How to Enjoy a Long Island Adventure with Ram

Ram trucks are tough, no-nonsense vehicles built for pragmatic work-oriented duties, but there’s nothing more fun than taking your Ram off-road.

In many U.S. states, “off-road” is synonymous with rugged mountain trails or desert expanses, but on Long Island, “off-road” means driving on one of Long Island’s beautiful beaches. Be advised, however, that you can’t just point your Ram at the nearest beach and expect to get very far. You’ll first need to have some official documents on your person and you’ll also need to be carrying certain equipment to pass muster with the folks guarding the beach.

This article will equip you with the knowledge you’ll need to have a wonderful off-road, on-beach adventure on Long Island.

Permits You’ll Need
Long Island has many world-class public beaches; all are under the control of various federal, state, county, and town authorities. Consequently, you’ll need different kinds of permits to allow your Ram onto them.

For NY State-Controlled Beaches

New York State-controlled beaches where permitted off-road driving is allowed include Hither Hills, Montauk Point, Napeague, and Robert Moses (Democrat Point and Sore Thumb). All can be accessed provided the driver has:

1.       Acquired a New York State Four-Wheel Beach Driving Fishing Permit

2.       Equipped his/her vehicle with:

a.       Fishing Tackle, including rods and reels, for all on-board passengers over the age of 12

b.       A portable toilet

c.       Tow rope or tow chain

d.       Approved tires (33-inch maximum in width, 12.5-inch maximum by width), plus a spare tire and a tire gauge.

To get a NYS Four-Wheel Driving Permit, you’ll need to pay a fee of $80 if you live in New York State ($125 out of state) and have a valid NYS Driver’s License. You’ll also need to show proof that you’re registered with the NYS DEC Recreational Marine Fishing Registry. New York State Four-Wheel driving permits are, unfortunately, only granted from January 1st to March 31st, and from the Tuesday after Labor Day until December 31st.

For County-Controlled Beaches

Suffolk County controls six terrific LI beaches where 4x4 off-roading is allowed. Like the New York State-controlled beaches, you’ll need to carry fishing equipment in your Ram. Suffolk County-controlled beaches include:

a. Cedar Point County Park (East Hampton)
 Charles F. Altenkirch County Park (Hampton Bays)
 Cupsogue Beach County Park (Westhampton)
 Shinnecock East County Park (Southampton)
 Smith Point County Park (Shirley)
 Theodore Roosevelt County Park (Montauk)

You’ll need two documents to legally drive on county-controlled beaches:

1.       A Suffolk County Parks Recreational Vehicle Use Permit. For this 1-year permit, Suffolk County residents pay $100; non-residents $250. Discounts are available for resident senior citizens, veterans, and auxiliary police volunteers. This permit can be acquired at the following locations:

a.    Blydenburgh County Park (Smithtown)

b.    Cathedral Pines County Park (Middle Island)

c.    Indian Island (Riverhead)

d.    Lake Ronkonkoma County Park (Lake Ronkonkoma)

e.    Sears Bellows County Park (Hampton Bays) 

f.     Smith Point County Park (Shirley)

g.    West Sayville Parks Operations Office (West Sayville)

2.       A “Green Key” pass. Suffolk County residents pay $30 for a 3-year pass; non-residents pay $200 (discounts are available for senior citizens and veterans). Green Keys can be purchased at the locations mentioned above.

Suffolk County’s permit – unlike the New York State permit – doesn’t require you to pack fishing gear, but you’ll need to have the following in your Ram:


a. Jack/jackboard and shovel

b. Rope, chain, or snap line

c. Fire extinguisher

d. Spare tire, tire gauge, portable air compressor, or air tank

e. Flashlight

f. First aid kit


Long Island Off-Road Driving Tips

If you’ve new to beach-driving, here are some useful tips:

1.       Check your tires. Your Ram’s tires – including your spare – can’t be over 33-inches in height and 12.5-inches in width. Before driving on any LI beach, you’ll need to lower your tire pressure to about half of its normal PSI to drive safely. This expands the surface area available for traction so your Ram won’t sink into the sand. After your beach trip, you’ll need to restore normal tire pressure (that’s why it’s important to pack a pump/air compressor along with a tire pressure gauge).

2.       Make sure your Ram is actually in 4WD mode before you hit the sand. Sure, it’s a rookie mistake, but far too many have made it, so double-check your drive gear setting before moving onto the sand.

3.    Watch out for small birds. A number of great LI beaches are also home to the Piping Plover and the Least Term, two rare, protected shore birds. Please respect the signs and symbolic fencing put out by conservationists to protect the birds’ habitat.

4.    Observe proper beach driving etiquette. Drive your Ram slowly (10 MPH max), avoid dunes, wetlands, beach grass, and bathing areas, and always give pedestrians the right of way.

Of course, the very best tip we can offer you is to acquire a Ram if you haven’t already done. Merrick Dodge Chrysler Jeep of Wantagh has all-new, massively improved 2019 Rams in stock on our lot, and we’d love to put you in the driver’s seat. Call 516-415-0449 or use our website’s contact form to get started.

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