Longer days are meant to be enjoyed with the sun in your face and your feet in the sand. The southern half of Long Island packs all of summer’s essentials: abundant parks, pristine sandy shores and restaurants with waterfront views as stunning as the seafood. This summer, roll out your towel and check out these eight enticing places to go on the South Shore. Pulse’s summer almanac makes for the perfect beach read.
Diner by the Sea, Long Beach
Walk into any diner on the Island and expect flap jacks to flip for and decadent milkshakes, but Diner by the Sea makes casual eating a little more colorful. Think tie-dyed pancakes and Nutella-flavored milk shakes topped with a brightly colored toy. Go.
Nawlins Seafood Company, Freeport
Get to Freeport’s Nautical Mile for a taste of Bourbon Street at Nawlins, which opened in April. Fried green tomatoes, char grilled oysters and the Louisiana long rib—the menu is the real New Orleans deal. Go.
SALT on the Water, Merrick
Escape to waterfront dining in Merrick. SALT on the Water, a seasonal venture by the management teams behind Mesita and Parlay in Rockville Centre, opened Memorial Day weekend. Chow down on fish tacos or pick from a raw bar with salts from around the world as you take in a sunset from the 100-seat deck. Go.
The Shoregasboard, Long Beach
The 2.2-mile Long Beach boardwalk is full of cyclists, runners, nostalgia and food trucks. When it’s time to fuel up for a beach day, visitors head to Riverside & The Beach for grab-and-go food truck fare. Stay healthy with a wrap from Long Beach Wellness Cafe or NY Acai’s fruit bowls or skip the calorie counting (it’s vacation!) and order the meatball hero at Villaggio. Go.
Eisenhower Park, East Meadow
At 930 acres, Eisenhower Park trumps Central Park in size. Lace up your sneakers every Wednesday for a 5k race or get your golf game going at one of three public courses, a top-notch PGA course, a driving range and a mini-golf course. Kids from 1 to 92 can do their best Mike Piazza impressions in the batting cages, and the less athletically inclined can enjoy a number of concerts and movie screenings the park hosts each year. The Lakeside Theatre’s Summer Concert Series will bring cover bands Tramps Like Us (July 1) and Desert Highway Eagles Tribute Band (Aug. 19) to town. Go.
Hempstead Lake Park, West Hempstead
Nassau can feel like a stretch of houses and highways, so a visit to Hempstead Lake Park is a breath of fresh air. Fish Nassau County’s largest lake and walk or ride a horse through the various trails. Pack a lunch (and your pup) and dust off your basketball; there are picnic tables and basketball courts made for turning your intended hour-long walk in the park into a day trip. Dogs can run off leash in designated areas. Go.
Jones Beach, Wantagh
The Nikon at Jones Beach concerts bring everyone from Counting Crows to Gwen Stefani to our shores for a day or two; the boardwalk and memories have brought people from East to West to the popular beach for decades. Go.
Skudin Surf, Long Beach
Age ain’t nothing but a number. Cross “learn to surf” off your bucket list by signing up for an adult camp at Skudin Surf, a family-run company that has been teaching surfing for more than three decades. Give the world’s fastest growing water sport a go by renting a paddle board or trying SUP yoga. Go.
Stay tuned in July for a list of favorite spots in the South Shore towns along the Great South Bay.