There is one reason why I would never leave Long Island — the waterways. Sure, the sand and water isn’t the same as you would find in a tropical paradise, but Long Island’s beaches have something else — beaches that are tailor-made for anyone’s beach adventure.
Jones Beach and Robert Moses have Atlantic ocean waves; Smith’s Point has an outer beach that you can drive on; the Hamptons Beaches offer an opportunity to see a celebrity and then there are the North Shore beaches, sitting along the edge of the Long Island Sound. This is where I grew up.
Smithtown has three North Shore beaches that I called home in the summer throughout my childhood: Short Beach, Long Beach and Little Africa (as it was once called). The beaches are rocky, the water cold, the sand super hot, and waves that only form after a boat passes by, but my memories of those beaches are full of happy times.
I forgot about these beaches until recently.
For some time, I have been taking my children, who are 3 and 6, to the sandy South Shore, where they can frolic in the waves and build sand castles in the soft sand. Then, on recent Sunday afternoon, I joined my parents, who still make their home in Smithtown, and some old high school friends and their kids at at Long Beach.
My kids ran out onto the beach in anticipation, only to stop short of the shoreline, searching for waves and whining that their feet hurt from all the rocks.
I let out a laugh — “Buck up kids,” I told them. “This is where mommy grew up and why I can walk around barefoot without letting out an ‘ouch.’”
They tried to build a sand castle and to their dismay, their castle kept falling down with every scoop of sand — just too many rocks.
I urged them to get creative as I did back in the day.
Sure enough, they started getting the hang of this new beach. They put on their Crocks to protect their feet, explored under every rock with hopes of finding a sea creature; used seaweed to top their rock castle; and even ventured out to catch a “wave.”
The next weekend, I packed our beach bag and asked the kids which beach they wanted to go to.
“The rocky beach,” they yelled out.
I smiled because this is what Long Island is all about — beaches that offer something different depending on how you feel that day.
What are your beach memories? Post your thoughts in the comment section below.