Meschutt Beach County Park
|Meschutt Beach County Park in Hampton Bays sits on a wide stillwater beach just east of the Shinnecock Canal and offers beach bathing (in season) and a very nice waterside playground.|
Meschutt Beach is a Suffolk County park that sits right on the bay at the mouth of the Shinnecock Canal. There are two large and paved parking lots that are well marked, and there is a charge for parking during the summer season. Getting to the park can be a bit tricky if you're coming from the west off of Sunrise Highway. At the end of the exit ramp from exit 66, there is a big sign that says no right turn, "Road Closed.' This is not true -- you have to go right to get to Meschutt Beach. Ignore the sign and make a right, you'll be making a left shortly onto Old North Highway which is where you'll find the beach.
There are two lots to choose from, and both provide good access to the playground. If you plan on some playtime in the sand, though, your best bet is probably to drive through the first lot and into the second one closer to the water. Once inside the playground, you'll find a very nice playset with multiple levels, climbs and slides to engage kids of all ages.
The play surface at Meschutt Beach is mostly a soft sand, although it appears that at some point, somebody had the ill-conceived idea to put down wood mulch as well. The result is a sandy play area that is speckled with small pieces of wood. There is no shade on the playground here, so be prepared for some sun exposure and hot equipment on a warm and sunny day. There are no swings at Meschutt Beach.
On opposite ends of the playset, you'll find tandem slides and corkscrew slide on one side and two steep slides on the other, including a covered slide. The set is full of areas to explore, and features some challenging wire climbs and monkey bars as well as a hang glider. There are tall platforms to climb onto and some ground-level stairs for smaller legs.
There are a few built-ins around the playset, like this math roller that was installed incorrectly (must have been the same people who put up the rollers at Blydenburgh).
The waterfront location has taken its toll on some of the equipment at Meschutt, like these trapeze bars that were thoughtfully coated with rubber grips at one point. But overall, the playset here is in very good condition and is one of the better single sets that we've come across. Don't be surprised if your planned day at the beach becomes a day at the playground.
There are many different levels on this playset, the highest of which is the descent for the steep slides. From on top here, you're treated to one of the better views that you'll find on a Long Island playground. Facing the opposite direction, you can watch the many boats that are docked along the canal.
The beach itself is still and shallow, on the banks of the Peconic Bay. Unlike many north shore beaches that offer calm waters, this one is nearly free of rocks. Only soft sand awaits little toes that can explore the shore without fear of being toppled by a wave. The Beach Hut, open all summer and weekends in September, offers refreshments and public restrooms as well as live music daily.
Meschutt Beach County Park is open all year, with lifeguards and visitor services available in season. Just outside the park grounds, there is a promenade along the canal where you can walk along and get a good look at the boats. The beach is a joy to visit (there's also a jetty for the more adventurous types) and the playground is top-notch, even without swings.
Meschutt Beach County ParkOfficial Site: http://www.co.suffolk.ny.us/
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