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Jones Beach State Park
Daily, dawn to dusk
Long Island Railroad to Freeport or Wantagh, Long Island, then $3 shuttle bus to the beach.
- On Premise Parking
Located near Wantagh on Long Island's South Shore, the busiest beach near New York City is a 6.5-mile stretch that subdivides naturally according to demographic: fishermen, gay men, nudists, surfers, birdwatchers, families and even kite flyers. Each group gets its corresponding parking lot but everyone adheres to the "no radio" policy, which may not deliver true peace and quiet given how crowded the beach gets but at least promises you won't be sunbathing to an inappropriate soundtrack. A half-mile stretch of still water is particularly well-suited to swimming and often overpopulated by bobbling, splashing, diapered toddlers closer to shore. Aside from the two-mile boardwalk, four miles of bike paths and an Olympic-sized pool, there’s also the Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center, where visitors touch live marine animals, dig up whale bones, walk through a butterfly garden and view a shipwreck. The adjacent Jones Beach Amphitheater hosts big-name acts such as Judas Priest, Tori Amos and Interpol.Boardwalks
The main boardwalk is open daily from sunrise until midnight during the summer. In the Nature Center, an environmental boardwalk takes wanderers through the dunes for a closer look at oceanfront flora and fauna.
Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center offers preservationists a chance to reconnect with Mother Nature, with guided tours of the indigenous flora and fauna from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday during the summer and year-round on weekends only. For more information call 516-780-3295.
Access to the park is free, but an $8 parking fee applies during the summer.