Summer on Long Island means sunny days and relaxing waves at beautiful beaches.

The most popular by far is in Smith Point County Park, the largest beach in Suffolk County, with 5 heavenly miles of Atlantic views, towering dunes, and white, powdery sand.


Activities on Land

Without even dipping your feet in the waves breaking on the shore, there are many enjoyable things for the whole family and friends to do at the park.

One of the most popular is off-roading, an exciting sightseeing zip along the eastern outer beach. Another is camping, where you can wake up to seagull calls, watch magical deer, and fall asleep to the rhythmic surf.

If you’re a treasure hunter, sway those metal detectors back and forth for jewelry, coins, and maybe a historic nautical find.

Hikers have a dazzling shore to explore and can stop at the Fire Island Wilderness Visitor Center for field guides to native plants and animals, educational swag for kids, and a starting point for the Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness.

Wide sidewalks are perfect for walking, running, skateboarding, rollerblading, and bicycling. Racks are available for locking up bikes.

Kids can swing, slide, and work off energy at two playgrounds.

For more leisurely pursuits, fly kites, build sandcastles, hunt for shells and colorful sea glass, watch flying seagulls and scurrying piping plovers, have a picnic, grill, and lay out a towel for sunbathing and reading. Etch hearts and words in the sand for pictures, and wait breathlessly for each evening’s sunset.

A memorial honoring the 230 people from 14 countries who died on TWA’s Flight 800 is also at the park. The plane went down from an explosion a few miles from the shore in 1996. Flags from the 14 countries fly above commemorative walls.


Water Fun

Swimming isn’t the only way to enjoy the water at Smith Point Beach. Snorkel and scuba dive below the waves, or ride them on a surfboard, stand-up paddleboard, kayak, canoe, or boat.

Fish for a dinner of flounder, bass, snapper, and more. Best bets? Dangle a line at the bite-heavy John J. Fritz Memorial Pier or Smith Point Bridge.

Feel extra safe knowing that the Smith Point lifeguards have won national championships repeatedly!



Settle into a chair at Tiki Joe’s, a more sophisticated snack bar, for a lobster roll, fish tacos, burger, shrimp cocktail, salad, beer, cocktail, and more. Sway to the music of live bands scheduled in the evening throughout the summer.

The concession stand is the only place to buy food once you cross the Smith Point Bridge to Smith Point County Park. If you crave something different, stop in Shirley for anything from fast food, pizza, and wings, to Chinese, Mediterranean, and sushi. Many people also pick up picnic fare at the hamlet’s groceries and delis.


Know Before You Go

The beach is accessible, and surf chairs are available for those with disabilities.

The campgrounds fill up quickly. Reserve a site online well in advance, and pay attention to the rules about the maximum number of days, the number of cars allowed, and other important information.

Permits or licenses are required for off-roading, metal detecting, fishing, and boating. There are other fees for parking, and kayak/paddleboard launching.

The boat ramp is on William Floyd Parkway in Shirley.

Pets are allowed, except in buildings, picnic, and swimming areas, or where there are signs that state otherwise. They must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet, never left unattended, and you must have proof of vaccination if requested.

Sometimes, areas are fenced off to protect endangered shorebird nesting spots.

Suffolk County residents receive significant discounts if they have a “Green Key” card, which can be purchased at the park.