5 U.S. Beaches You Can Get to Without a Car

Beaches with a car - Chicago's Oak Street Beach
Flickr, Tom Gill

Summer may be winding down, but there are still a few weekends left to spend at the beach. Rather than sit in traffic or rent an expensive car, you can ride public transportation to many beaches in the U.S. Seasonal routes are especially likely to be popular, so go early and pack light.

Boston – CapeFLYER train to Cape Cod
Reintroduced this summer, the CapeFLYER train goes every weekend from Boston out to Hyannis, connecting to ferries for Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard and buses up and down Cape Cod. Fares are from $18 from South Station, with a few bucks’ savings if you buy round trip. You can bring a bike, get concessions onboard and get free Wi-Fi. The train will run through Columbus Day, October 14.

Chicago – El train to Oak Street Beach
Not everyone thinks of this city smack in the midwest as a beach town, but thanks to Lake Michigan, there are more beaches around Chicago than Bermuda. There are many to choose from, but Oak Street Beach is the most central with the most spectacular skyline view. It’s a few blocks from the El train at Clark and Division, though a bus up Lake Shore Drive will get you there closer. Beaches are free and open until Labor Day, but you can enjoy the water views year round. CTA fares are $2.25, with deductions for transit cards.Los Angeles – Big Blue Bus to Santa Monica
While it’s a major car city, there are ways to get to Santa Monica and Venice Beach from downtown Los Angeles without wheels. The Big Blue Bus serves all of Santa Monica and connects to Venice Beach as well. Fares are just $1, with day passes available. LA Metro has rapid buses to Venice Beach, with fares from $1.50. A new light rail line will connect Santa Monica to downtown LA, getting you on the beach even faster.

New York – A train to Far Rockaway
New Yorkers are lucky to have lots of options for sand and swimming, from Brooklyn‘s Brighton Beach to Long Island‘s Jones Beach, and Rockaway Beach in Queens has long been an urban favorite. While it suffered a lot from last year’s superstorm Sandy, it’s back in a big way, with many boardwalk concessions reopened and a new boutique hotel. A $2.50 subway fare gets you there on the A train, and there’s also a weekend-only ferry from downtown Manhattan if you’d like a more scenic (and spendy, at $20 one way) ride.

Washington, D.C. – DC2NY bus to Delaware beaches
While a bit much for a day trip, budget bus company DC2NY offers seasonal shuttles to Delaware‘s Rehoboth (one of Dr. Beach‘s favorites in the country) and Dewey beaches from Washington, as well as Wilmington and New York. The trip takes about 2½ hours, leaving Friday night and weekend mornings through Labor Day. Fares are $39 each way, but you do get Wi-Fi, a power outlet and a bottle of water.

What are your favorite beaches to visit without a car?

Family Finds Rare Animal on Vacation, Then Serves It For Dinner

hexapus octapus Greece
Labros Hydras/SWNS

Nothing like catching your own food and eating it on vacation. Except for when you find out that your nightly catch is an extremely rare species.

That’s what happened recently in Greece. While vacationing in the sunny southern European country, Labros Hydras captured an octopus while snorkeling, and not knowing that it happened to be an extremely rare hexapus, killed it and ended up preparing it for family dinner.

For those not in the know, a hexapus is an octopus with six legs instead of eight. There is dispute on where the first one was sighted, but it was either in the early nineties or 2008. And now there would have been yet another, if it hadn’t been consumed for dinner instead.

But when you have had a vacation tradition for years of catching your own seafood, should you be held responsible for your actions?

“It tasted just like a normal octopus, but now I feel really bad,” Hydras told The Telegraph. “When we caught it, there was nothing to suggest it was any different or had been damaged. I thought it had just been born with six tentacles.”

And in light of his actions, Hydras is insistent on doing what he can to remedy the situation. “Now I want to pursue the scientific angle to make scientists aware of the existence of the wild hexapus. It is the least that I can do given my ignorance and guilt that I feel for killing such a rare animal.”

Lesson: eating locally isn’t always the best policy.

Video Of The Day: Algae Swamps Chinese Beach

Algae Bloom Turns Chinese Sea Green

Thick waves of green growth are washing onto the shores of China’s yellow sea. A massive bloom, caused by an abundance of nitrogen and other nutrients, has turned beaches into massive patches of seaweed shag carped. The algae poses a hazard to marine life in the sea, but it’s non-poisonus to humans. Which is good, because beachgoers have taken a liking to the green stuff. As workers slowly cart away more than 40,000 tons of seaweed, tourists have been turning themselves into swamp things and otherwise frolicking in the green sea. Way to make the most of a potentially icky situation, China.

Photo Of The Day: Bahamian Perfection

aarongilson, Flickr

The view above, captured by Aaron Gilson, is an incredibly common Bahamian sight: perfect crystal blue water distinctly visibly from space, sand just the right shade of white and a little bit of an unpolished edge. The island chain just off the Atlantic coast of Florida has become famous as a cruise line, gambling and resort destination. However, this photo was taken on Andros, the largest island in the Bahamas. A region famous for its blue holes, Andros is just far enough away from all of that commotion. It’s an ideal place to disconnect.

If you have a great travel photo, share it with us on our Gadling Flickr Pool and it could be selected as our Photo of the Day.

#OnTheRoad: Gadling Instagram From Lake Michigan

Adia WellsMichigan’s Grand Haven State Park

Come on in, the water’s - well, it’s freezing. (Seriously, the girl in this photo is nuts.) But that isn’t keeping me away from my first trip to the breathtaking shores of Lake Michigan, also known as the country’s Third Coast. Though I’ve lived in Indiana most of my life, I have always passed over Lake Michigan for the spun-sugar shores of Florida’s Gulf Coast and Mexico’s Caribbean for my beach fix. I’m just not a lake person; I’m a beach snob. But the first time I laid eyes on Lake Michigan’s stunning panorama this week, I changed my tune. The sand is fine and soft, the beaches long and unbroken, the water deep blue and stretched to the horizon. There’s even a crashing surf, like the ocean. Charming beach towns and state parks galore run up and down this unsung, uncommercialized coastline, and the sunsets are spectacular. Follow along on Gadling’s Instagram account, @GadlingTravel and #ontheroad, as I discover the best of Lake Michigan’s beach culture this week. By the time you can plan a trip for later this summer, the water will be warm. Well, warmer, at least.