Beaches in Nissequogue, New York

Mention Long Beach on Long Island, and most of the island’s population will immediately think you are referring to the town of Long Beach in Nassau County, also known to local residents as “The City by the Sea”. Aptly named, it is in essence a small beachfront city, with streets overflowing with trendy shops and restaurants, row after row of beach houses, and a few miles of sandy beach facing the roaring waves of the ocean.

But there is another Long Beach hidden away in Suffolk County, along with its companion, Short Beach. Both reside in Nissequogue on the north shore facing Long Island Sound, and encompass more than a simple patch of sand to spread your blanket on.

But first, to reach either of these beaches, you must travel through a heavily wooded area mainly known as Head of the Harbor. While driving down the narrow, twisting road, you will pass a series of amazing houses, many high in the hills at the end of long driveways. The occasional homestead also has a small stable attached, and horses can be seen grazing casually. If you possess spectacular vision, you may spot a fox quickly sprinting across the road. Depending on which way you enter the area, you will travel alongside the Nissequogue River, alternating between smooth flowing waters and reed filled marshlands.

You will come to a juncture, the left fork takes you directly to Short Beach, the right fork to Long Beach. While Short Beach is technically restricted to Town of Smithtown residents, as both beaches are in fact owned and operated by the town of Smithtown. I believe residents from other towns can enter the beach for a small fee.

Of note in passing is the David Weld Preserve. Easy to miss, the entrance is a small gate on the side of the road with minimal parking, but the preserve itself extends into the woods with a small network of hiking paths, and a few picturesque rest stops overlooking Long Island Sound, as well as somewhat hidden paths to Short Beach. Should the beach be too crowded or cold, this is a great second alternative to spend the day or bring the kids.

Short Beach is named so simply because it is quite short, at least in comparison to Long Beach or beaches lining the south shore of Long Island. However this mainly refers to the public portion of the beach; that is, the main area where you are most likely to lay your blanket in the sand and catch a few rays of sun. If you so desired, you could take a casual stroll up the less populated area of the beach, passing stone jetties, fabulous beach houses up on the bluffs, and flocks of hermit crabs if the tide is out.

Since the beach does face the Sound, there are no dangerous waves to worry about or any major undertow to be wary of. In fact, when the tide does go out, you can walk into the water for quite a distance, but in this case you may want to keep an eye on the little ones. There are of course restrooms and a small playground for the children situated near the entrance of the beach.

Long Beach as well is very similar, though a bit larger, hence its name. Though it may not stretch as extensively as Long Beach in Nassau County, you should have no trouble finding a spot to plant your umbrella here. Also, you must be a resident of Smithtown and incorporated villages, or most likely will need to pay a small fee. In addition to the sandy beach, you will find a marina, a boat ramp, and fishing areas, as well as tall, sandy bluffs which beg you to explore, or for the more adventurous, they are a great takeoff point for para-sailing.

While Short Beach also provides a small picnic area, you will find tables at Long Beach suitable for sitting and relaxing should the sand get too hot for you.

So if you tire of the same crowded beaches with pounding surf, and desire a calmer beach day, then either of these beaches is ideal. Additionally, in the winter, you will find them open to all, great for hiking or jogging on a breezy fall or winter’s day, or bringing your dog along for a bit of exercise.

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