Stretching along the north and south shores of Long Island are dazzling beaches known for their family-friendly vibes and natural beauty, and we don't mean just the Hamptons. Whether you have younger kids looking for tranquil shores or older kids looking to body surf, there is a Long Island beach for you. It's time to get ready for cool sea breezes and the feeling of sand between your toes.
At these Long Island's family beaches, you'll find picnic areas, swimming pools, and bathroom complexes along with food trucks and umbrella rentals. Use our guide to choose the best beach for your family's needs. These beaches are open from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, unless noted. Prices listed are for summer 2018.
If you're in the mood to travel, check out our list of the best family beaches near New York City or our guide to the Jersey Shore area. For more family fun, see our guide to Long Island amusement and water parks.
Enjoy the surf at Jones Beach, but be warned: The waves can get rough. Photo by ric shaw/CC BY 2.0
Jones Beach State Park — Wantagh
This popular beach has been beckoning families for years. The park is laid out over 6 ½ miles of beautiful shoreline. Visitors can swim in the ocean, take a relaxing stroll along the boardwalk, or visit the Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center. Fields 3, 4, and 5 offer beach access through the park's iconic beach tunnels; fishing is allowed at field 10; and oceanfront parking and the calm waters of Zach's Bay are located at Field 5. Note: The waves can become rough at Jones Beach, and swimmers are required to swim in designated lifeguarded areas. Mobility mats over the sand at Fields 2, 6, and Zach’s Bay allow for easier access for visitors with strollers, wheelchairs, and beach gear. At lunch time, enjoy traditional food stand favorites such as hot dogs and ice cream. In recent years, gourmet concession stands have been added to the amenities with made-to-order pizzas and truffle fries. Also, check out the summer concert schedule for the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater. Jones Beach is crowded on weekends and holidays, so arrive early. Bathrooms and changing areas are available at each field. Cost: $10 per vehicle or free with seasonal Empire Pass.
Long Beach Boardwalk — Long Beach
This family favorite is a great spot for a day of fun. One of the best things about Long Beach is its 2.2-mile boardwalk. After being destroyed by superstorm Sandy in 2012, the city set out to replace the boardwalk. With repurposed wood, local artwork from residents, and historical markers and explanations, a walk along this stretch is interesting and educational. Rent bikes (or bring your own) and tour the boardwalk, then head to the sand. Umbrellas and chairs are available for daily rental. After a day of sea and sand castles, check out the ocean-themed Magnolia Boulevard playground. Then, enjoy lunch or dinner at one of the many food trucks, restaurants, or concession stands along the boardwalk. Long Beach is accessible via the Long Island Rail Road and ample parking is available. Weekends at Long Beach are crowded; be sure to arrive early. Cost: $12 per person for residents; $15 per person for nonresidents. Children 12 and younger are free.
Nickerson Beach Park — Lido Beach
Sitting on 155 acres, this complex along the Atlantic Ocean offers sun-kissed activities for the whole family. Boasting soft sand and sparkling water, the beach here is beautiful. However, it's the amenities that keep families coming to this spot. For teen visitors, the "Fun Zone" includes a skate park with several ramps and railings for daring riders; basketball and beach volleyball courts, and a tennis court. There is also a picturesque seaside pitch-and-putt, where families can play nine holes amid the dunes of the beach. Two full-size swimming pools and a kiddie pool are located on the property. A playground and concession stand are available, as well as a large picnic pavilion to enjoy lunch in the shade. If you do not have a Nassau County Leisure Pass or are coming from out of town, the cost might seem steep, but this beach offers a full day of activities for everyone in the family. Bathrooms, showers, and lockers are available. Cost: $12 for Leisure Pass holders; $35 for those without a pass.
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Point Lookout offers some family solitude by the sea. Photo by the author
Town Park at Point Lookout — Point Lookout
For a low-key beach experience, head to this Town of Hempstead beach. It is a relaxed place to avoid the crowds at the more popular destinations. Parking is a short walk from lot to sand. There are no concessions or rentals available—visitors must bring their own food, chairs, and umbrellas—but bathrooms are available. Cost: $10 per vehicle for Town of Hempstead residents; $25 per vehicle for nonresidents.
The tranquillity of Ocean Beach on Fire Island will win your family over. Tais Melillo via Flickr
Ocean Beach — Fire Island
Amid the party atmosphere of Fire Island lies Ocean Beach, a swath of the barrier island bordered by Great South Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Like most of Fire Island, it is car-free; access is by ferry from Bay Shore. Warm ocean currents make the water inviting as early as mid-May and well into October. The beach is radio and alcohol-free. Food options abound, especially for seafood lovers, and there are a number of conspicuously placed bathrooms near the ocean beach. First-time visitors might find navigating the village a challenge, but experienced Fire Islanders are friendly and outgoing; just ask for directions. Taxis to the ferry port are available at the Bay Shore LIRR station, on the Montauk branch. Beach access is FREE.
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Robert Moses State Park has a number of expansive beaches; you'll never feel crowded. Photo courtesy of the park
Robert Moses State Park — Babylon
With nearly five miles of sparkling coastline, Robert Moses State Park is a perfect family beach spot. Featuring four fields with lifeguards at each, visitors can enjoy swimming, surfing, and boogie boarding. Each field offers concessions, beach shops, first aid, and comfort stations. Don't miss Field 5 and its large playground for kids, boardwalk, and nature walk that leads to Fire Island's lighthouse. There are many scenic areas for picnics complete with park grills and tables. An 18-hole pitch-and-putt golf course is available, as well as a large picnic gazebo. This park is accessible by car or the Babylon LIRR station with a bus connection. Cool bonus: Free Wi-Fi is available at Fields 2-5. Cost: $10 per vehicle, free with seasonal Empire Pass.
Sunken Meadow State Park — Kings Park
With three miles of shore on the Long Island Sound, these calm waters are a pleasing spot to spend a summer day. The shoreline turns to wind-formed bluffs, making the scenery unforgettable. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Connecticut. Take a walk on the boardwalk, purchase food from the concession stand, and enjoy a day of natural beach beauty. Also available are nature walks, a large playground complex, and ample space for picnics. Cost: $10 per vehicle, free with seasonal Empire Pass.
Hither Hills State Park — Montauk
This scenic park offers families a sandy ocean beach, playground, and a unique campground with an ocean view. Biking and hiking trails are available, and don't miss the "walking dunes" of Napeague Harbor. Pack a picnic to share or purchase food here to enjoy at the picnic tables. Bathrooms and a changing area are available. Cost: $10 per car, free with seasonal Empire Pass.
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The beachside playground is one of Orient Beach State Park's most popular attractions. Photo courtesy of the park
Orient Beach State Park — Orient
Situated on the eastern tip of the North Fork, Orient Beach is a natural wonder. Families can swim in the relaxing bay, fish from the shore, kayak, or walk one of the many nature trails. There is a large playground for kids, and directly behind the playground, plenty of space for picnics. Collect shells, view the seabirds, and enjoy the saltwater marsh. Serenity and natural beauty abound in this off-the-beaten-path spot. Bathrooms are available. Cost: $10 per vehicle, free with seasonal Empire Pass.