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Long Island’s state parks offer new amenities, food options

It's not quite summer, but it is beach

It's not quite summer, but it is beach weather, and concessions at all the Island parks are ready for customers. This group was heading for relaxation on Saturday, May 28, 2016, at Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh. Credit: Ed Betz

Long Island state parks will offer beach lovers, swimmers, campers, hikers and boaters a bounty of new menus this summer along with improved playgrounds and bathhouses.

Visitors at Jones Beach, Wildwood, Montauk Point, Hither Hills and Orient Beach will have new food vendors, with chefs promising upgrades featuring some of the Island’s freshest seafood and produce.

At the Montauk park’s Lighthouse Grill, Perry Tucciarone of Innovative Concessions said his lobster rolls will have just four ingredients: a brioche bun, lobster, mayonnaise and celery.

At Wildwood in Wading River, another new vendor, John DeLeo of JR Water Corp., promises “live music down at the beach stand,” starting this holiday weekend.

At Orient Beach State Park, where the main bathhouse has been overhauled, Howard Fay of HowChef Enterprises plans to soon offer beer and wine to thirsty kayakers and the like. “Orient Beach . . . is a diamond in the rough,” he said.

Smithtown’s Sunken Meadow has a new playground for the 2- to 5-year-old set, and another one for 5- to 12-year-olds, said Jeffrey Mason, park director.

The younger children can play on slides and spinning rides, or dig in the sandpit with little backhoe-type shovels. The older kids’ playground is shaped like a ship, which “you can climb up into,” Mason said. It also offers monkey bars, a mini rock wall and roller-coaster-like slides.

The renovation and redesign of Sunken Meadow’s bathhouse also is making room for a learning area “so we can reach out to the local schools,” he said.

Tom Dess, manager for the Montauk state parks, said Hither Hills campers are getting a more modern and spacious bathhouse that replaces the original building erected in 1930.

“It’s a very large improvement for the visitors and staff,” he said.

New bathrooms also will greet visitors to North Fork’s Orient Beach and its 1870s lighthouse. Now, the park can stamp lighthouse-lovers’ U.S. Lighthouse Society passports, said manager Susanne Wuehler.

Jones Beach’s West Bathhouse’s first floor has been completely renovated; people who have not been back since last summer also will find all new bathrooms at Field 6.

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