Embrace the Heat at these Top 5 Summer Escapes

Grandlife guide

Embrace the Heat at these Top 5 Summer Escapes

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We’ll never stop loving New York, but on those hot-as-hell midsummer days, the city can feel a little (or a lot) like a pressure cooker. When the heat descends, it’s time to pack a bag and make for the coastline. From Rockaway to Oyster Bay to the easternmost tip of East Hampton—below, the GrandLife guide to doing summer right.

Shelter Island

Known as the ‘un-Hamptons’ getaway, Shelter Island is an off-the-grid summer destination worth traveling for. Located no more than 100 miles from New York City, and accessible via a short ferry ride from Greenport, Shelter Island, a town and island on the eastern end of Long Island, boasts white sandy beaches and good vibes thanks to charming restaurants, cafes, and fun beach bars. Our favorite spot is Sunset Beach Hotel overlooking the golden sands of Crescent Beach (pictured). Explore the island on bikes before stopping for a swim followed by a late lunch and afternoon drinks at Sunset Beach restaurant just steps from the ocean.

Rockaway Beach, Queens

Surf schools, food shacks, and lots of outdoor sports, Rockaway, located around an hour’s drive from the city, is an excellent day trip. Spend the day beachside with a book and some healthy bites from Brothers Rockaway on the Rockaway Beach Boardwalk before heading to local favorite Tacoway Beach—a bar and taqueria that pays tribute to the waves with surfboards and other memorabilia lining the walls—for an afternoon frozen margarita and fish taco or two.  


Ride the Long Island Rail Road all the way to the end of the line and there at the easternmost tip of East Hampton, you’ll find Montauk, a quaint fisherman village surrounded by raw, glittering coastline that provides the perfect escape from the sticky New York heat. With a year-round population of some 3,000 residents, the sleepy town springs into full force during the summer months with a lively influx of fishermen, surfers, New York scenesters, travelers and holidaymakers in search of golden beaches and good vibes. With its fast-growing popularity, you’d be wise to plan your getaway well in advance. A few of our favorites: Ditch Plains Beach; Montauket for sunset drinks; Duryea’s Lobster Deck; and the Surf Lodge for live music under the summer sky.

Sag Harbor

This postcard-worthy seaside hamlet in Long Island, only two-and-a-half hours from Manhattan, has a laidback community vibe and more than enough beaches, shops, and eateries to satiate your senses. We love Dockside Bar & Grill for the freshest local seafood in a simple yet refined setting with water views and a patio. Local beaches Havens Beach and Foster Beach offer white sand and calm, bay swimming.

Oyster Bay

Located on Long Island’s North Shore, this sleepy seaside village is an off-the-grid beach destination located under an hour’s drive from the city. Pack a picnic and a good book as food and drink options are limited. Here, it’s all about the raw, untouched surrounds—think scenic countryside, golden beaches, and salmon sunsets.

Photography courtesy of Sunset Beach Hotel 

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