Weekend and holidays Memorial Day-Labor Day: $9 with the Suffolk County Green Key card, seniors, free weekdays, $16 no green key
There's always a friendly face to welcome you to Smith Point County Park. That face just doesn't always belong to a human. Approaching the park on a sunny morning, I was greeted by a pack of deer grazing on grass and watching curiously as cars filled with eager beach-goers drove by.
Smith Point offers campgrounds with tent, trailer, and full hookup sights. Some campers enjoy bay views from their spots and even bring their own jet-skis to ride in the water. A small shack called The Wave Too sells ice, snacks, beverages, and camping needs. Off-roading is permitted down past the camp sites for those with a permit. The beach on the campgrounds is beautiful and quiet for sunbathing, playing in the sand, or just taking in the view, but no swimming is allowed since the area is not protected by lifeguards and rip-currents are strong.
On the other side of the traffic circle closer to the entrance is the main beach, where attentive lifeguards are on duty and swimmers can enjoy the clear, refreshing water and big waves. The conditions are great for fishing, surfing
, and body boarding in designated areas. Sand volleyball courts near the entrance are open for play except when youth league matches are going on.
There's a spot with picnic tables, barbecues, and a playground in between the parking lot and the sand. The Beach Hut, a much upgraded version of the usual beach concession stand, offers lots of seating for customers only, a big menu with seafood, tropical drinks and more, and live music seven days a week from 5pm to sunset. Tuesdays and Thursdays are lobster fest, and every night is a seafood festival.
There's a lot going on at this beach, but somehow it maintains its relaxing atmosphere
in spite of busloads of kids getting dropped off each day. "For a public place, it always feels private here," agreed Lisa and Brian O'Neill, who have been coming to Smith Point for 50 years. "You won't find us anywhere else."
--Nina Marie Ruggiero
10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. May 28-Sept. 5
222 campground sites, 75 outter beach. Tents, trailers, full hook-up.