Long-boarders looking to catch some waves will find great spots near ocean beaches off the southern coast of Long Island, from Long Beach to Montauk.
Wanna ride The Big One? Grab your wet suit and surfboard and paddle into the spray at one of these spots.
Montauk has Ditch Plains, where a jetty creates longboard waves and Turtle Cove, next to Montauk Point State Park. (Ditch Plains requires a parking permit, free to town residents and $375 for nonresidents, and Turtle Cove has no public parking; footpath only.)
Fire Island National Seashore
Dogs are permitted at Fire Island National Seashore (120 Laurel St., Patchogue), but must be kept leashed and are not allowed in public buildings, on lifeguarded beaches or near areas closed for endangered species.
Surfing is permitted west of the park.
In Babylon, outside lifeguard area, Gilgo Beach is popular (nonresident parking fee: $30 weekdays, $40 Fri.-Sun. And holidays; resident parking fee $40 for season).
Jones Beach State Park
Jones Beach (2400 Ocean Pwy., Wantagh) is the crown jewel of Long Island beaches. It has everything you need in a beach: sand, sun, surfing, major concerts, free music nightly, fishing piers, boardwalk, games, volleyball and umbrella rentals.
Surfers prefer the waters by the jetty near West End parking field 2. Surfing is permitted from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends and holidays.
Lazy Point Beach
Lazy Point Beach (Lazy Point and Shore Road, Amagansett) is a great spot for surfing. Be sure to check the designated areas.
Popular Southampton spots are east and west of the Shinnecock Inlet jetty, although the only designated area is Little pLains, off Little Plains Road from Main Street; subject to change, call village administrator, 631-283-0247, ext. 224. Parking permits required, free seasonal pass to village residents, nonresidents seasonal pass up to $350.
There are many things to do and enjoy at Long Beach (off Long Beach Rd., Long Beach). You'll find a boat ramp, marina, pavilion, fishing area, food stand, showers, sailing and motorboats and windsurf lessons (fee).
New Suffolk Beach
In East Hampton, windsurf in the outer bays, (residents free). On the North Fork, New Suffolk Beach permits windsurfing (nonresident parking $25 daily, $150 seasonal; $10 residents annually). On the Sound, windsurfing is permitted in Smithton off Long Beach (town residents only,) $7 permit required, available at Town Hall). Other spots include Cold Spring in Southampton (parking permit required: residents $40 season, nonresidents $375). Although these spots are the most popular, windsurfing is accessible throughout Long Island on nearly any body of water, including some state parks. Call parks for restrictions and launching areas.
Robert Moses State Park
Surfing is permitted at Robert Moses State Park outside of protected bathing areas, (parking: call for daily rates, $65 seasonal pass for state parks).
Surfing is permitted at Sailors Haven Beach. The beach is accessible by private boat or a ferry ride from Sayville.
Smith Point County Park
There's always a friendly face to welcome you to Smith Point County Park (County Park 46, Shirley). 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.
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.
Sailors Haven (Fire Island National Seashore, Fire Island) is perfect for boaters, daytrippers, nature enthusiasts and families. The beach is free, but there's a charge for parking at the ferry in Sayville and for a ferry ticket. Call 631-589-0810 for ferry schedule and 2009 fees. Surfing is also permitted in designated areas.
Nassau's sites are on the east end of South Oyster Bay's Tobay Beach, where nonresidents can surf Mon.-Fri., except holidays, and town residents can surf any day (parking fees: residents $20 daily, $60 season; nonresidents $50 daily, Mon.- Fri. only, except holidays.)
The beach, the backcountry hiking and the bird watching. It can all be done at Watch Hill, located on Fire Island National Seashore and accessible via the Patchogue ferry.
Watch Hill is the only place that offers camping in the park, and it's ideal for nighttime stargazing, as little light pollution surrounds it. There are 26 tent sites and one group campsite. Most sites are on top of sand, so bring extra-long tent stakes. Campgrounds include running water, grills, showers and bathrooms. Required permits can be obtained at the Watch Hill Visitor Center (631-597-6455), and sites can be reserved for $25 a night.
If you're hungry, try the Pier Restaurant and Snack Bar for lunch and dinner, and the Tiki Bar for drinks.