As a native New Yorker and a lover of the ocean and all things surfing, finding the perfect spot to catch a wave is essential. Luckily, New York City is home to several great surf spots that are sure to satisfy any surfer’s cravings. I’ve put together a guide to the best beaches to Surf near New York City, so you can catch some waves without having to travel too far. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, there’s a surf spot for everyone, from Rockaway Beach to Montauk, and everything in between.
Rockaway Beach (Surfline)
Located in Queens, Rockaway Beach is a top pick for surfers in the area. It is one of the most popular and closest surf spots near New York City, and for good reason. With consistent waves and a laid-back vibe, it’s a great place to catch a ride.
The beach is easily accessible via car, bus, or subway, making it a popular destination for city-dwellers. Surf lessons are available if you’re just starting out, and there are plenty of surf shops and board rentals nearby.
Rockaway Beach, with a variety of breaks and consistent waves, is the perfect spot for surfers of all skill levels. If you’re new to the area, I recommend surfing at 67th street where the waves are gentle, and the crowds are smaller. However, if you’re more experienced and looking for a challenge, head to 90th street where the waves can get big and powerful.
Rockaway was one of my favorite breaks right out of college because you can enjoy a great day of surfing with friends and then can walk right to Connolly’s Bar and drink into the night.
For those looking for a true surfing adventure, Montauk is the spot for you. If you’re willing to make the trek out to the tip of Long Island, Montauk is a must-visit for any surfer. It’s a bit of a drive from the city, but well worth it.
With a variety of breaks and a reputation as the surfing capital of the East Coast, it’s no wonder why so many flock to this spot. Ditch Plains (surfline) is a popular destination, with waves that can reach up to 10 feet on a good day. The water can get chilly, so make sure to bring a wetsuit.
Montauk is my home break and I have been surfing there for over 30 years. Dawn Patrol prior to first light is the time to get out in the water. It gets crowded early and is not very friendly to visitors. Even though I was a beach lifeguard in Montauk I still get looks of disdain from other local surfers. In the old days I would surf all day and welcome newcomers with a warm grin. Now that I have a real job and can only surf on the weekends and two weeks a summer, I get told to go home on a regular basis. Forget the negativity and enjoy the clean long consistent waves.
Long Beach (Surfline)
Located on Long Island, Long Beach (Surfline) is a great option for those looking for a more low-key surfing experience. Less than an hour’s drive or an hour LIRR ride from the city. Long Beach is a popular spot for surfers looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. The beach is less crowded than some of the other spots on this list, and there are plenty of amenities nearby.
With a 2.2-mile-long boardwalk and a variety of surf breaks, it’s a great spot for surfers of all levels. Beginners should start at the west end of the beach where the waves are more forgiving, while more experienced surfers can head to the east end for larger, more challenging waves.
One of my closest surf buddies, who I have surfed with for more than 20 years got married and had kids, he moved to Long Beach as it is a great surf spot plus an excellent place to raise a family. Surf all day and then bike ride around the neighborhood to hang with all the other families. My two favorite surf spots are Lincoln (Surfline) or Washington, but like most other places near the city I recommend getting there early and enjoying the waves.
Fire Island (Surfline)
Also located on Long Island, Fire Island (Surfline) is another popular spot for surfers in NYC. With several breaks and consistent waves, it’s a great spot for surfers of all levels. The beach is accessible only by ferry, which adds to its charm and keeps the crowds down. If you’re new to the area, head to the central part of the beach where the waves are more forgiving, while more experienced surfers can head to the western end for larger, more challenging waves.
I have never surfed at Fire Island, but many friends have said it has a welcoming surf community and a great night life, so I had to add it to the list.
Ponquogue Beach (Hamptons.com Link)
Ponquogue Beach, located in Hampton Bays (Surfline), Long Island, is a popular spot for surfers looking to catch some waves. If you’re willing to make the trek, Ponquogue is a great sandbar that is more than an hour closer to the city than Montauk. While you can surf year-round, the summer months tend to have smaller and more inconsistent waves, so it’s not the best time for surfing. In addition, the beach tends to be more crowded in the summer, so it’s better to avoid the peak season if you can. Ponquogue Beach is a great spot for surfers of all levels, with a variety of waves, consistent conditions, it’s a great spot to spend a day or a weekend. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, Ponquogue Beach has something to offer.
When I am staying closer to Ponguogue than Montauk I am incredibly happy to surf there. There is a great sandbar that has been there for years. Other than the great long waves, this is the friendliest crowd I have surfed on Long Island. I usually catch some great waves while making some new friends. During the summer, after a long surf session, I always enjoy stopping off at the Hamlet for a quick caffeine fix so I can push through the day without having to nap.
NYC Surfing Conclusion
While NYC may not be known for its surfing, there are plenty of options for those looking to catch a wave. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, there’s a spot for you. From Rockaway Beach to Montauk, the area offers a variety of breaks and consistent waves that are sure to satisfy any surfer’s cravings. So, grab your board, wax it up, and hit the waves at one of these great surf spots near New York City.