Heckscher Overlook Beach and Heckscher State Park was originally the estate of wealthy New York residents and later became a state park only following opposition from other wealthy local residents, who did not want the land made public. However, today, you and your dog can easily visit the 1,600 acres the park offers on the southern portion of Long Island. The waters are calm and the beach is rarely crowded, making it a great choice for low-key families.
The park is favored for many reasons, including its shady groves, large grassy spaces, paved trails and beautiful beach. Activities include field sports, picnicking, biking, hiking, birding, kayaking, boating, swimming, sailboarding, and canoeing.
Dogs are welcomed (and are the only pets that are welcomed), so long as they are kept on a leash of six feet or less. Dogs are not allowed in the bathing or picnic areas, or within buildings or on walkways. As always, make sure your dog is not a nuisance to other beachgoers, and keep them away from other people, dogs, and children, unless invited. White-tailed deer are populous here, so make note of this if your dog is apt to chase wildlife.
Bring your own supplies for cleaning up after your dog, just to be safe, and pack a portable water bowl, extra water, and doggy booties, to ensure your dog is comfortable at all times. Keep in mind that hot pavement is not the only threat to your dog’s safety when walking during the summer; hot sand can be equally painful. In case of an emergency, keep a pet first aid kit in your car at all times.
Beach hours are 11 am – 6 pm, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays only. A fee of $8 per car applies, except for during peak visit days during the summer, when fees are raised to $10.