It’s fair to say that most of us wouldn’t associate New York City and its environs with beach holidays. But don’t let the skyscrapers and urban buzz distract you from the fact that the city is, well, surrounded by water. From Brooklyn to Staten Island, New York offers a number of popular beach spots that swell with surf-seeking locals each summer. But for the region’s finest sandy stretches, you might want to travel a little farther east. It’s time to explore the best Long Island beaches.

From the glittering Hamptons to the natural splendour of the area’s state parks, these five beaches offer soft sand, splash-friendly waves, and plenty of activities for travellers of all ages. Get your tan on by day — and head back to the city for some urban adventures by night.

East Hampton Main Beach

Robert Moses State Park

Named in honour of one of the city’s most influential urban planners, Robert Moses State Park lies on the western edge of Fire Island. While the island is generally known for its lively nightlife, the beach here is ideal for those seeking some tranquil seaside time. Comprising roughly five miles of sand, the seafront is frequented by sunbathers, surfers, swimmers, and even those looking to fish. Stay on for a dinnertime picnic and catch the sunset over the waves.


Long Beach

Occupying a coastal barrier island just a quick trip from the easternmost edge of New York City, Long Beach is definitely one of the best Long Island beaches. Its expanse of clean, white sand is these days complemented by a sparkling boardwalk, rebuilt and debuted after being ravaged by Hurricane Sandy. While the entry fee ($15 for non-residents) makes it pricier than some other options, it also keeps it clean and quiet — perfect for all-day lounging.


Jones Beach State Park

Six and a half miles of white sand beach abutting the Atlantic Ocean. A family-friendly boardwalk with games and old-fashioned concessions. A bandshell with outdoor entertainment all season long. It’s no wonder that, in the summer months, Jones Beach State Park attracts flocks of New Yorkers looking to get out of town for a while — given its popularity, you’d be wise to stake out a spot early.

Jones Beach

Main Beach, East Hampton

No list of the best Long Island beaches would be complete without the Hamptons, the gorgeously high-end stretch of eastern Long Island that’s as famous for its natural beauty as its society. For an excellent introduction to the local scene, look no further than the aptly named Main Beach. Frequently ranked among the best beaches not just in the area but also in the whole of the US, it’s a destination for spotless sand and people watching.


Coopers Beach, Southampton

Another Hamptons beach that consistently shows up on top US beach rankings, Coopers Beach in Southampton draws in visitors with its pristine, unspoiled nature — and those scenic rows of million-dollar mansions nearby. The village of Southampton is a quaint accompaniment to the beach, where you’ll want to spend most of the day: the softness of the sand, the gentle waves, the cleanliness and the inherent natural beauty all earn it top marks.


Written by Claire Bullen

Image credits: Main Beach ©, Jones Beach © NYS Parks

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