May-Jun, Sat-Sun, 9am-6pm; Mon-Fri, closed; Jul-Sep: daily, 9am-6pm; Oct-Apr: daily, closed
LIRR to Long Beach
$12 day-rate during summer
Anyone who has flown into or out of JFK International Airport has seen Long Beach at least from above, with its five miles of surprisingly pristine, sandy-white beaches that hug the southwestern corner of Nassau County. For a modest day-rate, visitors get a closer look at one of Long Island’s older communities, founded in 1880 as a beach resort for city-wary vacationers. The 2.2 mile boardwalk, built in 1914 with the help of some elephants, is a scene similar to California's Malibu, with in-line rollerskaters, joggers and bicyclists all jamming and crisscrossing to the sound of the thrashing Atlantic. Discovered in 1609 by Henry Hudson and first dubbed Great Sand Beach, the area took off in 1870 when the Long Beach Hotel opened its doors to the dizzying throngs of visitors. The wealthy soon followed and by 1913, celebrities like Clara Bow, Eddie Cantor, Flo Ziegfeld and Rudy Vallee called Long Beach their home. The Great Depression shut everything down, leaving in its wake a residential refuge struggling to survive. Today, only two elements of Long Beach's hey-day remain: the beach and the boardwalk. (The hotel burned down in 1907.) Newer developments include an indoor pool, playgrounds, and a fishing pier.Extra
Lifeguards are on duty, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., on weekends during summer.