The best part of the beach isn't always the sand and water. Sometimes, it's a quaint stroll along the boardwalk. And Long Island has plenty of them.
Gone are the splinter fears and potential pitfalls of yesterday; most Long Island boardwalks have been refurbished with less flammable, sustainable woods. These boardwalk spots offer something special for kids and adults alike.
Here are a half-dozen of our favorite Long Island boardwalks, including a few you might not immediately associate with the ocean. From Nassau County to Suffolk and the East End, they are yours to explore. For more seasonal fun, be sure to see our Summer Fun Guide, our list of the best Long Island beaches for families, and perhaps even our guide to LI beach playgrounds.
Enjoy FREE kids concerts at the Jones Beach Boardwalk Bandshell. near the boardwalk at field 4. Photo courtesy of Darlene Graham
Jones Beach Boardwalk —Wantagh
1 Ocean Parkway, Wantagh
Strolling along the boardwalk at Jones Beach is fun for young and old alike, but the real ticket is seeing the children’s shows at the Boardwalk Bandshell. (Utilize parking field 4 to shorten the walk). From family-friendly movies to magic shows and kidtastic bands, there are plenty of activities for those with toddlers in tow. The two-mile boardwalk also features miniature golf, pitch-and-putt golf (ideal for teens learning the game), and children's playgrounds with swings and slides. If you see some foreboding clouds in the sky, check the Jones Beach Bandshell Facebook page or its website for weather-related cancellations. Expect to pay up to $10 daily for parking during peak times.
What's better for a parent than a stroll with a little one along the boardwalk at Long Beach? Photo by the author
Long Beach Boardwalk — Long Beach
700 Magnolia Boulevard
Rebuilt after superstorm Sandy, the boardwalk at Long Beach is ideal for running, biking and walking. New parents might agree: Few things are more refreshing than a stroller walk or jog with your child lulled to sleep by the salty ocean air. Underneath the boardwalk, at the corner of West Broadway and Magnolia Boulevard, is the Magnolia Boulevard Playground, which offers picnic tables and a variety of playground equipment. Family members will enjoy the opportunity to rent bicycles via the city’s SoBi program (app download recommended) and ride them along the boardwalk. Long Beach charges an admission fee for the beach but the boardwalk is FREE. On-street parking is available.
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Eel Creek Boardwalk connects the Sagamore Hill environmental areas with the Roosevelts' "Summer White House." Photo by the author
Sagamore Hill —Oyster Bay
20 Sagamore Hill Road
Sagamore Hill, Theodore Roosevelt’s New York home and the “Summer White House” from 1902 to 1908, is full of history and charm. The former president was an early environmentalist who advocated for preserving the natural beauty of Long Island and America. He and his second wife raised six children in the house, and it is now home to a Junior Ranger program that teaches kids about nature, geography, and local ecology. When you head out for a nature walk behind the Old Orchard Museum, stroll down to the 366-foot Eel Creek Boardwalk and enjoy expansive views of Centre Island and Lloyd Harbor. The price tag for all of this beauty? FREE.
Suffolk and the East End
Lakeland County Park Boardwalk — Islandia
176 Johnson Avenue
Your little ones will love the horses—there’s horseback riding here—and scenery lovers will relish the bucolic beauty of the nature-trail boardwalk. Long Island’s six-mile long Connetquot River delivers views of wetland vegetation and waterfowl. The park is fully accessible, making it an easy visit for all.
Norman Klipp Park Beach — Greenport
Norman Klipp Park Beach, aka Gull Pond Beach, is a great spot to take kids for their first snorkeling adventure. The small boardwalk offers a picnic area with grills, a playground, and comfort stations. The village of Greenport boasts a wonderful antique carousel that is open daily during the summer and on weekends during the offseason. Rides cost $2 and children can attempt to grab brass rings for a free re-ride. Parking for Town of Southold residents is FREE with a $6 annual permit; $25 daily for nonresidents.
RELATED: 50 FREE things to do with LI kids this summer
Sunset creates a postcard setting along the Sunken Meadow State Park boardwalk. Photo by Cindy Stiefleind setting /courtesy of Discover Long Island
Sunken Meadow State Park — Kings Park
Route 25A and the Sunken Meadow Parkway
The boardwalk at Sunken Meadow State Park is among the most peaceful on Long Island. Stretching three-quarters of a mile along a stretch of Long Island Sound, the walk offers pristine views of Connecticut and plenty of space for kids to run around. Parking is $10 daily, and the park features three playgrounds. The open nature of this boardwalk makes it an ideal place to teach your rookie cyclist how to ride.
Which favorites would you like to add to the list?
This article was originally published in 2016 and was updated in July 2017.
Top photo: Enjoy a stroll or bike ride along the boardwalk at Long Beach. Photo by Shinya Suzuki/CC BY 2.0