Ahh, July. The month of fireworks, freedom and heat waves leads into the equally hot month of August. Summer has officially kicked it into high gear on Long Island and everyone is looking for ways to beat the heat. Let's not forget our four legged friends wearing fur coats all year long need some relief too. Long Island is home to quite a few paw-friendly watering holes, a beach day with your buddy is the best kind of beach day there is. Don't forget to bring the portable water bowl.
Gardiner's Park, Bay Shore
When you pull into the parking lot don't be dismayed, while the water view isn't immediate it’s a nice leisurely stroll down the trail to get there. Along the way there will be plenty of other pups for your dog to make acquaintance with and maybe they'll become fetch friends down at the beach. Do remember to clean up after your pup. The park has waste baskets throughout for easier clean up.
For the owner: It's good to keep in mind that if it has recently rained the trail can get quite muddy. Best to wear sneakers and bring sandals for the beach – and bring a towel for the car to accommodate dirty, wet paws.
Coindre Hall, Huntington
Teeming with pups and owners chasing after them. This little oasis in Huntington is a great spot to stop and let your pooch smell the roses. With cascading hills and open fields there is no shortage of fun for them. At the bottom of the hill you're greeted with an opening to water, let your dog off the leash – or at least bring an extendable leash if you're not planning on jumping in with them. Most owners let their dog's off the leash here, and you'll be sure to hear a lot of “get back here,” “sit” and “stay”...mostly the dogs are having too much fun bounding in and out of bushes and down to the water to listen.
For the owner: One thing to keep in mind on these trips to the water and fields is be sure you're pup is up to date on tick/flea treatments, though it’s not a high-risk situation you don't want to head home with any unwelcome guests.
Bethpage State Park Bike Trail (“Bethpage Bikeway”)
This is a great place to take a walk with your dog and get some shade. The trees along the trails in Bethpage to the Massapequa preserve provide a welcome break from the beating sun. Along the way there are little streams for your pup to jump into and cool off.
For the owner: You do have to be mindful here, as you are sharing the path with plenty of people who aren't walking with a dog, as well as a ton of bikers. A leash is definitely necessary here so that there are no accidents.
Sand Street Beach, Stony Brook
Sand Street is such a great beach for dogs and owners alike. If you go during low tide there are a ton of sandbars to walk out on and explore. It’s a 50/50 situation here, some dogs are on the leash others are roaming free. If you have a wanderer or a dog that’s not so great with kids, your best bet is to keep them on the leash. As dog-friendly as this beach is, not everyone is here with one and some families are with young ones, so be mindful. As always, keep the beach clean and clean up after your pup.
For the owner: This beach here is definitely a bit rocky so flip flops that can go from sand to water are definitely a good idea if you want to get your feet wet with your pup.
Photo: Maggie Peikon