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Point Lookout, Bayville and other not-too-crowded Long Island waterside communities 

Dale Joseph, left, and Jasmine Bartilow, both of Glen Oaks, wait for their kayak to be launched into Stony Brook Harbor. Credit: Morgan Campbell

Communities near the water are Long Island’s seaside treasures. Luckily, there are tons of these well-known and even some hidden pieces of paradise for day trippers craving the beach life.

While spots like Montauk, the Hamptons, Greenport and Fire Island draw the crowds starting Memorial Day weekend, there are quieter waterside nabes that pack a punch.

Head to the North Shore and explore Oyster Bay before heading to Bayville, an under 10-minute drive away. In Oyster Bay, rent a kayak and discover the beauty of Oyster Bay Harbor. Or, if you’re looking for a place that will keep the kids entertained, Bayville is home to the Bayville Adventure Park. where you can play mini-golf or try bumper boats. 

“It’s breathtakingly beautiful all year around,” says L.J. Decker, 60, who lives in Bayville and contributes to the “I Love Bayville, NY” Facebook page featuring snaps of sunsets and nature. “Just about everywhere is steps away from the beach and there’s plenty of wooded areas too.”

Along the North Shore in Suffolk is another quieter option to explore: Stony Brook, with plenty to do day into night. Weekend warriors can book a stay at the inn and restaurant in town and take a scenic boat tour of Stony Brook Harbor.

On the South Shore, beach bums can explore Point Lookout and Lido Beach, neighboring communities equipped with beaches and parks.

Plan your adventure at these spots by the sea: 

OYSTER BAY AND BAYVILLE

The seaside hamlet of Oyster Bay holds a rich history. Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States, called the area home. Oyster Bay Harbor has been a sailing port for centuries. Residents and day trippers can explore the nearby waterways by boat, kayak or cruises on a historic oyster sloop. Continue west along the water through the Village of Mill Neck until you cross Bayville Bridge to arrive in the village of Bayville. 

J. Racketts with his daughter, Olivia, visiting from Maryland enjoy...

J. Racketts with his daughter, Olivia, visiting from Maryland enjoy the playground at Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park in Oyster Bay. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Begin your morning at Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park (Larrabee Avenue; 516-624-6202, oysterbaytown.com), which features two playgrounds, a beach, a boat launching ramp, kayaking and a picnic area. The beach is open to Town of Oyster Bay residents only. Resident parking is $20 daily and a seasonal beach sticker is $60. Lifeguards are on duty from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends and holidays from May 25-June 16 and daily June 22-Sept. 2. 

Anupam Goenka, of Oyster Bay, and her nephew Tanmay Mittal...

Anupam Goenka, of Oyster Bay, and her nephew Tanmay Mittal paddle a kayak rented from the WaterFront Center in Oyster Bay. Credit: Jeff Bachner

Next, stroll over to The WaterFront Center (1 West End Ave.; 516-922-7245, thewaterfrontcenter.org) which provides access to Oyster Bay Harbor via kayak, paddleboard and sailboat rentals. The nonprofit center also has instructional and recreational sailing programs and harbor tours aboard its historic oyster sloop, Christeen. 

Adventure seekers can take sunset, wildlife and harbor tours starting at $35. Voyagers can also rent single kayaks ($32, double kayaks $40), stand-up paddleboards ($38) and The Mothership, an extra-large 17-foot-long paddleboard ($100) for up to 90 minutes. 

Guided tours can also be had with Windward Sailing Charters (5 Bay Ave.; 516-628-7156, windwardcharters.com). The company offers private boat charters for up to six people (starting at $495 for two hours) that can be customized to include activities like swimming and day trips to other area harbors. Thrill seekers can go water skiing, wakeboarding, wake surfing and tubing with Oyster Bay Water Sports (25 West End Ave., Oyster Bay; 516-430-0821, oysterbaywatersports.com). Trips start at $390 an hour.

After your venture at sea, grab a snack at Bonanza Stand of Oyster Bay (25 Shore Ave.; 516-922-7796, bonanzastandofoysterbay.com). More than 100 years old, this cash-only throwback sells homemade Italian ices from a small sidewalk shack, as well as fried food, drinks and hot dogs.

Jeff and Marcy Kaiser, of Oyster Bay, eat at Cooper...

Jeff and Marcy Kaiser, of Oyster Bay, eat at Cooper Bluff in Oyster Bay. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

For dinner with a viewCooper Bluff (Oyster Bay Marine Center, 5 Bay Ave.; cooperbluff.com) is a waterfront bar situated right on Oyster Bay Harbor, serving items like spiked slushies, lobster rolls and fish tacos. Come on weekends for live music. 

Drive 10 minutes to catch the sunset at Centre Island Beach (Off Bayville-Centre Island Road; oysterbaytown.com, 516-624-6123). The beach has lifeguards on duty from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends and holidays from May 25-June 16 and daily June 22-Sept. 2. ($20 for residents, nonresident fee $50 weekdays, $60 weekends and holidays).

Families can try the bumper boats at Bayville Adventure Park...

Families can try the bumper boats at Bayville Adventure Park in Bayville. Credit: Morgan Campbell

If you want to explore nearby Bayville, head 1.6 miles west along West Main Street to West Shore Road. 

Start at Bayville Adventure Park (8 Bayville Ave.; 516-624-7433, bayvilleadventurepark.com) and play mini-golf or try amusements like bumper boats and an aerial obstacle course ($34.75 for a one-day unlimited pay-one-price ticket; an entry-only ticket is $12.75). Also located within the park, Beaches and Cream Soda Shoppe has indoor seating and serves homemade ice cream right across from the beach and has an arcade.

Ionela Chiriac, of Great Neck, strolls near the shoreline at...

Ionela Chiriac, of Great Neck, strolls near the shoreline at Charles E. Ransom Beach in Bayville. Credit: Danielle Silverman

Walk across the street to Charles E. Ransom Beach (off Bayville Avenue; oysterbaytown.com, 516-624-6160) which has a playground and Long Island Sound overlook. Lifeguards are on duty 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily June 22-Sept. 2.

Patrons can sit on the roof deck patio of Shipwreck...

Patrons can sit on the roof deck patio of Shipwreck Tavern in Bayville. Credit: Linda Rosier

After a day in the sun, grab a bite along Bayville Avenue. For American fare, seafood or tropical cocktails try Tiki Bar Cafe and Shipwreck Tavern (10 Bayville Ave.; 516-628-2628, shipwreckpub.com). Head to Piccolo Cantina Bay (18a Bayville Ave.; 516-802-3001, piccolocantinabay.com) for Mexican and Italian cuisine. 

A server delivers plates of seafood to patrons at the...

A server delivers plates of seafood to patrons at the Clam Bar at Bridge Marine in Bayville.  Credit: Steve Remich

Adults looking for a meal by the water can check out Wall's Wharf, (18 Greenwich Ave.; 516-628-9696, wallswharf.com) a seafood restaurant with beachfront seating serving fish, lobster, clams. An upscale option is Ocean at The Crescent Beach Club (333 Bayville Ave.; 516-628-3330, cometotheocean.com) with a waterfront restaurant, bar and lounge. Or, tie up your boat and enjoy clams from the nearby harbor at Clam Bar at Bridge Marine, which will open for the season by Memorial Day (40 Ludlam Ave., 516-628-8688, bridge-marina.com).

POINT LOOKOUT AND LIDO BEACH

A surfer hits the water at Lido Beach Town Park.

A surfer hits the water at Lido Beach Town Park. Credit: Corey Sipkin

These neighboring hamlets sit between Reynolds Channel and Jones Inlet, leading to the Atlantic Ocean. The beaches are ideal for picnicking, swimming, surfing and sunbathing. Point Lookout is a boater's paradise where you can rent skiffs and fishing rods. Those looking for a cocktail paired with a picturesque sunset can settle in at a waterfront eatery. Get in the car and head 5 minutes down the road to Lido Beach, offering plenty of opportunities for recreational activities.

Lead singer Joseph Russo performs with Almost Queen at a...

Lead singer Joseph Russo performs with Almost Queen at a drive-in concert at Point Lookout Town Park in June 2020. Credit: Corey Sipkin

Soak up the sun at Town Park at Point Lookout (1300 Lido Blvd.; 516-431-3900, hempsteadny.gov), open to Town of Hempstead residents only, with lifeguards on duty from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily May 26 through Sept. 2 ($12 for residents and $55 nonresidents). The park features a food concession, picnic tables and live music and entertainment once summer arrives.

Head to Buoy Bar in Point Lookout for cocktails and...

Head to Buoy Bar in Point Lookout for cocktails and seafood. Credit: Linda Rosier

After the beach, join in on happy hour at Buoy Bar Waterfront Grill (72 Bayside Dr.; 516-432-3975, buoybarli.com) or The Point Lookout Clam Bar (99 Bayside Dr.; 516-897-4024, pointlookoutclambar.com) next door. Both feature indoor and outdoor seating and private beaches where guests can sit right by the surf. Buoy Bar also has a family-only beach for kids to play.

Rent fishing rods and buy bait at Ted's Fishing Station...

Rent fishing rods and buy bait at Ted's Fishing Station in Point Lookout. Credit: Linda Rosier

Anglers can find what they need at Ted’s Fishing Station (143 Bayside Dr.; 516-431-4193, tedsfishingstation.com), which rents skiffs from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. for two hours ($99), four hours ($159) or all day ($189). Rentals fit up to four people and must be returned by 4 p.m. Skiffs can only be used within a 1-mile radius of the venue. Fishing poles can be rented for $15, and bait and tackle are available for purchase. Ted’s also has a bar opens for the season Fridays through Sundays and daily starting June 24. Patrons are welcome to sit and sip beverages on its private beach. Beach yoga classes are held Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 8 a.m. in July and August with Point Lookout Yoga ($25; 50 Lido Blvd.; 516-686-9798, pointlookoutyogaclub.com).

Lido Beach, east of Long Beach, is home to four Town of Hempstead parks where you can picnic, play a range of outdoor sports and take a refreshing plunge in the sea.

Beachgoers soak up the sun at Nickerson Beach park in...

Beachgoers soak up the sun at Nickerson Beach park in Lido Beach. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa

Everyone can have their day at Nickerson Beach Park (880 Lido Blvd.; 516-571-7700, nassaucountyny.gov), open from May 25-Sept. 2 (residents pay $15 daily per carload, nonresidents $37 daily). Facing the ocean, beachgoers can visit concession stands or play volleyball, tennis, basketball, handball, paddleball and pickleball on the facility’s courts. Kids can play at the playground or the skate park. Pups can have their day at the dog park.

Anglers with a permit ($27) can night fish here, or play the par-three golf course for $12 per person per round. Starting June 15, cool off at the pool ($10, $6 ages 2-17; nonresidents: $16, $11 ages 2-17). For a short stay, there’s a tiny house trailer located in the park’s campground that features a bathroom, living room area, kitchen space and air conditioning ($199 to stay nightly Monday through Thursday, $340 Fridays through Sundays).

Brothers Lenoxx and Lux La Rocque Nedd, of Brooklyn, dance at Lido Beach...

Brothers Lenoxx and Lux La Rocque Nedd, of Brooklyn, dance at Lido Beach Town Park. Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

For a day of ocean, fun and activities, Lido Beach Town Park (630 Lido Blvd.; 516-431-6650, hempsteadny.gov) offers hours of recreation. The beach opens May 25 with a fee of $12 per car for residents and $55 for nonresidents (there’s a $25 walk-in fee for nonresidents). Shaded pavilions and a picnic area are available for barbecues (reservations start at $182 for parties of 50-100 people). Visitors can play a nine-hole game of golf ($22 for residents weekdays, $25 weekends and holidays; nonresidents $32, $38) or 18 holes ($43 weekdays for residents, $49 weekends; nonresidents $55 weekdays, $60 weekends).

Minnae Chae builds a sand castle at Town Park at...

Minnae Chae builds a sand castle at Town Park at Malibu in Lido Beach. Credit: Howard Schnapp

For live music and a bite to eat, Town Park at Malibu (500 Lido Blvd.; 516-670-1050, hempsteadny.gov) features the Malibu Shore Club, Maliblue beachside dining, a surf shop, an ice cream parlor and an arcade. The Maliblue eatery runs a summer concert series through Labor Day weekend featuring live bands, DJs and food specials. 

Rebecca Dombrowski, of Huntington, enjoys an ice cream cone at...

Rebecca Dombrowski, of Huntington, enjoys an ice cream cone at Marvel in Lido Beach. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

Satisfy your sweet tooth at Marvel ice cream stand (258 Lido Blvd.; 516-889-4232, marvelfrozendairy.com), a cash-only walk-up that also serves shakes, frozen yogurt and slushies. A block away, Frozen Cow Ices & Cream (300 Lido Blvd.; 516-665-3997, frozencowicesandcream.com) has a rotating selection of homemade ice creams and fun creations like Cereal Milk, with pieces of cereal in it, horchata and chocolate chipotle. The shop also sells hot dogs, pizza and tater tots.

STONY BROOK

Stony Brook Harbor may be small but it's loaded with shopping and dining opportunities plus chances to take in nature from both the land and water. It’s a mostly quiet village; walk around the Stony Brook Village Center for shopping or to grab a bite.

Start your day by exploring. Pull into the small lot designated as Stony Brook Boat Ramp (Shore Road just east of the parking lot at 51 Shore Rd.) to find a concrete pavilion that borders the water and looks out at the Youngs Island Wildlife Management Area. Walk down the path — which leads to the Long Island Museum (1200 Rte. 25A; 631-751-0066, longislandmuseum.org) — a few dozen feet to find a gazebo, restrooms and Stony Brook Beach. Lifeguards are on duty from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends and holidays June 29-Sept. 2. 

Frankie Minicozzi, 3, of Ronkonkoma, searches for crabs at Stony...

Frankie Minicozzi, 3, of Ronkonkoma, searches for crabs at Stony Brook Harbor in Stony Brook. Credit: Morgan Campbell

To get on the water, Stony Brook Harbor Kayak and Paddleboard Rentals (51 Shore Rd.; 631-834-3130, sbharborrentals.com) offers two-hour rentals of single kayaks ($45), double kayaks ($70) and paddleboards ($45). Navigate the area waters, lined by Hercules Pavilion, a former ship’s figurehead and anchor now set as a statue under a large overhang and the historic Stony Brook Grist Mill (100 Harbor Rd.; 631-751-2244, stonybrookvillage.com). The 18th century working mill is open to the public May through October Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. ($4, $2 for kids).

Kathie Pasieka and Nancy Hill aboard the Discovery Wetlands Cruise...

Kathie Pasieka and Nancy Hill aboard the Discovery Wetlands Cruise through Meadow creek in Stony Brook. Credit: Linda Rosier/Linda Rosier

For a powered voyage around the harbor, the Discovery Wetlands Cruise (9111 Main St., 631-751-2244, wmho.org) is run by the Ward Melville Heritage Organization. It takes place aboard a 27-passenger pontoon boat and spends 90 minutes exploring the wetlands with an onboard naturalist. Operating through October Mondays to Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; rates are $45, $30 ages 3-12.

Avalon Nature Preserve offers 5 miles of hiking trails.

Avalon Nature Preserve offers 5 miles of hiking trails. Credit: Morgan Campbell

After the cruise, take a walk along T. Bayles Minuse Mill Pond Park (200 Harbor Rd.; 631-751-2244, wmho.org), a scenic body of water that has an even smaller island in its middle, where birds like cormorants perch and ducks and geese paddle around. Only steps away you'll also find Avalon Nature Preserve (200 Harbor Rd.; 631-689-0619, avalonnaturepreserve.org), where you can wander the 5 miles of trails. Closed on Mondays, the preserve is otherwise free to explore.

Patio dining area at Mirabelle Restaurant and Tavern at the...

Patio dining area at Mirabelle Restaurant and Tavern at the Three Village Inn in Stony Brook. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

Go shopping or grab a bite to eat at The Stony Brook Village Center (111 Main St.; 631-751-2244, stonybrookvillage.com) to conclude your day trip. If you're looking to spend the night, Mirabelle at Three Village Inn (150 Main St.; 631-751-0555, mirabelleatthreevillageinn.com) serves American food with some French flair and also has rooms for stays. The inn has a special nature weekend package available Fridays through Sundays for three days and two nights in a standard room. It includes two tickets for the Grist Mill and a $50 voucher for dinner at Mirabelle (starts at $429). An outdoor adventure package is also available Wednesdays and Thursdays. It includes kayak or paddleboard rentals, one round of drinks at the restaurant’s bar and a $50 credit toward dinner at Mirabelle. Room rates start at $225.

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