1) Foster Memorial Beach (Long Beach), Noyac, Sag Harbor
Long beach is easy to find via Ferry Rd from Sag Harbor (Rte 114) and then hang a left at County Rd 60. From the west you would take Noyack Rd. We like this beach a lot. It provides a nice long walk (1-2 miles each way) on an open beach with beautiful views. If you do not have a Southampton parking sticker you can still use the far western end of a very long parking area. There is a long service road/parking that runs along the back of the beach for quite a distance. The service road is used by walkers, runners and cyclists. In the summer this is a busy bathing beach and even in the winter you are rarely alone. The beach has a colorful history. In 1888, Long Beach landowner Charles Lamont blocked the road with boulders near the eastern end to prevent its use by people coming from North Haven who wanted to avoid the toll fee over the North Haven bridge in to Sag Harbor. He actually arrested his neighbors in North Haven, the Payne brothers who were hired to clear the road! Later, savvy ferry operators realized they could make a living by taking people from Sag Harbor Village over to Long Beach via the cove. A couple of these ferries sunk!
I did not know this, but apparently Long Beach is a good place to fish for blow fish. I got this info from The Rusty Hook! However, Long Beach is a favorite beach for many people. It offers good swimming, sunbathing, good walks, convenient parking… even bathrooms. It is where the annual Sag Harbor Triathlon is staged. The beach is large and sandy with plenty of room for a larger crowd. There are also some stones and shells, but this is primarily a bathing beach.
We like to pick up interesting beach stones, drill them with a diamond bit drill and use them as pendents on a deer skin leather strap:
2) Haven’s Beach, Bay Street
A walk or bike ride from the village center, via Bay Street and Haven’s Beach Rd., there is a parking area, a swing set and playing field, and public rest rooms. This is a nice picnic spot and the few tables with views of sunsets over the harbor are often taken. This long sandy stretch of bay beach has calm waters for swimming, You can walk east on the beach for less than a mile, past private homes with bay views. It is a sandy beach with some stones and shells. Lots of “no dogs” signs. The waters are shallow and safe for kids. There are some shells and interesting stones. This milky white quartz comes from Haven’s beach:
3) Barcelona Neck
Best to take the road to the Sag Harbor Golf Club (Barcelona Neck Rd) from Rte 114. Turn right at the club house and pass a parking lot and a barn like building, on to a dirt road which winds along the western side of Northwest Creek. There is a parking area at the entrance of the Creek and just before a private residence at the end of the road. You can then walk west on the beach for about 1.5 miles. You will pass fishing nets, 100 foot high sand bluffs, and then a marshy area with a nice little pond with swans. This area drains into the bay and thus the beach is interrupted by this estuary and it is difficult to pass this point unless the tide is very low. This beach is quite beautiful and poorly traveled. Great for dog walkers. Shallow waters. Sandy areas. We saw a young couple having a romantic picnic in October. There are rocky areas too, with nice stones to collect. Not so many shells. Few jingle shells, more scallops, clams, and the ever present slipper shells. This is one of my favorite beaches. It is quite private and there are not too many people here.
4) Northwest Landing Beach
The road ends on Northwest Harbor with a parking area and a boat dock. There are often sailboats anchored in Northwest Creek just by the landing and dock. Northwest Landing was the first port for East Hampton and became a major whaling port in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. In January 2007 Northwest Landing made national news in efforts to save several common dolphins that swam up the creek!
Northwest Harbor County Park contains beautiful wetlands all around Northwest Creek. There are very few private residences in this area. You can take a short walk around a spit of sand which marks the entrance to Northwest creek. It is a beautiful sandy beach but you can not get very far heading north, because of marshes and a little creek exiting from marsh lands. There are stones and shells here.
5) Mile Hill Road Beach
Mile Hill Rd. is the extension of Old Northwest Rd. It leads straight to Northwest Harbor. There is a small parking area for vehicles with town permits. The beach faces west and there are beautiful sunsets. If you turn left and walk south you will hit the marshes described above, under (4), after about 1/4 mile and you will need to turn around. But if you head north you can walk for over 1 mile. The beach is narrow (4-12 yards depending on the tide). It alternates between sandy spots and rocky spots. You will pass beautiful old and new mansions. At one point there is a dirt road which leads on to the beach from the woods. You can walk down this road. For a bit it runs parallel to the beach, but under shady trees. There are some nice clearings including one under a large Linden tree with a view of Northwest Bay – a perfect picnic spot. These trees are apparently remnants of the old homesteads at this site. There is a lot of history here. Originally there were 3 native American villages, then the Kirk and Van Scoy Homesteads, and in 1910 the industrialist W.R. Grace acquired 845 acres, thus the area is now known as the Grace Estate. There are trails through this area which is largely still a Nature Preserve made possible by a large donation from the East Hampton Nature Conservancy and the Town of East Hampton. Take a look at some of these pictures. If you want to hike in this area you will need a trail guide and a map (page 125)!
Ultimately the beach comes to an end just after the entrance from Alewive Brook Rd. There is an old rusty wire fence and a spit of sand marking the entrance to Alewive Brook. A great spot for canoes and kayaks. Sea glass finds from Mile Hill beach and a necklace/pendent produced with one curious bottle neck piece of glass:
This beach has a bit of everything: nice sand, nice stones, nice shells and even sea glass (see above). The shells are notable for relative abundance of pencil clams, jingle shells with blackened colors, nice scallops. On a recent walk I found lots of interesting pieces of sea glass. Mostly this is a very private beach with few visitors and you will not run in to any crowds.
6) Cedar Point Park
Take Alewive Brook Rd. and follow the signs to the park entrance. Then take the windy road with Alewive Brook on your left and park your car by a playground/bathhouse on the left. From this central location you can take 3 walks along beaches.
(a) Cross some fields from the parking lot and you will be on the beach facing Northwest Harbor. If you walk south down this narrow beach for about 1/4 mile you will end up at the entrance to Alewive Brook, see above under (5). This is a short walk. But there are plenty of nice benches on a small bluff above the beach with superb views of Northwest Harbor. There are also picnic tables, fireplaces to grill and fields to play on. The beach itself is less interesting.
(b) If you walk north along the beach you will soon be on a long spit of land that extends all the way to the Cedar Point Lighthouse. The light house is boarded up and desperately in need of renovation after it was vandalized in 1974. There is a picture of the light house and some history of the 607 acre park at this site. Cedar Point Lighthouse stood on an island 200 yards from shore when it was built in 1860. Its beacon served to guide whaling ships in and out of Sag Harbor during its hey-day as a major port. The hurricane of 1938 transformed the shoreline, shifting sands to create a narrow, walkable strip that now connects the lighthouse with the mainland. You can learn more about the light house repair project here.
The narrow strip of sand leading to the lighthouse has beautiful beaches on both sides. The southern side is a more shallow and sheltered beach. We find nice shells and stones on either side.
One caveat. The place is full of hunters in hunting season (Dec – Feb). In fact Cedar Point Park was a hunting club for a while and was called the Grey Goose Gun Club of Cedar Point!
(c ) if you follow the North facing beach of this spit of land facing Gardiner’s bay, you can walk along the beach for 2-3 miles going east. An alternative is to leave you car at the end of Old House Landing Road and then walk west on the beach. This beach is beautiful. It is about 20-30 yards wide. There is lots of sand and a few rocky spots. There are bluffs up to 50 feet high. There is low traffic and but a few beachcombers or dog walkers. Coming from the east, the beach is at first lined by private residences with staircases coming down the bluffs. One of these homes is owned by P Diddy, another by Donna Karan and one by Sean Combs! There are several sites to track the residences of the local celebrities, but this info needs to be updated every few years. Then there is a long stretch where the beach runs along the north border of Cedar Point County Park. In the Park area, you can walk along a wooded path at the top of the bluff and enjoy beautiful views of the bay. The beach is good for stone hunting and for shells. This is one of the best beaches for scallop shells and channeled whelks, used by Indians to create wampum beads. I guess it could be one reason why the Peconic bay area was named one of the top 10 shelling beaches in the country! Ultimately, going east, this beach leads to Sammy’s beach which is discussed below. Here is a necklace with a scallop from Cedar Point: