North Fork Best Beaches + Special Spots
Best Beaches + Special Spots
The North Fork, a peninsula, is surrounded by the Peconic Bay(s) and the Long Island Sound. In a word, it is “exquisite.” In addition to these larger bodies of water, there are inlets that run (meander!) both north from the bays and south from the Sound. It’s pretty incredible—as between them are farmlands that stretch as far as you can see, many planted with vines for which the North Fork is known, but the farms are glorious too—and the North Fork has a rich agricultural tradition. Sunrises over the Peconic Bay, and spectacular sunsets over the Sound are the icing on the cake. Locals tend to swim in the Bay during the first part of the summer and switch over to the Sound when the water in the bay gets too (!) warm. The bay beaches have soft sand, while the Sound beaches are a bit rocky—be forewarned! If you are new here, visiting, or are planning a vacation, here are a few of the beaches that never fail to make your heart happy. Welcome to the North Fork.
Goldsmith's Inlet in Peconic
Goldsmith's Inlet is one of my favorite beaches on the North Fork, a little secret hideaway really. Located on Mill Lane in Peconic, the inlet winds into a tidal pool which then opens up to the Long Island Sound. It is rarely crowded, there is no food concession. It is just quiet, serene and beautiful. It is a glorious spot to spend the afternoon.
Iron Pier Beach in Jamesport
This is a favorite Sound beach among local North Fork residents and visitors alike. It is expansive, and with the lifeguards, a concession stand, showers, pavilion and playground, families love it. It's a great beach to spend the day, or hit the Sound for a late afternoon swim. The photo above is the sunset over the beach just east of Iron Pier Beach in Jamesport. This is how it looks every day—really. North Fork sunsets are amazing!
Founders Beach in Founders Landing, Southold
Founders Beach is an all time favorite bay beach where many local children and visitors learn to swim! There are two grassy play areas, and a nice beach area to spread out. Lifeguards are on duty all season, and there is a spacious roped off swim area. It's a long walk out toward a drop off for depth, so little ones have a large area to play in fairly shallow water. There is a playground, restrooms, and a "wharf house," with a full kitchen and patio style dance floor. The beach is well used by families during the day throughout the season, and can be reserved for special events in the evenings over the summer including weddings, community parties, and charitable events, most notably the Greenport-Southold Lobsterfest, a community fundraiser feast, where neighbors sit side by side at long tables overlooking beautiful Southold Bay. Local lore has it that it never rains for Lobsterfest which takes place on the last Saturday night in July (although I think I do remember rain one year!), and the summer breezes, reggae band, and delicious lobster and steak dinners never disappoint.
McCabe’s Beach in Southold
McCabe's Beach is at the end of Horton's Lane. It is a sweet quiet Sound beach with lifeguards during the season. I have a particular fondness for McCabe's--for stopping by early in the morning, or late in the day--when the only other ones on the beach are fishermen surf casting, and towards evening when others like me stop by to see the spectacular sunsets. There are seriously spectacular sunsets over the Long Island Sound on the North Fork-- as in Key West spectacular. Worth waiting for one day for sure. Also, I must note two other nostalgic reasons for my fondness for McCabe's. First, I live over on the bay side, so considering the narrowness of the Island in Southold, it's the perfect distance for a bike ride with a lovely and peaceful destination; and second, its empty parking lot off season was where I taught our daughter how to drive when she was around 16--stick shift. Those were great times!
Nassau Point Causeway Beach, Cutchogue
The Nassau Point Causeway Beach is a special spot. First it is just so open, and so totally North Fork with it feeling like water is everywhere. You are beachfront on Little Peconic Bay, and behind you are wetlands leading to Broadwaters Cove. It is a delightful, breezy roadway over a very, very narrow strip of land. The beach itself has picnic tables and barbecues, a playground, a basketball court and a roped off swimming area with lifeguards on duty during the summer months. It is a place where the waves in the bay appear more "robust" than in other locations, and when the wind is whipping it's just a beautiful sight to see, driving or walking out onto the Point with the open bay to your left and the peaceful, quiet wetlands and cove to your right.
Dam Pond is one of those special places that are hard to imagine are right here where we live. There is a 36 acre conservation area that abuts the Pond, with hiking trails through magnificent preserved parcels of land that were conserved through the collaboration of Southold Town, Peconic Land Trust, and several individual land owners and conservation donors. The trails are beautiful, peaceful, and serene, and the vista over the pond, which is tranquil, over the barrier beach to the Long Island Sound and the Connecticut shoreline is breath taking. It is my understanding that the Dam Pond Conservation Reserve is accessible by foot--there are published Dam Pond Trail maps, and the Pond can be accessed by kayak, according to the tides, under the bridge that transverses the "causeway" between East Marion and Orient on the Main Road. And, there is a beach landing area near the causeway on the north side of the Main Road where kayaks can be launched. The Town of Southold, the North Fork Audubon Society and Peconic Land Trust can all provide further information about the Conservation Reserve. I noticed that the Trail Map provided online by the Town of Southold contains a cautionary note about checking for ticks after walking the trails, an unfortunate reality in natural settings in the region.
These are just a few highlights of what you will find here on the North Fork. Other great spots include Town Beach, on the Sound in Southold, with full facilities, public parking and where swimming classes are scheduled by the Town each summer; Cedar Beach in Southold and the beach in New Suffolk (Cutchogue) are others to check out. There are many more! It is worthwhile to take a look at the Towns of Southold and Riverhead websites for maps and complete lists of beaches. Also included is parking and day pass information for the Town and Park District Beaches. No passes or permits are required before Memorial Day and after Labor Day.