Biking at Jones Beach State Park

Options abound to explore New York’s most popular park by bike.

If you live in New York City, there are few better places to enjoy time outdoors than Jones Beach State Park. Not only does this park have more than 6 miles of Atlantic Ocean beach for playing, running, or swimming under the watchful gaze of lifeguards, it also offers a ton of recreational opportunities on terra firma. For these reasons, however, plus its proximity to the Big Apple and its nearly endless array of sights, Jones Beach is New York's most visited park. 

Don’t let the popularity defer you; there are plenty of opportunities to find your own beautiful views and points to launch memorable adventures. And while the sheer size of the beachfront and its walking paths offer that open invitation, there’s one sure bet when it comes to enjoying the best of this park: on a bicycle. Here are a few choice options for the best cycling trips to explore within and around Jones Beach State Park.

Recommended Rides

Jones Beach Boardwalk

For a nice, casual, and flat ride, consider pedaling along the Jones Beach Boardwalk. It parallels the ocean parkway through the park, but is free from car traffic, creating a comfortable and safe route for riders of all abilities. The 4-mile-long path offers a great east-west corridor between Parking Field 1 and Parking Field 6. Stay aware of any wind, and recognize that the boardwalk is shared with pedestrians who have the right of way: Be kind, and consider dismounting in crowded areas. 

Ocean Parkway Path and Jones Beach Bike Path

For a longer ride, start outside the state park at Cedar Creek Park, north of Jones Beach State Park along the Wantagh State Parkway. Cedar Creek offers plenty of parking with easy access to the Jones Beach Bike Path, which runs 5.4 miles south into the state park, where you can stop at the East Bathhouse for a restroom and snack break or water-bottle top-off. From there, ride along the boardwalk for as many miles as you like, or simply turn around and head back along the bike path and look for birds on the nearby islands. Beware that this is an out-and-back ride and can easily add up to over 10 miles, which can become increasingly difficult depending on breezes coming off the ocean. 

Captree State Park

Looking for an even longer ride? Start from the parking fields of Jones Beach State Park and head east along the Ocean Parkway Coastal Greenway. This path extends beyond the state park, out to Jones Beach Island and along a number of other public beaches, over 15 miles one-way to Captree State Park. (Consider a shuttle or pickup if you’re not ready for the full 30-miler.) Those looking to up-level can push their start back to Cedar Creek Park (see above) for a full out-and-back ride that exceeds 40 miles—all with little to no elevation gain. 

Photo: littlenySTOCK/Shutterstock

Getting There

Jones Beach State Park is easy to access from the New York City boroughs. Once you reach Long Island’s Meadowbrook State Parkway, turn south and continue toward the ocean between the towns of Freeport and Merrick. At the end of the parkway, follow the road as it curves east along Jones Beach Island through most of Jones Beach State Park.

Parking fees apply, but the number of large parking fields thankfully make finding a spot easy near the center of the park. To enter the park by bike, skip the north entrance and continue east, past the Meadowbrook State Parkway until you reach the Jones Beach Bikeway, which traces the Wantagh State Parkway. It’s an easy and convenient way to bike in and out of the park safely, separated from cars. The main areas of the park are open year-round from sunrise to sunset, and you can bike within the park year-round, including on the seaside boardwalk. More info: parks.ny.gov

Refresh & Refuel

If you’re looking for food within the park, most of the parking fields have concessions along the beach, though seasonal hours apply and you might only get served during the summer months. For grub outside of the park, and available all year-round, stop at the Freeport Deli and Grill just a few miles north of the park along the Meadowbrook State Parkway in nearby Freeport. You can’t go wrong with a classic sandwich, though the deli and breakfast fare also delights. Local tip: Grab your food on the way into the park and not after your ride (they close mid-afternoon most days).

All articles are for general informational purposes.  Each individual’s needs, preferences, goals and abilities may vary.  Be sure to obtain all appropriate training, expert supervision and/or medical advice before engaging in strenuous or potentially hazardous activity.