More than just “the Gateway to Jones Beach,” the hamlet of Wantagh is a destination in its own right. The hamlet, named after the Merokee tribe's chief, is dotted with historical markers of its past, including an 1827 Quaker meeting house and the resting place of Checkers, the cocker spaniel credited with saving Richard Nixon’s career.

Today, it is a bustling, family-friendly community. “The main thing about Wantagh is it’s a neighborhood. It’s not just a place where you stay in your house and don’t interact,” says John Stone, who plays the bagpipes in the Wantagh American Legion Pipe Band and has lived in Wantagh since 1987. “People are walking their dogs, chatting. You go to Lifestyles or New Wave Seafood or the Wantagh Inn and you know the owners, you know the customers. It’s just a nice neighborhood feel.”

Stone raised three children in the town. Now they’ve grown up and bought houses of their own nearby. “People don’t move out of Wantagh,” says Stone.

Wantagh’s business district is easily accessible by car or even train and offers plenty in the way of boutique shopping, restaurants and lively music venues. Surrounded by beaches and nature preserves, it is also a convenient place to explore the great outdoors.


Wantagh offers a range of activities, whether you are hankering for a look back in time or going for a nature walk. 

The purchase of a $36 Leisure Pass, which identifies its holder as a Nassau County resident, provides discounts to park facilities across the county including the swimming pool complex and mini golf course at Wantagh Park. A Leisure Pass can be obtained at the Administration Building on King Road inside Wantagh Park, which is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; 516-571-7460.

Wantagh Park

1 King Rd.

In addition to its big and colorful playground, Wantagh Park's...

In addition to its big and colorful playground, Wantagh Park's pool, fishing area, walk way and bike paths, picnic grounds and sports grounds allures people of all ages.  Credit: Newsday/Lorina Capitulo

This 111-acre oasis offers myriad opportunities for recreation. There are tennis and basketball courts, walking and biking paths, a playground, a marina with a fishing pier and an 18-hole miniature golf course. A two-mile fitness trail with 20 stations for stretching, pullups, situps and more begins at the entrance to the park and ends by the water. In the summer, visitors enjoy the large and impressive pool complex with Olympic-size pool, waterslides, lockers, showers, a deck and concession. Many facilities are free and open to the public, but some, including the pool, require a Nassau County Leisure Pass and/or fee.

More info 516-571-7460,

Jones Beach State Park

2400 Ocean Pkwy.

People relax at Central Mall of Jones Beach State Park...

People relax at Central Mall of Jones Beach State Park at sunset. Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

The park features seven ocean beaches (6½ miles); part of a 2,413-acre park. Visitors will find a bandshell with live music in the summer months, basketball courts with five half courts and one full court plus hopscotch/Four Square area (lighted at night). The park also includes nine volleyball courts; a two-mile boardwalk; surf chairs (Field 2, West Bathhouse, Field 6, East Bathhouse and Central Mall); mobility mats at Field 6, Central Mall, East Bathhouse, Field 2 and West Bathhouse. Take the bike path from Cedar Creek Park in Wantagh to Field 1 to the West End 2 parking lot (9.7 miles), and east to Captree State Park (13 miles).

The crowd cheers We The Kings on stage for the...

The crowd cheers We The Kings on stage for the Billboard 100 Festival at Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh. Credit: Bruce Gilbert

The park features year-round bicycling on the boardwalk, day-use slips at the Boat Basin, picnic areas and the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater. Visitors can play paddle tennis, pickleball, equipment rentals, miniature golf course, four finger piers, surf casting, two softball fields, table tennis, shuffleboard courts, bocce courts and corn hole. The park is home to WildPlay Jones Beach (open during spring and summer months, prices start at $44.99.) which features zip lines, obstacles and platforms above the beach. During the summer months, visitors can catch a concert at Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater or the Jones Beach Bandshell. 

Fee: $10 a car daily May 25 through Sept. 8; $8 weekends and holidays April 6 through May 19 and Sept. 14 through Nov. 3; Parking lots 4, 6, 10 and West End 2 are open all year.

More info 516-785-1600,

The Jones Beach Energy and Nature Center

150 Bay Pkwy.

The Jones Beach Nature Center in Wantagh offers classes on...

The Jones Beach Nature Center in Wantagh offers classes on energy, STEM, nature and more for all ages.  Credit: Mia Ramirez

The center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. offering programming for all ages that focuses on nature, energy resources and STEM. Some classes feature experiments and occasional hikes to explore the area and learn about animals. Programs start at $4.

More info 516-809-8222,

Twin Lakes Preserve

200 Park Ave.

People fishing for brown trout at Twin Lakes Preserve in...

People fishing for brown trout at Twin Lakes Preserve in Wantagh. Credit: Corey Sipkin

The Twin Lakes Preserve is dedicated to the preservation of Long Island’s natural environment. With five fresh water ponds, large sections of fresh water wetlands and a gentle 1.5-mile trail loop, it is the place in Wantagh to enjoy fishing, bird watching and hiking year-round. Leave your four-legged companions at home — there are no dogs allowed.

More info 516-431-9200,


Wantagh offers a range of activities, whether you are hankering for a look back in time, a bracing nature walk or a night on the town.

Wantagh Preservation Society

1700 Wantagh Ave.

The train at the Wantagh Preservation Society in Wantagh.

The train at the Wantagh Preservation Society in Wantagh. Credit: Dawn McCormick

Commuters may enjoy taking a trip back in time by peeking into the Jamaica railroad car, now parked on the grounds of the Wantagh Preservation Society alongside the old railroad station. A luxury parlor carriage built in 1912 for the Long Island Rail Road, it features a solarium, kitchen and ice-cooled air conditioning system. Also on the grounds is a recreation of the original 1904 Wantagh post office, a tiny one-person operation measuring no more than 100 square feet, which served the farming community until it was replaced in the 1920s. The museum grounds are open all year-round from dawn until dusk. You can enter the structures on Sundays from mid-April to mid-November.

More info 516-826-8767,

AMF Wantagh Lanes

1300 Wantagh Ave.

The bowling alley features 42 lanes. The bowling alley includes an arcade with games like Pac-Man, Super Mario Kart and basketball. Grab a bite at the restaurant and bar area where you'll find pizza, burgers, quesadillas and more. 

Cost Single games are $6.99 per person on weekdays, $7.99 per person on weekends and $5.99 for shoe rentals. The bowling alley also offers specials like $29 unlimited bowling and shoe rental from 8 p.m. to midnight on Fridays; $17.49 for unlimited bowling, shoe rental and an arcade card ($5) from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays.

More info 516-781-1460,

Sensory Beans

3309 Merrick Rd., Wantagh

This sensory-friendly space features slides, swings, a foam pit, sensory tactile wall and exercise equipment. Open play sessions are 90 minutes ($24 per child; reservations required) for kids 9 months to 8 years old. 

More info 516-308-1462,


From Irish crystal to personalized accessories to baking supplies, Wantagh’s shops offer unique items that you won’t find at the mall. If you are looking for something special, consider the merchandise at the spots below:

DCD Boutique

2215 Wantagh Ave.

DCD Boutique is built on custom wear for adults, kids...

DCD Boutique is built on custom wear for adults, kids and pets by way of ice tie dye and traditional tie dye, acid wash, embellishments, screen prints and decals, all done by hand by Christina Ellul.

“I tell everyone I’m Etsy but in real life,” says boutique owner Christina Ellul of her shop full of personalized gift possibilities. Along with trendy clothing and accessories, Ellul offers baby onesies, pearl-encrusted bachelorette jean jackets and tie-dyed sweat suits, all of which can be emblazoned with a custom heat transfer, applied in store, to make them truly one-of-a-kind. DCD stands for “Design, Create, Donate,” and Ellul donates some of her proceeds to a different charity every month. “I could not have succeeded without the support of this amazing community. They show compassion and loyalty to their local businesses, which makes Wantagh thrive.”

More info

What a Girl Wants

1188 Wantagh Ave.

What a Girl Wants in Wantagh sells home decor, small...

What a Girl Wants in Wantagh sells home decor, small gifts and apparel for women. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

This boutique is a favorite among locals for its eclectic selection of fashion, accessories and gifts. The aesthetic, apparent across a range of goods including fluffy slippers, sparkly tops and slinky slip dresses, is decidedly girlie. That’s why this is the perfect shop to look for engagement gifts (how about an insulated tumbler embossed with “wedding planning wine”) and new mom presents (a trucker hat embroidered with “mama”).

More info 516-809-9270,

Old Towne Garden Irish and Victorian Gift Store

1902 Wantagh Ave.

One of the many rooms containing Irish themed and holiday...

One of the many rooms containing Irish themed and holiday gifts at The Olde Town Garden Irish and Victorian Gift Store in Wantagh.  Credit: Dawn McCormick

This charming shop, housed in a colorful Victorian building and owned by a family originally hailing from Galway, Ireland, stocks a wide variety of Irish- and Celtic-themed products including Aran sweaters, Claddagh jewelry and Irish crystal Champagne flutes. Items here that you won’t find anywhere else nearby: vibrant leather and Harris tweed handbags and gloves, Royal Tara China teapots, and Ireland soccer jerseys with embroidered shamrock patches. Picking up a throw blanket as a gift for a friend, Wantagh resident and regular shopper Jacqui Koplik says, “Whenever I need something special or unique, this is the place where I come. And I’m never disappointed.”

More info 516-826-2574,

Lifestyles Sporting Goods

1901 Wantagh Ave.

This family business, now in the hands of the second generation, sells apparel and equipment for every imaginable sport from golf to wrestling to pickleball. In addition, it’s the place to come to get your lacrosse stick restrung or your baseball bat re-gripped. And if athleisure or work wear are your fashion love languages, you can shop for retro Adidas Sambas and trendy Carhartt flannel shirts here.

More info 516-781-8070,

Natalia’s Children’s Boutique

1237 Wantagh Ave.

Linda Hill is the co-owner of Natalia’s Children’s Boutique in...

Linda Hill is the co-owner of Natalia’s Children’s Boutique in Wantagh. Credit: Linda Rosier

Head to this well-stocked establishment for very special baby gifts: going-home-from-the-hospital blankets, hooded bath towels, beribboned onesies and complete layettes. And look no further for fancy white apparel (including shoes, tiaras, and veils) for baptisms, communions and flower girl duties.

More info 516-804-6244,


French Workshop

1187 Wantagh Ave.

A tart at The French Workshop in Wantagh.

A tart at The French Workshop in Wantagh. Credit: Newsday/Marie Elena Martinez

The shop features madeleines, croissants, éclairs, danishes, puff pastries, muffins, cupcakes, crème brûlées, profiteroles, pies, cookies, brownies, baguettes and breads. Croissants and tarts come in both sweet and savory varieties. Macarons flavors include passion fruit, lemon, salted caramel and pistachio. You'll find a house blend of coffee, espresso and lattes. The shop also sells boxed pies, cakes and cookies.

More info 516-240-2433,

Grandma’s Candy Kitchen

2119 Wantagh Ave.

In addition to store-made chocolates, home chocolate crafters can find...

In addition to store-made chocolates, home chocolate crafters can find anything they possibly need at Grandma’s Candy Kitchen in Wantagh. Credit: Grandma’s Candy Kitchen

In addition to a large selection of seasonal candy, this old-fashioned shop in a gingerbread-like brick cottage sells chocolate molds, cookie cutters, cardboard cake rounds and edible cake decorations including nonpareils and sprinkles in every color of the rainbow. Owner Alison McGuinness notes the store’s longevity and its place in the community: “We have been around since 1975, which gives us the honor of being a part of our customers' lives for decades. There is no better feeling than when a customer comes in and shares with us that they used to make chocolate for their kids' milestones, and now they are doing the same for their grandchildren.”

More info 516-785-2750,

Beer & Co.

1857 Wantagh Ave.

Beer & Co. in Wantagh is a beer distributor and...

Beer & Co. in Wantagh is a beer distributor and specialty food market. Credit: Beer & Co.

Wantagh has more than its fair share of pubs and sports bars, and since this past St. Patrick’s Day, when Beer & Co. opened its doors, it now has a store catering to craft beer enthusiasts. Co-owner Michael Ober, a lieutenant with the FDNY and a nurse, wanted to take a step back from nursing after COVID and do something closer to home. Along with his wife, Merrie, a teacher, and their neighbor and beer bar veteran Josh Meckes, they opened this locally focused shop. The artwork in the store was created by a student at Wantagh High School. “We love the friends that we’ve made here and love to have a place for people to come that’s close to home to help with their entertaining,” says Merrie. Wall-to-wall refrigerator cases hold creatively named beverages like Now You Can’t Leave Double India Pale Ale from Bronx Brewery and Ambition is a Dream Double Cream Ale from Ghost Brewing Company. Grab a four-pack or mix and match to create a tasting pack of your own. Or ask the staff to make up a craft beer gift basket for a lucky friend.

More info 516-804-0889,

The Cup Coffeehouse

3268 Railroad Ave.

Patrons enjoy the atmosphere and warmth of The Cup Coffee...

Patrons enjoy the atmosphere and warmth of The Cup Coffee House in Wantagh. Credit: Dawn McCormick

An arty '60s-inspired space, this evening coffeehouse is a soulful alternative to Wantagh’s bar scene. The bohemian décor — a mix of antique sofas, stained glass lighting and tapestries hung from the ceiling — gives the place a cozy vibe. The alcohol-free cafe serves up specialty lattes, milkshakes, shareable snacks and desserts to a crowd of regulars that include high school and college students looking for a place to linger and talk. On the schedule are occasional events like ceramic mug painting. During the summer there is a popular open mic night featuring local talent. A rotating display of work by local artists covers the walls. “We are just trying to support anybody who needs an opportunity who hasn’t had one before. This place is about acceptance,” says owner Adam Ingoglia.

More info 516-826-9533

New Wave Seafood

1847 Wantagh Ave.

This seafood shop has been operated by four generations of the Marinello family and also includes a casual eatery. The dining room serves as a gallery, displaying charming vintage photos of the Wantagh fish business in its early days. Enjoy raw bar items including local oysters and clams, chowder and lobster bisque, lobster rolls, fish tacos, fried seafood dinners and much more.

More info 516-783-4900,

Frozees Italian Ices and Ice Cream

1887 Wantagh Ave.

Open year-round, the shop sells classic soft serve cones, milkshakes in flavors like cake batter, hot fudge sundaes and ices in every color of the rainbow. 

More info 516-851-9048


Wantagh has a variety of casual drinking and dining choices. Here are several spots to grab a drink or see a show:

Mulcahy’s Pub and Concert Hall

3232 Railroad Ave.

Mulcahy's Pub & Concert Hall opened in 1965, but since 1983...

Mulcahy's Pub & Concert Hall opened in 1965, but since 1983 has been owned by John Murray, who has expaned the venue into an LI institution. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

“This is the epicenter of fun in Wantagh,” manager Rick Capiello says of the town’s live music venue. In business for more than 50 years, the spot expanded over time to include an enormous concert hall with multiple bars and a state-of-the-art stage. Mulcahy’s features popular tribute and cover bands, as well as classic touring acts (Joan Jett, the Dropkick Murphys and Bret Michaels have all played here), comedy shows and an always popular '80s and '90s night with dueling bands from each decade. Groups celebrating birthdays and other occasions can book a wristband party package that includes a night of entertainment along with a private table with stage view, three hour open bar and appetizer platters for $65 per person.

More info 516-783-7500,

Wantagh Inn

3264 Railroad Ave.

The Wantagh Inn is just one of a few restaurants...

The Wantagh Inn is just one of a few restaurants and bars that dot the scene around the Wantagh Long Island train station. Credit: Dawn McCormick

Across from the railroad station, the Wantagh Inn has been feeding the community for decades. The tin ceilings and a fireplace in the dining room, along with a collection of vintage Guinness and Jameson signs in the handsome bar, give off Irish pub vibes. In addition to a regular menu of French dip sandwiches, classic burgers, and bbq baby back ribs, there are abundant specials, including $9 burgers on Wednesday nights, Thursday night steak dinner for $28, and a $19.95 prix fixe lunch special served from Monday to Friday that includes soup or salad, an entree like old-fashioned meatloaf or shepherd’s pie, and dessert. A private upstairs room is available for parties.

More info 516-785-0809,

The Irish Poet

1891 Wantagh Ave.

Shepard’s Pie, Irish spring roll and Irish dip sandwich with...

Shepard’s Pie, Irish spring roll and Irish dip sandwich with a glass of Guinness at the Irish Poet in Wantagh. Credit: Brittainy Newman

This Irish pub is the place to get your drink on whether you are an early bird or a night owl. It offers a very happy hour, Monday through Friday noon to 7 p.m., and a selection of beer-friendly bar food — Bavarian pretzels, Irish potato jackets, fried mac and cheese bites. A late night menu of pizzas and flatbreads is served from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.

More info 516-588-1891,

The Snug Bar and Lounge

1941 Wantagh Ave.

Another popular Wantagh watering hole, the Snug serves corned beef spring rolls, Irish sausages baked inside puff pastry and shepherd’s pie along with Guinness and many other suds on tap. Happy hour runs from 4 to 7 p.m. Football on Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday is celebrated with bucket specials and a $7 appetizer menu. Wednesday is karaoke night.

More info 516-804-0276

Craft Kitchen and Tap House

1885 Wantagh Ave.

Restaurants along Wantagh Ave. in Wantagh including bar and restaurant Craft Kitchen...

Restaurants along Wantagh Ave. in Wantagh including bar and restaurant Craft Kitchen and Taphouse. Credit: Dawn McCormick

This is a place to enjoy updated comfort food (short rib mac and cheese, bourbon bacon burgers, chicken a la vodka pizza) with flights of New York State craft beers from Blue Point, Bay Shore, Lakewood and East Fishkill. The large screen TVs that surround the space ensure that sports fans won’t miss any of the action. Live music starts at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and every Wednesday is Country Night. The weekend brunch, served from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, features favorites including eggs Benedict and avocado toast as well as bottomless brunch cocktails and beer for $20.

More info 516-781-2700, craftkitchenandtaphousecom

Boss Crokers

1871 Wantagh Ave.

Specials like Wing Wednesdays (40 cent wings, $4 Yungling pints) bring in the crowds at this sports bar. Dart boards and a jukebox provide alternatives to the widescreen TVs. Football nights feature $2 sliders and $3 hot dogs. Open until 4 a.m. daily.

More info 516-679-2967

Dirty Taco

3261 Merrick Rd.

Dirty Taco & Tequila in Wantagh serves a range of...

Dirty Taco & Tequila in Wantagh serves a range of creative tacos. Credit: Daniel Brennan

Now with six restaurants across Long Island (Wantagh, Rockville Centre, Woodbury, Patchogue, Smithtown and Port Washington), Dirty Taco is known for its Asian fusion tacos, cheeky branding and lively party scene. Some menu items to try include Asian nachos, Korean BBQ wings, Korean short rib taco, birria taco with consume and bang bang shrimp taco. The spot also hosts a Sunday brunch (99 cent mimosas) 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Popular cocktails include watermelon basil margarita and spicy blood orange margarita.

More info 516- 785-5300,

Bunker Hill American Tap Room

1912 Wantagh Ave.

Bunker Hill offers 20 beers on tap, as well as burgers and sandwiches. A separate dining area distinguishes this lively spot from other area bars, as does a more restaurant-like menu, with hearty entrees like braised short ribs with horseradish cream, grilled baby lamb chops, and slow roasted pork belly.

More info 516-679-1775,


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