Long Beach: A Summer Travel Hot Spot

Following  the boardwalk
Long Beach boardwalk (Getty Images)

Long Beach is a singular community in Nassau County, and really on all of Long Island. It maintains the feel of a summer resort town with its iconic boardwalk, expansive sandy shores, and ample access to Atlantic waters—yet it’s only a bit more than 20 miles from Manhattan. 

It also holds a fascinating history.

English settlers originally purchased the area that is now known as Long Beach from the indigenous Lenape people in 1643, but it wouldn’t begin forming into the idyllic seaside community it is today for another two centuries. With a Long Island Rail Road line connecting it to the city in 1882, the door was opened for real estate development and the area quickly became a hot spot for wealthy urbanites seeking some sun and ocean air. Ensuing years were rarely dull for the area, with glamorous hotels, star-packed local theaters, prohibition bootleggers, Hollywood heavyweights, the world’s largest dance floor, and even some Coney Island elephants all making their mark on its colorful timeline.   

Today, Long Beach welcomes visitors from all over to enjoy its updated boardwalk, its countless amazing restaurants, its rich nightlife, and of course, the pristine beach that earned the city its name. If you plan on being one of those visitors in the near future, be sure to check out some of these can’t-miss spots.  

Amazing Eateries

Whether you’re enjoying some spectacular waterfront dining overlooking the Atlantic, taking in a quick bite out on Park Avenue, or stopping by an ice cream spot to enjoy both its history and some dessert, there are many amazing culinary experiences to be had all throughout Long Beach.

For a quick but unforgettable meal, swing by Sorrento’s of Long Beach (768 West Beech St., 516-922-9635, sorrentosoflb.com). They’ve got pizza and sandwiches made with the sort of Old World touch that all the best Long Island lunches have to offer.

For a fantastic beachfront dining experience with island-inspired cocktails and ocean-inspired entrees check out Five Ocean (5 New York Ave., 516-500-0315, fiveoceanlongbeach.com). You’ll find it right at the western end of the boardwalk. 

Beech Street has a ton of great off-beach dining spots, and Lost & Found (951 W. Beech St., 516-442-2606) stands among the area’s little treasures. It’s a small and cozy place that offers small and cozy plates of New American cuisine which rotate by the season. 

Many of Long Beach’s most beloved eateries have come and gone over the years, but Marvel Frozen Dairy (1 National Blvd., 516-240-1159, marvelfrozendairy.com) remains. Established in 1951, this boardwalk staple has been faithfully serving frozen treats to Long Beach residents and visitors for generations. 

Unique Shopping 

You’ll find plenty of uncommon and intriguing shops all along Park Avenue, Beech Street, and at various other little spots throughout town. 

Surfing is an inextricable part of Long Beach culture, and it’s something that extends well beyond the beach itself. Shops like unsOund surf (359 E. Park Ave., 516-889-1112, unsoundsurf.com) and Long Beach Surf Shop (70 W. Park Ave., 516-431-5431, longbeachsurf.com) are loaded with all the wetsuits, bathing suits, surfboards, surf apparel, and beach accessories you need to take part in the local surfing tradition when you’re here. Rentals are available for curious newcomers.  

If you’re looking for one-of-a-kind gifts during your time in Long Beach, then you can’t miss an opportunity to stop by The Codfish Cowboy (162 E. Park Ave., 516-442-5500, thecodfishcowboy.com). This proudly female-owned independent business specializes in handmade goods and original artwork from local creators. 

We spoke to Deirdre Noonan, whom the team at The Codfish Cowboy likes to call their “Sales Ninja,” about what customers might find when they stop by this unique gift shop. 

“We sell a lot of jewelry from local artists,” she tells us, “local as in Long Beach, East Rockaway, Oceanside, Sea Cliff—a lot of local places. And we also sell artwork by local people. All types of art, like macramé, oil paintings, and different types of graphic art—and we sell greeting cards from independent artists all over the country.”

The Codfish Cowboy also offers some more familiar gift shop items, like Long Beach-branded clothes and glassware, as well as incense, crystals, organic beauty products, teas, a large children’s section with toys and books, and much more.

There’s no better way to add some originality and character to your wardrobe than by shopping in boutiques like Shade Amour (803 W. Beech St., 516-569-8588, shadeamour.com) and Rose & Eye (893 W. Beech St., 516-544-4477, roseandeye.net). Both shops offer their own original brands of women’s clothing and accessories. 

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Buildings along the beach in Long Beach (Getty Images)

Endless Activities

Get a quick look at the natural beauty all around you in Long Beach and you’re likely to do everything you can to remain outside during your stay. That’s just fine, too, because there are plenty of outdoor activities available in this beautiful oceanfront community.

The Long Beach Boardwalk is one of the main attractions in the area, and it also serves as a connector to a variety of other attractions. You don’t have to be headed anywhere to enjoy it, though; simply walking along this beautiful piece of Long Beach history is a pleasant activity all its own. 

The main oceanfront area in Long Beach is simply called Long Beach, but you’ll find that various sections of this pristine stretch of soft sand and ocean waves have their own unique names, similar to how 25A and other major thoroughfares on Long Island take on local titles in various areas through which they run. 

If you really want to learn why surfing is such an important piece of the local culture, then you’re going to have to learn to surf. Fortunately, both Skudin Surf Long Beach (2 Riverside Blvd., 516-318-3993, skudinsurf.com) and Surf 2 Live (Pacific Blvd., 516-236-1070, surf2livelb.com) offer lessons to help you get started.

“Over the summer we have half- and full-day camps for both kids and adults, private or semi-private lessons seven days a week, and private events like birthday parties or corporate events,” Skudin Surf office manager Allison Demeo tells us, “We love to bring big groups out on the beach with us.” 

Skudin Surf offers their surfing lessons during various times of the day, and they provide all the necessary equipment for beginners to get out in the water. 

If you’re traveling with your family, Clark Street Playground (100 Clark St.) and Pacific Playground (Shore Road, 516-431-1024) offer great spots to take the kids whether you’re up north (Clark Street Playground) or down south (Pacific Playground).

Opportunities for Enjoying the Arts

Long Beach draws an eclectic array of people, and with that comes a diverse subset of artists and art appreciators. You can find them all throughout the colorful city, but if you’re looking for the area’s artistic pulse, consider the following: 

For live music, the go-to spot is The Inn (943 W. Beech St., 516-432-9220, theinnlbny.com). This multistoried bar restaurant has been serving Long Beach since 1950, and they regularly bring in acts that cover the entire spectrum of genre and style, including cover bands, tribute acts, original music, DJ sets, and more.

You’ll also find a diverse array of amazing artists performing regularly at Arts in the Plaza (Kennedy Plaza, 1 W. Chester St., 516-476-2473, artsintheplaza.com). This weekly arts festival is held every Saturday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., and it includes live music, local artists, and various vendors. 

If you’d like to try your hand at creating some art of your own, Earth Arts of Long Beach (162 W. Park Ave., 516-432-9000, earthartslb.com) is the spot for you. They offer private art classes, children’s parties, teen events, adult gatherings, and more, so you and your family will have the opportunity to paint pottery, wine glasses, canvases, and more with the help of your own instructor. 


Places to Stay in Long Beach

Allegria Hotel (80 W. Broadway, 516-889-1300, allegriahotelny.com

Long Beach Hotel (405 E. Broadway, 516-544-4444, longbeachhotelny.com)


Places to Eat in Long Beach

Sorrento’s of Long Beach (768 W. Beech St., 516-922-9635, sorrentosoflb.com)

The Bungalow (631 E. Park Ave., 516-632-2501, thebungalowgrill.com)

Riptides 11561 (1 Edwards Blvd., 516-600-9011)

Five Ocean (5 New York Ave., 516-500-0315, fiveoceanlongbeach.com)

Lost & Found (951 W. Beech St., 516-442-2606)

Marvel Frozen Dairy (1 National Blvd., 516-240-1159, marvelfrozendairy.com)