Long Island Summer Spots – Gilgo Beach

Is this area notorious for a possible serial killer? Yes. But doesn’t stop myself and many others from coming out to Gilgo Beach for summer hangs. Conveniently located on the South Shore, it’s the perfect day spot and also doesn’t have a bad sunset view!

Nothing beats heading out to the drive on beach with your friends and posting up for the day (or night). On any given day you’ll see the beach packed with 4×4 vehicles. People are fishing, surfing, walking the beach, just enjoying the beautiful scenery and summer weather (just no swimming, that’s not allowed here). Coming here is one of my favorite things to do on Long Island and getting my permit every year has become a ritual.

So pack up your cooler, grab some chairs, don’t forget your permits, and head over to Gilgo!


Located about 1 hour from New York City, about 50 miles, it’s not too far onto Long Island. The drive on portion of Gilgo Beach is right off of the East Bound Ocean Parkway. It’s pretty easy to get to, but if you are coming from further out east you do have make a quick u-turn.

New York State 4×4 Permit

In order to have access to the New York State Offroad Beaches, you have to be a permit holder. The permits go on sale for the calendar year, between January 1-March 31. There is a window at the end of the year after Labor Day as well. There are a few different permit types you can get, fishing or surfing.

When you go out on to the beach you have to have your permit displayed and your required equipment. Most of the time there is someone from the state at the entrance to check. Other times it is unguarded and you can drive right on. If you do get caught accessing the property without a permit you can get in some trouble with the state. Even if you get caught as a permit holder without the required equipment, you risk losing your permit for the year.

So if you managed to get a permit this year, do it up! If not, keep this in your back pocket for next summer and make sure you get your permit as soon as you can!

Facts That Matter

When? – April 1st marks the first day off off-road beach season, until then the beaches are closed and no one has access. You are allowed to enter and exit the park whenever you’d like and it is open 24 hours a day. There are some time restrictions for other drive-on beaches in the area, but not at Gilgo.

Wildlife? – Beware there will be some protected areas of the beach that are off limits because of the Piping Plovers. Although it seems like years, the restrictions are not permanent and do not last the whole summer.

Can You Bring Pets? – No, pets aren’t allowed. But I’ve seen plenty of dogs at the beach, so if you’re feeling a little rebellious know it’s been done.

Any Vehicle Restrictions? – In order to get a permit, you must show proof of a 4×4 vehicle (registration or insurance). Maximum tire size is 33inx12.5in. I have seen State Employees measure tires, so even if you have larger tires you will get a permit off the bat but you may have it revoked if caught.

Where do you get your permit? – At any New York State Parks Office. You need to bring a valid drivers license, registration or insurance, free fishing license (if fishing permit), and $80. Highly recommend getting your permit earlier in the year. I’ve had experiences of waiting hours at the end of March to get the paperwork processed, so learn from my mistakes.

Whats the required equipment? – You must have a spare tire, jack, backboard, portable toilet (Home Depot bucket works just fine), tow strap/chain, tire gauge, and shovel. If you have a fishing permit you also have to have bait/tackle and a fishing rod for every person in your vehicle over the age of 12. If you have a surfing permit you have to have boards for anyone you drive onto the beach with.

Don’t be that guy. – Every year some genius tries to drive on the beach in their BMW or nice car that isn’t meant to drive off road and, as a surprise to no one, gets stuck. Don’t ruin it for the rest of the people following the rules and only enter the State Park if you have the property vehicle and equipment. And yes, there is a facebook group that shares the pictures of these people, so you will be mocked and made fun of.

Stay tuned for some more Long Island Summer Spots. Subscribe to be the first one to know of new posts!

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