Best Beaches On Long Island

Soft sand and big sky at a Montauk beach (Photo by sbny321 via Flickr/CC BY 2.0)

Rising temperatures are the signal for the approaching summer season and Long Island’s beaches are one of the biggest attractions for locals and visitors alike. However, beach days can be challenging for all members of the family to enjoy, and meeting the needs of everyone in a group can ensure a great trip before it even starts.

These Long Island beaches are the best for accommodating the needs of various visitors that can create a perfect day for everyone.

Best for A Quiet Getaway

Point Lookout (Photo by Trish Hamm via Flickr/CC BY 2.0)

Point Lookout Beach

1300 Lido Blvd., Lido Beach, NY 11561

Tucked in at the edge of Long Beach, Point Lookout will be well-liked by those who are looking for peace and quiet. This beach tends to draw smaller crowds compared to nearby Jones Beach, which makes for a great place to read, nap or think. The surrounding neighborhood is nice for dinner or a sweet treat as well. Entrance to the beach is $10 for Town of Hempstead residents and $25 for non-residents. 

Runner-up: Lido Beach

630 Lido Blvd., Lido Beach, NY 11561

Another quick escape from the nearby Long Beach and Jones Beach, Lido Beach fans love the small crowds and quiet atmosphere despite drawing in families. Earlier visitors tend to benefit from the serene environment before the larger crowds tend to come in later in the day. Waves are known to be tame and the sand soft and clean. This Town of Hempstead beach also has complimentary sunscreen dispensers in the event guests forget or run out of their own.

Best for Nature Walks

Sunken Meadow Park (Photo by Mike via Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0)

Sunken Meadow State Park

1 Sunken Meadow Pkwy., Kings Park, NY 11754

Visitors can take advantage of the numerous amenities offered by the public park which is perfect for picnicking, hiking and strolling along the trails for scenic views of the Long Island Sound. There are also several opportunities for recreation with space for golfing, canoing, hiking and more. The park is packed with numerous types of wildlife and is home to red foxes, fiddler crabs and snapping turtles. The waters of the Sound tend to
be calm making it safe for little ones. Seniors can also enjoy free admission during weekdays with a valid license.

Runner-up: Wildwood State Park

790 Hulse Landing Road, Wading River, NY 11792

Visitors to this Town of Riverhead beach will have their world rocked in a way that is not normally seen at other north shore beaches. Investigate the oversized rocks that make Long Island feel like a different world. Beachgoers can immerse themselves in the outdoors with developed picnicking and camping areas and take part in hiking, hunting and fishing. Additionally, this beach is in the process of building cottages on the campground for more overnight options.

Best for Foodies

Mango Bay Kitchen and Cantina (Photo source:

Tobay Beach

Ocean Parkway, Massapequa, NY 11758

There are activities that everyone in a beach group will love at Tobay Beach. Kids will have fun in the water spray park to get them ready for the water or help them clean off at the end of the day. Expect smaller crowds than other nearby beaches to really have the “getaway” experiences with clean sand, clear waters and great views for sunsets. Enjoy a drink or a snack at the concession stand while taking in the water. After a day soaking up those rays, chow down at one of the many nearby restaurants within walking distance and take in the oceanfront views at The Crazy Oyster, Mango Bay Latin Kitchen and Cantina and more. The beach is only open to Town of Oyster Bay residents on weekends.

Runner-up: Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach, NY 11770

Ironically, “The Island of No” is a definite “yes” when it comes to the restaurant and bar scene in the Village of Ocean Beach on Fire Island. After a quiet beach day (there are no radios allowed on the shores), enjoy cuisine and views from one of many beloved local eateries like Maguire’s Bay Front Restaurant, The Island Mermaid and Scoops Ice Cream. There are also several shops to reward the family after obeying all rules set by the town. Be sure to enjoy your feast away from the beach because there is no food permitted.

Best Sunsets

Gin Beach

541 E Lake Dr., Montauk, NY 11954

There’s no need to worry about large, noisy crowds at this small, quaint beach. Visitors can expect quiet, serene shorelines with small crowds even on major holidays. Gin Beach is the place to be for those who want to enjoy sunsets with their loved ones. The beach provides clear, open skies of the horizon perfect for taking photos of the intense summer colors of the sky and nearby passing boats. Treasure hunters can also have fun at this beach by searching for sea glass that is known to appear on the shore.

Runner-up: West Neck Beach

West Neck Road, Lloyd Harbor, NY 11743

With wide open views of the Long Island Sound and passing kayaks, birds and rippling waves this hidden beach is a great option to end a day with everything that meets the criteria for a bold, colorful sunset. Visitors benefit from the secluded area that surrounds this Town of Huntington beach which draws in smaller crowds. Wind down at the end of a long work day and pull out your chair to read, write, or get lost in thought.

Best for Kids

Nickerson Beach Park

880 Lido Blvd., Lido Beach, NY 11561

Kids of all ages will enjoy the many activities offered at Nickerson Beach from free family movie nights offered on Sundays to a fully equipped “Fun Zone.” Located by the sand dunes, children will enjoy the views of the sea while safely playing in a fenced-in area to separate the older and younger kids. Children will never want to leave the traditional features of slides, swings and math walls. Older kids and teens will want to spend hours at the rock climbing wall, two pools with lifeguards, a skate park and a “Pitch and Putt.” Do not forget about the actual beach; there are areas designated for wildlife watching including the federally-protected Piping Plover.

Runner-up: Corey Beach

1 Corey Ave., Blue Point, NY 11715

Kids can earn their sea legs at this nautical themed playground located right on the beach. Little ones will enjoy steering the boat forts and get close to underwater life with rockers featuring all their favorite sea animals including whales and seahorses. The rest of the family can enjoy swimming in the calm water and other activities including a nearby fishing pier and take a stroll at by the marina when the day is through.

Best for Pets

Port Jefferson Public Beach and Dog Park

Port Jefferson, NY 11777

There is no need to keep furry friends on a leash at this beach. Dogs are free to roam without a leash for the miles on this well-kept coastline with pick-up bags available by the beach entrances. The fun for pooches does not need to stop at the beach with many nearby restaurants that are also pet-friendly with their outdoor seating. No dog? No problem. This beach is also great for families looking to enjoy the day taking in the Smithtown Bay along with the passing dogs on the sand.

Runner-up: Gardiner County Park

Montauk Hwy., Bay Shore, NY 11706

Frequently noted as one of the most dog-friendly beaches on Long Island, furry friends will enjoy paving their way on the hiking trails. Though pets must be kept on a leash, they’ll have plenty of opportunity to make friends of their own and watch the sunsets with their favorite owner.

Best for Seniors

Robert Moses State Park (Photo by Karen Chohrach via Flickr)

Robert Moses State Park

600 Robert Moses State Pkwy., Babylon, NY 11702

The age of loved ones do not need to hinder a beach getaway, especially at Robert Moses State Park. This beach is handicapped accessible from all park entrances and beach wheelchair friendly. Beach wheelchairs are available for free on a first-come first serve basis at the park’s First Aid Offices. During the summer season, mobility mats are placed on the sand for an easier journey along the beach. The park also has a boardwalk and picnic areas or visitors can enjoy boogie boarding, surfing and swimming in the lifeguard protected areas. With fun for the whole family, this beach makes for a getaway.

Runner-up: Hither Hills State Park

164 Old Montauk Hwy., Montauk, NY 11954

Take a comfortable stroll along the flat, shallow shores of Hither Hills that are made for an easy walk to the beach or a smooth wheelchair ride on the soft, white sand. The camping-friendly grounds gives visitors the option to take in the horizons for long periods of time. Escape the crowds that often congregate the Hamptons or have an extra day to soak up the sun before heading out of the area. 

Best For Entertainment

North Hempstead Beach Park

175 W Shore Rd., Port Washington, NY 11050

Shuffleboard, barbecues and live music are just some of the several special events and activities that visitors can enjoy at North Hempstead Beach Park. The park is undergoing renovations from damages done by Superstorm Sandy; however, it is on the rise with a variety of events that tend to draw in the older crowd. Sunday Afternoons at the Beach feature performances of all types of musical genres allowing guests to take in the water while they reminisce on the tunes of old times.

Runner-up: Cedar Beach

Ocean Parkway, Babylon, NY 11702

It’s hard to find boredom at Cedar Beach with various activities including museums, basketball and handball courts, summer fairs and more. Local restaurants feature live bands, comedy acts and open mic nights all summer long whose sounds ring onto the beach to add a soundtrack to any beach day.

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Kimberly Donahue
Kimberly Donahue is a writer with Anton Media Group.

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