What are the best beaches on Long Island
Updated: Mar 8
Yes, it may be winter but spring will be here before you know it along with those glorious summer days and lots of swimming.
Taking a dip in the warm waters of Long Island, performing water sports, or just passing away a lazy day at the beach is what most people look forward to if they reside in New York, especially on Long Island.
On Long Island, you and your loved ones are where you can partake in the joy of summertime beach bliss at any time. From an entire day spent on the sand to just an hour of chasing waves and digging for shells - nothing says sunshine more than relaxing with a good read or observing your children playing around.
If you happen to already live on Long Island or are thinking about relocating to Long Island you will be able to spend many a day at the beach either way. From pristine to popular and quiet to busy, Long Island has some of the best beaches on the East Coast.
From Glitz to Popular
Not far from Manhattan by train lies the celebrated Hamptons, a much-visited East Coast vacation spot known for its glittery beaches. While counting some of the most beautiful beaches in America among its attractions, the rest of Long Island does not lag far behind in its offerings.
The South Shore has long, sandy beaches and picturesque, wooded cliffs overlooking waterways. Given the array of family fun activities including concerts, dog parks, and oceanfront hiking and biking all across Nassau and Suffolk counties, there are many great beach destinations to enjoy.
Beach season technically starts on Memorial Day in May and ends on Labor Day in September, but beachgoers can be seen throughout the year, soaking up amazing scenery and going for walks along boardwalks.
State parks begin charging for vehicle entry from April until the end of November, and have lifeguards available during the summer months many beaches also accept the New York Empire Pass.
If you're planning on visiting some of the top beaches on Long Island, be sure to remember your sunscreen and lots of toys for the sand.
Jones Beach State Park
Jones Beach State Park on Long Island is a popular destination for families and sunbathers, drawing as many as 6 to 8 million visitors each year. Spanning 6.5 miles of white sandy beach, it offers tranquil waters and plenty of activities for relaxation and enjoyment.
For summer fun, the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) can take you to the beach, where you can play volleyball, shuffleboard, and basketball; swim in multiple pools; golf on a course; and go for a stroll or skate along the picturesque two-mile boardwalk. Moreover, Northwell Health Theater hosts concerts and there is an awe-inspiring airshow on Memorial Day.
If you're looking for an extensive range of food from seafood to milkshakes, the boardwalk is the place to be. Please be aware that no pets are allowed on either the beach or the boardwalk, so Fido will have to stay back.
Sagamore Hill National Historic Site
President Theodore Roosevelt's estate, situated in the Hamlet of Cove Neck on the North Shore, encompasses 95 acres of timberland and salt marsh, with pathways that guide to the Eel Creek Boardwalk- offering an exquisite view of a beach along Long Island Sound.
At Long Island's Sagamore Hill, visitors can explore the former summer home of President Teddy Roosevelt, as well as trails in the area. The site also offers an enriching and educational Junior Ranger Program for kids to learn about protecting the environment and preserving its beauty.
Fire Island National Seashore, a popular spot highly rated in New York State and managed by the National Park Service, is often mistaken as a wild nightlife destination. But this lengthy barrier island that runs along the southern coastline is an amazing sight. Roaming deer make their way across its sandy dunes and its gorgeous beaches remain largely undisturbed even during the peak summer season.
The Patchogue Long Island Rail Road Station has a ferry that travels to Watch Hill located on the western side of the Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness.
At Watch Hill, visitors can explore the natural beauty of untouched wilderness by taking guided canoe trips, going bird-watching, or hiking. There is only one restaurant and bathrooms with showers for campers and a 183-slip marina equipped with water, electricity, and a pump-out station for convenience.
Sunken Meadow Beach State Park
Backed by beautiful bluffs, Sunken Meadow Beach, in the Town of Smithtown in Suffolk County, is a popular spot on Long Island Sound. The three-quarters-of-a-mile-long boardwalk offers a lovely walk along the North Shore, with views of Connecticut in the distance.
Offering a wealth of activities, this idyllic 1,287-acre state park features three play areas, soccer, and baseball fields, a 27-ho, le golf course, and wide-open green spaces, ideal for picnicking. Those looking to explore nature can traverse the many footpaths, while thrill-seekers can enjoy the three miles of shoreline by kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing, or standup paddleboarding. J, just be sure to respect any signage designating non-pet zones.
Those looking for something to eat won't be disappointed, as the concession stands offer tasty creamed fries and ice cream for kids.
Robert Moses State Park
As a popular New York beach, Robert Moses State Park runs for five miles along the western side of Fire Island and stands in contrast to the buzz of Jones Beach. Visitors can get there by car or from Babylon Train Station, making this scenic spot accessible to all.
At Robert Moses, you can enjoy both a picturesque oceanfront and perfect waves for activities like swimming, boogie-boarding, surfing, and surf-fishing. Don't forget to take stunning photos of the historic Fire Island lighthouse! Looking for a change of pace? The park also features an 18-hole Pitch & Putt golf course and a volleyball court (available from early April to mid-November). As you can see there is plenty to see and do at Robert Moses State Park.
Hither Hills State Park
Hither Hills State Park near Montauk on the eastern tip of Long Island's South Fork offers an unforgettable beach camping experience - with 189 campsites and RV parking - that will make a day at the beach seem far too short. Here, you can relax to the soothing sound of waves crashing onto 1,755 acres of family-friendly land and spend the day with your family enjoying the lovely surroundings at Hither Hills State Park.
Adventurous souls can explore Napeague Harbor's "walking dunes" on its western edge and the woodlands nearby that are full of Russian olives, oaks, and pines. For children, there are endless playgrounds and playing fields to enjoy and to keep them busy. Fishing is available all year round - plus in winter you even have the bonus of cross-country skiing.
Due to its popularity, you should book your stay at Hither Hills at least six months in advance if you plan to visit especially if you have a certain timeframe you want to go.
Coopers Beach in Southampton has been lauded as one of the best beaches in the US; its serene, Atlantic Ocean waters and picturesque views of elegant mansions along the dunes make it an inviting spot.
For those visiting the area who want to avoid high parking fees ($50 as last checked), it is recommended to rent a bicycle or bring your own. Yearly passes for non-locals can be acquired for $450 (at last check). Recliners and umbrellas are also available for rent at the casino counter should you need them. To soak up the atmosphere bring your meal for a picnic. Alternatively, you can sample some delicious drinks and food at Coopers Beach Cafe with a stunning view.
In the winter, Plungeke in the Polar Bear Plunge to benefit Heart of the Hamptons, a non-profit is also an attraction.
Orient Beach State Park
Unlike other nearby beaches, Orient Beach State Park on the tip of North Fork is usually not overcrowded. This beautiful beach offers gentle surf, nature trails, and wonderful opportunities to partake in watersports and fishing.
The park boasts a sublime and unique seaside maritime forest with prickly-pear cacti, red cedar, and enchanting trees that make it a hotspot for birdwatchers. The shores are lined with pebbles, so don't forget to pack water shoes when you come! Herons, egrets, and ospreys are specifically most often spotted.
Not far from the bustle of New York City lies an unexpected, breathtaking beach; Long Beach on Long Island, famously home to its scenic boardwalk. Along this three-mile stretch of the barrier island Ocean Beach Park, you can join bikers, dog walkers, runners, and others admiring the view. You don't have to forego your connection either, as Wi-Fi is available along the boardwalk.
On your stroll to the beach, you can explore the many restaurants and shops nearby; some will even deliver pizza right to the shore if you're interested! Or set up a volleyball game with your friends—that's always an exciting way to spend a day in the sun! Come and let your kids build sandcastles! At times, it's pleasant to sit in a chair and watch the seagulls fly overhead.
At the very end of Fire Island, you'll find the Cupsogue Beach County Park. Before the 1930s, these two barrier islands were part of one long island - connecting both the Atlantic Ocean and Moriches Bay to The Hamptons. Nowadays, even though they are not physically connected anymore, they still feel amazingly close to each other.
The shore here is exemplified by all the noteworthy Long Island coasts – unending areas of broad white sand flawless for sunning and angling. The beach doesn't have much else, except for a refreshment stall. That is what makes it so extraordinary – it's private and hushed. Camping is even okayed, as long as you hold a license.
Depending on the season, you may be lucky enough to spot humpback whales and dolphins breaching the surface of the water in greeting.
If you travel to the easternmost point on Long Island, Montauk, you'll be treated to some amazing beaches.
Heading two miles from Montauk to Ditch Plains Beach offers spectacular views of the wild Atlantic Ocean and some of the most beautiful scenery. This stretch of coastline with its appetizing dishes and nostalgic appeal is no wonder why it's become such an adored destination for surfers.
Ditch Plains is a great beach for those who come by foot or bicycle - there's no need to purchase a beach pass. This location is popular with New York surfers thanks to its stellar surf breaks, making it well worth the small cost of entry.
Before departing, take a moment to check out the iconic Ditch Witch food truck – an essential refueling spot.
Now that you have a better idea of where the best beaches are in and around Long Island you should start planning for those long summer days. You can ward off the winter blues by unpacking swimsuits, shorts, and other warm-weather gear to get ready for what lies ahead.
More to Do
After your beach adventure, know that visiting New York City is an unforgettable experience -- take time to explore all the iconic landmarks, such as Central Park and the Empire State Building, as well as the various outstanding museums.
If you're looking to relocate to New York, be sure to hire professional Realtors like Taleene and Ritchie Krug Jr. who can find you exactly what you're looking for in terms of the best home, house, condo, or townhome. Lifelong residents of Long Island, are part of a team with more than 40 years of combined Real Estate experience. They have a deep understanding of how Real Estate has evolved through the years which results in a team with unique dynamics and expert negotiating skills being put to work on your behalf. With 20 Offices Spanning Brooklyn Queens & Long Island, nobody is better equipped to handle your real estate needs.