Long Island Beaches: Hotspots & Hidden Gems

Beach season is in full swing. Pack your sunscreen, pack a cooler, and set off to one of these stunning Long Island beaches.

My roots are on Long Island, and growing up on the South shore meant beach-hopping all summer long. Just a train ride from Manhattan, the long, sandy stretches of South shore Long Island draw travelers from near and far. Below you’ll find a list of my personal favorites, hotspots and hidden gems alike, for all of your beach-faring travel needs. Take it from a local!

Hotspot: Jones Beach State Park

1 Ocean Pkwy, Wantagh, NY 11793, United States

Jones Beach State Park
Jones Beach via @discoverlongisland on Instagram

Perhaps the most renowned of the Long Island beaches, Jones Beach State Park spans 6.5 miles down the Atlantic coast. Highly traveled (and recommended), Jones Beach offers the quintessential beach day and beyond. Between the recently renovated boardwalk––where you can take a seaside stroll or a picturesque bike ride––or the numerous oceanfront dining opportunities, from take-away concession to dine-in, Jones Beach is a summer dream. Feeling competitive? Jones Beach offers basketball, cornhole, miniature golf, and allows fishing as well. Additionally, Jones Beach is home to the Northwell Health Theater, which has seen musical performances across nearly every genre, from Jimmy Bufett to Fall Out Boy.

Hidden Gem: Cedar Beach

Cedar Beach LI
Cedar Beach via @seanmillsphotos on Instagram

Head further down Ocean Parkway to find hidden gem, Cedar Beach. Low-key and lesser traveled than neighboring Jones Beach, Cedar Beach is known for its boating opportunities, as well as the nearby campground it offers. With ample amenities, including a playground, surfing space, and The Beach Hut, where live bands perform nightly, Cedar Beach is a beautiful hub for entertainment and adventure. Surrounded by white sand dunes and secluded from Ocean Parkway, Cedar Beach is a getaway destination for those looking for relaxation by the Atlantic. Make sure to catch a Cedar Beach sunset while you’re at it!

Hotspot: Long Beach

Long Beach LI
Photo via @the_breezy_blonde on Instagram

Long Beach, Long Island has a special place in my heart––not only for its gorgeous boardwalk, dark stone jetties, or panoramic ocean views––but for its distinct energy as one of Long Island’s most welcoming, high energy towns. Long Beach is a true beach, but the downtown within walking distance of the shoreline is just as vibrant as the beach itself. Dotted with concessions, art pieces, playgrounds and waterfront activity centers, the Long Beach boardwalk is a great place to take a stroll at any hour of the day. Sit at one of the bench lined railings and dive into a good book, gather a group of friends for a seaside dinner, or get your daily workout in along the shore. The boardwalk is always ripe with activity, and its bike lane often finds locals and travelers alike taking in the view. Downtown Long Beach offers hip, trendy restaurants such as Brixx & Barley, a thriving nightlife scene at bars such as The Ugly Duckling, and boutiques for shopping. One would be remiss to visit Long Beach without stopping at Marvel––a renowned ice cream shop. Just in case you need another reason to add Long Beach to your list.

Hidden Gem: Caumsett State Park

25 Lloyd Harbor Rd, Lloyd Harbor, NY 11743, United States

Caumsett State Park
Caumsett State Park via @sablan22 on Instagram

Tucked away on the North Shore of Long Island, Caumsett State Park is well preserved and well known for its hiking trails, fishing spots, and beautiful meadows. Lesser known for its rock-shoreline beaches, Caumsett is a destination made for discovery as much as its made for appreciation. Visiting Caumsett is all about connecting with nature and the surrounding world. Take a step back, conch shell hunt on the rock-shoreline beach, and enjoy the serenity of Caumsett.

Robert Moses State Park

Robert Moses Causeway, Babylon, NY 11702, United States

Robert Moses State Park
Robert Moses State Park via @discoverlongisland on Instagram

With a five mile shoreline and situated at the Western-most point of Fire Island, beach-goers looking for a classic, picturesque beach day may opt to visit Robert Moses State Park. Similarly to Jones Beach, Robert Moses offers swimming, fishing, miniature golf, boating, and beautiful nature walk ending with the Fire Island Lighthouse. The lighthouse itself is a gorgeous architectural mark of Long Island, striped black and white and towering over the Atlantic. The walking trail, a winding boardwalk through the dunes and flora that mark Robert Moses State Park as an outstanding preservation of beach wilderness, is the perfect place to clear your mind. Grab a travel companion (pets allowed!) and take a trip out to Robert Moses for a truly beautiful beach day.

Juliana Riedman

Contributing Editor

A South shore Long Island Native, Juliana is scarcely seen without a book in hand. Whether on a plane or at the beach, her passion for reading is rivaled only by her drive to explore. From museum-hopping, coastal hiking to curling up with her cat; she is always seeking her next adventure - and her next good read.

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