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Day Trip to Robert Moses State Park from New York City

[ NEW YORK, NY - NYC - 8/21/2009 - www.Littleviews.com ]

Robert Moses State Park>>  If you think that New York State Park lifeguards have an easy life in the sun, consider their responsibilities and how much physical strength they need to drag someone out of the Atlantic Ocean's pounding surf, especially after a water-churning storm passes through.

Lifeguards who work on east coast shorelines are very familiar with wave action and because of this, have an excellent reputation for keeping swimmers safe. So far this year, the only lives lost in New York swimming accidents have been in unguarded areas.

For those of you who crave the Atlantic Ocean's raw power under the protection of capable guards, but not especially souvenir shops, consider a day trip to the Robert Moses State Park. With fewer trappings of civilization, its beach seems intimate and, perhaps, more natural. Best, if you are in a hurry to get wet, the distance between parking (or the bus stop) and the waves is short.

Robert Moses State Park

The picture above was taken of the Robert Moses State Park beach around 5 PM on an August weekday. The surf was particularly rough due to several previous weeks of storms. Although the wave action wasn't as strong as it can get during the hurricane season, with waves often rising to over 18 feet, it was strong at eight to ten feet high, nonetheless. During non-stormy periods, however, the ocean can be glass calm.


Robert Moses State Park

The park is named after Robert Moses, a New York-area urban planner. Between a period from the 1930s through the 1950s, he successfully established roadways and numerous state parks in beautiful Long Island, a few of which you see on the map above.

On Long Island's barrier islands alone, there are four New York State Parks. They are: Jones Beach, Gilgo (4-wheel vehicle access only), Captree, and Robert Moses. Robert Moses is on the western tip of Fire Island, just south of Captree.

Fire Island is officially known as the Fire Island National Seashore. Operated by the National Park Service, it is responsible for maintaining natural habitats. Within the Fire Island National Seashore's jurisdiction are 17 communities that make up the residential portion of the island. It also maintains a lighthouse, a nature preserve, a small, walk-in campground (1.5 miles from each entry point), and two small marinas that are only accessible by boat. Although the Robert Moses State Park is a separate jurisdiction, the two work with one another and have the same overall objective to protect the environment.

Island Access: There are only three roadways from the Long Island mainland to these particular barrier islands. On the west is the Meadowbrook Parkway and nearby, the Jones Beach Causeway. On the east is the Robert Moses Causeway. Running between Jones Beach and Captree State Park is Ocean Drive, which connects all north-south roadways. (Note: A "causeway" is a bridge.)

For a sharp aerial view of these islands, and the Robert Moses State Park in particular, go to www.Bing.com maps. Search for "Fire Island New York." When you see the map, change its view to 2D and Aerial, then click the magnifying glass to enlarge it to within 100 yards of land. Scroll as needed to see the entire area.

Robert Moses State Park

The above picture looks west at the Robert Moses Causeway, from end to end. This 8.10 mile long bridge is surrounded by sparkling water. Driving on it makes you feel like you are cruising on a boat, or are floating on a blue sky.

Robert Moses State Park

Inside the park are four bathhouses, each with adjoining parking. Not all, however, are necessarily open at the same time. These bathhouses provide food, equipment rentals (call ahead for beach wheelchairs), rest and changing rooms, picnic tables, and park information. To the west of the bathhouse pictured here is a colorful children's playground.

Robert Moses State Park

With a bathhouse to your back, you look directly at the ocean shore a short distance away. Unlike at Jones Beach, there is no boardwalk between the bathhouses and shore. There is also no loud music or verbose talk-shows allowed on the beach! Headphones on portable devices must be used at all times.

Robert Moses State Park

Atlantic Ocean shores all have powerful wave action, especially after a storm. Before stepping in the water, you should be confident in your ability to swim. Some wave action, for example, erodes the sandy floor upon which you are standing. Under that condition, it is especially important to know how to regain your footing (or hold your breath) because you can be knocked over.

Bottom Line? Leaping into a churning surf is not appropriate for non-swimmers and obviously, only swim in lifeguard protected areas.

Robert Moses State Park

The lifeguards I met here said that their biggest problem stems from parents ignoring their small children who are playing in the surf. Children may not go into the water without close supervision. If they are ignored, lifeguards pull them out and make sure parents take charge . . . or the family must leave the beach.

Robert Moses State Park

The Robert Moses State Park beach is exceptionally clean, even though it provides only a fraction of the trash baskets set out at Jones Beach. Of course, if you drop garbage on the sand, the lifeguards will get after you. In terms of overall care, however, thank conscientious bathers and the ever-vigilant beach staff.

Robert Moses State Park

Although no boardwalk divides the beach from land, a nature boardwalk guides you over the dunes, where you can observe wildlife without disturbing it. Heading northeast on the boardwalk, you run into the Fire Island National Seashore, its lighthouse, and National Park Service personnel. Check with both the state and federal jurisdictions for special nature-related programs. The Robert Moses State Park's nature center provides programs throughout the year.

Golf and Beach Volleyball

I recently learned that Pitch and Putt is a popular, internationally-regulated game of golf played on a small course that limits each golfer to using two irons and a putter. Jones Beach and Robert Moses State Parks both provide Pitch and Put greens, complete with club rental.

Both parks also provide beach volleyball areas.

Boating and Fishing

If you plan on visiting by boat, dock at the Robert Moses State Park's boat basin, which is directly across from Captree State Park. During the day, it can accommodate 40 boats.

Also consider docking at the larger Captree State Park facilities, where you can stay overnight as well as take on fuel. It also has boats for charter, scuba diving, and excursion. Call (631) 669-0449 for information.

You can fish from both parks, with Captree State Park providing long piers for that purpose.

Note: Do not bring pets of any type to Captree, although you can, with permission, bring them to Robert Moses State Park.

Public Transportation

Traffic to all beaches and state parks in the area can be extremely heavy on summer weekends and holidays. Bring snacks and something to drink while driving, then relax and forget about time. You will, under all circumstances, eventually arrive, but often not in the speedy 15 minutes you think it should take.

For public transportation, board the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to the MTA Babylon Station. At the station, walk downstairs to catch the S-47 Suffolk Bus to Robert Moses State Park. As buses travel over the same roads as do cars, make sure you bring water and snacks, then sit back, enjoy the ride, and possibly nap.

Questions? Ask Karen at Karen@littleviews.com

Article and photos by Karen Little. First published on 8/21/2009. All rights reserved by www.Littleviews.com.







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