Jones Beach is 6.5 miles of clean sand covered with bodies. Its character differs depending on which ‘field’ you choose – for example, 2 is for the surfers and 6 is for families, and there’s a gay beach way east – but it’s a scene no matter where you spread your blanket.
The ocean gets quite warm by midsummer (up to about 70°F) and there are plenty of lifeguards. In between sunning and riding waves you might also hop into the on-site pool for a swim (West Bathhouse; adult/child $5/3); play shuffleboard or basketball on beachside courts; stroll the 2-mile boardwalk; visit the still waters of the bay beach; or, at Castles in the Sand, learn how master-builder Robert Moses transformed Long Island with the creation of Jones Beach in the 1940s.
Biking and running are allowed along a 4-mile path that stretches through the park, and there are places to rent bikes along the beach. When the sun goes down, you can grill at one of the many barbecues in the sand, grab burgers at the few local restaurants near the beach or head to the Jones Beach Theater, where alfresco concerts under the stars feature famous pop stars.