The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds take to the sky during...

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds take to the sky during a rehearsal for the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach in Wantagh, May 2021. Credit: Barry Sloan

This year’s Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach promises to be a roaring good time whether you watch the high-flying stunts and aerobatics by top-flight military and civilian performers from the beach, boardwalk or a nearby park or partyboat.

The airborne extravaganza held Memorial Day weekend at Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh features all five branches of the service including headliners the Air Force Thunderbirds marking their ninth appearance and the U.S. Navy Growler Air Show Team thundering through its Long Island debut.

“We’re going to bring the noise and be as loud as we can,” says Lt. Cody Brown, 33, of Yorktown, Virginia. 

Brown pilots one of two E/A-18G “Growler” Electronic Attack aircraft, which will be flying as low as 200 feet, at speeds up to 700 mph, in thrilling maneuvers with a vintage U.S. Navy warbird.

“We’re really excited to do a show in New York because flying over the ocean showcases the aircraft a little bit more in its natural element,” says Lt. Mitch Lopes, 30, of Simi Valley, who’s piloting the other Growler. 

When is the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach? 

The Bethpage Air Show in Wantagh will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 27 and Sunday, May 28. The $10 parking fee per car can be paid at the parking field. Parking is free for Empire Pass holders. No other tickets are required to attend the show.

Who's performing at the Jones Beach Bethpage Air Show?

The Air Force Thunderbirds headline with the U.S. Navy Growler Air Show Team making its debut. This year’s military performers also include the United States Army Golden Knights Parachute Team, the United States Marines F-35b Demo Team and the United States Coast Guard Search and Rescue. The civilian performers range from the American Airpower Museum Warbirds, the Civilian Air Patrol and the Skytypers Airshow Team to aerobatic flyer David Windmiller, aerial demonstration pilot Mike Goulian, retired U.S. Air Force pilot Ed Hamill and the Farmingdale State College Flying Rams. 

Long Island's David Windmiller, a world-class aerobatic pilot, will perform at the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach. NewsdayTV's Bill Korbel took to the skies with him. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

How can I watch the Jones Beach Bethpage Air Show? 

Here are alternate ways to watch the big show if you want to steer clear of the Jones Beach traffic. 

  • BY BUS: NICE (Nassau Inter-County Express) will run N88 buses from the Freeport Long Island Rail Road station to Jones Beach on show days from 8:28 a.m. to 8:55 p.m. Buses leave hourly on Friday (practice day) and every half-hour on Saturday and Sunday. Riders will be dropped off and picked up at the West Bath House just west of the park’s Central Mall main viewing area.   
  • BY BOAT: Watch the air show with a cocktail in hand on cruises out of the Nautical Mile in Freeport. At noon on Saturday and Sunday, Freeport Water Taxi & Tours’ 44-foot catamaran will be leaving with a capacity of 28 passengers for a viewing party “as close as we can to the water tower because that’s the focal point of the jets,” says Captain Rick Cohen. ($65/adults, $45/children, plus cash bar, 516-521-7744, The Capt. Lou Fleet’s 85-foot Capt. Lou VII super cruiser is hosting a viewing party from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Spectators can bring a small, handheld cooler with food and one unopened bottle of water. Snacks and other beverages can be purchased from the boat’s cash bar. Boarding at 10:30 a.m. at 31 Woodcleft Ave., The Nautical Mile, Freeport. ($65, 516-623-5823,
  • BY DINING RESERVATION: Watch the aerial action while dining at Gatsby on the Ocean restaurant on the second floor of Jones Beach’s West Bath House, where patio tables offer an air show view. The $50 parking voucher from the restaurant parking lot can be used toward a meal from a special air show menu including steak, pasta, lobster roll and salads. (516-785 0012,
  • VIA AN OFF-SITE PARK: See the show from a different angle from the pier and long shoreline at Wantagh Park (1 King Road, Wantagh, 516-571-7460) or at nearby Cedar Creek Park. (3340 Merrick Rd., Seaford, 516-571-7470) Spectators are required to present proof of Nassau County residence, driver's license or Leisure Pass. Nassau County’s Nickerson Beach Park, located on Long Beach west of Jones Beach, also offers a view of the highflying derring-do. Parking costs $15 for Nassau County Leisure Pass holders or $37 without a Leisure Pass (880 Lido Blvd., Lido Beach, 516-571-7700).
  • AT REPUBLIC AIRPORT: You can also watch the aircraft soar overhead after they take off from Republic Airport, from a vantage point at the American Airpower Museum (Hangar 3, 1230 New Highway, Farmingdale, 631-293-6398,, $20/adults, $15/seniors and veterans, $12/children ages 5 to 12) or Nassau County’s nearby Old Bethpage Village Restoration. (1303 Round Swamp Road, Old Bethpage, 516-572-8400, $15/adults, $12/seniors and children ages 5 to 12). 
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