Summer is finally here and if you live on Long Island, you can’t wait to get your toes in the sand. Most LIers have a favorite beach, or at least a go-to beach – the one where your car seems to navigate to on auto-pilot. But did you know that the island has over 400 miles of coastline and hundreds of beaches, some of which you may not have had the pleasure of visiting yet? Our beaches are world-renowned for their fine white sand, spectacular waves, miles of boardwalks, beach trails, restaurants, picnic areas, fishing, sunrises and sunsets, and simple relaxation.
From the rocky north shore to the sandy south shore, here are our picks for the top 12 beaches on the island and why they made the list. Hope to see you all on the sand this summer!
Crab Meadow Park – Waterside Avenue, Northport
Located on the north shore, this sandy public beach is over 1,000-feet wide and offers calm waters for those who don’t prefer large waves. Crab Meadow is a family friendly beach that offers lots of activities for adults and kids alike. You can enjoy a stroll on the boardwalk and local paths, play at the large playground and basketball courts, launch a kayak or canoe, go fishing or have a snack or meal at La Casa Café’s veranda or indoor restaurant. If you prefer to barbeque, there are pavilions on the beach equipped with grills for public use. Non-resident parking fees apply.
Coopers Beach – Meadow Lane, Southampton
Coopers Beach is located along the south shore in Southampton and places top in the Top Ten Beaches in America year after year. You can enjoy the clean and pristine white sandy shores with a backdrop of beautiful dunes and historic mansions. The beach isn’t usually overcrowded and offers full facilities including concession, bathhouse, chair and umbrella rentals. Parking fee is $40 a day – it may be a little steep but well worth it.
Cupsogue Beach County Park – Dune Road, Westhampton
Located on the south shore, this 296 acre barrier island beach offers great white sand for sunbathing and some of the finest saltwater bass fishing on the island. There is beautiful boardwalk and a snack bar at the pavilion as well as live music most summer nights. This park offers outer beach access, and remote camping. Cupsogue Beach is a county beach and is open to the public. Parking fee is $12 per car for non-residents, $8 per car for Suffolk County green key card holders.
Gilgo Beach – Ocean Parkway, Babylon
Located on the barrier beach on the south shore of the island, Gilgo offers both Atlantic Ocean and Great South Bay access. The park is a carry in/ carry out facility. Spectacular views and tranquility as well as the great surf fishing make this a popular destination for anglers. Fishermen can catch blue fish and other salt-water fish along with stripe bass which is abundant in the fall during their seasonal migration. This beach isn’t for everyone since swimming is not permitted. Access to the park is only by 4 wheel drive and does require a permit.
Gin Beach – East Lake Drive, Montauk
Located on Block Island Sound on the eastern side of the Montauk Harbor Inlet where the waters are calm, Gin Beach offers a protected swimming area with lifeguards on duty from 10am to 5pm, and miles of beaches that are completely free of businesses and residences alike. Facilities are minimal with public restrooms and showers only. Although overnight camping is not allowed on town beaches, RV camping is permitted on the Theodore Roosevelt County Park section by special permit. A town permit is required to park as well as for 4×4 beach driving.
Heckscher State Park – Heckscher Parkway, East Islip
Located on the south shore’s Great South Bay with over a mile of sandy beach to enjoy, Heckscher State Park sees more than a million visitors a year. There are miles of trails for hiking and bicycling and large open fields that are typically used for games of soccer, lacrosse, and other field sports. There are plenty of picnic areas, a boat launch ramp, playground and 69 camp sites. Believe it or not, the the 1,600 acres of Heckscher State Park are also commonly visited by cross country skiers (off season of course). Parking fee is $10 per car.
Hither Hills State Park – South Fairview Avenue, Montauk
Located on the south shore of the island, Hither Hills State Park is best known for its east end camping facilities. The grounds offer a sandy ocean beach for swimming and sunbathing as well as plenty of scenic picnic areas, fireplaces, ocean fishing, playing fields, a playground and a 165-site campground on the ocean. Anglers can fish year-round, riders can use the scenic bridle paths, and hikers and bikers will enjoy the many paths and trails. Visit their site for 4×4 access, camping and sport fishing fees.
Jones Beach State Park – Ocean Parkway, Wantagh
Located on the south shore, Jones Beach is probably best known for swimming and sunbathing, and overall fun in the sun, not to mention the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater. With 6.5 miles of ocean beach, and two swimming pools there is no shortage of cool water on a hot summer day. The west end of the park offers great surf fishing and a boat basin. Jones Beach has a two mile boardwalk that can be used for a leisurely stroll or to get your day’s exercise while enjoying the beauty of the Atlantic Ocean. Parking fee is $10 per car.
Lido Beach – Lido Boulevard, Lido Beach
Located on the island’s south shore, Lido Beach is a great beach for families young and old. With a large picnic and barbeque area it is a great spot for summer parties and family reunions. You can enjoy live concerts each weekday afternoon, bocce and shuffleboard, basketball and volleyball and even handball. The children will adore the spray pools, storytelling programs and arts and crafts lessons. Body boarding areas have been designated on the beach and fishing is permitted in the mornings. You can even bring the pooch to play in the fenced in dog run area. $8 parking fee for residents; $25 for non-residents.
Main Beach – Ocean Avenue, East Hampton
Located on the south shore, Main beach in East Hampton is often ranked among the Top Ten Beaches in America. With its stunning, pristine shoreline, and peeks of the historic mansions, east-enders and visitors can enjoy the basics of spending a day at the beach. Lifeguards are on duty and there is a concession stand, along with a scheduled fireworks show. You can pay by the day for parking ($25 per car) Monday through Friday but on weekends and holidays only a limited number of daily parking permits are available.
Ocean Beach – Ocean Beach, Fire Island
Located on the south shore, this Fire Island barrier beach offers soft white sand for sunbathing and ocean waves for swimming enthusiasts. The incorporated village is well known to Long Island locals and visitors alike for its summer house rentals and day-trippers looking to enjoy the town’s various summer activities. Many boaters and kayakers enjoy the bay side of the island, while beach-goers head to the ocean side. Town offers both affordable and upscale dining, shopping and cocktails while enjoying a water view as well as activities for the kids. Ocean beach is a great place for families looking to enjoy a laid back vacation, weekend, or afternoon with the feel of going back to a more simple time. Vehicles are restricted on the island and most access is by boat or ferry only.
Smith Point County Park – William Floyd Parkway, Shirley
Located on the Fire Island barrier beach on the south shore of Long Island, Smith Point is paradise for anglers, surfers and beach lovers. This county park offers camping, fishing, scuba diving, swimming, as well as a food concession and shower facilities. Smith Point is the county’s largest oceanfront park and is one of the few that offer outer beach access for 4 wheel vehicles (permit required). The renowned Smith Point Beach Hut features a diverse menu and special events are scheduled throughout the summer months. While you are there, visit the TWA Flight 800 International Memorial and Garden which was designed to honor the victims of the crash of Flight 800 off Fire Island in 1996. Parking fee is $15 per car for non-residents, $8 per car for Suffolk County green key card holders on weekends/holidays, free parking for Suffolk County green key card holders on weekdays.
Whether you live on Long Island or are just visiting, the beauty of the island’s beaches will get you every time!
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