Beach at Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, upstate New York, with tourists and boat rentals. Image credit Leonard Zhukovsky via Shutterstock.

New York's Most Charming Beach Towns

When pondering travel to the state of New York, instincts tend to think of New York City and its endless, iconic attractions. The world-renowned metropolis (often called the “city that never sleeps”) is a fabulous embodiment of the state’s diversity, culture, and unmatchable energy. It is no wonder then, that the state is seldom thought of as a beach destination, however, New York has many stunning beaches and outdoor havens. From picturesque shorelines to cozy beachside accommodations, New York may surprise visitors with its range of breathtaking beach communities. If planning a trip to this Big Apple state, consider exploring these tranquil and scenic beach towns that offer a different side of New York. 

Montauk, Long Island - South Edison Beach 

Aerial view of Montauk Lighthouse and beach in Long Island, New York, USA.
Aerial view of Montauk Lighthouse. Image credit Felix Lipov via Shutterstock.

Located on the eastern side of Long Island, Montauk is a charming beach town favored by New Yorkers and visitors for its vibrant beaches, cozy accommodations, and iconic attractions. With stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and over 5,000 acres of public beach, visitors will be beyond tempted to beach hop and explore the town to places like South Edison Beach, whose sandy shores invite sunbathing and swimming. Travelers can find this beach oasis toward the end of South Edison Street in Montauk, and it is worth noting that swimming is available between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm in the designated beach areas when lifeguards are on duty. Accommodations such as the Ocean Resort Inn (located on South Emerson Avenue) are an excellent option for those looking to stay within walking distance of these pleasant shores. 

It is worth adding that no visit to Montauk is complete without visiting the iconic Montauk Point Lighthouse, famous for being New York’s oldest lighthouse. This iconic National Historic Landmark, originally commissioned by President George Washington, amazingly still functions and can be toured. For all these attractions and more, Montauk is one of New York’s most beloved beach towns.

Youngstown, New York - Fort Niagara State Park Beach 

Niagara Falls boat tours attraction. Horseshoe Falls at Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Niagara Falls boat tours attraction. Horseshoe Falls at Niagara Falls. Image credit AnjelikaGr via Shutterstock.

Settled in Niagara County at the mouth of the grand Niagara River, Youngstown is another New York beach town that draws in visitors from all over. Just a short drive away from the majestic Niagara Falls, Youngstown makes for an excellent home base for those looking to view the magnificent natural landmark, with the bonus of the community’s beach town atmosphere. 

A main contributor to this exciting atmosphere is Fort Niagara State Park, whose 504 acres incorporate a variety of amenities, including a nature center, hiking trails, playgrounds, a swimming pool, several fantastic beaches, and a pair of boat launches leading to the Niagara river and Lake Ontario. Historic Fort Niagara is also located within the park, whose museum can be toured and explored. All in all, Youngstown is an excellent beach town destination for families looking to not only view the majestic falls but also take advantage of the town’s waterfront culture. 

Hammonsport, New York - Champlin Beach 

Keuka Lake surrounded by green trees during the summertime.
Keuka Lake is surrounded by green trees during the summertime. Image credit antsdrone via Shutterstock.

Known for its proximity to a variety of vineyards and wineries, Hammondsport is a quiet yet alluring beach town settled at the southern point of Keuka Lake. Named from the Iroquois word that means “Canoe Landing”, this serene “Y” shaped body of water is the third largest Finger Lake and is perfect for sailing, kayaking, or simply relaxing lakeside with breathtaking views. Nearby, tourists will find world-class wineries such as Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars and Pleasant Valley Wine Company & Great Western Winery (famously founded in 1860), perfect for touring and tasting fragrant, local wines. 

For a lifeguard-supervised swim, Hammondsport visitors often flock to Champlin Beach, a gorgeous public hotspot found on Keuka Lake’s southern shore. In addition to swimming in the glistening lake, there are scenic picnic areas, as well as jet ski and kayak rentals available at Keuka Watersports. With so much to see and do, visitors often like to stay in Hammondsport overnight to truly make the most of their trip. Places like Keuka Lakeside Inn (a charming 17-room accommodation) offer stunning lakeside views for those looking to surround themselves in tranquil bliss for a longer stay. 

Lake Placid, New York - Mirror Lake Beach 

A view of Lake Placid on a sunny autumn day as seen by looking south west from the summit of Whiteface Mountain in Adirondack National Park, Upper New York
A view of Lake Placid from the summit of Whiteface Mountain in Adirondack National Park. Image credit Bob Pool via Shutterstock.

Nestled in the picturesque Adirondack Mountains, Lake Placid is an extremely popular New York beach town destination, known for its beautiful sights, fresh mountain air, and pristine beaches. Lake Placid Public Beach, for example, is one of the town’s favored sandy shores, with locals and visitors flocking to swim and wade the stunning Mirror Lake. With a heavenly mountain backdrop, the beach’s pier is perfect to push off for kayaking, paddle boarding, and canoeing. 

For those looking to enjoy the serene sights from land, there is also a 2.7-mile walkable loop around the lake, ideal for a casual, scenic cycle or stroll. After working up an appetite, visitors can make their way to Lake Placid’s Main Street for an array of dining options, including places like The Boat Tasting Room, whose craft beverages pair perfectly with their specialty brick oven pizzas. Lake Placid is by far one of the most stunning New York beach towns, worthy of being added to any New York travel list.

Long Beach, New York - Ocean Beach Park 

Aerial view of Long Island in New York, USA. It is the westernmost residential and commercial neighborhood of the New York City borough of Queens.
Aerial view of Long Island with beachfront. Image credit Roman Babakin via Shutterstock.

Found on the south coast of Long Island, Long Beach is a beautiful barrier island with a spectacular history and lively local culture, inviting people from all around. Historically, Long Beach lured large crowds of vacationers and travelers with the introduction of the 1882 railroad and promoted itself as a resort town. Today, the town’s popularity and tourism continue to thrive. 

The town is home to incredible coastal attractions like Ocean Beach Park, whose 4-mile white, sandy beachfront boasts spectacular access to the Atlantic Ocean. The beach also features a lovely 2.2-mile boardwalk ideal for a sun-kissed stroll, or even a scenic bike ride, as it pleasantly sections off a path for cyclists. Along the boardwalk visitors also can stop at locally beloved places like Beach Burger for a taste of beachfront favorites: fresh-cut fries, stacked burgers, and cooling ice cream cones. With a rich history of hosting guests, Long Beach and its many attractions know how to draw a crowd.

Cape May, New Jersey - Cape May Beach 

unset at Cove Beach while vacationing at Cape May, Shows a boat reading "Cape May"
Cape May, New Jersey. Image credit Marge Sudol via Shutterstock.

Found at the southernmost edge of New Jersey, you will find Cape May: a laid-back beach town that welcomes locals and visitors–whether that be solo travelers, couples, or families–to take part in their festive and spirited community year-round. The town has welcomed crowds since the mid-18th century when it acted as a seaside resort town, and today it still boasts the same beautiful beaches whose shores drew visitors so long ago. With a range of accommodation options (and a range of budgets), including luxury beachside hotels, or cozy, storybook campgrounds, Cape May has an array of overnight possibilities for any type of traveler, many of which are within walking distance of the beach. 

Although the beaches are separated by various names, Cape May Beach (an approximately 2.5-mile-long stretch running parallel to Beach Avenue) is just one impressive stretch of sand and shoreline. Each uniquely named beach welcomes its guests to swim, beach comb, surf, picnic, kayak, and take in the sun. All things considered, Cape May is one New York Beach destination you will not want to skip. 

Greenport, Long Island -  Gull Pond Beach 

Greenport is known as a tourst location but the history of Greenport is deep in shipbuilding!
Aerial view of Greenport, Long Island. Image credit Ray Larsen via Shutterstock.

Historically, the quaint town of Greenport once thrived as a whaling and maritime construction community, but today this charming beach town is considered an enchanting summer destination for those looking to enjoy a more quiet and secluded beach getaway. Located in Suffolk County on the northern fork of Long Island, the town is beloved for attractions like Mitchell Park, a beautiful harborside setting known for its darling antique carousel from the 1920s. Then, just a short walk away you will find an array of shops, markets, cafes, and dining opportunities to explore. Popular places like PORT Waterfront Bar and Grill offer seaside dining, refreshing cocktails, local wines, and freshly caught local seafood. 

Of course, no beach town getaway is complete without a trip to the town’s sandy shores; while a fair amount of the town’s beaches are private, there are some wonderful public hotspots. Greenport’s Norman E. Klipp Park, for example, is home to Gull Pond Beach, a large family-friendly site equipped with playgrounds, picnic areas, on-duty lifeguards during the summer, and plenty of room for fishing, kayaking, and swimming. 

Shelter Island, New York - Wades Beach 

Looking across the bay at the docked boats on Shelter Island. In front is the fire rescue speed boat that is tied up onto the pier.
On the Bay of Shelter Island. Image credit Jaclyn Vernace via Shutterstock.

For those looking to embrace the ultimate secluded beach getaway in New York, Shelter Island is your ticket to a relaxing beach vacation away from the stresses of everyday life. Located on the eastern side of Long Island, Shelter Island may be small in size (around 27 square miles) but its kind locals, stunning views, and incredible outdoor recreation prove that even the smallest beach towns have some of the greatest opportunities to build lasting memories. It is worth noting that the island, known for its spectacular natural sights and water recreation, can only be accessed by ferry. With this, you have the choice between two different towns to depart from: Greenport, or North Haven (both of which accommodate cars and walk-on travelers). 

Upon arrival, to truly experience the island’s generous tranquility, Wades Beach is a favorite spot for locals and visitors alike, especially families. In addition to being supervised by lifeguards, the beach is favored for its gentle waves and shallow swimming sections, perfect for youngsters or less experienced swimmers. Visitors can find these pristine sandy shores on the south side of the island, waiting to be enjoyed–whether that means remaining on the sand for a day of sunbathing, wading the refreshing waters, or kayaking the calm waves.

Newport, Rhodes Island - Easton's Beach

Castle Hill lighthouse. Castle Hill lighthouse has been guiding mariners into Narragansett Bay since 1890.
Castle Hill Lighthouse in Newport. Image credit Solipsezm via Shutterstock.

From its majestic coastal scenery to its historically significant architecture, Newport, Rhodes Island is a New York beach town every visitor should add to their list of “must-see'' locations. Located at the mouth of Narragansett Bay, Newport features a range of beaches and natural landscapes that come alive during the summer months, with favored spots like Easton Beach on Memorial Boulevard. Known for being Easton’s largest beach, here tourists can stroll the nearly 1 mile of white sandy shores, explore the spirited boardwalk, and enjoy the sounds and sights of the Atlantic’s crashing waves. For a bite to eat, Easton’s Beach Snackbar is famous for its delectable lobster rolls and invites visitors to indulge in the memorable flavors. 

To witness Newport’s impressive history, there are the town’s many architectural marvels. Once a resort town in the late 1800s to 1900s (during the Gilded Age), a range of awe-inspiring mansions were built in Newport as summer homes for famous names such as the Vanderbilt family. Today, several of these fantastic structures can be toured, including the opulent and breathtaking Marble House (built in 1892 by William Vanderbilt), an incredible architectural landmark reflecting the town’s fascinating past.


From its sandy beaches to its historical coastal attractions, the state of New York offers a rich infusion of beach culture waiting to be explored. While many travelers may associate New York with its famous capital city, consider traveling off the beaten path to one of these serene beach towns to witness the state’s hidden gems and their unique offerings. With friendly locals, enchanting accommodations, and bewitching views, these beach communities have something for every traveler!

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