16 Fun Things to do on Long Island, New York
Wondering what to do on Long Island? I am still surprised by how many beautiful places Long Island has to offer! New York City is great but the charming suburbs of Long Island offers castles, lighthouses, beautiful beaches, gardens, gold coast mansions, vineyards, and hiking to name a few. So have you made it out to Long Island yet? If not, here are 15 + awesome things to do on Long Island that will have you planning your day-trip out!
Better yet, this “best things to do on Long Island” list is full of outdoor activities and attractions for both adults and kids.
Long Island is broken up into two counties, Nassau and Suffolk county. While you might have only heard of the Hamptons or Montauk, Long Island has way more to offer.
To really experience the best things to do on Long Island, we will be exploring both counties on this list!
Did you know: While not a part of the suburb of Long Island, Brooklyn and Queens are technically all a part of the same island in New York State?
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
- 16 Fun Things to do on Long Island, New York
- 1. Fire Island Lighthouse and National Seashore
- 2. Sands Point Preserve
- 3. Montauk Lighthouse
- 4. Long Island Beaches
- 5. Planting Fields Arboretum
- 6. Lavender and Sunflower Fields on Long Island
- 7. Long Island North Fork Wineries
- 8. Hiking Through Long Island’s Parks
- 9. Old Westbury Garden
- 10. Apple Picking Orchards
- 11. The Hamptons
- 12. Oyster Festitival in Oyster Bay, Long Island
- 13. Bayard Cutting Arboretum
- 14. Oheka Historic Mansion
- 15. Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium
- 16. Hit the Tanger Outlets
- Best Things to do in Long Island Review
1. Fire Island Lighthouse and National Seashore
The Fire Island Lighthouse is probably one of my favorite places to visit on Long Island! Anytime someone visits, this is the first place I think to bring them! Open all year round, it’s easily one of the best places to see on Long Island and a perfect outdoor activity.
Head over to Robert Moses Field 5 and drive all the way to the left.
Next, make your way down a very scenic path by the beach with local white-tailed deer on either side to your way to the lighthouse.
Did you know the Fire Island Lighthouse is actually the tallest lighthouse on Long Island? Better yet, did you know you can climb the 182 steps to the top of the lighthouse?
From the top of the lighthouse, you can actually walk fully around the top for panoramic views of the seashore and on a clear day, you can even see Manhattan!
The tower can be climbed every day from 10 AM until 4:30 PM and costs $10 dollars for adults and $5 dollars for children and seniors.
After climbing the tower, head to the beach and relax or tour the museum attached to the lighthouse.
Address: Burma Rd, Fire Island, NY 11702
2. Sands Point Preserve
Did you know there are Castles on Long Island? I didn’t know either until I was looking for places to take engagement photos back in 2017!
The grounds at Sands Point Preserve actually have 2 castles/mansions and 216 acres located right on the Long Island Sound in Nassau County.
Built-in 1902, the 100,000 square ft castle was inspired by Ireland’s Kilkenny Castle.
The Owner Howard Gould’s wife unfortunately wasn’t pleased, so he built a second 50,000 square ft mansion across the property, called the Hempstead House located closer to the sound.
The grounds and entrance to the beach are really beautiful. Sands Point Preserve is full of outdoor activities including walking trails, large grassy picnic areas, and a beach to hang out on. You can even bring your dogs, which is rare in Long Island, IMO! It is also a top photo-worthy place on Long Island.
Additionally, there are also tours to see the inside of the Castle and mansion!
The entrance is $5 per car or a $4 walk-in fee and is open year-round.
Hours change with the season and they are open from Wednesday- Sunday.
Address: 127 Middle Neck Rd, Sands Point, NY 11050
3. Montauk Lighthouse
Can you tell I have a thing for Lighthouses? Probably one of the most famous lighthouses on Long Island and even in all of New York State is the Montauk Lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in 1796 and still serves as an important aid to navigation!
Located at the very tip of Long Island (also known as the End of the World, Montauk) explore sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean, climb around the rocks or hang out on the beach from this national historic site.
They also offer tours to climb the lighthouse and have a museum.
There is an admission of $8 dollars to park at the Montauk Point State Park lot and then an additional $5-$10 for climbing the tower of the lighthouse. After a visit to the Montauk Lighthouse, make sure to enjoy the surrounding beach and get to grab some food from the Lobster Roll.
Address: 2000 Montauk Hwy, Montauk, NY 11954
4. Long Island Beaches
Long Island is definitely known for having the best beaches in New York easily making it one of the best things to do on Long Island! If you are coming from New York City, I’d recommend taking the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) to Long Beach!
Long Beach is one of the most popular beaches on Long Island and for good reason! For one the beach is huge, they have a great boardwalk and lots of bars and food nearby! Some of the most popular bars and eateries nearby are Pop’s Seafood Shack and Grill, the Cabana, the Beach House, and Minnesota’s. If you love over-the-top milkshakes, check out Diner by the Sea!
Other Beaches to consider visiting are Jones Beach and Robert Moses beach on the South of Long Island. Most beaches do charge admission so it is best to have cash with you and your ID. Depending on where you live, depends on the entrance to the beach.
If you are a Long Island Resident looking to check out a new beach, another favorite is Point Lookout and Lido Beach. After a visit, you can get the famous Marvel’s ice cream.
5. Planting Fields Arboretum
Welcome to one of the most beautiful gardens on Long Island! The Planting Fields historic park, originally the estate of William Robertson Coe, covers over 400 acres of rolling hills, greenhouses, and historic estates that still stand. This is easily one of my favorite places to visit on Long Island -especially during the fall.
The Planting Fields are the perfect place to spend a nice day strolling through the gardens or even setting up a picnic!
The planting fields are also a hot spot for photographers, especially around sunset! Don’t be surprised to see engagement and wedding shoots going on here; it’s just that pretty!
During the fall, the foliage is also incredible here!
Address: 1395 Planting Fields Rd, Oyster Bay, NY 11771
Admission: $8 Dollars per car. Additional fees for tours.
Park Hours: 9 am – 5pm
6. Lavender and Sunflower Fields on Long Island
Another one of the best things to do on Long Island includes seeing the stunning Lavender fields and Sunflower fields out East during the summer! It’s also a perfect outdoor activity for everyone!
Find your own little piece of France and frolic in the rows of Lavender fields at Lavender by the Bay.
They have two locations (East Marion & Calverton) where they grow English and French Lavender.
Learn more about the Lavender Fields on Long Island here!
Right after Lavender season, head right over to some of the best Sunflower fields on Long Island! Long Island farmers know the way to our hearts offering us flower fields and mazes to enjoy (mainly free).
No need to drive all the way to Jersey when we got the goods right here in Long Island, New York!
7. Long Island North Fork Wineries
Did you know Long Island’s North Fork is wine country here in New York? You now have another reason to take a day trip out East!
Explore and experience around 60 vineyards on Long Island, predominantly on the North Fork and a couple out in the Hamptons.
Many of the vineyards and wineries allow you to walk through the fields, offer tours, have live music, and food, making it the perfect outing. Visiting the Long Island Vineyards is an especially popular summer activity.
If you are planning a visit, consider going vineyard hopping since they are pretty close to one another, this way you can sample a few local wines!
Some of our favorite vineyards on Long Island include Macari (make a reservation ahead of time), Baiting Hollow Farm & Vineyard, and Wölffer Estate Vineyard.
You might even want to consider getting a Northfork rental for the weekend and having Wine Weekend and shopping at the Tanger Outlets!
Find out the best vineyards to visit on Long Island here!
8. Hiking Through Long Island’s Parks
Exploring Long Island State parks and trails is among one of my favorite things to do on Long Island! One of the most popular hikes through Long Island is the Greenbelt trail of over 31 miles that stretches from the North Shore to the South Shore.
The Greenbelt also goes through 4 very popular parks, Heckscher State Park, Sunken Meadow State Park, Caleb Smith State Park, and Connetquot State Park (one of my favorites).
Other favorite parks include Valley Stream State Park (where we took our Engagement photos) Hempstead Lake Park (dog friendly), Cold Spring Harbor State Park, and Heckscher Park where you can go disc golfing!
9. Old Westbury Garden
The Old Westbury Gardens is another beautiful garden on Long Island and one of the top things to do! This former estate boast 200 acres of formal grounds, gardens, ponds, and lakes giving you total Great Gatsby vibes.
The property is so beautiful, it’s even been a part of several movies including Cruel Intentions, American Gangster, and Hitch.
The estate was built in 1906 and is a very popular place for weddings, private events, and of course photographers.
Tickets to the Old Westbury grounds currently need to be purchased in advance and range from $7-$12 dollars a person.
Address: 71 Old Westbury Rd, Old Westbury, NY 11568
10. Apple Picking Orchards
As you might already know, Upstate New York has apple picking, but did you know Long Island also has some great places to go apple picking too?!
Believe it or not, Long Island is my favorite place to go apple picking, however, I guess I might be slightly biased since Long Island was my home for over 10 years.
Like the vineyards, most of the apple picking is located on the North Fork. I’d recommend taking a day trip out to East Long Island early to apple pick and then reward yourself with a vineyard or two after! It is also perfect for fall weekend getaways. A lot of farms are also kid-friendly with dwarf trees.
While you’re at it, you might as well enjoy pumpkin picking on Long Island too!
11. The Hamptons
The Hamptons are known as a summer or weekend getaway for most local and affluent New York and Long Islanders. The Hamptons are located on the South Fork of Long Island and are comprised of Hamlets and Villages. Some of the most popular areas in the Hamptons include Sag Harbor, Westhampton, Southhampton, Easthampton, and Montauk.
You have likely heard of celebrities spending time in the Hamptons at beach mansions, luxury dining, and shopping.
One of the top things to do in the Hamptons is visiting the beach. One of the best beaches to visit is Coopers Beach which is known as one of the best beaches in the Country.
You can also enjoy a handful of top Long Island Vineyards and farms such as Wölffer Estate Vineyards and Seven Ponds Orchard.
If you are looking for something fun to do on Long Island in the winter, consider visiting Westhampton Beach to spot Harbor Seals!
Consider spending a weekend in the Hamptons at a rental home.
12. Oyster Festitival in Oyster Bay, Long Island
One of the most popular events and things to do on Long Island in the fall is in Oyster Bay at the Oyster Festival. Every year tons of street vendors, live music, carnival games, and of course lots of Oyster shucking.
With over 150,000 people visiting each year, this festival is known as one of the largest East Coast Waterfront festivals.
You will find tons of great seafood and fun for the family. Parking is generally a bit of a walk, so it is best to get there early.
Unfortunately, they have postponed the 2021 festival, and plan to resume in October of 2022.
13. Bayard Cutting Arboretum
Another very popular place to visit on and enjoy on Long Island is Bayard Cutting Arboretum. This large state park covers 691 acres and was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted for William Bayard Cutting back in 1886.
Located in Great River, Bayard Cutting Arboretum has been added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. Enjoy lovely and expansive gardens, a stunning English Tutor Mansion, or a leisurely walk around the Great South Bay.
Address: 440 Montauk Highway Great River, NY 11739.
Open Tuesday- Sunday 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Fee: $8 per vehicle (April-November)
14. Oheka Historic Mansion
One of the most epic mansions/castles on Long Island is Oheka Historic Mansion. This iconic gilded age mansion sits at the highest point of Long Island. It is located in Cold Spring Harbor and is the second-largest private home in the USA.
Originally, I thought the only way to see this property up-close and personal was to attend a wedding. Later I learned that you can actually take a tour or by dining at the OHK Bar & Restaurant.
The tours give you limited access to the estate and gardens. They are by reservation only and can be found here. Prices range from $15 -$30 USD.
During your visit, they require a proper country club or business casual attire required at all times.
Address: 135 W Gate Dr, Huntington, NY 11743
15. Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium
If you love mansions, add the Vanderbilt Museum to your Long Island Bucket List! This fabulous mansion sits on 43 acres. Enjoy a tour of the 24 room Spanish mansion that was built by the same firm that was one of the two firms to build Grand Central Station, Warren and Wetmore!
Admission offers guided tours of the living quarters of the Vanderbilt Mansion transporting visitors back in time to the life of William K. Vanderbilt II from the 1920s to-40s. You can also enjoy Planetarium shows!
Additionally, for the holiday season, they have a whole Christmas Lightshow to enjoy.
Mansion Tours can be added to a General Admission ticket for $6. Open Friday- Sunday. For more information and tickets, click here!
Address: 180 Little Neck Rd, Centerport, NY 11721
16. Hit the Tanger Outlets
Love shopping? Then adding the Tanger Outlet stores should be on your Long Island bucket list. Long Island has two Tanger Outlets. One in Deer Park (closer to Nassau County) and Riverhead.
I’ve shopped at both and personally like the Riverhead location better, however, they both have tons of top designer stores with goods at a fraction of the cost. Find the Tanger Outlet Store list here.
If you visit the Riverhead location, during the summer, you can also check out Splish Splash Water Park. The water park is 96 acres with a variety of different rides.
Moreover, The Riverhead Long Island Aquarium is also nearby with both indoor and outdoor exhibits. Learn more about visiting the Aquarium here.
Best Things to do in Long Island Review
This covers the 13 plus best things to do on Long Island, New York! As you can see, Long Island really does have tons of awesome attractions and things to offer! From castles and mansions to gardens and beaches, I hope you have the best time exploring the island!
Want to explore more of New York and Long Island? Discover more New York travel tips and guides!