Jones Beach is New York's most-visited state park and one of the most popular beaches during the summer. Enjoy warm days on 6½ miles of white-sand beach on the Atlantic. Its newest addition is the Wildplay at Jones Beach adventure park, which includes zip lines for kids and adults as well as aerial adventure courses. A large playground is located at Zach's Bay near Fields 5 and 6, which faces the bay. There are picnic tables, grass, and trees all around. Parents can listen to the music from the band shell as kids enjoy the "Boardwalk Playground" located east of Field 2. And a new splash pad is located next to the Boardwalk Café. The daily fee for parking is $10.
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Nickerson Beach's family fun zone offers playground entertainment for kids of all ages. Photo by the author
Nickerson Beach, managed by Nassau County and stretching along the Atlantic Ocean, features a family fun zone that includes two pools, a skate park, and a playground for kids. Parking is $15 for Nassau Leisure Pass holders and $37 for nonresidents or residents without passes.
North Hempstead Beach Park, which features 34 acres of beach and recreation area, has a concession stand, basketball courts, and picnic areas, as well as a playground for kids. Restrooms and parking lots are located close to the beach for an easy walk with little ones. Nassau County residents pay $10 credit or $15 if using cash. For nonresidents, the fee is $18 on a credit card or $20 cash.
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After hitting up the beach playground, cool off at Shipwreck Cove spray park in Bay Shore. Photo by the author
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The playground is themed after a pirate ship and even includes a seated zipline. The sandy playground is nestled between the beach and Shipwreck Cove, the spray park. There is metered parking for nonresidents and residents without a leisure pass. There is an additional fee to enter the spray park.
Cedar Beach, which is managed by the Town of Brookhaven, is a popular spot for North Shore residents. The beach features a playground, fishing pier, marina, and bathrooms. There are many other things to enjoy at this park, which overlooks Long Island Sound, including basketball courts and walking trails. A season ticket for Brookhaven residents is $30. Nonresidents can pay by the hour.
This sea-inspired beachfront playground made our list of best Long Island playgrounds of any variety. Swings, slides, and climbing fun is all in store for kids, but it's the boat-shaped section that usually thrills them the most. Kids can climb in and out, duck behind the walls, or pretend to steer safely homeward. Sun-blocking screens offer a touch of shade, and the rest of the park has plenty of benches. This is also a Town of Brookhaven beach. The same fees as Cedar Beach apply.
Short Beach is managed by the Town of Smithtown and overlooks Long Island Sound. It features a playground in the sand, as well as bathrooms, showers, and a concession stand. Camping is also available.
Smith Point County Park, the county's largest oceanfront park, features miles of beachfront, a concession stand, and a playground with picnic tables overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The park boasts white-sand beaches and a nationally recognized team of lifeguards to keep visitors safe.
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Adventures await aboard Sunken Meadow State Park's playground pirate ship. Photo by the author
A seafaring theme offers kids a pirate ship and even a drawbridge, where they can "walk the plank" or just run amuck. There are slides, climbing structures, and even a small separate jungle gym for tots. You'll find the playground in Field 1. After a morning romp, find the walkway to the boardwalk and beach area to enjoy the rest of the day. Admission is $10 per vehicle to enter the state park during the summer season.
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Enjoy water fun and more at Tanner Park in Copiague. Photo courtesy of the Town of Babylon
OK, this is actually a sprinkler park with sprayers, a water slide, and more splash pad fun, but it's one of our favorites, and right on Great South Bay. There's an adjacent skate park for big kids, a Beach Hut for snacks, a fishing pier, and of course, a sandy beach. There are even outdoor concerts in the summer, making it a true destination playground. This is a Town of Babylon residents-only beach and you must have a resident recreation permit to enter.
Webby's Beach is a hidden gem in the Town of Brookhaven. The beach, which overlooks Moriches Bay, features a playground area in the sand, as well as a beachfront ideal for little ones. Slides and several climbing areas provide fun for kids. There are no bathrooms at this beach.
Another Town of Brookhaven beach, West Meadow has two playgrounds. The newer playground has a nautical theme with multiple slides and climbing areas as well as swings. On the other side of the building that houses the bathrooms, you'll find a sprinkler park and toddler swings. Although this play area has seen better days, it is fenced in and serves its purpose as a fun way for little ones to splash around in the water safely. Visitors can also enjoy beach volleyball, checkerboard tables, and environmental programs for all ages. A season ticket for Brookhaven residents is $30. Nonresidents can pay by the hour.
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The calm waters of this low-key beach on Peconic Bay are well-suited for families with little ones. The concession stand offers everything from burgers to ice cream, and there is a playground for kids with slides, climbing bars, and more.
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Grab the brass ring and get a free re-ride at the antique carousel in Mitchell Park. Photo by Jaime Sumersille
This beautiful park on Greenport's marina is a must-see for families. Enjoy the restaurants and shops in the harbor and finish the day with a ride on the antique carousel. A small beach sits a few hundred yards west of the carousel, near the Shelter Island Ferry terminal.
The ship-themed playground is a signature attraction at Orient Beach State Park. Photo courtesy of the park
This whimsical North Fork playground offers traditional play equipment, including a small climbing section with slides, plus little ride-on animals that spring back and forth. But everyone's favorite feature is the big ship. Kids can climb to the top of it or peek out from the lower deck of the red and blue boat-shaped play equipment. Located on the sand, the playground is popular year-round and before or after a day on the Sound. There's hiking in the park, of course, and picnic tables and pavilions for lunch. Admission is $8-$10 per car, depending on the season.
Overlooking the Sound, this beach has a picnic area and playground. Lifeguards are on duty throughout the summer. All beach visitors must get a parking permit at the town clerk's office in Southold Village.
This article was originally published in 2014. It was updated in July 2023.
Writers Kimberly Chacon and Lisa Mancuso contributed additional reporting.