What makes a beach great? For some, it’s perfect white sand or a nice surf. For others, it’s not so much the beach itself but what surrounds it, a boardwalk full of shops selling everything from surfboards to soft-serve ice cream. Long Island beaches have all that and often more, making it hard to pick a favorite beach or even rank them. This is the Internet, though, and picking a few favorite beaches can be done. As last summer came to a close, we posted the following question on our Facebook page:
With summer ending, fill in the blank:
My favorite beach over the summer was ___________?
These were your top five beaches. Consider this list a platform from which you can dig your toes into the sands of beaches you may not have considered.
It’s seems a bit unfair to group all the Montauk beaches together. After all, different personalities will likely lean towards one more than the other, but we’ll agree that Montauk has some of the best beaches. Whether it’s Ditch Plains Beach for the surf, Gin Beach for the family-oriented, or Nick’s for the party vibe, there’s something for you in Montauk.
The five-mile stretch of beaches that make up Robert Moses State Park are full of recreational activities for the athletic-minded. Take a hike on the nature trail, go over to the lighthouse and climb up or try your luck at catching a fish or a wave. When you’re tired out, lay in the warm sand. These beaches are full or great sand and sun.
Just off the parkway, Lido Beach in Hempstead is one of the quieter beaches on the South Shore of Long Island. Even when it does get crowded on the weekends, go early, this beach is still fairly peaceful. Parking, a playground and a skate park make it an ideal family beach. Rent a picnic area for the day and just hang.
Beautiful white sand, nice surf and a decent vibe, this Babylon beach is where you’ll find families grabbing burgers and drinks at the small snack shack, hear live music playing on the weekend afternoons and see kids and adults alike learn to surf at weeklong surf camp or during individual hourly lessons. It gets crowded though, so get there early to secure a parking pass or come by boat.
TWA Flight 800 Memorial in Smith’s Point Beach, Long Island, New York. image: flickr creative commons/Doug Kerr
Suffolk County’s largest oceanfront park is a water lover’s paradise. There’s scuba diving, surfing, saltwater fishing, camping, a playground, a huge concession stand and of course, lots of swimming. The beach is clean with large grains of sand that contain natural debris such as weeds, shells and tiny rocks, but it’s still pleasant. The TWA800 Memorial is here in a little park off the boardwalk. Take a moment and walk through it.