How to Plan the Perfect Day Trip to Coney Island

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Fun fact: In the 1960s, Coney Island would draw 1000s of people to its beaches daily during the summer. New York’s most famous beach has gone through many decades of visitors, but retro Coney Island and modern-day Coney Island are really not all that different, as much of the fun happening then is still there now. We recently took a day trip to this little slice of carnival heaven in Brooklyn and had to share our favorite picks. Here’s how to plan the perfect day trip to Coney Island:

Unlike other #HobokenTravels posts, where to stay was an easy answer — you can stay at your house {no hotel needed}! It’s literally a quick Uber or subway ride away {seriously worth the Uber though, as the subway is hot and takes at least 1.5 hours from start to finish from the PATH in Hoboken/JC to Coney — when you’re literally traveling 8 miles from start to finish}. By car, depending on traffic, it’s about 30-50 minutes. That NYC public transport commute man, it’ll do you in, even on the weekends.

Things You *MUST* Do While in Coney Island

Ride The Cyclone

If you’re going to pick one ride to do, and one ride alone — it’s the Cyclone. This bad boy is a rollercoaster that debuted in 1927. It has 2,640 feet of track featuring 12 drops and 27 elevation changes, as well as an 85-foot, 60-degree plunge at speeds of 60 mph. It’s a classic ride that any rollercoaster-lover *must* say they’ve ridden.  HG Tip: This is highly recommended to do early in the day before lunch/a visit to the brewery. We think you know why…

Have a Spiked Root Beer {or any beer for that matter} at Coney Island Brewery

Coney Island Brewery is known for its unique labeling and delicious brews at its namesake. Don’t have time to swing by? You can enjoy a brew at one of the many restaurants that carry the beer in the area.  {It’s definitely a walk from Luna Park/the carnival area or a quick Uber, FYI.}

HG Tip: Try the Watermelon Wheat — a deliciously refreshing summer treat.

Visit the Coney Island Museum and Gift Shop {Coney Island USA}

For history buffs {and a whimsical hour out of your day}, head to the Coney Island Museum and gift shop. It’s a mere $5 donation to head upstairs to a four-room museum where you’ll get a taste of what life was like when Coney Island first became popular as well as learning of some famous visitors to the area. It’s a can’t miss!

Attend a Freak Show {The Original}

Inside the Coney Island Museum/Gift Shop, there’s a “freak show” featuring swords and daggers and other unknowns bound to make you say “WTF”.

Eat a Hot Dog at The Original Nathan’s

That chain seen round the world? Well, it started in Coney Island. You’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t try a hot dog at the OG — or at least take a picture in front of it. There’s a beer garden, and they also have a hot dog eating contest that happens but once a year, on Independence Day, because America.

Sightsee While on Deno’s Wonder Wheel

Take a ride on one of the most famous ferris wheels in the United States — Deno’s Wonder Wheel. The landmark was invented by Charles Hermann and built in the early 1920s. It has 24 cars — 16 are swinging cars {so if you get seasick, take note} and 8 are stationary {for a more pleasant ride}. It’s an $8 well-spent, even if just for the views.

Play Arcade Games and Bumper Cars at El Dorado

Old school bumper cars, arcade games, and tickets up the wazoo: It’s like you’re back in elementary school. Take a trip down memory lane as many of the coveted games of your childhood are present at this old school arcade {but OMG, who knew that an eraser was worth 40 game tickets? Back in the day it was like 5 tickets, not 40. *le sigh*}.

People Watch on the Riegelmann Boardwalk

You think NYC has characters? Well Coney Island adds to it a beach backdrop — where everyone lets it all hang out, relaxed and enjoying some fun in the sun. As photographer Aaron Rose told the Daily News, Coney Island is a “sea of humanity coming together from so many parts of the world to worship the sun and sea.” But don’t take our/his word for it. You need to see it for yourself.

Eat Some Candy at William’s Candy Shop

Beloved by the locals and tourists alike, this is the ONLY place in Coney Island to buy caramel apples and cotton candy if we’re being honest. It’s a bit run down but has that old school charm that is what Coney Island dreams are made of. Grab a marshmallow stick {or two} for the road, call your Uber, and head back to NJ after a day well spent.

First-time Uber riders, use code HGTAKE20 for $20 off your first ride!

This post is sponsored by Uber, but the author really did just go to Coney Island and it was AWESOME.

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Jen is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of With deep entrepreneurial roots in Hudson County — as her grandparents owned textile businesses on Tonnelle Ave in North Bergen dating back to the 50s — she started the site as a Hoboken resident to discover the amazing things happening in the area. When not planning the next Hoboken Girl event or #HobokenGirlHelps volunteer project, she can usually be found shopping at local boutiques, eating an Insta-worthy meal, walking her two pups, or watching Bravo TV and ordering takeout with her husband.