You may have heard it before, but Long Island has some of the best beaches that you’ll ever come by. That isn’t just something we tell people to woo them, it’s a fact backed by countless awards and other forms of recognition! For instance Sunken Forest, on Fire Island, was recently recognized as one of America’s 10 best beaches in the Saturday Evening Post (See Article Here). A couple of years before this acclaimed beach and marine expert Stephen “Dr. Beach” Leatherman placed East Hampton’s Main Beach on his top ten list, where Coopers Beach in Southampton was been recognized with a top spot as well making it clear that Dr. Beach is a fan of the Hamptons!
He’s not alone, as National Geographic has held the beaches of the Hamptons in a top 5 spot in its past issues.
It’s pretty amazing that this region, a drop in the bucket of United States shoreline, contains some of the best beaches in the country. Both Main Beach and Coopers Beach are more secluded, all the way out on the east end of the island. These far out beaches can be the peak of your relaxing waterfront stay if you know where to look, or have a resident parking pass, but that experience isn’t for everyone. If you aren’t looking to take the long trip, rest assured that there are plenty of other options. Along this same strand of gorgeous south shore coastline are several other public beaches, where it will run you less to drive out and park.
For instance Long Beach is just under an hour from the city, a point they have driven home with their ’50 Minutes to Paradise’ campaign. Damage from Super Storm Sandy has come and gone, and you couldn’t tell by looking after all of the reconstruction that has taken place! The boardwalk has been rebuilt, with extra amenities added on to facilitate the beach as top spot like food trucks and bike rentals. Beyond Long Beach, heading west, lie Jones Beach, Tobay Beach and Gilgo Beach, leading in to Cedar Beach and Robert Moses. This tightly packed island of beaches, accessible only by bridges or boat, becomes a hot spot in the summer season with long, easygoing sunny days and exciting music filled nights on the boardwalk. Fire Island is next in this strip of the south shore, an adventure in its own right deserving a day (or a week?) of exploring. Here you will find Sunken Forest, a rare maritime forest of stunted plant clusters visible from the boardwalk, which is accessible from the Sailor’s Haven visitor center. Finally there are the beaches at Smith Point and Cupsogue to get to before you even hit Westhampton.
The north shore also offers a unique beach experience, and although the shorelines may not stretch as long it offers stunning views out on to the Long Island Sound from bluffs or pebbly beaches. Starting from the westernmost peninsula of the north shore, where Kings Point and Great Neck are nestled, you can find small parks along the shore for a nice stop during your stay. The same goes on the next peninsula over, where Port Washington reaches out in to Hempstead harbor. There are several parks along the north shore, such as Garvies Point, Welwyn Preserve, Theodore Roosevelt Memorial, McAllister County Park, and the Peconic Dunes County Park that all have the water and sand, however not as much as the isles of the south shore. There is also a variety of state parks with smaller waterfronts along the north as well, such as Caumsett, Sunken Meadow, Nissequogue River, and Wildwood. Moguls and barons of the 20s built their mansions along this gold coast for a reason; they had great taste in waterfront property!
While it is evident that the beaches of the East End have a special charm and seclusion, the reality is that we have hundreds of miles of shoreline to match all around us. Residents and tourists alike flock to Long Beach, Jones Beach and more to the point where parking lots near capacity on those hot summer days. Swimming, fishing, surfing, tanning, strolling on the boardwalk, truly any water activity you can imagine and then some; there’s a beach on the island that can accommodate.