Ocean Parkway Babylon, NY 631-893-2100
If you crave adventure over relaxation on your day at the beach, go to Gilgo. Here you can park your car (or dock your boat) and rent a surfboard to hit the waves, which tend to be bigger than at nearby beaches, according to the lifeguards.
If you aren't a surfer and don't care to learn through one of Gilgo's private or group lessons, try body boarding, skim boarding, paddle boarding, or start up a game of beach volleyball.
Tired yet? Unwind at the Gilgo Beach Inn's full bar, grab something to eat, and if it happens to be a Sunday night, catch some live music. If at the end of the night you find yourself not ready to leave, staying over in your boat is allowed, but don't expect any water or electricity at the floating docks.
If you want to save a few bucks, come before 8 a.m. or after 4 p.m. and you won't have to pay the entrance fee. Fishing is allowed outside of the swimming areas, and the Bunger Shack sells and rents anything an active beach-goer could ask for, from frisbees and beach balls to flip-flops and hemp bracelets.
There are three playgrounds, picnic tables, and smaller crowds, but Gilgo may not be the best place for kids. The rules are often bent at this "chill" beach according to one insider.
Private: Monday-Sunday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., $70 per hour per person, surfboards included
Group: Wednesday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., $200 per person for 2 days; or Monday-Wednesday 10 a.m.-2 p.m., $250 per person for 3 days, surfboards included.
Call 800-698-SURF or email email@example.com to schedule lessons and clinics.
Surfboards: $40 per day or $10 per hour
Boogie boards & skim boards: $10 per day
Swim fins: $3 per day
--Nina Marie RuggieroBeachfront: 7 miles on ocean Lifeguards: 10 a.m.-6 p.m weekends only May 23-June 21, then daily 9 a.m.-7 p.m. June 27-Aug. 30, Sept 5-7.