Jones Beach State Park

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Jones Beach State Park
NY Long Island with East Bay and Jones Beach State Park IMG 1956.JPG
Aerial view of Jones Beach Island and Jones Beach State Park in July 2012
Jones Beach State Park is located in New York
Jones Beach State Park
Location of Jones Beach State Park within New York State
TypeState park
Location1 Ocean Parkway
Wantagh, New York[1]
Coordinates40°35′45″N 73°30′55″W / 40.59583°N 73.51528°W / 40.59583; -73.51528Coordinates: 40°35′45″N 73°30′55″W / 40.59583°N 73.51528°W / 40.59583; -73.51528
Area2,413 acres (9.77 km2)[2]
CreatedAugust 4, 1929 (1929-08-04)[3]
Operated byNew York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
Visitors8,313,133 (in 2020)[4]
OpenAll year
WebsiteJones Beach State Park
Jones Beach State Park, Causeway and Parkway System
Jones Beach WantaghPkwy Approach.jpg
Wantagh Parkway approach to Jones Beach. Centered is the Jones Beach Water Tower.
LocationOcean, Wantagh, Meadowbrook and Loop state parkways, Wantagh, New York
Coordinates40°36′51″N 73°32′10″W / 40.61417°N 73.53611°W / 40.61417; -73.53611
Area10,034 acres (4,061 ha)
NRHP reference No.05000358[5]
Added to NRHPApril 28, 2005

Jones Beach State Park (colloquially "Jones Beach") is a state park in the U.S. state of New York. It is located in southern Nassau County,[6] in the hamlet of Wantagh, on Jones Beach Island, a barrier island linked to Long Island by the Meadowbrook State Parkway, Wantagh State Parkway, and Ocean Parkway.

The park, 6.5 miles (10.5 km) in length,[1] is renowned for its beaches (which, excepting the beach on Zachs Bay,[7][8] face the open Atlantic Ocean) and furnishes one of the most popular summer recreational locations for the New York metropolitan area. It is the most popular and heavily visited beach on the East Coast, with an estimated six million visitors per year.[4][9]

Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater, an outdoor arena in the park, is a popular musical and concert venue. The park also includes a two-mile (3.2 km) boardwalk. It once featured dining and catering facilities that were popular sites for private parties and weddings, though these have been shut down.[9]

Jones Beach is named after Major Thomas Jones, a major in the Queens County militia in the 17th century, who established a whaling station on the outer beach near the site of the present park.[10][11]


The park was created during Robert Moses' administration as President of the Long Island State Park Commission as part of the development of parkways on Long Island.[12]

Moses' first major public project, Jones Beach is free from housing developments and private clubs, and instead is open for the general public. Several homes on High Hill Beach were barged further down the island to West Gilgo Beach to make room for the park.

When Moses' group first surveyed Jones Island, it was swampy and only two feet (0.61 m) above sea level; the island frequently became completely submerged during storms. To create the park, huge dredgers worked day and up to midnight to bring sand from the bay bottom, eventually bringing the island to 12 feet (3.7 m) above sea level.[2] Another problem that followed was the wind—the fine silver beach sand would blow horribly, making the workers miserable and making the use of the beach as a recreational facility unlikely. Moses sent landscape architects to other stable Long Island beaches, who reported that a beach grass (Ammophila breviligulata), whose roots grew sideways in search of water, held dunes in place, forming a barrier to the wind. In the summer of 1928, thousands of men worked on the beach planting the grass by hand.[12]

Built in the 1920s, many of its buildings and facilities feature Art Deco architecture. In the center of a traffic circle that he planned as a terminus for the Wantagh State Parkway, Moses ordered the construction of an Italianate-style water tower to serve as a central feature of the park. Two large bathhouses are also prominent features within the park. After rejecting a number of submissions by architects for the bathhouses, Moses selected the designs of the young and relatively inexperienced Herbert Magoon. Moses also picked out building materials—Ohio Sandstone and Barbizon brick—two of the most expensive materials available.[12]

The park opened to the public on August 4, 1929,[3] along with the causeway that provided automobile access from the mainland of Long Island. The causeway was the first section in what was to become the Wantagh State Parkway.[13] Unusually for the time, no carnival-style amusements were allowed in the park area.[14]

Moses has been criticized for intentionally specifying very low heights for the bridges over the Southern State Parkway so that buses would not be able to reach the beaches that way, thus making it harder for poor people without cars to enjoy them.[15][16] However, public bus service from nearby Long Island Rail Road stations operated from opening day,[17] and various bus lines also operated service to Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan.[18]

Rosebud Yellow Robe at Jones Beach State Park.

Park features and facilities[edit]

Ocean and bay beachfronts[edit]

Bathers at Jones Beach State Park can choose from 6.5 miles (10.5 km) of ocean beach frontage and one-half mile (0.80 km) of bay frontage, on Zachs Bay, which was developed for still water bathing.[9]

Buildings and entertainment facilities[edit]

The Jones Beach Boardwalk Bandshell

The primary buildings on the Jones Beach site are the two enormous bathhouses (west and east) and the park's large water tower, all built to Moses' specifications. The 188-foot (57 m) water tower, built in 1930 to resemble the bell tower of St Mark's Basilica in Venice, underwent a $6.1 million restoration in 2010.[12][19]

Large mosaics on the Central Mall Walkway near the water tower were restored in 2015;[20] the $177,000 mosaic restoration was part of a larger $65 million refurbishment of the park announced in 2014.[21]

The park also includes the Jones Beach Boardwalk Bandshell, located near Parking Field 4, which offers live performances and free music.[22][23]

Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater

One-half mile (0.80 km) north of the beach, overlooking Zachs Bay, is the 15,200-seat Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater, formerly known as the Jones Beach Marine Theater. This outdoor amphitheatre opened in 1952 and hosts numerous world-famous musicians during the summer months. It is directly across the street from the ocean and is outdoors in an open natural environment. It replaced a wooden structure built around 1930 which was destroyed by a disastrous hurricane in 1937.[citation needed]

A par 3 Pitch and Putt Course, advertised as "play[ing] differently each day, depending upon the prevailing winds", is located adjacent to the boardwalk and Atlantic Ocean.[24] Basketball, paddle tennis, and shuffleboard facilities are also available.[citation needed]

The USAF Thunderbirds, participating in the Bethpage Air Show, pass near the park's water tower in 2015.

Since 2004, Jones Beach has hosted the Bethpage Air Show during the last weekend of May (Memorial Day weekend). The air show is one of the largest in the United States, and was attended by 231,000 people in 2015.[25]

Restaurants and concessions[edit]

There are multiple concession stands along the boardwalk in season.[26] A few of the larger concessions stay open past the main summer season. Beach dining and catering facilities no longer exist at Jones Beach.

Jones Beach formerly featured The Boardwalk Cafe, a large restaurant with an expansive ocean view, built in 1966 and demolished in 2004 due to damage from erosion. It was intended to be replaced with a $40 million, 1,500-seat, 70,000-square-foot (6,500 m2) restaurant/catering hall called "Trump on the Ocean", to be operated by then-real estate mogul (and later, President) Donald Trump and catering impresario Steven Carl.[27] The project was stalled for several years due to legal battles over permits required for the restaurant's planned basement,[28] and was eventually cancelled in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.[29]

Swimming pools[edit]

Robert Moses' plan originally included two swimming pools available for public use at Jones Beach: The West Bath House pool and the East Bath House pool. While the West Bath House pool has remained open, budget constraints forced the closure of the East Bath House pool in 2009. As part of a $65 million refurbishment of the park announced in 2014,[30] the West Bath House will receive $7 million in improvements; state officials have announced their desire to eventually rehabilitate the East Bath House as well.[31]

Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center Building

Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center[edit]

The Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center at Jones Beach State Park is a pioneering facility exploring how energy consumption shapes the natural environment. Located on the West End of Long Island’s iconic Jones Beach State Park, the Center activates the coastal landscape as a living example of these relationships. The net-zero building models how architecture, design, and technology can adapt to a changing environment to meet our energy needs. Through dynamic and accessible indoor and outdoor exhibits, educational programming, and public events, the Center showcases ways visitors can become conscientious environmental stewards and smart energy consumers[32]

ADA accessible amenities[edit]

Jones Beach State Park offers numerous amenities, many of which meet the Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility standards.[1] Examples of accessible amenities include:

  • Beach
  • Boardwalk
  • Crabbing
  • Fishing
  • Food
  • Gift shop
  • Golf
  • Museum/visitors center
  • Performing arts center
  • Picnic tables
  • Playgrounds
  • Pools
  • Recreation programs
  • Showers

Parking fields[edit]

Jones Beach's West End originally featured two parking fields known as West End 1, which was closed permanently in 1992 and replaced by the Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center after lying abandoned for nearly a decade, and West End 2, which lies at the westernmost area of the state park adjacent to the jetty on Jones' Inlet. West End 2 is currently a designated surfing area, which is open to stargazers and fisherman at night and bird watchers and other naturalists by day. The West End 2 beach was closed in April 2009 because of the state fiscal crisis.[33] The West End 2 parking field along with the Field 1 are the two largest ocean front parking areas currently extant in the park. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a drive thru testing site was established in the West End 1 parking field, resulting in the area being closed to all recreational activity until further notice. [34]


Jones Beach Toll Plaza on the Wantagh Parkway, no longer in use

Jones Beach is accessible by car, boat, bicycle, and in the summer season by bus. Most visitors arrive by car via the Meadowbrook State Parkway or the Wantagh State Parkway; the recreation area is also accessible via the Ocean Parkway. A significant portion of visitors take the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to Freeport and then a bus to Jones Beach.[35]

Boaters often anchor on the bay side of Jones Beach (i.e., Zachs Bay), especially at night during a show such as the fireworks show on July 4.[36]

A greenway alongside the Wantagh State Parkway allows bicycling, skating or walking about four miles (6.4 km) from Cedar Creek County Park on Merrick Road into Jones Beach. A similar route to Long Beach is under consideration.[citation needed]

As of 2016, parking costs $10.00 ($8.00 when the beach is closed), though a New York State Empire Passport ($65.00) can be used to park for free.[1] Parking fees are charged from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, and from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. weekdays from Memorial Day through Columbus day. The six main public parking areas along the boardwalk can handle 14,302 vehicles. The center parking fields are the busiest on summer weekends. Bicycle parking is free. Cars were formerly able to pay parking fees for all fields at manned toll booths on the highways approaching the park, however as of 2017 fees are now paid through automated machines at the entrances to the fields.[37]


  1. ^ a b c d "Jones Beach State Park". NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation. Retrieved August 6, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Lambert, Bruce (September 28, 1997). "One Man's Dream, Blissful Jones Beach Is Like No Other Place". The New York Times.
  3. ^ a b Natural Heritage Trust; New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; New York State Council of Parks & Recreation (1975). Fifty Years: New York State Parks, 1924-1974. Natural Heritage Trust. p. 21.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ a b "State Park Annual Attendance Figures by Facility: Beginning 2003". Retrieved March 20, 2021.
  5. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  6. ^ "Jones Beach State Park". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved November 28, 2015.
  7. ^ "Beaches: Zach's Bay". Newsday. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  8. ^ "Feature map: Zach's Bay".
  9. ^ a b c "Jones Beach". Long Island Exchange. Archived from the original on January 21, 2013. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  10. ^ "Jones Beach State Park: History". Archived from the original on May 2, 2012. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  11. ^ Jappen, Marlo. Secrets of Jones Beach State Park. Newsday. June 12, 2015.
  12. ^ a b c d Caro, Robert (1974). The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York. New York: Knopf. ISBN 978-0-394-48076-3. OCLC 834874.
  13. ^ "Wantagh State Parkway". Retrieved March 17, 2010.
  14. ^ "New Beach at Jones Park Planned as Place of Rest; Long Island Public Playground Opening Today Kept Free of Usual Concessions". The New York Times. August 4, 1929. p. 22.
  15. ^ "The True Measure of Robert Moses (and His Racist Bridges)". CityLab. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  16. ^ "Robert Moses's Jones Beach". Curbed NY. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  17. ^ "Jones Beach Park to Open Tomorrow". The New York Times. August 3, 1929. p. 5.
  18. ^ "P.S.C. Opposes Bus Bid To Raise Jones Beach Fare". The New York Times. February 27, 1970. p. 43.
  19. ^ Bleyer, Bill (October 5, 2010). "Copper roof installed on Jones Beach water tower (partly subscriber access)". Newsday. Retrieved August 7, 2015.
  20. ^ "State Parks Unveils Restored Jones Beach Mosaics". NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation. September 28, 2015. Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  21. ^ Bleyer, Bill (September 28, 2015). "Jones Beach mosaics, restored for $177G, unveiled by state parks department". Newsday. Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  22. ^ "Jones Beach Events: Directions". Archived from the original on October 17, 2012. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  23. ^ "Jones Beach Events: Schedule". Archived from the original on February 1, 2012. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  24. ^ "Jones Beach State Park Pitch and Putt Course". NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Archived from the original on August 15, 2014. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  25. ^ "Hundreds Of Thousands Hit Jones Beach For Bethpage Air Show". CBS New York. May 25, 2015. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  26. ^ "Restaurants". Archived from the original on September 5, 2012. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  27. ^ Finn, Robin (September 24, 2006). "On the Ocean, a Trump Deal". The New York Times. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
  28. ^ Furse, Jane H. (October 18, 2010). "Trump stews as critics call him a Jones Beach bum". NY Daily News. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  29. ^ Gallucci, Jaclyn (December 26, 2012). "Trump on the Ocean Canceled After Sandy". Long Island Press. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
  30. ^ "Jones Beach To Get $65 Million Overhaul". CBS New York. March 20, 2014. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  31. ^ Foderaro, Lisa W. (April 4, 2014). "The People's Palaces at the Beach". The New York Times. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  32. ^ "Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center". New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  33. ^ Saslow, Linda (April 15, 2009). "Jones Beach Is Hit Hard by Budget Cuts to State Parks". The New York Times. Retrieved October 14, 2016.
  34. ^
  35. ^ "NICE Bus Kicks Off its Summer Service to Jones Beach". Archived from the original on November 22, 2012. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  36. ^ "Five Great Boating Excursions from L.I." The Long Island Press. February 2007. Archived from the original on March 10, 2007. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  37. ^ Gralla, Joan (April 25, 2019) Meadowbrook Parkway toll plaza near Jones Beach getting demolished. Retrieved August 4, 2019.

External links[edit]