Whether your perfect beach day includes a low-key family picnic or dancing at a waterfront concert, there’s a Long Island town that fits everyone’s vibe.
Getting out of the city is key to surviving the summer. But if you find yourself escaping to the ocean more and more, just imagine what it would be like to live in a beach town all year long. Nassau County gives you the best of both worlds — you can easily reach the city when you need to but you can also start your day with a stroll along the shore.
Whether you’re looking for a laid-back beach, a spot to surf, or want to feel like you’re on vacation every day, there’s a Long Island beach town for you. Check out a few of our faves.
#1. Tappen Beach (Glen Head)
Does your crew include some little water bugs? Tappen Beach, with its calm, shallow water, might be the spot for you. The beach is really laid-back and great for families with young kids. You’ll see plenty of other children splashing in the water and running around looking for shells.
Need a day away from the sand? Head to the salt water community pool, right on the beach. Residents can buy day or season passes. And for days when the water is a bit too cold, there are two beachside playgrounds so you can still take in the coastal views while the kids play.
When you’re ready for a bite to eat there’s a walk-up pizza window or Blu Iguana, a local favorite for live music and mixed drinks. And in the summer it won’t be hard to find an ice cream truck (or two) parked near the beach. If you settle in Glen Head, you’ll also be able to join your new neighbors for an unforgettable July 4th fireworks show on the beach plus drive-in movies all summer long.
#2. Sea Cliff Beach (Sea Cliff)
Sea Cliff Beach is another great option for families looking for a low-key spot. Locals love to bring their dogs to the shore for sunset walks. There’s a snack bar on site which helps make this beach a favorite hangout with tweens and teens. And if sailing is your thing, you can dock your boat here for easy access on nice days. Plus, the small beach is only open to Sea Cliff residents so you don’t have to worry about it getting too crowded.
#3. ToBay Beach (Massapequa)
ToBay Beach is an extension of Jones Beach — with less traffic. There are two sides to ToBoay and residents can really get the best of both worlds. If your beach vibe is more relaxed, head to the bayside. This is a family-friendly area with calm and shallow waters. You can wade out far and still only be knee-deep and since there aren’t any waves it’s perfect for little kids. Plus the littles will also love the bayside’s waterfront spray park. (Not to mention there are picnic areas where you can get a breather while they play).
If you’re up for a more adventurous beach trip, stick to the ocean side. While this side is great for anyone, it’s especially popular with local surfers. The waves are bigger and it feels more like a “real” beach. Like most of the other spots on our list, ToBay beach is limited to residents only (in this case, Town of Oyster Bay residents only) so neither side of the beach ever feels too packed.
#4. Jones Beach (Wantagh)
For vacation vibes, you can’t forget about Jones Beach. This 6.5-mile stretch of sand attracts millions of visitors each year — and for good reason. It’s the classic beach with big waves, a boardwalk for cycling or rollerblading, volleyball courts, a waterfront mini-golf course, a pool, and more. With all of these amenities, you’ll feel like you’re on a getaway without needing to leave town.
Jones Beach is famous for its world-class entertainment options. There’s an annual Memorial Day airshow, 4th of July fireworks display, and outdoor concerts at the waterfront theater (which draws A-list acts). Gatsby On The Ocean is an upscale event venue that occasionally serves weekend brunch but you’ll find snack stands along the boardwalk if you want something more casual.
#5. Centre Island Beach (Bayville)
There are two sides of Centre Island Beach — the harbor side and the sound side. When you’re in the mood for a calmer beach day, head to the sound side. It’s especially great for little kids because it’s quiet, shallow, and bathroom adjacent (parents know just how important this is).
The harbor-side is still pretty relaxed but the water is better for boogie boarding and swimming. But even at its peak, the waves and crowds are never as big as ToBay or Jones Beach. Locals can drive in, park, and be on the sand in seconds. There’s usually an ice cream truck parked nearby where you can pick up some refreshing treats before heading home.
#6. Long Beach (Long Beach)
Similar to Jones Beach, Long Beach is a destination beach. And if you move to this cute resort-style town you’ll get to enjoy staycation vibes all the time.
What makes this beach so popular? It has everything you need for an amazing summer day. The wide sandy shore is perfect for sunbathing and the water is great for swimming and surfing. You’ll also find volleyball courts and a playground for kids, or bring bikes and ride along the boardwalk. And when you get hungry? There are plenty of snack stands where you can stop for a bite. There’s even a food truck park called “Shoregasboard” where you can go for a more substantial meal. Plus, during the summer, you can bring a blanket down to the beach and enjoy free concerts under the stars.
#7. North Hempstead Beach Park (Port Washington)
North Hempstead Beach Park is a small local beach similar to Tappen and Sea Cliff. If you want to be part of a waterfront community, add Port to your list. Fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding, sailing, and rowing are all huge here. But residents also love to take it easy and sunbathe or grill out near the beach.
There’s always something going on at the beach park, from drive-in movies to outdoor concerts. And with plenty of waterfront restaurants and cute eateries downtown, locals have some great options for a pre-show meal.
No matter what vibe you’re looking for, we can help you find the right town for you. Reach out today to get started.