Too Broke For The Hamptons: Local Beaches

by CHRISTINE CHUNG · July 30, 2010

According to a Zagat survey, New Yorkers are broke homebodies. Let's face it, the Hamptons on the cheap just ain't worth it. A lackluster alternative is staying at home, watching endless reruns of The Real Housewives and perfecting your 'Twilight' pallor.


To save some face, head out to one of the many prime beaches nearby, soak up some sun and give faking that post-Hamptons vacay glow your best shot.

Near and far, there's a wide selection of sandy beaches, from upstate NY to suburb-ville Connecticut. Commutes are no longer than 2 hours, tops. We've compiled a list of some of our favorite beach excursions...

1. Long Beach, NY

Deets: A five-mile stretch of beach paradise along the south shore of Long Island. It's a tried and true destination of surfers, who make the trek religiously for the surprisingly daunting waves. After you've paid your dues and collected some enviable tan lines, rent a bike from Buddy's Bike, and cruise along the kitschy boardwalk, or nosh on a crab cake hoagie at Yard House.

Travel: Long Island Rail Road from Penn Station, 55 minutes.

Fees: Beach admission, $7.

2. Fire Island, NY

Deets: As cars are banned, Fire island is an exhaust-free haven ideal full of bikes and wagons. It's an ideal destination for New Yorkers in need of some R&R, and a breath of fresh sea air. This more down-to-earth version of the Hamptons is sectioned off into several distinctive areas, from the gay mecca that is Cherry Grove, the exclusive, gated Point O' Woods, to hotspot Ocean Beach. Start your day off on the right foot with syrup-drenched blueberry pancakes at Rachel's, and explore the island's beautiful dunes.

Travel: Long Island Rail Road from Penn Station to the ferry, 2.5 hours.

Fees: Ferry, $14 Mon.-Fri., $9.50 Sat.-Sun. $14, roundtrip. Free beach admission.

3. Jones Beach, NY

Deets: It's most famous for its annual concert series, with headline acts like Rihanna and Kesha this summer drawing hordes of people from all over the country. Overshadowed by comparison are the four miles of bike paths, and a pristine Olympic-size pool. If you get bored of the beach, get your mini-golf on at the 18 hole course, or. indulge your seafood habit at the Fisherman's Catch. Here's a fun fact...The brothers Baldwin (Alec, and .... those other ones) used to be lifeguards here!

Travel: LIRR from Penn Station to Freeport, transfer to Jones Beach shuttle bus, 1 hour.

Fees: Round-trip train/bus package deal, $15 (Manhattan, Brooklyn), $11 Jamaica. Beach admission: $8 daily in summer, $59 for a season pass.

4. Manhattan Beach, NY

Deets: This ridiculously close destination flanking Coney Island is nestled in Brooklyn. Known as Coney Island's classier sister, it's clean, convenient, and relatively quiet (even on the weekends!). An ideal way to escape the oppressive summer heat, it may not be the most picturesque, but the ease more than makes up for it.

Travel: B, Q to Brighton Beach, B1 Bus to Oriental Blvd. 1 hour.

Fees:$2 subway. Free beach admission.

5. Calf Pasture Beach, Norwalk CT

Deets: To really give a day-trip that luxurious vacation feel, there's nothing like heading to the suburbs. Norwalk's Calf Pasture Beach is 33 acres of sandy strip. It's a sports enthusiast's paradise, kitted out with everything from softball fields to volleyball courts. Rent a boat and get your sail on, a la Zac Efron, or tone those biceps with some kayaking. Then, be prepared for serious carbo-loading at the popular concession stand.

Travel: Metronorth to East Norwalk. 1 hour.

Fees: $24.70 RT Peak, $18.52 RT Off-Peak. Beach admission $7-11.

6. Todd's Point, Greenwich CT

Deets: For your dose of suburbia, there's none other than Greenwich's Todd's Point. On the weekends, it's packed to bursting with Vineyard Vine-clad families, but this makes for prime people watching. Pack a picnic and hang out in the tree-filled enclave past the concession stand, or explore the Point on its meandering walking trails.

Travel: Metronorth to Old Greenwich. 1 hour.

Fees: $20.42 RT Peak, $15.42 RT Off-Peak. Beach admission is $5, and daily parking passes are $20.

Who says the Hamptons are a must to get your Baywatch on Pack up your most indecent swimwear, pile on the sunscreen, and you're ready to go!

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