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Healthy Hot Spots

A Health Coach’s Guide to NYC Beaches

by Marissa on June 16, 2017

Guide to NYC Beaches | Health Coach Marissa Vicario

During the Summer, the beach is my favorite place to be. It’s no secret I’ve visited many of the city’s beaches and scoped out some of the healthiest places to eat and drink. Here are a few of my favorite NYC Beaches and my expert tips for a healthy beach-going experience. 

Guide to NYC Beaches | Health Coach Marissa Vicario

Rockaway Beach: The Rockaways, Queens 

What I love: Hands-down this is my favorite beach. It has a laid back vibe, plenty to do and see and is easy enough to get to using public transportation. 

How to get there: I prefer driving, because parking is fairly easy to find, but you can take the A train and there’s a ferry that leaves from Pier 11 on Wall Street for the same price as the subway. However you decide to travel, it takes just shy of an hour. 

What’s not so great: Crowded is an understatement. 

Guide to NYC Beaches | Marissa Vicario Health Coach

Healthy eats: The concessions are one of the best things at The Rockaways. The two biggest can be found at The Riis Park Beach Bazaar and the other is at Beach 97th Street. You’ll find healthier options like Young Thai coconuts, dark chocolate-dipped frozen fruit on a stick, yucca fries, tacos and gluten-free arepas among the usual beach fare like burgers and fries and lobster rolls.

Don’t miss it: Take a short jaunt inland to Rockaway Beach Surf Club for tacos, guac and cocktails – or fresh coconut water and cukes – thick slices of cucumber, mango and jicama smothered in chili and lime. THE BEST!! 

Guide to NYC Beaches | Health Coach Marissa Vicario

Long Beach: Long Beach, NY

What I love: For the longest time, as far as I was concerned, this was the only beach worth going to. Over time, other area beaches have become more appealing and easier to access, but Long Beach is certainly one of the cleanest. 

How to get there: The LIRR is the fastest and most direct. During the Summer, the beach package will get you to and from Penn Station and onto the beach for around $27. It takes about 1 hour each way. 

What’s not so great: No drinking on the beach and this is strictly enforced by the police who will ticket you. During peak hours, you may be hard-pressed to find a seat on the train.

Guide to NYC Beaches | Marissa Vicario Health Coach

Healthy eats: There are many restaurants in Long Beach, but not all are within walking distance to the beach. Beach-goers can peruse the unimpressive row of fast food-like restaurants that lie between the beach and the train station, many of which deliver to the beach. However, the better option may be to bring your own food or check out the new Shoregasboard, a food truck parking lot where you can pick up sandwiches, tacos and hot dogs among which the healthiest may be NY Acai which serves up smoothies and acai bowls. 

Don’t miss it: Stop by Hotel Allegria, a “luxury” beach-front hotel on the boardwalk, for a sunset cocktail. Chances are you’ll catch a glimpse of a wedding party taking pre-ceremony photos. 

Guide to NYC Beaches | Health Coach Marissa Vicario

Sandy Hook: Sandy Hook, NJ

What I love: Just a short ferry-ride away, you’ll find the Gateway National Recreation Area of Sandy Hook. I only know about this beach because I did a triathlon here several years ago. If vast, open space and thinner crowds are what you’re looking for, Sandy Hook is your beach.

How to get there: The ferry is the best bet from Manhattan, unless you’re driving. If so, parking in Sandy Hook is plentiful, but not free at $15 per car. The beach itself, however, is free. The $45 round-trip ferry leaves from your choice of East 35th or Wall Street in Manhattan and just under an hour later you’ll arrive in Sandy Hook where free shuttle buses will drop you at the beach of your choice.

What’s not so great: If you like people-watching and a fun atmosphere, you won’t get it here. When we went, the shuttles were unable to handle the ferry-load so we ended up walking to the closest beach which was a hike. 

Healthy eats: There are a few food trucks in the parking lot selling hot dogs, pizza and burgers, but healthy options are few and far between. If you want healthy food, bring your own. 

Don’t miss it: If you get the chance to do so, roam around the park grounds, home to batteries and historic Army buildings. Check out the Sandy Hook Lighthouse, the oldest surviving lighthouse, which currently serves as the Visitor’s Center.  

Guide to NYC Beaches | Health Coach Marissa Vicario

Long Branch: Long Branch, NJ

What I love: Quite possibly the liveliest beach with plentiful restaurants and shopping on site at Pier Village, Long Branch is such a cute beach town that you may be tempted to stay all weekend. 

How to get there: Though you can take a New Jersey Transit bus, the best way is by car. Expect a 90-minute drive from the city with some traffic. Valet parking is available on arrival and daily beach passes cost $7 on weekends. 

What’s not so great: The restaurants tend to be expensive and the beach gets crowded. 

Guide to NYC Beaches | Marissa Vicario Health Coach

Healthy eats: There are plenty of healthy options at the nearby restaurants and beach cafes. We ate lunch outside at the beachfront Avenue Restuarant which had plenty of salads. Playa Bowls has an incredible selection of superfood smoothies, Acai bowls, juices and more for a more casual, beachy option. I would need an entire summer to work my way through their menu of refreshing bowls. 

Don’t miss it: Spring for a beach rental. Chairs and umbrellas are available for $10/day each, which is so much better than hauling your own chairs or laying your towel down on the sand. 

With all this talk about NYC beaches, it’s imperative to make sure your beach excursions are as healthy as possible. Follow these tips to have a healthy beach experience: 

One // Sunscreen: Wear sunscreen with at least a 15 sun protection factor (spf), but more is better. Choose sunscreen that is free of phthalates, parabens and other harmful chemicals. Look for UVA protection.  

Two // Pack your own snacks: While there may be some healthier options at these beaches, it’s best to be prepared with your own healthy snacks. Things like fruit, nuts, hummus and crudite. Use a cooler bag to keep things fresh. 

Three // Hydrate: Being in the heat requires lots of water. Be sure to stay hydrated with water and coconut water. 




Notes from the Weekend: Bar Method Teacher Training

March 13, 2017
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These posts typically re-cap my weekend adventures from workouts to brunch and even some travel. With that in mind, I can’t say this weekend was like any other I’ve ever experienced. It may not have been the kind of weekend that would excite most people, but to me, it was not only exciting but also challenging […]

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Socially Driven: Exploring My Healthy New York City with Mercedes Benz

March 3, 2017
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This year, I celebrate 13 years living in New York City. THIRTEEN years!! To say I’ve always been in love with this city would be untrue. It has tried my patience and my sanity, but it will always have my heart.  When I moved here, I had no intention of staying as long as I […]

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Matcha Lattes at Cha Cha Matcha

August 24, 2016
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I’m not sure which came first, my love of matcha lattes or my love of Cha Cha Matcha, an adorable and kitschy matcha cafe nestled in the heart of Nolita on Broome St. It was a sunny Saturday morning when my husband and I had just finished up breakfast at nearby Two Hands that we […]

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Notes from the Weekend: The Rockaways, Jacob Riis Beach

July 25, 2016
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As the heat index climbed to 100 this weekend, we knew it was time to head toward the beach and escape the city concrete. If you’re not part of the mass exodus to The Hamptons, the beach is your next best option. I’ve always favored Long Beach, a private beach accessible by the Long Island […]

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Showing Up

September 28, 2015
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Lately I’ve been thinking about “showing up” and how I “show up” in my life both personally and professionally.  Living in a fast-paced city like New York, there are a lot of opportunities and invitations. I can’t possibly attend everything, but I try to be really mindful about what I do commit to.  And when I’ve […]

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Healthy Hot Spot: Cevich

February 7, 2015
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  Living in Lower Manhattan for the past six years was glorious but it posed it’s challenges when it came to options for a quick and healthy meal on-the-go. If we wanted that quick and healthy meal to be delivered? Good luck.  Now that we’ve moved, the options seem limitless. Of course, I’m still a big fan of […]

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Healthy Hot Spot: A Healthy Juice Bar in Miami {The Juice Spot}

June 15, 2014
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Until now I’ve limited my healthy hot spot posts to Manhattan, but I just had to share this gem of a healthy juice bar in Miami David and I found on a recent trip there. In desperate need of some R&R (and Vitamin D!), David and I ventured down to Miami for Memorial Day weekend. […]

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Healthy Hot Spot: Jack’s Wife Freda

January 23, 2014
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I have to be honest, for two whole years the SoHo cafe Jack’s Wife Freda has been on my never ending wish list of NYC restaurants to try– the name alone makes it intriguing —  but for whatever reason I kept missing it. Luckily, I had the chance to go  last weekend with Women Who Brunch and […]

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