Ever since moving to Nashville about ten years ago, I’ve been surprised by hwo many people know where I’m from. Usually I just say “Long Island,” but a lot of people follow it with, “oh, what part?” I used to shrug and say, “south shore, about an hour train ride from Manhattan,” but I soon learned that lots of people have spent time on Long Island and some had even been in the town of Babylon.
My hometown, West Babylon, is a part of the Town of Babylon. Long Island organizes towns into hamlets, which are groups of 5 or 6 towns under one administrative division. We lived on the border of West Babylon and Babylon Village. Babylon Village is well-known by surfers for its proximity to local beaches and for Bunger Surf Shop, one of the oldest family-owned surf shops in the country. It’s also known for its shops, restaurants, and parks – all of which make it a great place to live and a great place to visit.
If you ever find yourself visiting Babylon, use this as your guide to all the best places!
Parks and Beaches Near Babylon, NY
Robert Moses State Park
I wasn’t a fan of the beach when I was little. It meant driving over a scary bridge, getting wrapped in seaweed, seagulls eating my sandy PB&J, and my mom covering me in baby powder to get the sand off before I got in the car. It’s growing on me though, and this is the best beach in/near Babylon. Certain fields have different features. If I’m not mistaken, field 5 is the one with the playground for the kids. Each one has bathrooms, concession and lifeguards, so you’re priorities are covered. Note that you have to pay for parking.
Babylon Town Beaches
If you’re in Babylon and you wanna hit up the local beaches, it’ll be Gilgo or Captree. The water is green and the sand is full of cracked shells, and we love it. Personally I prefer Captree if you’re going to go this route, because there was a string of murders at Gilgo, but I mean that’s just me (that was awhile ago, it’s perfectly safe, I just…) They also have playgrounds for the kids. You have to pay for parking here, too.
Yet another local beach, this one is known more for its summer events. There are always different concerts and things going on at the small amphitheater. There’s also a fishing pier and tennis courts.
This lake is a landmark in Babylon. It is almost guaranteed that if you drive by during the day you will see a wedding party, a sweet 16, or some other sort of group taking pictures there. It sits right in Babylon Village, surrounded by shops and restaurants. You’ll see swans and geese, but don’t you dare try to feed them. It WILL backfire on you. There are often seasonal festivals by the lake, usually including lots of vendors in little tents selling everything from Christmas tree ornaments to wooden ducks and doll clothes. The doll clothes have been a big one lately, I don’t know what’s up with that. Anyway, it’s worth checking out. There’s a park for kids, too.
Southard’s Pond is one of the hidden gems of Babylon. You probably wouldn’t even know it’s there. The trail entrance is hidden back in the woods behind town tennis courts and a park. Once you find it, it’ll become your walking, running, or dog-walking trail of choice. You’ll wander through the trees and cross bridges over water and forget that you’re in the suburbs.
Belmont Lake State Park
This one is more of a day trip than Argyle is. It’s great for picnics in the warmer months, and you can rent cute little paddle boats and row boats. A nearby stable uses the horse trails there, and there are walking/running/biking trails as well. Dog walking is definitely a thing there, as well as fishing. It is not uncommon to find people throwing around frisbees or playing horseshoes, and there are softball fields as well. There are also playgrounds for the kids! Note that you do have to pay for parking.
Best Restaurants in Babylon, New York
If you are visiting NY from the South, you probably won’t think this is real Mexican food and you might be better off sticking to NY Italian. But this is one of the better places in Babylon, and their tacos are overflowing plates of heaven. The one thing I don’t entirely recommend is the red sangria. The wine was very strong and dry, which is not what I want in a sangria, but maybe it was just the day. You’re probably better off getting a marg anyway.
The Post Office Cafe
This one is my personal favorite. I crave and miss their burgers the most when I’m away. I can’t explain it, but something about their buns is amazing (insert dumb joke here), and they are toasted to perfection. I can’t even tell you what’s different about the burgers, they’re just good…like, really good. The Post Office also has incredible wings, so I would start out with those. Everything else on the menu is great too, but their “Killer Mac ‘n’ Cheese” is particularly good and you can top it off with pulled pork for that extra deliciousness. It has a great bar scene, they often have live acoustic performers at night, but it’s also fine for kids. I’ve been going there forever with my family and they have a strong kids menu.
This place is 90% atmosphere, 10% food, but the food is good. Or at least I think so. You walk in and it feels like a nightclub. There is a bar on the first floor that makes you forget you’re at an asian restaurant. I recommend the veggie dumplings. I ordered those once while I was fasting for lent and not eating meat, and now I get them even when I’m full-on carnivore. They also have a secret desert menu (shhhh). Ask for the fried Oreos. They aren’t listed anywhere, but they’ll bring them to you. You didn’t hear it from me.
My favorite chocolate shop of all time. That’s partially because it’s in my hometown, but also the chocolate is really good. They have a few locations along the east coast, and their candy apples and fudge are pristine. But then they have everything chocolate you could ever want, from truffles to chocolate covered Oreos and s’mores. They also have ice cream, but you really gotta get the chocolate. There’s a Cold Stone Creamery across the street and a cute little ice cream shop called Sweet Sensations around the corner if all you want is ice cream.
This place has existed for at least as long as I’ve been alive, but I never stepped foot in it until about a week ago. I was always slightly confused by it because it looks like a diner on the outside but it’s definitely an Asian restaurant. The atmosphere on the inside is crazy. It’s one of those places that thinks making the room darker makes it fancier. I hate to agree with them. The lights are dimmed and blue, and your sushi comes on a cute little plate. I don’t like sushi (GASP!) so I ordered off their Chinese menu, which was okay but not great. It’s definitely more about the sushi than anything else, so that is what I recommend getting if you go there. But if your tastebuds are similar to mine, they have other options to choose from if you aren’t feelin’ the raw fish.
Mulberry Street has always been my family’s favorite choice for take-out pizza. If you’re visiting from out of state, you HAVE to have some Long Island pizza, and this is a good place to do it. Of course, there are pizza places on every corner and they will all probably be the best you’ve had, but anyway…Mulberry Street is half traditional pizza place, half traditional Italian restaurant, and they have AMAZING meals if you want something a little nicer than pizza. They leave bread on the table and they usually have these little pizza bread things in there. I don’t know what they’re actually called, but I call them pizza bread, which may or may not be redundant. But it’s just a little roll with mozzerella and marinara so it’s like a little pizza. On a roll instead of crust. I don’t know, just try it. Chicken parm is always a classic, so I recommend that. Or ravioli. Or anything on the menu. Go here.
If a cute little coffee house is what you crave, this will do the trick. They have open mic nights on Wednesday from 8-11pm, so you might want to go then or stay away from it then, I don’t know. They also have professional live music on weekend nights. Their specialty drinks are a lot of fun. Try the Black and White (modeled after the traditional Long Island black and white cookie treat – chocolate and white chocolate) or even an Almond Joy latte. Don’t be afraid to try their desserts, either!
Family-style Italian that’s hard to pass up. All options work, I greatly suggest the Calamari appetizer. The waiters will ensure that you have enough food for your party.
The Terrace Diner is technically in West Babylon, further away from the Village and not walkable, but it’s my favorite diner (which says a lot, because there are endless diners on Long Island). It’s a traditional New York diner with a gigantic menu. You can go there anytime of day and get whatever your heart desires and it’s going to be cooked to order and delicious. I always think it’s important for non-New Yorkers to experience a New York diner, even more so for non-North Easterners. I dare you to try a traditional black and white cookie.
Best Stores in Babylon Village
Ooh La La
This is possibly the cutest clothing boutique in the entire world. They only exist on Long Island right now, and have six locations including this one in Babylon. It’s small, but that’s part of the charm. Everything they have is adorable – clothes, jewelry, shoes, scarfs, you name it, I love it. I always say that if I could pick one store to make my closet, it would be Ooh La La. Or maybe Anthropologie. Anthropologie would be a huge closet.
Bunger Surf Shop
I wouldn’t really know because I’m not a surfer, but apparently people come from all over to go to this surf shop. When you walk in, they have proof that famous surfers and athletes have been there, so that’s kind of cool. It’s one of those places that I always pop into when I’m showing someone around town. I’m proud to have a place like that so close to home.