Geography of Brookhaven, New York

By | November 24, 2023

Brookhaven, located in Suffolk County on Long Island, New York, is a diverse town characterized by a mix of suburban and rural landscapes. From the shores of the Long Island Sound to the pine barrens and coastal plains, Brookhaven’s geography is rich and varied. Additionally, the town experiences a temperate maritime climate influenced by its coastal location. Let’s delve into the topography, natural features, and climate that define Brookhaven.


Brookhaven encompasses a diverse range of topographical features, contributing to the town’s scenic beauty and ecological diversity.

  1. Coastal Areas: Brookhaven has extensive coastal areas along the Long Island Sound to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the south. The Long Island Sound, a tidal estuary, provides residents with scenic waterfronts and opportunities for recreational activities. The southern coast features popular beaches and barrier islands, offering sandy shores and oceanfront experiences.
  2. Pine Barrens: A significant portion of Brookhaven is part of the Long Island Central Pine Barrens, a unique and ecologically important area known for its pitch pine and scrub oak forests. The pine barrens contribute to the town’s rural character, offering residents and visitors a natural setting with hiking trails and diverse wildlife.
  3. Moraines and Glacial Features: The town’s landscape is shaped by glacial moraines, deposits of gravel, sand, and boulders left behind by retreating glaciers. These moraines create hilly terrain and contribute to the overall topography of Brookhaven.

Natural Features:

  1. Long Island Sound: The northern border of Brookhaven is defined by the Long Island Sound, a tidal estuary that separates Long Island from Connecticut. The Sound’s shores offer picturesque views, and residents can enjoy recreational activities such as boating, fishing, and birdwatching.
  2. Atlantic Ocean: To the south, Brookhaven is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean. The town’s southern coastline features several beaches, including Fire Island and Davis Park, which attract visitors seeking sun, sand, and ocean activities.
  3. Fire Island: Fire Island, a barrier island off the southern coast of Brookhaven, is a notable natural feature. Known for its pristine beaches, diverse ecosystems, and iconic lighthouse, Fire Island is part of the Fire Island National Seashore, preserving its natural beauty.
  4. Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge: The Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge, located within Brookhaven, is a protected area that includes salt marshes, tidal creeks, and diverse habitats. The refuge is an important site for migratory birds and offers opportunities for wildlife observation and nature walks.


According to baglib, Brookhaven experiences a temperate maritime climate, characterized by relatively mild temperatures, moderate precipitation, and seasonal variations. The proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound influences the town’s climate, with the ocean acting as a moderating factor, preventing extreme temperature fluctuations.

  • Summer (June to August): Summers in Brookhaven are warm, with average high temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to the mid-80s Fahrenheit (24-29°C). The coastal influence keeps temperatures more moderate compared to inland areas. Summers are a popular time for beach activities and outdoor events.
  • Fall (September to November): Fall brings cooler temperatures, with average highs ranging from the mid-60s to the low 70s Fahrenheit (18-23°C). The fall foliage season in Brookhaven is a highlight, with deciduous trees showcasing vibrant hues of red, orange, and yellow.
  • Winter (December to February): Winters are relatively mild, with average high temperatures ranging from the mid-30s to the mid-40s Fahrenheit (1-7°C). While snowfall occurs, it is generally less than in more inland areas, and temperatures are moderated by the surrounding bodies of water.
  • Spring (March to May): Spring is a transitional season, with warming temperatures and average highs ranging from the mid-40s to the mid-60s Fahrenheit (7-18°C). As the weather becomes more favorable, residents and nature enthusiasts can enjoy the blooming of flowers and the return of migratory birds.

The maritime influence on Brookhaven’s climate also results in relatively high humidity levels, particularly during the summer months. The Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound act as heat sinks, moderating temperature extremes and contributing to the overall comfort of the climate.

Urban Development:

Brookhaven encompasses a mix of suburban and rural areas, reflecting the town’s diverse character and accommodating a range of lifestyles.

  1. Residential Communities: The town features numerous residential communities, ranging from suburban neighborhoods to rural enclaves. These communities offer a variety of housing options, from single-family homes to apartments, catering to the needs of a diverse population.
  2. Beachfront Communities: The southern coast of Brookhaven is home to beachfront communities, including those on Fire Island. These areas attract residents and visitors seeking a coastal lifestyle, with access to beaches, water activities, and the natural beauty of barrier islands.
  3. Commercial Centers: Brookhaven has commercial centers and business districts that provide residents with shopping, dining, and entertainment options. These centers contribute to the town’s economic vitality and serve as hubs for community activities.

Challenges and Adaptations:

As with any region, Brookhaven faces challenges related to sustainable development, environmental conservation, and the impact of climate change. The town has implemented various strategies to address these challenges and adapt to the evolving needs of its residents.

  1. Environmental Conservation: Preserving the natural beauty of Brookhaven, including its coastal areas, pine barrens, and wildlife habitats, is a priority. The town actively engages in environmental conservation efforts, collaborating with organizations and agencies to protect sensitive ecosystems and biodiversity.
  2. Coastal Resilience: Given its coastal location, Brookhaven is mindful of the challenges posed by sea-level rise and extreme weather events. The town engages in coastal resilience planning to address potential impacts and ensure the long-term sustainability of coastal communities.
  3. Water Management: As with many coastal communities, Brookhaven faces challenges related to water management. The town emphasizes responsible water usage, stormwater management, and initiatives to protect water quality in the Long Island Sound and Atlantic Ocean.
  4. Community Engagement: Community engagement is a key component of Brookhaven’s approach to development. The town seeks input from residents on matters related to zoning, land use, and environmental initiatives. This engagement fosters a sense of community ownership and ensures that development aligns with the values of the residents.


In conclusion, Brookhaven, New York, is a town with a diverse and picturesque geography, shaped by its coastal location, natural features, and varied topography. From the shores of the Long Island Sound to the pine barrens and barrier islands, Brookhaven offers residents a unique blend of suburban and coastal living.

As the town continues to grow and evolve, addressing challenges related to environmental conservation, coastal resilience, and sustainable development will be crucial. Brookhaven’s commitment to preserving its natural assets, engaging with the community, and adapting to the impacts of climate change positions it as a vibrant and resilient community on Long Island.

Brookhaven, New York