World famous Jones Beach State Park, home of 6.5 miles of beautiful white-sand beach on the Atlantic Ocean, is made up of more than 2,400-acres of maritime environment on the south shore of Long Island. Among the 6 to 8 million visitors to the park each year, families enjoy their own piece of the beach for a day, with many returning dozens of times through the summer. Designed on the theme of an ocean liner, Jones Beach offers many activities to those who visit the park. They swim in the ocean, stroll the boardwalk, fish, visit an historic exhibit, get a bite to eat at one of the many concession stands, play miniature golf, pitch-putt golf, shuffleboard and basketball, attend concerts at the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater or learn about the marine environment at the Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center. Other activities that take place in the park include pool swimming, sunbathing, bicycling, surfing, and visiting the playgrounds.
*Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center Winter Programs & Events
The park's oceanfront setting and natural environment have little development or advertising, creating a refreshing break from the hectic pace of life of Long Island and the metropolitan area. Less than 20 miles from New York City, Jones Beach is a playground for millions of people who live nearby.
The park is host to a number of popular programs, most notably the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach every Memorial Day weekend, concerts at the theater, band shell entertainment, softball and volleyball league tournaments, and nature center programs. The Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center caters to daily visitors and organized groups covering topics from endangered species to maritime habitats.
Jones Beach State Park and Jones Island which stretches east of the park were the creation of master builder Robert Moses in the 1920s. By dredging sand from what is now the State Boat Channel, Moses raised the elevation of the barrier islands by fourteen feet, connecting several small islands into one long stretch topped by Ocean Parkway. Moses created a great "people's park" from what he described as mosquito infested swamps and small islands.
Today, parking fields 3, 4 and 5 are connected to the beachfront by tunnels under Ocean Parkway, providing easy access to the thousands of people who arrive daily. Parking fields 2 and 6 are Oceanfront parking areas with handicapped parking. Mobility mats over the sand down to the high tide line are located at field 6 and the Central Mall. At field 10, fishing piers and a fully equipped bait and tackle shop enable fishing and crabbing until sunset. The regional Night Fishing Permit is required after sunset. The park closes at midnight during the summer months with the beachfront closing at sunset. Swimming is allowed only when lifeguards are on duty. Surfing, stand-up paddle-boarding, and wind surfing are allowed at several locations along the beachfront. Kayaks and sailboards can be put in at field 10 or the boat basin along the north shore of Jones Beach. The boat basin on the west end of the park allows boaters day use of the park throughout the boating season.
Visitors who are fond of swimming in the Ocean can do so at several locations staffed by the Jones Beach Lifeguard Corps. Zach's Bay provides a more calm-water swimming experience for small children; also watched over by able lifeguards. Swimmers with mobility impairments can take advantage of the new Water Wheel mobility aid enabling entry across the sand and into the water.
Birders and those seeking a quieter experience can watch for sea birds, such as Oystercatchers, Terns, Skimmers, Northern Harrier Hawks, Plovers, Brants, Gulls, and many more. Children can collect shells along the seashore and often encounter large horseshoe crabs. A pleasant pastime is a long, leisurely walk on the beach to the east or west of the central part of the park, where few other people will be encountered.