When you want to go to the beach, there are four factors to think about.
1. Proximity to where you live: How long is the drive, LIRR ride, train ride, ferry ride, whatever?There are sub-factors too--like are the waves good, is the water really cold, is there enough open space to play Triangleball, can I walk over there and win a shitty toy--but those are the main ones. Every beach around here has at least one strong dose of a bad factor, so when you go to the beach it's like this quadratic equation of fun calculation. For instance, the beaches I've been to:
2. Niceness: Is it a little gross, is there trash around, are there condoms in the sand?
3. Crowdedness: Is it crazy crowded, are little kids running over the corners of your towel, are there people listening to terrible music on a boombox five feet away, will you get in trouble for drinking?
4. Price: Did you have to spend more than $20 to get there and back?
Coney Island Beach (pictured): Close, not very nice, crazy crowded, cheap. (+ - - +)
Sandy Hook, NJ: Far, nice, crazy crowded, moderate. (- + - +)
Watch Hill, Fire Island: Far, nice, uncrowded, expensive. (- + + -)
Jones Beach: Far, kind of nice, crazy crowded, expensive. (- + - -)
Because it's more fun if you can add math or turn it into a list.