Cars and coffee at Oak Beach

A weekly car show that’s eclectic, exotic, and FREE

When speaking of cars on New York’s Long Island, most folks think of the traffic. Lots and lots of traffic. Locals call the Long Island Expressway the world’s longest parking lot. Those from out of state consider the drivers “aggressive”. As a lifetime Longislander (yes, it is one word), I think of Cars and Coffee at Oak Beach.

rat rod cars and coffee at oak beachCars and Coffee at Oak Beach is a car meet every Sunday from Memorial Day until Labor Day. It continues until it gets cold, although many of the cars go into storage after Labor Day. Held in the parking lot formerly serving the legendary pickup bar The Oak Beach Inn, it’s feet from the Atlantic Ocean near Robert Moses State Park. At the end of Shore Parkway, the event starts at daybreak and begins to dissolve about the time beachgoers arrive. And beyond.

jaguar cars and coffee at oak beachThe thing is that the car show changes nearly every minute. Cars come, cars go, packs of cars come, packs of cars go. On a recent Sunday, there were  3-4 McLarens, several Lambos, Porsches, countless American rods, restomods, rat rods, hot trucks, Corvettes, Mustangs, GTOs, and far more. Lots of beautiful motorcycles of every description. Then there are the cars just parked around the perimeter. If the sun is shining, this is a piece of car heaven. And it’s totally FREE.

The drive to the show is half the fun

As cars and suburbia began their outward reach in the 1950s, the master urban planner Robert Moses conceived of parks to serve the growing suburban population. One of Moses’ park/gems is a series of beaches built along a thin strip of land on the south side of Long Island. The largest of the many beaches are the Jones Beach and Robert Moses state parks. All of the beaches large and small are served by Shore Parkway, an arrow straight concrete highway straddled by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and a series of bay inlets on the other side.

A cruise on this highway with windows open, the sea breezes wafting into your senses and the sun warming your soul, is just nirvana for anyone and especially motorheads. I say this because near the eastern end of Shore Parkway is Oak Beach and its medium sized parking lot. A parking lot with the best FREE car show on the East Coast. The police sometimes have to limit spectator cars into the lot to prevent overcrowding! When I was there, the wait was 20 minutes and the line behind me was VERY long. A whole bunch of other fantastic cars couldn’t wait and booked out of there.

While I was there, a drone was filming the festivities. Here’s a drone film from July 2018.

More events to peruse here

90+ pix from the recent Cars and Coffee at Oak Beach (Aug. 2018)