a water taxi in much less time.

Sailors Haven has day facilities, a snack bar and a nature museum (run by the Park Service) but also has a life guard. The facilities are FREE. The Sunken Forest is also at Sailors Haven and is a wonderful nature preserve and bird sanctuary.

Cherry Grove and The Pines have facilities bathrooms, showers, swimming pools, etc. at the local hotels but some may charge to use them. As well there are some good restaurants and groceries at the Pines and Cherry Grove, but no life guards. The Grove and Pines also have some very nice hotels and guest houses.

Please know that the beach at Sailors Haven is a very family-centered “clothed” beach while The Pines and Cherry Grove beaches are more “clothing optional” with a European flair, though this is generally truer of the Grove than The Pines.

The LIRR provides special (discounted) rates for day trippers that provide a round trip package for the train, transfers from the train to the ferry and the ferry rides:

web.mta.info/lirr/getaways/beach/index.htm

And for more general information see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_Island

CH

Edited: 01 July 2014, 02:20
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3. Re: Best swimming escape from NYC within 2-3 hours by train/bus

It could be added that Cherry Grove and the Pines have a long tradition of attracting gay men.

Astoria, New York
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4. Re: Best swimming escape from NYC within 2-3 hours by train/bus

For a day trip, consider Sandy Hook NY.

There is a (seasonal) ferry that takes you on a very memorable ride through NY Harbor and under the Verrazano Bridge …wikipedia.org/wiki/…93Narrows_Bridge to the beach. http://www.seastreak.com/sandyhook.aspx

It is quite lovely nps.gov/gate/…thingstodosandyhook.htm and …wikipedia.org/wiki/…29

There are places to get food, but packing a picnic is a good idea IMO.

Be aware that the Gunnison Beach section is clothing optional.

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Gunnison Beach
Gunnison Beach
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Sandy Hook, NJ
Flushing, New York
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5. Re: Best swimming escape from NYC within 2-3 hours by train/bus

I would agree that the Sandy Hook boat ride is a very dramatic trip. I suggest that you catch it at East 35th St. so you will have a ride along Manhattan's east side with its views of tall buildings. You will miss that leaving from Pier 11. The boats are very comfortable

Edited: 01 July 2014, 03:06
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6. Re: Best swimming escape from NYC within 2-3 hours by train/bus

My personl favorite is Robert Moses State Park,Not much to eat there though, but a great Beach

I think there is better food especilly this year on Jones Beach, both can be reached vi LIRR bus.

Also the Hamptons are about 3 hours away

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Robert Moses State Park
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7. Re: Best swimming escape from NYC within 2-3 hours by train/bus

Hey MarkC82:-) Have to agree that the Jersey Shore is a great place for what you're looking for.. Spring Lake is idyllic.. as is Avon by The Sea.. divided by more active Belmar;-) Makes for a great getaway for a couple of days.. easy to get to as well.. check www.njtransit.com/ Loads of great hotels, B &Bs in area.. you can google for info.. check reviews here;-) Happy planning.. and EnJOY!

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Jersey Shore
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8. Re: Best swimming escape from NYC within 2-3 hours by train/bus

Hamptons also have super good beaches...!!!

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Hamptons
Hamptons
Long Island, NY
Melbourne, Australia
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9. Re: Best swimming escape from NYC within 2-3 hours by train/bus

Thanks for the fantastic ideas everyone! I really appreciate the help. Thanks for the big write up on Fire Island Casa - it sounds lovely. I will do some research into all suggestions and then go for one!

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Fire Island
Fire Island
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10. Re: Best swimming escape from NYC within 2-3 hours by train/bus

I vote for & I agree that Fire island out on Long Island is really something special... Another popular "group" of communities along the island is kismet, fair harbor, ocean beach, sea view & ocean bay park... They are a little closer than the others mentioned as the ferry is from bayshore. All can be reached easily with public transport.

It really is a unique gem with small streets , no cars, free roaming deer and lots of pines and amazing beaches with cute restaurants and shops.

Enjoy whichever way you go!! So many miles of beautiful shoreline in this area!!

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Fire Island
Fire Island
Long Island, NY