4. Sea Bright, N.J.
Gregory de Gersdorff, 13, Eighth-grader
I like Sea Bright because I know everyone from going there for so long. I have friends I’ve made over the years, and cousins like John and Murray and Zuzu and Annie. Some people have beach girlfriends. I don’t, but, yeah, there are cute people there. At the snack bar, it’s mostly girls working; they’re all like 25 and 30. It would be really cool to work there if I ever need a summer job, which I kind of think I will one day.
Chris de Gersdorff, 9, Fifth-grader
I’ve been dreaming of the beach during the winter. I like how hot it is and how, after I get out of the ocean, it dries me off. I wish the water was a little bit cleaner, but besides that, it’s a nice ocean. If it were up to me, I would go four to five days per week.
5. Coney Island
William Petrosino, 45, Sand Sculptor
I was born and raised in Coney Island, and I’ve lived by the beach my whole life. I’m a natural-born beachgoer. Sand sculpting is what I love to do: I’ve done a Finding Nemo thing, a Snoopy lying on a blanket, a naked Venus woman, a Homer Simpson coming out of a doughnut. There’s a lot of therapy to it. There could be 25 or 30 people surrounding me, with little kids asking questions, but I’m totally in the zone. It’s almost as if you walk into a church and you’re hearing angels singing.
6. Jacob Riis Park
Rob Jett, 55, Computer Technician
My wife, Robin, and I rediscovered Riis around ten years ago. Initially we were taking the bus out there, then we discovered a nice bike path. We go every weekend, and we call it our own private Idaho because no one ever goes there. We swim and bring portable binoculars to watch the birds. There are tons of them. It seems like every tern in the neighborhood is diving into the water.There are some shorebirds called oystercatchers that sound like little kids screaming. You also get piping plovers, which have the tiniest, tiniest baby birds. When they hatch, they’re immediately mobile. Picture a cotton ball on top of two toothpicks scurrying up and down the beach. That’s what they look like.