Best Beaches on Long Island
Long Island is a gift of nature for the residents of New York State. It is a densely populated island, home to almost 8 million people, that is by flanked by the Atlantic Ocean to its east and the Long Island Sound to it’s north. Long Island therefore offers a unique residential opportunity in New York. Residents are within reach of some of the most scenic beaches in America while being only an hour away from the island of Manhattan, one of the greatest commercial and tourist attractions in the world. Locals need not travel all the way to the coasts of Florida or California in search of ocean waters because you can find them right here, on Long Island, NY.
The pristine beaches of Long Island offer visitors a mix of freshwater and saltwater, which is analogous to the diverse landscape, view and culture of the island.
Here is a list of some of the best beaches on Long Island that will convince you to plan anything from a weekend getaway to the next annual family vacation.
Often rated among the top 10 beaches in America, Coopers Beach is one of the best beaches on Long Island simply because of its unparalleled natural beauty. The beach features distinctive pearl-white sands and near-azure waters, a rarity on the north eastern seaboard. You will feel as though you have been magically teleported to the Caribbean (no complaints there). Coopers is a well preserved oceanside retreat, with crystal clear waters and pristine sands. It stretches for miles along a narrow, linear barrier that borders the Shinnecock Bay and the Atlantic.
This Southampton Village coastline is usually on the quieter side, with well managed parking spaces available for purchase along with lounge chairs and umbrellas for rent. The majority of the visitors are on-state locals as opposed to tourists, which further supplements the serene vibe of this shore. Here, you can enjoy mesmerizing views of the ocean as well as many grand, historic mansions in the area that are a mere arm’s length away from this breathtakingly gorgeous beach.
A must visit for couples and families alike, Coopers Beach should definitely be part of your itinerary on your next New York City trip.
Featuring neverending sunsets over the Atlantic and an uncharacteristically calm shore, Gin Beach is a must see for families. Located on the very tip of Lake Montauk, this beach enjoys very gentle currents making swimming in the surrounding waters kid friendly. It also neighbors Montauk Harbor, providing a view of boats docking and going out to sea, in the distance.
Its location at the tip of the peninsula allows visitors to get an almost panoramic view of the horizon. Coupled with the generally flat topography and calm seas, this offers viewers with the most breathtakingly majestic sunsets on the East Coast (since the Sun sets in the west, of course).
Montauk Island is also home to some of the oldest seafood joints that offer delicious catch of the day specials. Many such restaurants are within walking distance of the beach. The historic Montauk Point Lighthouse is also a few minutes away from this peaceful beach. Constructed in 1796, it stands today as the 4th oldest lighthouse in the US. Designated as a National Historic Landmark, it showcases many historic memorabilia from prominent historical figures such as George Washington. It is another compelling reason to visit Gin Beach and observe a fragment of our Nation’s early history.
Situated on the Jones Beach Island, this beautiful recreational beach is another one of the many barrier coasts in or near Long Island. Named as an acronym to its parent cities, The Towns of Oyster Bay, Tobay beach lies just off the Ocean Parkway drive which also connects to Jones Beach.
The beach’s beautiful waters and golden sands are supplemented by the availability of popular bars and restaurants in the vicinity. These range from full fledged sit-down establishments to snack bars to grab a quick bite. Tobay Beach’s popularity among New York residents is actually due to its excelled portfolio of neighboring restaurants.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the beach was almost wiped out into the ocean. However, the Towns of Oyster Bay and their residents pooled together to help preserve and rebuild its beautiful white sand shoreline, include new bars and restaurants and even build a water park for families with kids! The beach stands as a testament to the perseverance of New Yorkers in the face of calamity. It is only fitting that it features a memorial to pay tribute to the lives lost in the tragic day of September 11.
Due to the aforementioned circumstances, the beach has been managed under restricted access. To gain entry, out of state visitors must obtain a day pass. Lucky for residents, they receive a sizable discount on their entry and parking fees!
Point Lookout Beach
This beach lies just off Lido Boulevard and is the main attraction in the town of Point Lookout. Featuring beautiful pearl white sands and an abundance of high tide waves. This has lead to this beach being extremely popular with the East Coast surfer community.
The beach is also great for couples and families as it offers multiple attractions in the neighboring area. Visitors can choose to visit the baseball fields or dine at Point Lookout many cafes and seafood joints. Those looking for multiple beach check-ins can also stop by at the nearby Nickerson Beach (also mentioned in this article). Visitors have access to ample parking space featuring free parking after 5 PM. The shore is maintained as a quiet space so there aren’t many frisbees and beach balls flying around. So pack your next mystery novel for this trip as you will get a good space to relax and take in the sunshine and views. A recommended stop for locals and visitors alike, Point Lookout beach and the adjoining town has a lot to offer you on your next adventure!
Bordering the Lookout Point beach is another great beach for those looking to check in to 2x the fun! The Nickerson Beach is a great point to celebrate a day out with the family. The beach is part of the Nickerson Park, a 155 acre sun drenched recreational facility. Kids and parents alike can enjoy activities like baseball, volleyball and even camping (or should we say, Glamping?).
The beach offers a unique seaside experience only seen on TV: a putting range and a pitching net! There are also swimming pools in case you get tired of swimming against ocean waves. Kids can enjoy some time at the skate area featuring skateboard ramps. Families can get together and relax in the picnic and camping grounds. Or catch a movie at the open air screen on Sunday nights
The beach stretches for about half a mile and is rarely crowded. Beachgoers are largely comprised of locals. The beach also includes a protected area which serves as the nesting grounds for the Piping Plover, a beautiful, small bird that is a protected species (and was also featured in the Oscar winning Pixar short film Piper). Visitors can view them from a distance as the younglings train to feed between wave intervals.
All in all, the combination of Nickerson Beach and Lookout Point beach is a solid 1-2 punch for a great day out for families, couples are even a group of friends!
Port Jefferson Public Beach
Port Jefferson Beach is part of a small town that is home to less than 8000 people. The beach itself is located in southeast Port Jefferson Harbor. Visitors traveling between Long Island and Bridgeport, CT hail the ferry from the docks that are a few minutes away from the beach. A blossoming tourist town, Port Jefferson also offers a variety of recreational activities like sailing and hiking in its surrounding country parks.
The beach is part of a larger recreational area that features restaurants, golf and even a dog park! If you are looking for a pet friendly outing, Port Jefferson Beach is the best beach on Long Island for you. Visitors can purchase pick up bags at the recreation area entrance and allow their pets to freely roam around the stretch. Restaurants in the vicinity are pet friendly, allowing visitors to grab a quick bite while in the company of their canine companions.
Port Jefferson is also known for its gorgeous vineyards and many wine tasting festivals and annual events. Those looking to indulge may find this a great evening experience after their day at the beach.
North Hempstead Beach
This popular beach park is also a hosting ground for music concerts, many of which have free attendance! Located off West Shore Road, North Hempstead Beach Park is famous for its live music events. People flock to this beach for a one of a kind beachside musical experience.
The beach is part of a 60 acre recreational park facility that offers many activities to its visitors. Beachgoers enjoy water based activities such as kayaking and paddleboarding, with equipment available to rent. Beachside facilities include a basketball court, children’s playground and volleyball nets. There is even a picnic area with designated fishing zones. The half mile long shoreline is adjacent to a mile long running track for those looking for an early morning run with unbeatable scenic vistas.
While its selling point may be the Sunday music concerts, North Hempstead Beach park offers plenty to keep people of all ages entertained for an entire day at the beach. Get your friend circle together, fuel up the jeep and drive up to North Hempstead this weekend!
Cedar Beach is on the South Shore of Long Island, and is another great option to plan your next adventure around. Its views are accentuated by a dense and colorful nature preserve located on the opposite side of the ocean, flanking the beach. Paved walkways across the preserve as well as pavilions offer visitors a dynamic scenery featuring forest, sand and ocean.
Cedar beach is also the second beach featured on this list that hosts live music events. Somewhat of a secret among locals, it is rarely crowded and visitors often come here for peace and quiet during the weekdays. Similar to many beaches on this list, Cedar also features a small recreational park that includes camping and picnic grounds and offers visitors with a plethora of recreational activities.
Cedar also neighbors the marina, giving visitors a chance to see boats pass by on the horizon. Due to its convenient location on the South Shore of Long Island, visitors can catch a glimpse of an elusive east coast sunset on the horizon.
There are countless other beaches on Long Island that you can enjoy. Please feel free to comment on your experiences visiting the diverse shorelines of Long Island.