Beaches: The Best, The Worst, & The Forbidden


Summer is finally here. Sun worshippers, swimmers and surfers across Long Island have not so patiently waited for warm weather to shut the door on what seemed like an eternal cold front. Deciding which beach to spend your summer at can be tricky, as there are so many options offered to Long Islanders. Long Island Weekly has rounded up the best, worst and forbidden beaches, in the hopes of making your summer decisions a little easier. So grab your sunblock and check out our list.

The Best

Lido Beach
235 Lido Blvd.
Lido Beach

Along the shores of Long Beach you will find this beautiful stretch of sand. It’s one of the best beaches for swimming as there are rarely choppy waves. Lido also has separate restricted swimming and surfing sections, so if you just want to spend a quiet day on land, you can set up a chair near the surfers.
Having a girls day out but
couldn’t find a sitter? Malibu Beach Camp is right next door for the
kiddies, and you can pick them up after having lunch at Maliblue Oyster Bar. The seaside restaurant is located within the Malibu Beach Club which has been open since 1950. President and owner Butch Yamali is proud to have his restaurant in one of the nicest areas on Long Island.
“Maliblue has excellent seafood, live entertainment nightly from Memorial Day to Labor Day 7 days a week, and there’s no better place to watch a Long Island sunset,” said Yamali who has been running Maliblue for the past six years.
“It is convenient to Manhattan, very clean, and easy to get to,” said Yamali. “The town of Long Beach is also close to the LIRR train station and there is an 1800 car parking lot. Malibu is like a resort; it has cabanas, a camp, gym, pools, beautiful clean water and soft sand,” he continued.
The daily resident beach parking fee is $10 per car and $25 for non-residents. You cannot park on the street, so find a spot or hitch a ride with someone. You can also take the LIRR and walk if you don’t mind transferring, as the train station is less than a mile away.

Tobay Beach
1 Ocean Parkway

Less crowded and much cleaner than Jones Beach, Tobay isn’t too far down the shoreline. A well-blended crowd of kids and adults, reasonably rough waves and ample spots to lounge, Tobay is a great choice among the locals. The beach also has good concession stands and several waterfront dining options, including Singleton’s Seafood Shack. There is a spray park for the kiddies, which is a great way to wash off all that sand before your ride home. A seasonal sticker for Tobay and all Town of Oyster Bay beaches costs $60. A quick walk through the tunnel and your toes are in the sand.

Main Beach in East Hampton
101 Ocean Ave
East Hampton

Stephen Parker Leatherman, also known as “Dr. Beach” is an American geoscientist, coastal ecologist, and author based in Florida. For the past 22 years, he has reviewed and rated beaches and coastal areas around the world, releasing his annual list of top ten beaches for the year, naming Main Beach the best beach of 2013. A secluded oasis, you’ll feel like you’re on your own private beach that also happens to be clean and pristine. A quiet retreat with perfect sand and sea conditions, Main Beach is a great escape for adults. If you bring the kids, the beach is lifeguard protected, with guards on duty from 10am-5pm. Unfortunately, non-resident parking stickers are old out for the 2014 season. However, non-resident day parking passes cost $25, and if you go on a weekend/holiday, passes are first come first serve.

Cooper’s Beach in Southampton
268 Meadow Lane

Although no Long Island beaches made the cut on Dr. Beach’s 2014 Best Beach List this year, Cooper’s Beach in Southampton remains a top favorite. Cooper’s Beach is one of the 11 white sand beaches situated on seven miles of Southampton sand, and perhaps one of the most beautiful. While stunning, a peaceful day of relaxation here could break your summer bank. A daily parking permit will run you $40. Forgot your umbrella? Be prepared to spend $15 to rent one, and another $10 for a chair. It is the Hamptons after all.

Ditch Plains Beach
Ditch Plains Rd.

Many will remember Ditch Plains Beach as the sight of the Montauk Monster, which washed up on shore in 2008. Fortunately, many venture to “The End” of Long Island for two things: the lighthouse and awesome surfing, both of which this has. You’ll encounter locals who have a very laid back and chill attitude, the way a beach should be in the summer. Visitors must have a town beach parking sticker to park there, as parking is not permitted on the street and it gets crowded very easily. Parking is free for town residents, but costs an annual fee of $375 for non-residents. The Ditch Witch food truck still serves up some pretty great beach grub.

The Worst
Jones Beach
1000 Ocean Parkway
Wantagh 516-785-1600

It’s known as “The People’s Park,” and with about two feet of room to set up camp for the day, it’s not hard to see why. Anyone can go to Jones Beach, and with plenty of parking, everyone does go. The beach has six fields to choose from, and each one is often too crowded with beach goers coming from as far out as Queens. Crowdedness leads to uncleanliness and on a walk to the shore you’ll find a treasure trove of trash. But if you’re a fan of Jones Beach, you can purchase an Empire Passport for $65, which provides unlimited access to 180 state parks for the summer season. A lifetime pass costs $750. A daily charge of $10 per car for a resident and $35 for non-residents is a bit pricey.
However, Jones Beach will be opening up its new food court, Smorgasbar: Brooklyn by the Beach, over Memorial Day Weekend. The food court is the beach’s take on the ever popular Smorgasburg that takes place every Saturday in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. You can still head down to the boardwalk at night to listen to the tunes of the band shell, but during the day, Jones Beach is nothing but a headache.

Sailor’s Haven
Fire Island National Seashore
Fire Island

Hundreds of daytrippers and summer lovers flock to Fire Island for the beaches and fun that awaits them there. A quick $14 ferry ride across the bay from Sayville will land you in the midst of a busy day. Sailor’s Haven offers boating, bird watching, hiking trails, day time activities for kids, and of course, time on the beach. While this place is great for the activity lover, it can be overwhelming and can get crowded very easily. There is no food aside from what is available at the snack bar and convenience store, so bring your own picnic. You might want to get your toes wet by just walking around Fire Island first, and then come back and sign up for Sunken Forest tours or a day at the marina.

Crab Meadow Beach
450 Waterside Rd.
Northport 631-261-7574

While Crab Meadow Beach in Northport is great for families with kids, if you’re an adult who plans on relaxing with a book, then this beach is not for you. Chock full of kids running from beach to playground, Crab Meadow Beach is fairly small. Parking is a few feet from the beach so it’s a fairly noisy atmosphere or car doors and crying kids. The water is shallow, which is perfect for tiny shell collectors, but the large picnic pavilion and playground make this beach a no adult zone for sure.

Robert Moses
600 Robert Moses State Pkwy.

Still fairly damaged from Hurricane Sandy, Robert Moses is still under construction. A few bathhouses and parking fields are still undergoing renovation at the beach, after being granted $5 million from state funding. The drinking water will also be upgraded, at the cost of about another $3 million. According to Dr. Beach, Hurricane Sandy cut back some beaches, including Robert Moses to 100-200 feet, so it may still be a little while before it looks like a beach again.

Oak Beach

Dr. Beach has deemed Oak Beach in Captree one of the worst because of its location.
“Fire Island has migrated westward so Oak Beach is no longer in the eastern end of the island and exposed to the open Atlantic Ocean waves as it was previously,” he says, also adding that Oak Beach is where the bodies of five prostitutes were discarded. Unless you’re passing it on the way and want to stretch your legs, there’s no reason to venture out to Oak Beach.

The Forbidden
Orient Point — aka Plum Island

Located towards the end of
the North Fork, Orient Point is a mere five-minute boat ride away from Plum Island. The notorious island is the testing base where the Center for Disease Control does experiments with germs and poisons such as Anthrax. The area is forbidden to the public and is immensely populated with ticks and Lyme Disease. Any nearby ocean water is sure to be riddled with toxins, so steer clear of Orient Point.

Gilgo Beach
Jones Beach Island

Gilgo Beach rose to an unwanted fame in 2010, when the Gilgo Beach Serial Killer murdered several women and deposited their remains along Ocean Parkway. Four miles west of Oak Beach is where the first body was discovered, and the count escalated to ten when the case was closed. Four years later, people still find the area too eerie, and beachgoers still don’t feel safe.

Bar Beach

Bar Beach in Roslyn Harbor
175 W. Shore Rd.
Port Washington,

Now known as North Hempstead Beach Park, the entire area is one big polluted mess. Heavy rains have caused the marshlands to vanish, and nitrogen and bacteria from cesspools have made their way to the water. The beach is currently closed, along with many in the area after a storm with immense flooding, because groundwater flushes through the tanks and out to the Sound, making it too dangerous to swim in.

Zach’s Bay at Jones Beach State Park
1000 Ocean Parkway

Now considered a sewer, Zach’s Bay at Jones Beach has been ranked as one of the most polluted beaches across the U.S. The bay has consistently failed weekly pollutant tests and the water remains a bacteria ridden hazard. Advisories are rarely posted to the public, so take extreme caution when you enter the park. If you are a fisherman or boatsman, you may want to sail a few miles away where the water is clean and safe before dropping anchor.


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