Coney Island - Road Running

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About

Summary

If you want road running, run Surf Avenue parallel to Coney Island. If you want epic beach running, run the beach—all three miles of it! Head there early in the morning for a sunrise run for the best views and the least crowds, or people watch on a casual jog during the afternoon.

Written by

Molly Hurford

Distance

6.0 miles

Up to 6 miles out and back.

Destination Distance From Downtown

16.5 miles

Difficulty

1 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

1 hours

Depends on how far you want to go, up to a couple hours.

Seasonality

All Seasons

Dog Friendly

Yes

Fees Permits

No

Land Website

Coney Island Beach

Review

Intro

Over the last 10 years, Coney Island boardwalk has had quite a makeover. The boardwalk has gone from being a sketchy, crowded affair with an amusement park constantly threatened with closure, to a much better maintained, clean, fun-for-the-whole family atmosphere. The amusement park is still standing. Coney Island has come full circle, from the booming weekend spot for Manhattanites looking to get away, to a seedy section of Brooklyn that should be avoided by the bourgeoisie, to that tourist trap once again. The carnival sideshow is still there, and the slightly naughty Mermaid Parade still brings in the crowds, but more runners and cyclists are co-mingled with the summer crowds. 

What Makes It Great

Coney Island is an awesome running destination, especially if you love running on the beach. The full stretch is nearly three miles, and beach runners know that three miles of beach is about the same as running five on the road. And if you get tired of schlepping through the sand, the boardwalk is right there, complete with a cast of characters so bizarre that you won’t need music to keep you entertained as you run.

Listen carefully and you’ll hear almost every language represented, though Italian and Russian are the most prominent. Look to your left and you’ll see an old man proudly strutting in a Speedo, to your right, you’ll see a gorgeous Russian woman working on her rollerblading skills. It’s an odd grouping of people, but it makes for some dazzling and hilarious displays.

You’ll spend a chunk of your beach run dodging children running to and from the water, and run the risk of getting beaned by an errant volleyball, but it’s worth it for the sand and the surf, all for free. If hopping in the water for a dip afterward isn’t your thing, there are plenty of children’s play stations set up with water fountains, so you can rinse off if needed. 

A word to the wise: if you hit the boardwalk after the beach, don’t do it barefoot: while parts are modernized, there’s still a lot of splinter-y wood just waiting to snag your already blistered flesh. 

Who is Going to Love It

In the summer, the beach is crowded, but in all of the other seasons, running the beach or the boardwalk is almost eerie—the rollercoasters are at a standstill, some of the boardwalk stands are boarded up, and the air off of the Atlantic makes the cold even colder. The amusement park seems almost scary, and your imagination can—and will—run wild. Still, if you’re craving a weird, desolate solitude, this is a great spot.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

Head out onto the beach from any point you'd like, but check out the Coney Island Beach and Boardwalk website if you are looking for more information.

Location

Coney Island by Foot

Surf Avenue
Brooklyn, NY, 11224
40.574134, -73.989173

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