Above, Coney Island.
Heat and humidity are a fact of life during New York summers, but the many beautiful beaches around the City are reason enough to get you out of the air-conditioning and into the surf. Yes, really, they exist! From Brighton Beach in the concrete jungle to the sweet shores of Montauk, the options for getting your splash on can be overwhelming—especially with the 4th of July weekend giving you major itinerary anxiety. That's why we checked in with three of the of the coolest surf shops around—Mollusk Surf Shop, Rockaway Beach Surf Shop, and Bunger Surf Shop—to get the scoop on the best sand, best waves, and best grub, so you have lots of great places to cool off all weekend (and summer) long. Now, about that bathing suit…
Click through for NYC's best beach secrets
Above, Fire Island.
What are your favorite beaches around the city?
Mollusk: "Brighton Beach and Coney Island—they're classic New York beaches."
Mollusk Surf Shop, 210 Kent Avenue (between Metropolitan Avenue and North 3rd street); 718-218-7456.
Rockaway Beach Surf Shop (RBSS): "Rockaway Beach is best because it's beautiful, quiet, not packed, not hard to get to, and everyone is friendly and knows each other. You go to the beach—that's why you live in Rockaway."
Rockaway Beach Surf Shop, 177 Beach 116th Street (between Rockway Beach Boulevard and Ocean Promenade Walkway); Queens; 718-474-9345.
Bunger Surf Shop (BSS): "Gilgo beach in Babylon; all of the Montauk Beaches, especially Ditch Plains; all of the Fire Island beaches; and Ocean Beach.
Sunken Fires [on Fire Island], because you can't get there easily or even by ferry. You have to walk through this bay carrying all the stuff you have overhead, and then hike down this wooden path to get there."
Bunger Surf & Sports, 50 East Main Street #A (between Deer Park Avenue and Totten Place); Babylon; 631-661-1526.
Above, Coney Island.
Where's the best beach food?
Mollusk: "Any hot-dog truck by the beach, particularly Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs in Coney Island."
RBSS: "The Wharf—It's always bustling, it's on the water, and great bands play there on the weekends."
The Wharf, 416 Beach 116th Street (between Beach Channel Drive and Rockaway Beach Boulevard); Far Rockaway; 718-474-8807.
Rockaway Taco: "Everyone in Rockaway loves the fish tacos, and there's always a long line there from the minute it opens up."
Rockaway Taco, 95-19 Rockaway Beach Boulevard (between Beach 96th Street and Cross Bay Boulevard); Seaside; 347-213-7466.
RSS: "Gilgo Beach Inn for cheeseburgers, pizza rolls, fries, and beer. The place has a good bar and bands play there a lot."
Gilgo Beach Inn, 1 Ocean Parkway; Babylon; 516-785-9634.
Above, image via Mollusk Surf Shop.
What are the best surfing spots?
Mollusk: "90th Street in Rockaway has the most fantastic waves in all of New York."
RBSS: “92nd Street."
BSS: "We can't reveal our secret spots!"
When's the best time to hit the beach?
Mollusk: "Midday will give you the best bronze while you're surfing."
RBSS: "Morning, because it's quieter and you have the pick of the beach."
BSS: "Morning is quieter and a little nicer if you're just trying to enjoy the beach, but afternoon is best for the party scene."