While Long Island's south shore has some of the best beaches around (no contest!), the often overlooked beaches on the north shore are rocky, yes, but nonetheless beautiful. Plus, the calm. sound waters are better for kids, boating, and water sports. Pack your water shoes and head to these far-less-crowded beaches this summer.
Orient Beach State Park, Orient
Located at the easternmost tip of Long Island’s North Fork, Orient Beach State Park encompasses some 45 thousand feet of waterfront on Gardiner’s Bay, a maritime forest, and a saltwater marsh — all of which are home to majestic marine birds like Great Blue Herons and Ospreys. There are plenty of things to do, aside from sunbathing and swimming, like kayaking, fishing, paddle-boarding, canoeing, and hiking. Watersport rentals are available Memorial Day through September.
Sunken Meadow State Park, Kings Park
Three miles of beautiful beachfront are backed by bluffs and a boardwalk at Sunken Meadow State Park, a popular summer spot. Among the offerings: concession stands, grassy lawns for picnicking, nature trails for hiking, a launch for water sports, and multiple playgrounds for kids. Every Wednesday night from 6 to 9 pm, there is live music on the boardwalk and a seafood buffet.
Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Beach, Oyster Bay
You can find a little bit of everything at Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Beach, just a stone’s throw from Oyster Bay’s quaint village and train station (note: come by train to skip the parking fee). The super calm waters of Oyster Bay Harbor make for great family-friendly swimming, while off-sand activities include a few playgrounds, tennis courts, basketball court, softball field, and a 97-slip marina. Shady picnic areas and refreshment stands are located right off the sand.
Visitors can also make use of the Waterfront Center, just west of the park, which offers sailing lessons, rentals, and sunset sailing excursions aboard Christeen, a 40-foot schooner and the oldest oyster sloop in America.
Crab Meadow Beach, Huntington
Crab Meadow Beach is a wide stretch of pretty shorefront, especially desirable for its restaurant located directly on the beach. Beachgoers can grab pizza to-go and chow down right on the sand or dine on Italian classics at a table inside or on the outdoor patio at La Casa Cafe. There’s also a little boardwalk, a picnic pavilion, and a large playground. At low tide, little stream-like tide pools form and kids can spend hours wading in the pools and searching for shells and sea life.
Fleets Cove, Centerport
Fleets Cove, a 1600-foot stretch of rocky beach fronts Northport Bay and comes with plenty of shady picnic areas, a great playground, and kayak rentals. The beach is a prime spot to watch fireworks on the Fourth of July and offers adult rowing classes on Saturday mornings through October.
Wildwood State Park, Wading River
If you’re into camping, Wildwood State Park is a good place to pitch your tent. The boulder-strewn beach is picturesque, backed by grassy cliffs and 600 acres of pristine forests. Beachgoers/campers can fish, hike, bike, stand-up paddleboard, and even cross-country ski in the winter. There are ball fields, basketball courts, and a playground. Construction on new cabins and cottages is underway and said to be rental ready for the 2018 summer season.
790 Hulse Landing Road, Wading River