Fire Island, NY 631-583-5940
For everyone: The unofficial capital of Long Island, complete with waterside drinking and eating. The beach is about a half-mile walk from the ferry, and it's worth every step.
For the kids: When the children get restless on the sand, there's Ocean Beach's commercial square to entertain them. The Ice Castle candy store is a hit, as is Rachel's Bake Shop, with fresh-baked muffins and cookies always in the store's plate-glass window. Public restrooms are available, and there's a big playground on the bay, a bay beach with lifeguard for when the ocean gets too rough and basketball courts with balls always on hand.
For the dogs: Dogs on a leash are allowed on the beach only during the off-season, from September 16 through May 14.Parking: $7 Monday-Thursday, $14 Friday-Sunday at Bay Shore Ferry lot. Lifeguards: Call for information.