Though life on Long Island can be wonderful, we all need a break sometimes from the traffic jams, crowded malls, monthly bills and daily grind of the office, especially if a summer vacation is just a dream this year.
Fortunately, the Island is home to several spots designed to transport you to a distant place where good times rule. Here are four destinations for a summer escape that's close to home.
WHEN|WHERE 7 p.m. Mondays, Woodbury Country Club, 884 Jericho Tpke.
INFO 516-692-6200, nwsdy.li/wbcc
THE VIBE A taste of South Beach
Although palm trees are not native to Woodbury, they are front and center at the club's summer Monday parties. Throw in some cool music and cooling drinks, and you won't even notice nearby Jericho Turnpike amid a poolside scene reminiscent of the upscale hotel events in Miami's South Beach. Guests can socialize around the club's pool and its towering fountains or dance along to the music. Expect cover bands, DJs spinning and the occasional celebrity host. Don't worry if the weather turns foul as there is an indoor space ready for dancing, rain or shine.
WHEN|WHERE Opens 11 a.m. daily, 1 Harbor Beach Rd., Mount Sinai
INFO 631-928-1747, cedarbeachbarandgrille.com
THE VIBE An oasis
Many great beaches are along the Sound, but this hot spot is one of the few where you can sip drinks, dine and take in the spectacular view directly along the shoreline. The hard part is finding this hidden gem (take North Country Road to Landing Road northbound until reaching the fork into Landing Road and Harbor Beach Road, then follow Harbor Beach Road until it ends at Cedar Beach). Once there, you'll find a mostly open-air bar and grill situated alone on the sand, with tiki torches burning and no other structure nearby. Enjoy full meals, live music and one of the best sunset views on Long Island.
WHEN|WHERE Opens noon daily, 31 Baker Place, Patchogue
INFO 631-475-1723, offkeytikki.com
THE VIBE Margaritaville
Although technically "tiki," it's hard to deny the Key West parrothead feel generated by this beach bar, which features a deck loaded with palm trees, a white sandy beach and bartenders who pour margaritas aplenty. Located along the Patchogue River, Off Key Tikki offers a mostly outdoor experience, and current events include a youthful "Hurricane Mondays" party featuring bands playing rock, country, blues and reggae, as well as occasional burlesque nights.
WHEN|WHERE Opens 8 a.m. daily, 35 Shore Rd., Shelter Island
INFO 631-749-2001, sunsetbeachli.com
THE VIBE A bit of St. Barth's
Despite the sizable crowds that come to the hotel for meals and cocktails during the summer, Sunset Beach still never gets as crowded as the happening Hamptons hot spots that are just a short ferry ride away. Nonetheless, it has been a destination for those in the know for several years.
Located only footsteps from Crescent Beach, the scene at Sunset Beach is generally one of casually dressed people partaking of cocktails and dining on contemporary French food. It's not known for wild parties, but Sunset Beach does host a DJ-driven gathering known as "Balearic Sundays," which refers to the party scene found on the Spanish island Ibiza. The feel here, however, is more akin to what one might find on Saint Barthelemy, with a relaxed energy vibe and luxury-by-the-ocean personality.
And it's called Sunset Beach for a reason, as this is another excellent place to watch the summer sun call it a day.