In the mood for a sunrise jog, a sunset stroll or a moonlight date by the sea? Here are boardwalks built for family fun, exercise or romance, amid summer breezes and the sounds of nature.
JONES BEACH STATE PARK, WANTAGH
WildPlay adventure playground’s scheduled opening this summer adds zip lines, aerial games and a 40-foot jump near the Atlantic oceanfront promenade. Along its 3.5 miles (including two miles of actual boardwalk), you can dance at a free band shell concert, play miniature golf, shuffleboard or basketball, or buy a snack at the Central Mall (Field 4). From busy Field 6 to lonely West End 2, it stays open dawn to midnight from June 22 to Labor Day.
LONG BEACH BOARDWALK
The Long Beach boardwalk is a traditional spot to sit and watch the world go by — and nowadays 700 benches line its bustling 2.2 miles. You can walk, run or bike (the latter on a designated lane) or watch a beach volleyball game on sandy courts. In summer, food trucks and vendors line the promenade and you can walk right into the Allegria Hotel for breakfast or a late-night fancy cocktail. Playgrounds and comfort stations are available along the way.
SEA CLIFF BOARDWALK, THE BOULEVARD, SEA CLIFF
Imposing Victorian houses overlook this 1,000-foot-long promenade on Hempstead Harbor. Park next to the retaining wall and enjoy a picture-postcard view of moored sailboats. A concession stand sells breakfast and lunch from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Memorial Day to Labor Day. Fish, sunbathe on a bench or climb the steep steps for a workout at the south end of the walkway. Open till 9:30 p.m.
CAPTREE STATE PARK, BAY SHORE
Maritime Long Island is on display along the boardwalk at the Ocean Parkway’s eastern end. On a breezy stroll, you’ll pass Long Island’s largest public fishing fleet (open boats board on the hour for fluke and striped bass), a restaurant and snack bar, picnic areas and a bait and tackle shop. Turn left at the bait shop to continue your walk on one of the park’s fishing piers, where anglers use traps to haul in blue claw crabs. At the end of the walkway, Fire Island Lighthouse can be seen across shimmering Great South Bay.
SUNKEN MEADOW STATE PARK BOARDWALK, KINGS PARK
The 3⁄4-mile boardwalk on Long Island Sound bustles at sunrise as walkers and joggers log their Fitbit miles. Instagrammers will appreciate the pebble beach panorama bookended by high bluffs. If you decide to take a swim, showers are located at the boardwalk. The main concession stand at the boardwalk entrance opens daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The park closes at sunset.
AMMANN PARK/PECONIC RIVERFRONT PARK, BEHIND MAIN STREET, RIVERHEAD
The 1,600-foot Peconic River boardwalk — or, if you will, riverwalk — is just off Main Street, between Peconic Avenue and The Long Island Aquarium. Your stroll takes you past two gazebos, moored boats and birdlife in the river shallows. There are no boardwalk concessions, but on Main Street you can buy ice cream or slices of pizza for lunch in a cozy picnic area outside The East End Arts Council art gallery and gift shop. In warm weather, PeraBell food bar opens its outdoor seating area overlooking the boardwalk. At the Long Island Aquarium, rent a kayak for a moonlight paddle, or board a 90-minute river cruise.