New York State classifies the coastal beach in Shirley, New York as Smith Point County Park. Most Long Islanders refer to it as Smith’s Point Beach. Regardless of names, the beach at Smith Point County Park is one of the largest and most beautiful public beaches in the entire State of New York. While Jones Beach in Nassua County and the Hampton’s beaches on the far East End of Long Island are usually the most talked about on Long Island, it is Smith Point County Park that serves as Suffolk County’s largest pubic beach and jewel of the Suffolk County Park system.
The majority of visitors during the summer months utilize Smith Point County Park for its fabulous beach. However.the park offers a camping ground that is available by permit only. The camping ground is often utilized by an array of New Yorker’s camping vehicles and community sponsored camping trips.There are 222 campsites with full hook ups for trailers. Ther is also a small snack bar called the Wave that sells Italian Ices, and assorted snacks. There is also the availability of off road vehicles to drive on certain sections of the beach. However 4×4 vehicles must have a permit. There are no lifeguards at the section of the beach.
To reach Smith Point County Park one must cross over a bridge to reach the park’s location on Fire Island. The William Floyd Parkway provides access to the bridge from the North. There are no tolls on the bridge. However, once visitors exist the bridge, and drive for about a half mile through the park they will eventfully be greeted by a toll both in order to enter the park’s huge parking lot.
The entrance ways to the beach are accessed by short underground tunnels. Once through the tunnels, beachgoers are met with a boardwalk that over looks the beach. On the boardwalk stands a building that provides bathrooms, showers and a large food cafeteria called The Beach Hut. The Beach Hut features live music in the evenings seven days a week during the summer months. The Beach Hut also provides a wide assortment of fun tropical drinks and a great menu which of course features a wide variety of seafood. There is also a first aid station connected to the building.
Over the years nature has not been kind to Smith Point Beach. Multiple northeasters and Hurricane Sandy took a toll on the ocean beach causing massive erosion. However, in 2015, the United States Army Corps of Engineers began placing roughly 2.5 million cubic yards of sand onto the beaches at Smith Point County Park. The results of the project have been very successful, as Smith Point Beach looks once again like it did before the storms destroyed much of the beach.
Smith Point Park derives its name from William “Tangier” Smith who was an early New York settler. He was the former mayor of the city of Tangier of the Moroccan Coast. He moved to New York in the 1600’s and became part of the Governors council. He revived grants of land form Lord Limerick. Smith eventually purchased large parcels of land in what in now known as the town of Brookhaven. In 1701, he served as acting Governor of New York.
Easy public access to Smith Point Suffolk County Park began in 1959 when the State opened the bridge that connects the mainland of Long Island to the Smith Point Beach located on what is called Fire Island.
The majority of people that visit Smith Point Park. travel to the beach during the summer months. However, on any of the day of the year including the coldest winter days, there will be at least a few people walking the sand at Smith’s Point. In fact, there are many people who will only visit Smiths Point beach during the offseason. There’s just something about a beach during the winter that offers the feelings of tranquility, peace and even on the coldest day – warmth. The quiet that one finds during the winter months at Smith’s Point beach Is a welcome reprieve from the hustle of the business day. During the winter months, the sand is compacted making it easier to walk in shoes on the beach. If there ever was a place to clear one’s head, it’s Smiths point beach during the offseason. Just look at the peace that resonates from the pictures below. Smith Point Park is a place of beauty that shines differently from month to month