Whether you are seeking a totally unique experience, an urban adventure, or just want some local recreation, you can find plenty in NYC and close by.
If you don’t happen to have a pool in your apartment complex, the next best thing is to go to one of the many free outdoor pools in NYC. There is a bounty of these sporting baths in NYC, including several in every borough.
You can find spots to swim indoors, too, if that’s more your style. For a fee, you can swim inside at your nearby YMCA, the Manhattan JCC, Asphalt Green, as well as at some NYC indoor recreation centers.
If sun and sand are more your thing than chlorine and cement, head to one of the many beaches in and around NYC.
Jacob Riis is a favorite among many urbanites. Located in Rockaway, Queens with an Art Deco bathhouse, food stand and a putt-putt golf course, this historic beach on the Atlantic Ocean has something for everyone.
Everyone’s heard of Coney Island, and while the boardwalk is full of tourists, the beach folks are mostly locals. Grab your umbrella, beach chair, and a picnic lunch and spend the day at Coney, located at the end of the D, F, N and Q subway lines in Brooklyn.
Up in the Air
Want to throw yourself off a platform 25 feet in the air? Hudson River Park has an outdoor trapeze school located at Pier 40 and West Houston Street, which runs April through October.
Float along the sky in the basket of a hot air balloon in the Adirondacks. There are plenty of hot air balloon companies in upstate New York vying for your business. Read this guide for the scoop on this type of aerial adventure.
If you want to take a hike, head over to the Palisade Interstate Park in New Jersey. Sitting on the western shore of the Hudson River, the Palisades has the topography for various activities including hiking trails, a nature sanctuary, boat basins, ski trails, uplands, and cliffs.
Meanwhile, the Shawangunk Mountain Region offers 761 miles of trails in the Blue Mountains of Pennsylvania and Kittatinny Mountain in New Jersey. In New York, the “Gunks” reach from the New York-New Jersey line to Rosendale, NY.
If you want a hike, but prefer to stay in NYC, check out some of the best local hiking trails at the Bronx River Greenway, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, and elsewhere. Additionally, Central Park is a popular place for family-friendly hiking. Find the trails in the North Woods for some amazing sights hidden from view in the park proper.
The Riverbank State Park is a public recreational facility high above the Hudson River in Harlem. Riverbank offers a broad array of recreational, athletic and cultural experiences for all age ranges. Riverbank boasts an Olympic-size pool, a covered ice skating rink that doubles as a roller-skating rink in the summer, an 800-seat cultural theater, a 2,500-seat athletic complex complete with a fitness room, and a 150-seat restaurant, Sofrito On the Hudson.
For a completely different sort of adventure, “Wildman” Steve Brill guides those interested in foraging wild plants and wild mushrooms. He gives tours in Central Park in Manhattan, Prospect Park in Brooklyn, Forest Park in Queens, Inwood Hill Park in upper Manhattan, and other spots in the Tri-State area.
Seeking the ultimate indoor playground? Try Chelsea Piers. This sports and entertainment complex sits on 28 acres along the Hudson River between 17th and 23rd Streets and has a vast array of sporting options.
Like to climb? Brooklyn Boulders is a great spot with hybrid rock climbing facilities located in Boerum Hill.
For extreme indoor sports including escape rooms, archery tag, paintball, and laser tag, try Indoor Extreme Sports in Long Island City, just one stop from Grand Central Station on the 7 train.
Whatever adventure or sport you fancy, you can find it nearby. Have fun and play safe!