Ok, it’s only February. It’s the official month for lovers! However, summer is five months away. One may think that summer is a long way away, but it’ll be here sooner than expected. There is simply nothing like summer on the east coast of the United States. It’s fair to say that the east coast is the best coast. Simply, it’s the best coast with the best beaches. From Boston to Miami, there are a handful of beaches which Amtrak travelers should put on their 2021 must-do list. Each and every one of these beaches feature a unique flavor, unique sights, unique sounds, and frequented by some of the most unique people to cross paths with. Each and every one of these beaches are accessible by Amtrak with connections to area commuter rail carriers making the commute all the more beach goer-friendly. This is more than just a breakdown. This is a pre-summer preview for all Amtrak travelers. This is the breakdown which will give Amtrak travelers visions of salt water and sun tan lotion dancing in their heads. It’s “All aboard!” for these top 5 Amtrak east coast beaches.

5) Pleasure Beach (Boston, MA): Pleasure Beach is located on William J. Day Boulevard in Boston. Conveniently connected to City Point Beach and Castle Island, there is space for strolling, relaxing, and benches lining the walkway for taking in the views. The beach is perfect for runners, walkers, dog walkers, or anyone looking to enjoy a stroll. At best, the beach has a pleasant view, connected to a park area. The walk to the water is gradual on the coarse pebbled sand. The waves are gentle to non-existent. Pleasure Beach is the largest beach in the Castle Island area and is more convenient to Castle Island amenities than City Point Beach. Pleasure Beach is located just 7 minutes away from the heart of downtown Boston and South Station. South Station is served by the Northeast Regional service, Acela Express, and Lake Shore Limited. North Station is served by the Downeaster

4) Coney Island Beach (Brooklyn, NY): Coney Island offers an ideal summer breakaway from the hectic and steamy city. With nearly 3 miles of sandy beaches, Coney Island’s sunny skies and rolling waves make for the perfect getaway. If being active at the beach is a train traveler’s idea of fun than just catching some rays, Coney Island also offers exciting recreation opportunities. Note: No visit to Coney Island is complete without a visit to the historic “Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs”. It is the sight of the annual 4th of July Hot Dog Eating Contest. The hot dogs are cooking from morning to evening, daily. Coney Island is New York City subway-accessible. Amtrak passengers can hop aboard the B, D, or F subway at 34th Street-Herald Square, home to the historic Macy’s department store. Herald Square is located one block west of New York’s Penn Station.

3) Sandy Hook Gunnison Beach (Atlantic Highlands, NJ): Gunnison Beach is a beach within the Sandy Hook Unit known as the Gateway National Recreation Area. Located on New Jersey’s Atlantic coast, it is situated in Atlantic Highlands on federal land run by the National Park Service. Gunnison Beach is New Jersey’s clothing-optional beach. It’s not only New Jersey’s only legal clothing-optional beach, it is the largest clothing-optional beach in the northeastern United States. Gunnison Beach takes its name from the adjacent Battery Gunnison, which visitors pass on their way onto and off the beach. How popular is Gunnison Beach? It is indeed so popular, it is visited by beach goers from as far south as the Carolinas. Families, teenagers, and college-age adults alike flock to Gunnison Beach to get away from the bustling urban life of New York City, Hoboken, and Jersey City. Aside from urban life, Gunnison Beach is the perfect getaway from the stresses of everyday local life. On a clear day, the view of the Verrazano Bridge and the New York City skyline is indescribable. It is a picture worth a thousand words. The parking fee is $15.00 per car. The closest New Jersey Transit station is Middletown, on the North Jersey Coast Line. The North Jersey Coast Line originates and terminates in New York Penn Station and Hoboken, with connections to the PATH trains at Newark Penn Station. The cab ride to Gunnison Beach is approximately 20 minutes. The Sea Streak Ferry ride from Wall Street is 45 minutes to Atlantic Highlands, with shuttle buses taking beach goers to and from the beach parking lot (Lot G). 

2) Virginia Beach (Norfolk, VA): Virginia Beach, a coastal city in southeastern Virginia, lies where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. When they say that Virginia is for lovers, Virginia Beach is for lovers and beach lovers, too. A 3-mile boardwalk stretches along its beach-lined oceanfront. The  First Landing State Park marks the 1607 arrival of the Jamestown colonists from England. The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center exhibits ocean life including sharks, rays, and sea turtles. Virginia Beach is a quick 20-minute drive from downtown Norfolk and Amtrak’s Norfolk Station. Norfolk is served by Amtrak’s Northeast Regional service.

1) Haulover Beach (Miami Beach, FL): Haulover Park is a 177-acre urban park owned and operated by Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation & Open Spaces Department located in metropolitan Miami, just minutes north of Bal Harbour. The northern half-mile of the 1.5-mile shoreline is the clothing-optional beach officially recognized and approved by the government of Miami-Dade County. The clothing-optional area features lifeguards and a food and umbrella rental concession. It is the largest clothing-optional beach in the United States and attracts 1.3 million visitors per year. Haulover Beach is a 14-minute drive south of Hollywood, home to famous Hollywood Beach, the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk, and the Margaritaville Beach Resort. Haulover Beach is a 29-minute drive from Amtrak’s Miami Station. Miami is served by the Silver Star and Silver Meteor. Tri-Rail operates out of the Miami International Airport Station, stopping at Hollywood and Golden Glades. Haulover Beach is a quick 16 minute drive from Golden Glades. 

The countdown to summer is underway. Summer is just five months away. As they say, “Time flies while having fun!”. Confidently, the Coronavirus should be well on its way out of sight. The infection rate should be near zero, a number long awaited by millions of Americans. Where there is a beach, there is always a train that goes there. Boston is home to Pleasure Beach-a hop, skip, and a jump from the vibrant downtown area. In New York City, Coney Island Beach is a quick subway ride from 34th Street-Herald Square. On the New Jersey Shore, Sandy Hook’s Gunnison Beach is the gateway to old fashion fun, sun, collecting sea shells, and beach volleyball all day long. Virginia Beach holds the Amtrak travelers and beach goers’ ticket to the haven for lovers, sea food, and a lifetime of family memories. Last but not least, Miami welcomes Amtrak travelers and beach goers to the non-stop fun at Haulover Beach. It is the perfect setting for just strolling along the surf or satisfying the soul in an au-naturel state of mind. Wherever the beach craze or the travel bug may lead, Amtrak is the way to arriving seaside in style. Wherever the waves are calling, an Amtrak conductor will always be calling “All board!”. 

 

About Author

David Kriso has been a travel writer since August 2011. He is a contributing writer for both of his hometown's newspapers, The Gazette, and The Observer. His articles focus on cruise and railroad travel. David is also published online at ProwsEdge.com, a cruise magazine based in Vancouver, Canada and at Amtrak's story site, Whistlestop.Amtrak.com. David also writes for the publication Examiner.com. On Examiner.com, he writes about cruise and rail travel. David is a long-time train traveler, avid cruiser, and a Disney traveler since age 4.

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