Your Inside Guide to the Best Beaches on Shelter Island

With 20 miles of coastline there is no shortage of beaches on Shelter Island. Here at Shelter Island House, the owners have grown up summering on Shelter Island and have insider knowledge on the best beaches for families, couples, dogs and more and they are ready to provide you with a definitive beach guide and inside skinny for all beach goers!


For recreational swimmers, the island’s bay beaches, couldn’t be better. They range in style from “where to be scene” to secluded and intimate to family friendly. Beaches are mostly public, but do require parking permits for resident and non-residents alike. Permits are required Friday before Memorial Day through the Monday of Labor Day and are available through the Town Hall.




  1. Best Family BeachFamily-friendly beach on Shelter Island – Families flock to Wades Beach with ease of parking, just steps from the beach and the guarantee to meet up with other families so the kids can make friends and get down to playing. Let’s face it when you have kids, you have stuff, and who wants to make several trips unloading the car when your little ones are ready to dig in their shovels, build their epic sand castle and get their toes wet the minute they arrive. Wades Beach has other conveniences for families like comfort stations and lifeguards. Don’t miss out on a stroll down the beach to the north end of the beach to Dickerson Creek, where you will find some of the best fiddler crab explorations imaginable. Local tip: If you like Shellfish, Dickerson Creek is also an awesome spot for Clamming. Please note a shellfish permit is required and is accessible through the Town Hall.












  1. Best Romantic Beachsunset at top romantic beach on Shelter Island – Undeniably all beaches are romantic, but we do have a couple favorite spots to share with you. Menhadden Lane (Hay Beach) ranks high here with its breathtaking panoramic views of Gardiners Bay and the Bug Light Lighthouse, with its dollhouse like appearance atop stilts in the middle of the bay. While there are no services at this beach, that’s exactly what makes it intimate combined with its vast size allowing for plenty of privacy especially if you are willing to walk a bit to find your private oasis. For those of us who love our four-legged friends, this is also a great beach to let your furry companion cool off! For romantic Sunsets nothing can top Crescent Beach aka Sunset Beach. Be sure to borrow a couple chairs or beach blankets from the hotel and just one short block from Shelter Island House you can capture the days last light in the arms of your significant other.








  1. Best Activity BeachesView from Shell Beach on Shelter Island – Shell Beach is one super sandy peninsula and secluded beach. It juts into Shelter Island and is accessible only by water or the unpaved Oak Tree Lane. Just 4.5 miles from Shelter Island House, Shell Beach is a great destination by bike . You know you have arrived when you run out of road and find yourself surrounded with stunning water views nearly 360 degrees. Activities are plenty on the peninsula; here you can enjoy a lengthy swim around the point, paddle board or kayak in the protected inlet of West Neck Harbor or capture the breeze on the South Fork bay side – perfect for kite sailing on windy days. Beyond activities nature abounds and small Plovers are sure to be scene hopping along the waters edge along with wildflowers and occasional deer.









  1. Best Beach to be SceneRomantic sunset on Sunset Beach on Shelter Island – Crescent Beach aka Louis Beach aka Sunset Beach has a lot of alias’s, a lot of history and a lot of popularity. Located on the North side of the island, Crescent Beach is a full service beach with lifeguards, comfort stations and services.  The beach is over half a mile long and is the island’s most popular beach.  The beach has a fantastic view of Southold and Greenport and is also is the home to restaurants & hotels including the iconic Pridwin Hotel, and the infamous Sunset Beach Hotel.  Most notably, Crescent Beach offers a great view of the sunset!












craft cocktails from top Shelter Island bed and breakfastUndoubtedly there is a perfect beach for everyone on Shelter Island, and we think a perfect beach day deserves a perfect ending. We suggest you close the day with a handcrafted cocktail under our gazebo or a delicious dinner in our Tavern restaurant! See you at the Beach!