Did you know that Wantagh is known as “the Gateway to Jones Beach”?
Best Way to Travel: Train, Bus, Car
#1 Thing to do: Jones Beach State Park
#2 Thing to do: Wantagh Museum and Preservation Society
#3 Thing to do: Mulcahy's
Fun Fact: Wantagh is known throughout Long Island as a place with a very vibrant nighlife.
#1 Car Rental Company: Hertz
Wantagh, New York (population 13,000), is 25 miles east of New York City. The town is included in the Nassau -Suffolk metropolitan area, and is near the borough of Queens.
1. The Wantagh Museum: The facility consists of three structures: The Station, the "Jamaica" railroad car, and the original Wantagh Post Office. The ticket booth in the 1885 railroad station was restored to reflect the presence of Emma Whitmore, the first woman to serve as ticket agent there. Built in 1912 for the Long Island Railroad, the "Jamaica" was a parlor car complete with solarium, cooking facilities and an ice-cooled air-conditioning system. Wantagh's tiny, original 1907 post office is currently being restored. The 10-by-12-foot structure was used until the mid-1920s, operated by one person who sorted mail into slots.
2. Gateway National Recreation Area: The oldest urban recreation area in the U.S. provides abundant recreational and learning opportunities, from swimming, boating and fishing to team sports, bicycling and nature study. Included are the nation's oldest operating lighthouse, forts, and sites that trace aviation's early days. The park's wildlife refuge includes a holly forest, dunes, and coastal uplands. Gateway's Jamaica Bay Unit in Brooklyn and Queens includes history, nature and recreation, from New York City's first major airport and coastal fortifications to a wildlife refuge and pristine beaches. The Staten Island Unit offers fishing, sailing, soccer, baseball, and model-airplane flying. This is in addition to Fort Wadsworth, the World War Veterans Park at Miller Field, and the natural areas of Great Kills Park. The Sandy Hook Unit includes the Sandy Hook Light, America's oldest operating lighthouse (1764); Fort Hancock; and the Sandy Hook Proving Ground.
3. Jones Beach State Park: This park offers visitors seven miles of beach, two swimming pools, a boardwalk and midway games, fishing, birding, and golfing.
4. Tackapausha Museum and Preserve: A selection of Long Island wildlife and their habitats are on display with special presentations focusing on various subjects. Accompanying the museum is a large preserve for nature walks. Each October is Bat Month. One of the permanent exhibits is of Egyptian fruit bats, native to the Middle East and most of Africa, south of the Sahara Desert. The large viewing window enables visitors to get a close-up view of bat antics. The day/night light cycle has been reversed so the bats fly, eat, and interact with each other during the day (their night).
5. Levittown Historical Museum: A few miles north of Wantagh, Levittown is the symbol of modern-day suburbia. Opened in 1997 as part of Levittown's 50th anniversary celebration, the museum houses post-World War II memorabilia, photographs, furnishings, and appliances from original Levitt homes. A walk through a simulated Levitt residence offers a glimpse of the town's history, beginning with recollections, photographs, and personal belongings of the first World War II veterans to return to Long Island in search of affordable housing. Several rooms contain original furniture, appliances, and fixtures dating back to Levitt homes of the late 1940s and early '50s.