Significantly less hectic than nearby Coney Island (though both the beach and the boardwalk are worth a visit), Manhattan Beach is an excellent option if you want the sand-and-ocean experience without having to go too far outside the city, to say, Fire Island or Asbury. There are basketball courts and lots of space for picnicking and barbecuing—plus, there’s usually a Mr. Softee ice-cream truck parked at the entrance. Keep in mind that it’s a bit of a walk from the Sheepshead Bay Q-train station, so pack as light as possible.

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