With a population of more than 1,350,000 spread out over nearly 300 square miles within a pair of cities, three towns, 64 incorporated villages, and more than 60 unincorporated hamlets, there are a plenty of neighborhoods here that would qualify for inclusion on a list of best places to live in Nassau County. After all, huge numbers of people in Nassau County live in pleasant suburban surroundings, often fairly close to the ocean, and all within reasonably convenient commuting distance from Manhattan.
With a Variety of Choices, What's the Best Place to Live?
So although any conversation of this nature will likely either be incomplete or vehemently disagreed with, we're going to throw out a few suggestions anyway. Take Manhasset, for example, which has excellent schools, a family-oriented community, a picturesque waterfront along the Manhasset Bay, and both a renowned luxury-brand open-air mall (the Americana Manhasset), and a more practical--but still quite charming--downtown area of shops and restaurants. And it's less than 40 minutes to Penn Station via the Long Island Rail Road.
Other lists of the best communities in Nassau County might include Westbury, which has become something of hotspot for Long Island's young (and single) professionals, with a big uptick in rental apartments and a burgeoning local scene; Wantagh, called the "gateway to Jones Beach" and featuring all the expected recreation opportunities associated with being so close to one of the great waterfront areas on the East Coast; and, for families with young children, Massapequa, which is also surrounded by beaches, a nature preserve and, for convenience, the Sunrise Mall.
Where on Long Island is Nassau County?
When people refer to Long Island, they generally are referring to the counties of Nassau and Suffolk: the counties east of NYC (although technically Brooklyn and Queens are part of Long Island). And while the population of the two counties is about equal, in land they are far from it. Nassau County is a mere 453 sq miles, compared to Suffolk County's 839 sq miles.
Both counties have a "North Shore," and a "South Shore." North Shore residents face Long Island Sound, while South Shore residents border the Atlantic Ocean. The North Shore, particulary in Nassau County, historically has been home to a number of affluent residents (Vanderbilts, Roosevelts, J.P. Morgan, F.W. Woolworth, etc.), and earned the name "the Gold Coast" in the early 20th century. Many of the estates from those years are still standing, some now open to the public. Beaches along the North Shore tend to be more jagged and rocky, than sandy.
South Shore beaches, on the other hand, tend to be flat and sandy. The Five Towns area, near the western border with Queens, has pockets of wealth. However, while not poor, South Shore residents generally aren't as wealthy as their North Shore counterparts... until, that is, you pass into Suffolk County, and the area known as The Hamptons.
Attractions and Things to Do
Sports lovers used to watch their New York Islanders NHL team at Nassau Coliseum. However, with the 2015 season, the team moved to Brooklyn. Lacrosse, a popular sport in the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions, is played at a facility on the campus of Hofstra, in Hempstead.The New York Lizards are a part of Major League Lacrosse.
Long Beach is a popular destination, highlighted by it's 2.2 mile boardwalk. Nearby Jones Beach is the world's largest public beach, at 6.5 miles. It is part of the Jones Beach State Park. The Jones Beach amphitheater is the site of many outdooor concerts, with seating for over 14,000 concert-goers.
Horse lovers can be found out at Belmont Park, home of the Belmont Stakes, part of the Triple Crown. Golfers can play where the pros play, at Bethpage Black Golf Course, in Bethpage STate Park. History (and architecture) buffs can visit Old Westbury Gardens, Old Bethpage Village Restoration, Sands Point, and Sagamore Hill... just tot name a few historic buildings and grounds.
Kids will love Museum Row, in Garden City, with a lineup of the Long Island Children's Museum, Nassau County Firefighter's Museum, and the Crade of Aviation Museum. Away from Museum Row, can be found Tackapausha Museum, Wantagh Rail Road Museum, Nassau County Museum of Art, African American Museum of Nassau County, and the American Merchant Marine Museum, among others.
Beaches and parks include Bailey Arboretum, Bethpage State Park, Cedar Creek Park, Sands Point Reserve, and over 30 others. The premiere park in Nassau County, however, is Eisenhower Park. Sitting at 930 acres, park activities include three 18-hole gold courses, athletic fields, tennis courst, picnic areas, mini gold, an aquatic center and a lakeside theater.
While large concerts are played at Jones Beach, and at the Nassau Colisseum, NYCB Theater at Westbury attracts a world-class musicians and comedians to it's over 2700 seat venue. Family entertainment is a frequent. Similarly, the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts attracts a variety of traveling world-renowned acts to its stage.