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‘Hot girl summer’ has arrived and there is no better place to experience this treasured season than Long Island. Home to some of the most iconic white sand beaches in the world, from Long Beach to Coopers Beach, Ditch Plains, and more, but did you know that many of Long Island’s pristine shorelines are accessible utilizing public transportation like the Long Island Rail Road, intra-county bus systems, and rideshare services? Ditch the car and put your extra gas money towards an overnight stay at one of the region’s hottest hotels for the ultimate beach getaway–check out Aqua by American Beach for an exclusive bayside beach vibe or The Allegria in Long Beach for a taste of luxe oceanfront living. Whatever your vibe, this guide will show you how to live your best #LongIslandLife this summer with expert tips and recommendations.
For even more car-free adventures, click here.
With dozens of public and private beaches, it’s easy to find your place in the sand. Here are a few tips for navigating peak season beach going:
Take the LIRR from your origin destination to the Freeport Station (those heading directly from NYC will want to take the Babylon line to Freeport) and walk down the stairs to the N88 NICE Bus which makes stops at the East and West Bathhouses as well as the Central Mall at Jones Beach.
Home to a sensational shoreline with roaring waves, white sand, and a 4-mile long boardwalk, Jones Beach is the perfect destination for a beachside family outing. Whether you pack your own picnic, grab something at the concession stand, or head to the Boardwalk Café, waterfront dining has never been so easy. After the beach, families will want to stroll the boardwalk for endless activities–from playgrounds to shuffleboard, mini-golf, and more.
WildPlay Element Park at Jones Beach will put your endurance to the test with its many rope courses, 700-ft. long zipline, and 40-ft. bungee jump. With three levels of obstacles to choose from, the park is the perfect place for kids and adults alike! The park officially opens for the season on April 15th, and if you want a sneak preview of what to expect be sure to check out our Long Island TV episode.
After you’ve worked up an appetite, head to Gatsby on the Ocean (just a short stroll from the boardwalk) for your pick of classic seafood, traditional American eats, cold drinks, and spectacular waterfront views.
Not far from WildPlay and the boardwalk is the Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center–an interactive museum focusing on educating kids and future generations about the importance of conservation projects and the simple changes we can make in our lives that greatly impact Long Island’s natural environment.
Don’t just admire the region’s only outdoor amphitheater—the 15,000-seat Jones Beach Theater, experience it for yourself! A-list celebrities and musicians are visiting on a constant rotation, so be sure to check the site’s calendar of events to secure tickets in advance.
Conveniently located in the center of Long Island’s most popular attractions and major shopping districts, the Hampton Inn & Suites Rockville Centre (or as us locals call it, RVC,) is an ideal stay for travelers looking to make the most of their south shore visit.
For a car-free option, hail a cab or rideshare service from Glen Cove Mansion to your destination or to the nearby train station (LIRR riders will have to transfer from the Oyster Bay line to the Long Beach Branch at Jamaica).
This bustling beach town is best known for its iconic 4.5-mile boardwalk rebuilt after Superstorm Sandy in 2012, which is once again teeming with quirky shops, unique and classic eateries, cyclists, runners, pop-up family-friendly activities and more.
While in town, take a break from the sun and stop by Bright Eye Beer Co. for live music, fresh and local-inspired brews, the big game, and more. This family-friendly (and dog-friendly!) craft brewery is always hosting unique events so be sure to follow the Long Beach brewers on Instagram to stay up-to-date on what’s happening.
One of the most legendary seafood restaurants on Long Island is only a short ride away from Long Beach. In Island Park, Peter’s Clam Bar has been serving up celebrity-status clam bakes and other seafood favorites from its dockside restaurant for over 80 years.
This chic boutique hotel delivers a dose of Miami style that attracts trendy Manhattanites looking for a convenient beachfront getaway. The property also boasts a rooftop pool with breathtaking views of the Atlantic as well as the NYC skyline. Guests will be able to enjoy the iconic Long Beach Boardwalk, rooftop lounge that hosts yoga five days per week, as well as gain easy access to the hotel’s on-site spa and its very posh waterfront restaurant, The Atlantica which is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
The Allegria Hotel’s on-site restaurant, The Atlantica, is serving up elevated seafood and traditional favorites with unparalleled views of Long Island’s shimmering Atlantic coastline and the Long Beach Boardwalk.
Take the train from either Penn or your local origin station to Port Washington. Visitors can enjoy the charm of downtown Port Washington on their walk to the Fathoms Hotel or hail a cab their destination.
Stop by The Wharf and charter your own private yacht with Long Island Boat Rentals who’s certified team will gladly tour you around iconic Long Island landmarks, captain your sunset cruise, and even take you on a fishing, tubing, wakeboarding, or water-skiing adventure!
Not only is Long Island home to world-class beaches, but some pretty incredible fields of bloom, too. Sands Point Preserve is just a short distance from Port Washington and it’s one of the many prestigious gardens and historic sites open to the public. This particular estate has been credited as the influence behind The Great Gatsby. For even more picturesque sites worth visiting, check out our blogs: Fields of Bloom: A Collection of Garden Sanctuaries on Long Island, 10 Best Long Island Forests and Arboretums to Visit This Spring, and Long Island’s Stunning Natural Landscapes.
If you have a big appetite, LaMotta’s Dockside is where you want to be. The restaurant has been a waterfront tradition since 1994 and LaMotta’s Dockside serves only the finest modern American cuisine with global influences. Come enjoy delicious dishes and beautiful views of Manhasset Bay in Port Washington alongside your furry friend. Open from mid-May through Labor Day, LaMotta’s has gained the reputation of being one of Long Island’s top waterfront destinations that just so happens to have a dog-friendly patio.
Port Washington’s waterfront Sunset Park makes for the perfect picnic location–especially during Golden Hour–serving up iconic views overlooking the harbor and of the NYC Skyline. And for a unique meditative experience, check out Port Salt Cave.
The Jeanne Rimsky Theater at Landmark on Main Street presents a wide range of music, dance and theatrical programs fun for the entire family. The 400-seat theater sells out quickly, so be sure to have your tickets beforehand.
Fathoms is an intimate six room boutique hotel located directly on Manhasset Bay in Port Washington. It’s accessible by both land and sea, and due to its quaint size, the hotel offers premier privacy and plenty of opportunity for some R&R.
To get from Port Washington to Northport, take a cab or bus to Mineola and can grab the Ronkonkoma line to Hicksville. Then transfer to the Port Jefferson Branch and ride that train to Northport.
This Gold Coast Estate offers a spectacular Brunch menu that you don’t want to miss. Enjoy exquisite entrées, expertly-crafted cocktails, and Instagram-worthy backdrops at every corner.
You don’t have to head to Long Island’s crowded East End for an ‘Over the Top’ experience. Over-The-Top Watersports charter and rental company is in the heart the historic, harbor front village of Northport, which still bears the trolley tracks laid in the early 1900’s as well as the vintage sweet shop operating since 1929. The watersports company offers Wakeboarding, Wakesurfing, and Waterskiing, lessons for all ages as well as tubing – just for fun! Not ready to hit the waves? Take a cruise during golden hour and capture unrivaled views (and photos) of the Northport’s harborside hills lined with sail boats and stunning Victorian style homes before pulling up to a local dockside restaurant for dinner by boat.
Photo credit: Kevin Cryer-Hassett
For fresh and fiesty tacos and cocktails, you’ve got to stop at The Whale’s Tale. Offering al fresco seating overlooking the harbor and a menu coveted with local favorites, this restaurant truly embraces summertime on Long Island.
Located on the rolling hills of Long Island’s Gold Coast, Del Vino Vineyards is family owned & operated winery that offers extraordinary scenery, a sense of serenity and seclusion, and a providential climate for wine.
Designed to reflect the look of a classic boathouse along the Charles River, Prime’s multi-level visual expanse is just the beginning of this destination experience. Enjoy exquisite waterfront dining, refined signature cocktails, a professionally-curated raw bar, world-class sushi and USDA Prime 21-day dry aged beef that can be paired with your choice of classic sides or enhanced dishes.
Located in downtown Huntington, this newly built hotel has been integrated with the historic Town Hall from the early 1900’s and the modern luxuries we adore today. As the only hotel in walking distance from all major area attractions, the Hampton Inn & Suites is where comfort and convenience perfectly combine.
To get from Huntington to Bay Shore, take the train from Huntington to Mineola (Port Jefferson Line) and then transfer to the Montauk Branch which will take riders to Bay Shore.
OHEKA Castle may be known as Long Island’s only castle and for the glitz and glamour it attracts, but did you know that you don’t have to be a guest to dine here? OHK Bar & Restaurant offers patrons a unique culinary experience that will have you feeling like royalty.
Suffolk County’s Robert Moses State Park boasts 875-acres of radiant seaboard and protected preserve. Its stunning and rather secluded shoreline is home to clear waters, roaring waves, and it’s not uncommon for visitors to spot dolphins, deer, or even the federally endangered Piping Plover. While you’re here, hike towards the eastern end of the island to climb to the 182 steps to the top of the Fire Island Lighthouse. Visitors can also explore its museum, paddleboard on the bayside, or listen to the roaring waves of the Atlantic on the south side of the park.
From the owners of one of Long Island’s best wine tours, First Glass Wine Tours, Fire Island Vines is an extension of the family-owned business’ love for wine & creating intimate experiences. Stop by for a full tasting, some local wine shopping or both as you also enjoy some delicious Mediterranean eats and decadent desserts.
Show your Downtown Deals Travel Pass for 20% off a wine tasting or gift card
For a chic, cool atmosphere with a greenery aesthetic, friendly experience and 5-star service, The Linwood Restaurant & Cocktails is the spot to go for your next dining excursion. The Linwood has all the culinary fixings and boutique cocktails to take your dinner to the next level.
The Ocean Bay House is a luxury waterfront inn located steps from the beautiful town of Bay Shore. This boutique B&B offers chic rooms and suites, a delicious breakfast, and plenty of yard space for those itching with Spring Fever.
To get from Bay Shore to East Islip, take the Montauk Branch east two stops to Great River and then hail a cab, bus, or rideshare to your destination.
For creative, specialty hand-crafted doughnuts, pop on over to North Fork Doughnut Company in Bay Shore or Mattituck for all a weekly flavor forecast and a cup of Long Island’s favorite local coffee, Sail Away Coffee. Score 10% off your final order when you show your Downtown Deals Travel Pass.
Heckscher State Park has more than a million visitors a year, and for good reason! Twenty miles of trails attract hikers, bike riders, cross-country skiers, and swimmers. The park is also an ideal location for fishing and paddleboarders, kayakers, and canoers to launch.
Head out on this 65′ turn-of-the-century Mississippi Riverboat for a day of cruising on the Great South Bay, complete with a buffet lunch and cash bar. This day on the bay is perfect for families, bachelorette parties, and adventurous dates. Evening cruises are also available and include dinner and live entertainment.
Fairfield Properties Ballpark, a 20-million dollar, 6,002-seat state-of-the-art minor league ballpark, is home to the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball Clubs. The ballpark opened on April 28, 2000 and has welcomed over 5 million fans and hosted more than 600 sellouts since. The stadium features 20 luxury suites, spacious seating, a 126-seat bar/restaurant and an indoor batting tunnel.
Tellers: An American Chophouse resides in a renovated 1927 grand stone bank building. From its 20-foot windows and art deco friezes, comprising what the New York Times says “to be one of the most strikingly beautiful dining rooms on the Island,” to the clubby Gold Bar, Board Room private dining room and walk-in Wine Vault, diners are transported to a time when superior service and quality were the norm.
By far the best kept secret (until now) about Long Island’s south shore is the fact that this park is home to waterfront rentals. Heckscher State Park offers unbelievable waterfront cottages and pristine campgrounds for those looking to really head back to nature this summer.