8. South Beach

Whale breaching with South Beach in the distanceA whale breaching with South Beach in the distance on Staten Island

Located adjacent to Midland Beach, South Beach in Staten Island is a popular beach with views of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge. The beach is well-known for its Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk, scenic trails, Fountain of Dolphins, and Ocean Breeze Fishing Pier, as well as kayaking opportunities. The beach also houses bocce courts, chess tables, and tennis courts.

East of the beach are two small islands, Hoffman Island and Swinburne Island, which were used as quarantine stations that housed immigrants who had symptoms of disease after reaching Ellis Island. By the 1880s, the beach had a 1,700-foot boardwalk and carousel, as well as a beer hall. A fire destroyed much of the area in 1896, including a number of hotels, but 10 years later, Happyland Amusement Park opened on the beach with a miniature railroad, a circle swing, and a number of other rides. However, a 1919 fire destroyed the amusement park and 40 buildings, and five suspicious fires in 1929 further destroyed hotels and the boardwalk. Beachland Amusements operated from 1941 to 2006, the last amusement attraction on the boardwalk.