Bustling boardwalks and quiet seaside trails are two things that are not hard to come by when you’re on Long Island – home to hundreds of miles of coastline with dozens of pristine beaches and nature oases.
Whether you want to jog or bike while enjoying the sea breeze, take a romantic walk with stunning views, or even discover a legendary lighthouse, Long Island’s picturesque, planked paths and serene beach trails will not disappoint. Some are primed for activities and exercise of all kinds, and others are best for relaxing and sunset strolls. Some are set within a beachside nature trail among wetlands vegetation, lush greenery, birds, fish, and more.
From the iconic Jones Beach Boardwalk to lesser-known gems like Fire Island National Seashore trails, discover your ideal Long Island boardwalk and beach trail below!
Long Beach Boardwalk (Long Beach, NY)
Boasting stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, this boardwalk in Long Beach, known as the “City by the Sea,” features an Instagram-worthy mural, fine dining, lively bars, and endless activities. 45 minutes from Midtown, Manhattan, the boardwalk spans over two miles down the coast of Long Beach and is ideal for long bike rides, jogging, and rollerblading. It’s walking distance from many downtown recreational facilities, restaurants, and hotels—many of which are located directly on the boardwalk. This area is also a fantastic destination for movie nights on the beach, family-friendly events, and surfing lessons, making it one of the Island’s most popular summertime retreats.
Jones Beach Boardwalk (Wantagh, NY)
With 8.4 million visitors recorded in 2022, it’s no secret that Jones Beach State Park is one of the liveliest coastal attractions on the South Shore – and its world-famous boardwalk is the highlight of any trip. Covering two miles of white sand beach, Jones Beach Boardwalk is a hub for delicious beachside fare including Gatsby On the Ocean, a premier dining spot with stunning ocean views, and a variety of snack bars easily accessible from the boardwalk. With plenty of family-friendly activities to explore with direct access from the boardwalk - including pickleball courts, a splash pad, a miniature golf course, live musical performances at the Bandshell, and the nearby WildPlay Adventure Park - there is no shortage of things to do at this 2,413-acre beach paradise.
Sunken Meadow State Park Boardwalk (Kings Park, NY)
At Sunken Meadow State Park, you can discover a ¾ mile boardwalk that sits on three miles of beach fronting the sparkling Long Island Sound. Visitors will enjoy concession stands and water fountains conveniently located on the boardwalk as well as coin-operated binoculars and benches for watching an unbelievable sunset. With access to the Sunken Meadow State Park Beach, a pirate-themed playground, picnic tables, and entrances to the 2.5-mile Greenbelt Trail by Sunken Meadow Creek and the 1.3-mile Wetland Trail that are just short walks from the beach, Sunken Meadow is the perfect spot for enjoying the simplicity of the North Shore coast.
Captree State Park (Bay Shore, NY)
Home to the largest public fishing fleet on Long Island, Captree State Park is a haven for fishing and crabbing on the South Shore. While walking along Captree’s easternmost boardwalk, one of two large fishing piers at the park, visitors will enjoy stunning views of Fire Island and the Fire Island Lighthouse that can be seen directly across the Great South Bay. After an afternoon on the pier or at sea, head to Tiki Joe’s for a quick bite while listening to a live band or dine in at Captain’s Table Restaurant for your pick from a delectable seafood menu with options such as lobster rolls, baked clams, fresh tuna, salmon, and more!
Shadmoor State Park (Montauk, NY)
With 99 acres of beach, wetlands, woodlands, and bluffs, Shadmoor State Park is the ultimate destination for viewing Montauk’s diverse landscapes. Within the park, you’ll find Bunker Lane where you can explore two World War II observation bunkers, or take Roosevelt’s Run Trail, a 1.2-mile hike that takes you from inland forests to seaside views of Shadmoor Estate Beach. The park’s winding trails are also great for seeing the East End’s diverse flora and fauna – from breathtaking foliage displays to outstanding coastal views, you can see Montauk’s history and beauty on display at Shadmoor.
Hither Hills State Park (Montauk, NY)
For a nature-filled afternoon or even an overnight stay at a nearby campground, head to Hither Hills State Park in Montauk. Starting with a ¾-mile loop, embark on the windy Walking Dunes Trail where you’ll begin at Iodine Beach before encountering woodlands, the Napeague Harbor, and a freshwater bog. Once completing the loop, visitors have the option of remaining at the beach or hiking a 2.5-mile walk along Napeague Harbor.
Insider’s tip: Along the Walking Dunes loop, keep an eye out for Hither Hills State Park’s Phantom Forest, the site of a once-thriving forest where you can witness trees slowly being uncovered by the sandy dunes.
Orient Beach State Park (Orient, NY)
Considered a National Natural Landmark since 1980, Orient Beach State Park is an oceanfront beauty with over 45,000 feet of frontage along Gardiner’s Bay and pathways for walking, hiking, and biking. With several starting points originating from the main parking lot, you can easily begin your adventure on a 2.2-mile idyllic bike path along the coast of Gardiner’s Bay or go birdwatching on a 0.3-mile walk along the Roy Latham trail. Explore a rare maritime forest, a saltwater marsh, and other fascinating natural sights and outdoor activities at this natural paradise.
Heckscher State Park (East Islip, NY)
In addition to bordering the Great South Bay, this 1,600-acre park is known for its four miles of paved multi-use trails for endless outdoor leisure. With miles of looping trails throughout the park including a bike path, dog-walking trail, and the southern starting point of the 31.8-mile Long Island Greenbelt Trail, visitors have plenty of options for discovering Hecksher’s coastal wildlife and scenery. To see everything Heckscher State Park has to offer, you can make your visit a weekend getaway by booking a stay at one of several private beachside cottages. Check the official website for more information on making a reservation at the campgrounds.
Montauk Point State Park (Montauk, NY)
Located at the easternmost tip on the South Shore of Long Island, Montauk Point State Park boasts amazing views of the iconic Montauk Point Lighthouse, making it the perfect place for traversing its rocky shoreline. There are several pathways for both experienced and beginner hikers, with the longest trail being the 6.2-mile Montauk Point Loop and the shortest leading to beach areas. No matter which path you take, be sure to head to the beach for a unique view of the converging Atlantic Ocean and Block Island Sound – you might even spot some seals lounging in the sun!
Wildwood State Park (Wading River, NY)
At 600 acres, Wildwood State Park is a massive expanse of hardwood forest, high bluffs, and various trails overlooking the Long Island Sound. With many color-coded paths, such as the 1.8-mile Red Trail accessible from the campgrounds or the 3.7-mile Yellow Trail that nearly circles the entire park, the park is ideal for bike riding and hiking in the summer or cross-country skiing during the winter. After your walk or ride, cool off by swimming in the refreshing Sound. You could even make it a weekend stay by reserving an on-site campsite or cabin.
Robert Moses State Park (Babylon, NY)
Attracting nearly 3.8 million visitors annually and covering about five miles of shoreline, Robert Moses State Park is known for its fantastic beach facilities - but did you know it’s also walking distance from the Fire Island Lighthouse? At Field 5, you can walk along a scenic ¾-mile boardwalk through the sandy dunes that leads directly to the tallest lighthouse on Long Island. Along the way, you are nearly guaranteed to come across wildlife such as white-tailed deer, red-winged blackbirds, and monarch butterflies, depending on the season. The seaside park is also family-friendly with a nearby playground area for kids of all ages to enjoy.
Sunken Forest (Fire Island, NY)
While Fire Island might be known across the globe, it’s home to a hidden treasure – a rare natural wonder missed by many. When you traverse the Sunken Forest and its meandering boardwalks, you’ll feel like you’re below sea level. This unique 40-acre nature oasis is home to a globally rare collection of plants which can be seen with a walk along the Sunken Forest Nature Trail, a thin strip of forest about a ¼ mile wide and 1.5 miles long. On the trail, you’ll likely encounter deer, foxes, and other wildlife, then complete your walk by strolling along the coast of Sailors Haven beach.