The 6 Best South Shore Beaches on Long Island

  • 01 of 07

    Long Island's Best Beaches

    Fire island, Point O'Woods, Ocean side beach
    ••• Fire island, Point O'Woods. Atlantide Phototravel/Getty Images

    The name "Long Island" conjures up images of sun, sand and surf. With miles of sprawling sands, Long Island's beaches are legendary. From the powder-fine, white sands of Long Beach to the pounding surf of Montauk, Long Island has a variety of beautiful beaches on its north and south shores. It's no surprise that Stephen Leatherman, a.k.a. "Dr. Beach" has selected several Long Island beaches, year after year, for his annual list of America's Top 10 Beaches. Here's a sampling of some of the great beaches on this beautiful island.

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  • 02 of 07

    Long Beach

    Long Beach
    ••• Shinya Suzuki/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    I'm going to start with my personal favorite. In my opinion, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world (if not THE most beautiful!), Long Beach stretches out for over three miles with soft sand that glistens in the sun. Originally a South Shore beach community in the 1880s, Long Beach went from being a summer resort to a residential area, blessed by cooling breezes in the summer. Listen to the sounds of the pounding surf and watch seagulls glide overhead. Sunbathe and catch up on your reading, take a dip in the refreshing ocean, or stroll or bicycle down the boardwalk which stretches out for more than two miles.

    Want to see more? Then visit Long Beach, NY - Tour of the oceanfront.

    Interested in Long Beach's storied past? Then see Long Beach Heritage Tour, a photo essay about a great history tour that I went on to learn about the fascinating evolution of this seaside city.

    To learn about Long Beach season passes, surfing and more, please go to the official City of Long Beach website.

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  • 03 of 07

    Jones Beach State Park

    Two girls running at the Jones Beach at the sunset
    ••• Alex Potemkin/Getty Images

    Located 33 miles from Manhattan, Jones Beach State Park seems worlds away from the bustling city. With 6.5 miles of sprawling sands, a two-mile long boardwalk, and a theater, this beach swells with visitors during the summer months. On the park's west end, you can also surf fish, and enjoy the pristine areas that are home to migratory birds and native plants.

    In addition to its beautiful sands, Jones Beach is also known for the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, the Jones Beach Air Show every Memorial Day, the annual Grucci Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular. In 2009, Jones Beach also introduced The Bay Stage, which hosts rock concerts in a smaller, more intimate venue than its regular concerts.

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  • 04 of 07

    Main Beach

    Main Beach, East Hampton, the Hamptons, Long Island, New York State, United States of America, North America
    ••• Robert Harding Productions / Getty Images

    Located in the village of East Hampton, Main Beach has appeared on "Dr. Beach's" list of America's Top 10 Beaches. This pristine, white sand beach in the glamorous Hamptons also features expanses of shore with dunes and bird nesting areas. And if you're into celebrity watching, this is one place where you might run into the rich and famous out for a day under the sun. Every year on Labor Day weekend, the East Hampton Fire Department sponsors a spectacular fireworks show at the beach.

    During the summer months, beach parking permits are required for residents and non-residents.Note that the non-resident parking permits sell out fast, so it's worth your while to apply for one very early in the season. More info at the Village of East Hampton website.

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  • 05 of 07

    Coopers Beach

    Coopers Beach Southampton
    ••• Shinya Suzuki / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

    Take one look at this stunning stretch of sand and you'll understand why "Dr. Beach" has repeatedly placed it on his annual list of America's Top 10 Beaches, and it took the number one spot as the BEST beach in 2010. Behind the beach's beautiful sand dunes, stately mansions --like Calvin Klein's--- line the area in the village of Southampton on Long Island's South Shore.

    Residents of Southampton park at the beach for free, but non-residents must pay. If you're a non-resident, you can also purchase seasonal passes, but like many of the great beaches in the Hamptons, parking and passes are limited, so you'll need to scramble for parking spaces. Arrive early and your chances of finding a space are greatly enhanced.

    The Southampton Cultural Center presents annual FREE summer outdoor concerts and some of them are held on Coopers Beach.

    For more info on purchasing a parking pass and more, please go to the Village of Southampton website

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  • 06 of 07

    Beaches of Fire Island

    Fire Island, the beach ocean side
    ••• Maremagnum/Getty Images
    Take the ferry to Fire Island, a lovely barrier island, and you'll have your pick of beaches. It's safest to swim where there are lifeguards on duty, so visit Saltaire, Dunewood, Fair Harbor, Point o' Woods, Ocean Beach or Atlantique Town Beach, where lifeguards are stationed both on Great South Bay and on the Atlantic Ocean.
    If you go to Kismet, Watch Hill, Fire Island Pines, Cherry Grove, Sailors Haven, and Ocean Bay Park, only the ocean side has lifeguards.After your swim, surf or stroll on the beach, visit the boardwalk, and then make sure to take a trip to the famous Fire Island lighthouse, built in 1857.
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  • 07 of 07


    Montauk beach with lighthouse in the background
    ••• fotog/Getty Images

    Known as "The End," Montauk sits on the easternmost tip of Long Island's South Fork. Its wide, white beaches are breathtaking and known as surfing meccas. In 2009, Surfer magazine named Montauk one of the Ten Best Surf Towns in America.

    With over 20 marinas, countless hotels and motels and plenty of seafood restaurants, Montauk's charms go beyond its stunning Atlantic beaches.