Summertime is travel time for most of the country. The weather is nice, the sun is shining, and for the most part, kids have said goodbye to school for the next few months. If you live anywhere near the ocean, then beaches or coastal areas are some of the most popular destinations for summer fun. The problem is that most people have the same idea and so many of the best beaches are overly crowded and have jacked their prices up for the summer to take advantage of tourism. On Long Island, the Hamptons are probably the most famous destinations available but there is a wealth of other smaller towns and beaches available on Long Island. These hidden gems can offer your family a lot of fun without having to deal with the crowds.
This skinny sand bar housing one of the oldest beachside communities in the area is only 45 minutes away from Manhattan. It’s only a mile and a half wide at its widest point meaning that you’re never more than a short walk from the water. The boardwalk here is the main centerpiece, being a local institution for over 100 years. You can stretch out on the sand or take in some of the great destinations that make Long Beach a great destination. Swingbellys on Beech Street churns out the authentic slow roasted barbecue, including some of the best ribs you’ll find in the area. Dough hut churns out handmade doughnuts in more flavors than most franchise stores, and Dinner by the Sea is always worth a visit especially for their signature multicolored milkshakes.
Oyster Bay has a lot of history. Former President Teddy Roosevelt made his summer home here, and in honor of the nature-loving president the Sanctuary and Audubon Center preserves a 15-acre wildlife area for strolling and hiking. The walkable waterfront downtown also contains some charming local shops and every October Oyster Bat hosts the annual Oyster Festival. You can start your day here by heading down to the historic Oyster sloop Christeen for a cruise around the bay. You can pick up some Italian ice at the Bonanza Stand on Shore Avenue and finish the day down a Wild Honey a local fine-dining favorite.
This revitalized South Shore village is on its way to becoming the number one spot on Long Island for good eats. New Restaurants seem to pop up weekly on Main Street. Your culinary options range from organic treats at Tula Kitchen, to an elegant oyster bar at Salt & Barrel. Verde offers authentic handcrafted Mexican cuisine serves in a dining room and greenhouse, and down by the water, there are dockside eateries aplenty.
While the Hamptons may be the most famous location on Long Island there are several hidden gems littered all over the Island that can make your summer vacation even more enjoyable for your whole family.