The 5 Best Family-Friendly Bike Paths in Brooklyn
Enjoy all the unique sights around Brooklyn on two wheels.
When the gorgeous weather arrives, there are few things I love more than exploring all the nooks and crannies of Brooklyn by bike. But having been in a biking accident and car-doored one too many times, it’s my No. 1 priority to find safe spaces for bike-riding in Brooklyn, especially when little ones are coming along. While there are many designated bike lanes throughout the borough, some are safer and better-suited for family excursions.
These routes are not only buffered from vehicles, but they also offer family-friendly sights, facilities, and experiences that will make your weekend - or your nanny's weekday - outing convenient and out of the ordinary.
Location: Between Pier 1 & Pier 6, Atlantic Avenue & Furman Street
Hours: Brooklyn Bridge Park is open 6 a.m. - 1 a.m.
If you’re entertaining out-of-town guests of any age, this is hands down the best starting point to give them a sampling of the iconic sights and tastes of Brooklyn. The designated greenway runs adjacent to the East River between Piers 1 and 6. Along the way, you can admire the Manhattan skyline or watch the ferries. And kids will love taking a ride on the gorgeous Jane’s Carousel or cooling off at the pop-up pool in the summertime. There are even Citi Bike rental stations at four stops along the way.
The best part about this route, in my opinion, is its proximity to some of the tastiest places to gorge after a day of pedaling. The locally famous Grimaldi’s serves coal-fired pizza right under the Brooklyn Bridge, and Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory is the perfect sweet ending to the day.
Location: Prospect Park West, Parkside Avenue between Flatbush Avenue, Ocean Avenue, & Prospect Park Southwest
Hours: Open daily, 5 a.m. - 1 a.m.
Prospect Park is the most popular oasis in all of Brooklyn, and for good reason. No matter how many times you tackle the 3.36-mile loop, you can always discover new sights and activities to try during a pit stop, like the Prospect Park Zoo, the Riverside Roller Rink, or the Greenmarket, which takes place every Saturday morning until 4 p.m. All are big wins with any little ones you bring along for the ride! Port-a-potties, water fountains, and designated barbecue areas dot the path, making it extra convenient to spend an entire afternoon in the park.
Fun fact: As of spring 2017, the Prospect Park goats have returned to help eradicate invasive plant species that have proliferated since Hurricane Sandy. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for these adorable critters as they lead the charge in the restoration of the park’s ecosystem.
Location: Loop route around Jamaica Bay in Brooklyn & Queens | Click here for a map.
Hours: Open daily, sunrise - sunset
The Jamaica Bay Greenway is a great choice if you want to combine your family’s biking excursion with a beach trip. This network of trails totals 19 miles and even connects with access to Jacob Riis and Fort Tilden beaches via the Cross Bay Bridge, though the transition to these parks might not be the safest or easiest for your younger bikers. Dead Horse Bay is easily accessible off the path -- unmarked, but located right across from Floyd Bennett Field parking lot -- and is a beachcomber's dream. Waves washing ashore magically jingle with the sound of polished sea glass, and the beach is dotted with century-old flotsam and jetsam.
The section through Floyd Bennett Field is also a must-see. Once the city’s first municipal airport, the park is now host to a campground and sporting facilities, as well as an exhibit where you can check out antique aircraft displayed in hangars. The paths are also easy to manage, so this is a great choice if you’re biking with little ones.
Location: Fourth Avenue, Shore Road, Belt Parkway, Verrazano Bridge
Hours: No hours specified
This bike path is technically part of the network that includes Jamaica Bay Greenway, but there’s no obvious or seamless connection point between the two. The 4.5-mile stretch offers lovely views of many of South Brooklyn’s iconic sights, like the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, and Coney Island.
Bikers and pedestrians are separated by a median, and the whole greenway is protected by fencing, making this a very safe and picturesque area for biking with the family.
Location: 318 Kent Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11249
Hours: Thursday - Sunday, 9 a.m. - sunset | Weekday hours are TBA
Looking for something totally out of the ordinary? This is the nation’s first paved pumptrack, having reopened to the public this year. While this particular bike path comes with a fee ($10 for a day pass), it’s totally worth it for families seeking something a little more high-energy and unlike any other bike path in the city.
The park features three paths: two paved tracks that are great for kids, and one dirt track, which is better suited for more-advanced, adrenaline-seeking riders. Equipment rentals are available for a very affordable $5. You can make an entire day out of a trip here, as the facility features port-a-potties, a vendor space (where they anticipate a rotation of food trucks), and a barbecue area for families who want to picnic.
Did we list all your favorite Brooklyn bike paths? Let us know in the comments below!
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