Things to Do -- Jamaica Bay

One of the best ways to enjoy the wonders of Jamaica Bay is in a canoe or kayak, at your oewn pace.
One of the best ways to enjoy the wonders of Jamaica Bay is from the water.  Look for boating programs offered by the park in the spring, summer and autumn.

NPS PHOTO

The Jamaica Bay Unit is one of the largest expanses of open space in the region, consisting of over 19,000 acres of land, bay, and ocean waters in Brooklyn and Queens.

Comprising an area almost equal to the size of Manhattan, Jamaica Bay consists of numerous islands, a labyrinth of waterways, meadowlands, and two fresh water ponds.

Enclosed by the Rockaway Penninsula and protected from the Atlantic Ocean, the region hosts over 325 species of birds, 50 species of butterflies and 100 species of fish. A favorite stop of migratory waterfowl, the area is an integral part of the larger regional ecosystem.

The Jamaica Bay Unit includes locations in Brooklyn and Queens.
In Brooklyn:

  • Bergen Beach;
  • Canarsie Pier;
  • Floyd Bennett Field;
  • Pennsylvania Avenue and Fountain Avenue Parks (Shirley Chisolm State Park)
  • Ryan Visit Center;
  • Plumb Beach;
  • Spring Creek

In Queens:

  • Breezy Point Tip;
  • Fort Tilden;
  • Frank Charles Memorial Park;
  • Hamilton Beach Park;
  • Jacob Riis Park;
  • Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

Looking for fun this week?

Gateway's calendar include nature walks, fitness activities and historic tours and programs for all of Jamaica Bay.

  • Ryan Visitor Center telephone number: (718) 338-3799.
  • Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge telephone number: (718) 318-4340.

Archery

Archery is available throughout the year at Floyd Bennett Field with a permit. Call (718) 338-3799 for more information and about permits.

Biking

Bike along the historic runways of Floyd Bennett Field, or along trails at Fort Tilden. The Rockaway Gateway Greenway, a paved multi-use pathway adjacent to both Floyd Bennett Field and Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, offers a unique way to see the park.

Birding

Birding is great at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, as well as the back fort area of Fort Tilden, and the North Forty area of Floyd Bennett Field.

Please remember that in order to provide food for wildlife, the removal of any plant materials, including fruits, berries, nuts and seeds is prohibited from the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.

Boating

Park programs for small boat sailing, canoeing and kayaking are offered in Spring, Summer, and Autumn. Call (718) 338-3799 or e-mail us for reservations.

  • Hand-launched privately-owned small boats (canoes, kayaks, and rowboats) may be launched from various sites around the Jamaica Bay Unit. For information on launch sites call (718) 338-3799.
  • During summer, basic sailboat instruction is offered by the park. Call (718) 338-3799.
  • For larger boats Gateway Marina, located on Flatbush Avenue across from Floyd Bennett Field, offers slips and a full range of boating services. Call (718) 252-8761.

Note: In order to protect wildlife and sensitive marsh habitat, entry into salt marshes or onto any islands in Jamaica Bay is not permitted.

Cross Country Skiing

When the snow falls, Floyd Bennett Field's North Forty Natural Area is available for cross country skiing. Park rangers will cut a trail through the snow for visitors to follow.

Ecology Village Summer Camping

Did you know that school and youth groups can camp at Floyd Bennett Field?

With training provided by the Appalachian Mountain Club's Youth Opportunity Program, youth groups can learn all the skills they need to have a successful, fun, and unique experience with group camping in New York City. Camping experience is not necessary - just a willingness to learn and the time to attend training. Once the training is complete, youth groups have access to all the gear (tents, sleeping bags, rain jackets, cooking stove and utensils), access to the campsite and trip planning assistance.

For more details and to register for the training, visit the Appalachian Mountain Club's Youth Opportunities Program website. Or contact Gateway staff by emailing gate_education@nps.gov.

Exhibits

Curated art exhibits are shown throughout the year in the gallery space at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Find out more here. Artists interested in having a showing of their work can go to this link for more information: Exhibitors: Gateway Seeks Artists to Exhibit

Fishing

Floyd Bennett Field, Fort Tilden, and Canarsie Pier offer great fishing opportunities. Call (718) 338-3799 for information about where
fishing/parking permits are needed and other information for these sites.

Gardening

Enjoy Brooklyn's largest Community Garden at Floyd Bennett Field. Find out more by visiting the Floyd Bennett Field Garden Association's website.

Golf

The Driving Range and Miniature Golf Course is located at 3200 Flatbush Ave in Brooklyn, approximately 1 mile off of Exit 11S on the Belt Parkway. The 18-hole Pitch and Putt course is located just off the boardwalk at Riis Park Beach. It is just minutes from the Marine Park Bridge.

Hours of Operation:

  • Monday to Friday: Noon – 6 p.m.
  • Weekends: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (last bucket sold at 7 p.m.)

History

Discover Jamaica Bay's historic sites, including Fort Tilden, a former U.S. Army post and Floyd Bennett Field, a former municipal airport and U.S. Naval Air Station.

Visit Hangar B, home to Floyd Bennett Field's Historic Aircraft Restoration Project (HARP). For more information, click here.

Horseback Riding

Contact the Jamaica Bay Riding Academy at (718) 531-8949. Horseback riding and lessons are available to the general public throughout the year.

Junior Ranger Program

Aspiring Junior Rangers can pick up the Junior Ranger activity booklet, and earn the Junior Ranger badge and patch at Floyd Bennett Field, Jacob Riis Park (summer season), and the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.

Model Airplane Flying

Call (718) 338-3799 for information on the Radio Controlled Flying Field at Floyd Bennett Field.

Passport to Your National Parks

For the collectors, passport stamps are available at Floyd Bennett Field, Jacob Riis Park, and the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Passport to Your National Parks books are sold through the Eastern National bookstores at Floyd Bennett Field and the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.

Picnicking

Individuals can picnic at Jacob Riis Park and Canarsie Pier; barbeque grills are available. Group picnic facilities are available by permit at Fort Tilden.

Public Camping

Floyd Bennett Field has 32 tent campsites and 12 RV campsites available for a unique urban, yet rustic camping experience. Online reservations can be made by visiting www.recreation.gov. Sites are $30 per night. For more information, click here or call (718) 338-3799.

Public Programs - Free

Check the calendar to see what opportunities there are for Ranger-led and partner-led programs.

Public Recreation and Sports Fitness Facilities

Aviator Sports and Events Center, Gateway's newest and largest sports concessioner, offers indoor ice skating, hockey, a climbing wall, gymnastics, basketball, and outdoor sports fields. Call (718) 758-7500, or click on the link above.

Walking & Hiking

Take a self guided trail at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Try the Upland, East Pond and West Pond trails. Or hike in the back fort area of Fort Tilden.

Additional Information

Pets

Pets are not permitted anywhere within the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, in the Back Woods of Fort Tilden, or Floyd Bennett Field campgrounds. Pets are not permitted on ocean beaches at Riis Park, Fort Tilden, Sandy Hook, or Breezy Point Tip from March 15 to September 15, or Great Kills Park swimming beach from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Pets must be kept on leash where permitted and are not permitted in any public building.

Injured Wildlife: What to Do

The National Park Service, or any of its units at Gateway National Recreation Area, including the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, will not and cannot accept injured wildlife, nor will we convey any wildlife to any other agency or rehabilitator. The NPS has no staff or facility for providing veterinary care to any animal, nor do the 22 sister park sites in the NYC area. You may wish to do a Google search of a wildlife rehabilitator in your area. Bringing injured wildlife to our parkland runs the risk of introducing disease and parasites.

 

Last updated: June 24, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

210 New York Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10305

Phone:

(718) 354-4606

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