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What to Do Near Rockaway Beach (That Isn’t Going to the Beach)

Because there ARE other things to do.

By / May 23, 2018
   Twenty20
   Twenty20

Surfing, swimming, and sunlight await city-dwelling New Yorkers on Rockaway Beach every summer. Overheated humans in every borough come to the very end of the A train for some crisp ocean breezes and a respite from the humid city streets.

But that far-out-there location is both a blessing and a…well, a slight frustration. Sure, new beachside restaurants and shopping came along with the boardwalk renovations after Hurricane Sandy, but there are only so many overpriced beers you can have on the crowded waterfront before you ask yourself, “What else is there?”

Don’t worry: There’s plenty. Next time you tire of the beautiful beach and want some local fun, follow our guide to these rad things to do around Rockaway Beach.

Do some shopping at Zingara Vintage

FAR ROCKAWAY, QUEENS

The only thing better than heading home from the beach smelling like sunscreen and salt is heading home with a sweet vintage find in hand. Zingara Vintage on Beach 91st Street is filled with quirky pieces you won’t find at Manhattan vintage stores — and, although it’s priced like a curated vintage store and not a thrift shop, the prices are still lower than you’ll find in Manhattan.

The owner, Erin Silvers, drives her van to estate sales and private homes for some of the coolest, most unexpected items. Think cartoon-branded beach towels from the ’80s and gorgeous printed jumpsuits from the ’70s — basically, everything you need to look awesome for your next trip down to the water.

Get a cheap frozen drink at Connolly’s

FAR ROCKAWAY, QUEENS

If you go to the beach and don’t get a frozen piña colada at Connolly’s afterward, what are you even doing there? This spot in the basement of a beach house is pretty much the definition of a dive bar, with the addition of on-tap frozen drinks at bargain prices. Like, far under $10 prices. They’re pretty strong alone, but get a floater if you want to tap out after one drink.

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Find some old garbage on Glass Bottle Beach

DEAD HORSE BAY, BROOKLYN

Accessible by the Q35 bus from Jacob Riis Park and a nice shady walk, Glass Bottle Beach is the only beach in New York where you’ll be stoked to see a ton of trash. Once a landfill, and before that, home to a horse-processing facility (gross, we know) that gave the bay its name, this beach is covered with glass medicine bottles, creepy doll heads, antique boat remnants, and other old oddities that are totally worth sifting through.

Wear boots, bring gloves, and carry a garbage bag. Even if you don’t want to take anything home, it’s a pretty cool place to dig around that’s unlike anywhere else in the city.

Go on a jet ski ride

FAR ROCKAWAY, QUEENS

Don’t act like you never wanted to ride a jet ski around Manhattan after watching that scene in Hitch. Fulfill your early-2000s rom-com dreams by renting one of your own from Rockaway Jet Ski. Hourly rates are available for taking one out onto the harbor alone, but for an even more scenic excursion, join a tour to sail past Lady Liberty or along the coast at Coney Island. The ocean mist against your skin will cool you off after a hot day on the sand.

Take a class at Rockaway Artists Alliance

FAR ROCKAWAY, QUEENS

This nonprofit arts organization aims to bring art and cultural activities to Rockaway residents of all ages, funding workshops, gallery exhibitions, and art residencies in local public schools. Classes and workshops vary with the seasons, but one class is offered consistently: Every Wednesday at 10am, bring your oils or acrylic paints to the sTudio 6 Gallery in Fort Tilden for a pre-beach painting class. You’ll be supporting an important local institution and making something beautiful at the same time.

Get dinner at Don Peppe

OZONE PARK, QUEENS

Don Peppe is the sort of old-school, family-style Italian spot that’s guaranteed to be delicious, as evidenced by its regulars, whose families have been coming here for decades. From their classic linguine with white clam sauce to their breaded and fried Don Peppe Veal topped with vinegary tomatoes, it’s the perfect spot to stop on your way back on the A train for a meal that’s a lot nicer than a beach burger.

Just make sure you throw on a sundress or a jacket over your beach clothes, and bring cash. There are no tank tops, hats, or credit cards allowed.

Check out the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

BROAD CHANNEL, QUEENS

Home to more than 350 species of birds, this wildlife refuge is a national park and an avian lover’s paradise. Take the Q53 Select Bus at Beach 96th Street for a quick ride over Cross Bay Boulevard, and you’ll be treated to some of the most peaceful nature trails in the city, winding past ponds, marshes, and perhaps some silently gliding kayaks. If you’re looking for the perfect place to watch the sunset over the distant skyline after a day on the beach, you’ve found it.

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By

Quinne Myers is a writer, illustrator, apparel designer, and lingerie industry pundit living in Brooklyn. Loves sweaty concert dancing, eating dessert, feeling feelings, and petting every dog.

More articles by Quinne Myers

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