30 Best Things to do on Long Island, New York From a LOCAL

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Best Fun Things to do on Long Island, New York

Wondering what kind of things there is to do on Long Island? I am still surprised by how many beautiful places Long Island, New York 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 30+ 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.

The Fire Island Lighthouse is one of the best things to see on Long Island
Fire Island Lighthouse is one of the best things to do on Long Island

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About Long Island New York

Before getting into the best things to do on Long Island, here is some very brief information about Long Island.

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?

Top of Pirates Cove in Port Jefferson Long Island

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

Long Island Tip: Although you will see both “on Long Island” and “in Long Island” written throughout this post, the correct way to say it is “ON Long Island”. I have both throughout the article for search purposes. To my fellow local Long Islanders, don’t shun me!

The Fire Island Lighthouse is one of the best things to do on Long Island

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 for all those 12 years old and up.

The entrance is $15 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

Montauk Light House on Long Island
Makes sure to visit the Montauk Lighthouse - one of the best things to do on Long Island

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 Rail Road (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 State Park (I like field 4) and Robert Moses beach on the South of Long Island. Jones Beach is also home to the Jones Beach Theater where you will find tons of music concerts! One of the most notable is Jimmy Buffet which is every year. 

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 to the beach, you can get the famous Marvel’s ice cream.

Make sure to head to Long Island Beaches
Long Beach, Long Island

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 – 5 pm

6. Flower 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). During April, you can also enjoy tulips on Long Island at the Waterdrinker Festival!

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 & Vineyards

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 a popular summer activity, although they are generally open all year round.

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!

Visiting the Parks on Long Island is some of the best things to do
Hempstead Lake State Park

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!

One of the best things to do on Long Island is apple picking

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.

Consider spending a weekend in the Hamptons at a rental home.

Well-known hotels include: Gurney’s Star Island Resort & Marina | The Surf Club Resort

Wolffer Estate is one of the best vineyards on Long Island by the Hamptons
Wolffer Estate on Long Island, NY

12. Oyster Festival 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.

The festival is planned to resume this year in October of 2022.

Enjoying Oysters at Oyster Festival in Oyster Bay Long Island Ny
Enjoying Oysters at Oyster Fest in Long Island

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 – 1940s. 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.

17. Long Island Museums

Another one of the best things to do on Long Island is to check out one of the many museums. Both Nassau and Suffolk County offer great museums to check out! Some of the most visited museums on Long Island include:

  • Cradle of Aviation Museum located in Garden City
  • The Heckscher Museum of Art located in Huntington
  • Long Island Maritime Museum located in West Sayville
  • Nassau County Museum of Art located in Roslyn Harbor
  • Parrish Art Museum located in Water Mill

18. See a Hockey Game

Looking for fun things to do during the winter on Long Island? Well, if you are a hockey fan, you will be pleased to know Long Island is home to The Islanders and they are now playing at the UBS Arena at Belmont Park, which is located in Elmont, Long Island. The hockey season runs from early October to early April for 82 games.

Address: 2400 Hempstead Turnpike, Elmont, NY 11003

19. Check Out the Races at Belmont

Belmont is also well-known as a thoroughbred race track. In fact, Belmont Park Racetrack is known as one of the elite race tracks in North America and almost every major championship has competed here including all triple crown winners.

The horse races start from late April through mid-July known as the spring/summer meet. In 2022, the races will begin April 28th and end July 10th for 59 stakes races worth $16.95 million in total purses.

If you want to play dress-up with your big hats, visit during the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival! It opens with three stakes races on Thursday, June 9.

Address: 2150 Hempstead Turnpike, Elmont, NY 11003

20. Go Fishing on Long Island

If you want to enjoy some sports fishing, Long Island is the place to do it! There are tons of fishing charters from Port Jefferson, Mattituck, the Hamptons, Montauk, Freeport, and more! One of our favorite places to go fishing is by Fire Island.

Some of the most popular fish to catch include Striped Bass, Flounder, Fluke, and Bluefish. Clamming is also quite popular on Long Island. You can search for and eat Hard clams (quahogs), blue mussels, razor clams, soft clams, oysters, and bay scallops. Learn more about shellfishing on Long Island here.

If you don’t have your sea legs, Long Island also has tons of freshwater fishing available. With plenty of lakes and streams, you have the opportunity to catch Large Mouth Bass, Trout, and Panfish. Some popular places to do this are Hempstead Lake State Park, Smith Pond, and Massapequa Lake.

21. Go Whale and Seal Watching – One of the Best Winter Activities to do on long Island

If you are looking for fun winter activities to do on Long Island, consider going on a whale watching or Seal Watching tour! It is pretty common to be able to see whales and seals in Suffolk county and makes for a fun winter activity.

The most common whale you will see on Long Island is the humpback whale. Many times you will see bottle-nosed dolphins as well!

The Long Island waters are also filled with Seal during the winter months. Westhampton Beach is one of my favorite spots to view seals! However, if you want a full experience, there are tours that will bring you to all the best-known seal spots on Long Island as well.

Seals you are likely to see on Long Island include the Grey Seal, Hooded Seal, Harp Seal, Harbor Seal, and Ringed Seal.

One of the best things to do on Long island is see seals

22. Hang Out at the Nautical Mile

Want to enjoy a lively day at the waterfront? Freeport’s Nautical Mile offers great seafood, bars, music, and shopping. Located alongside Woodcleft Canal, the Nautical Mile is especially popular on weekends. At night, many of these seaside restaurants turn into clubs.

The atmosphere is really nice. I actually had my engagement party here. Additionally, boat charters and water activities (kayaking, SUP) are also popular here.

23. Port Tiki Island Cruises

Brand new to our Long Island waters is the Port Tiki Island Cruises that will be cruising around the Manhasset Bay! Offering both private and public 90-minute and 3-hour pub float crawls, it makes for a fun and new way to get your drink on.

They are sailing with a minimum of 4 guests and cruise times will happen between 3 PM – 9 PM on weekdays and 11 AM – 9 PM on weekends. Prices start at $45 per person and go up depending if you are doing the public or private cruise. Learn more about Booz cruising Long Island here!

Address: 405 Main Street Port Washington, NY

24. Zipline on Long Island

If you are looking for something with a little more thrill, make your way out to Jones Beach to go ziplining with Wild Play! The lines stretch 700 ft with beach views and they offer several different difficulties making it great for everyone. They even offer a 40ft plunge jump!

Wild Play Zipline is open on Thursday- Monday 10 AM – 8 PM in fields 4 and 5.

25. Sky Diving

Have you ever considered Sky Diving? You can go sky diving right on Long Island and is easily one of the more unique things to do! The Sky Diving Center located in Shirley Long Island is one of the closest places from NYC to take the plunge from the sky!

All of their instructors have done over 500 jumps and are highly credentialed! Pricing ranges from $239 – $298. Learn more about the Long Island Sky Diving Center here!

26. Riverhead Long Island Aquarium

Another really fun thing to do on Long Island (especially with kids) is to visit the Riverhead Long Island Aquarium. With dozens of indoor and outdoor activities, there are tons to explore.

One of their largest attractions is a 20,000-US-gallon coral reef display tank. In fact, it contains one of the largest all-living coral displays in the Western Hemisphere. The aquarium also has live webcam views on its website and also does many wildlife releases after animals have been rehabilitated through their New York Marine Rescue Center.

Get tickets and learn more about visiting the Aquarium here.

Address: 431 E Main St, Riverhead, NY 11901

27. Splish Splash Waterpark

Also located in Riverhead, Long Island is the Splish Splash Water Park. This is a great thing to do during the summer months on Long Island. The water park is 96 acres with a variety of different rides.

During a visit, you can enjoy 20 slides, a lazy river, two wave pools, and more!

To get Splish Splash tickets and park maps, check out the Splish Splash website here.

Address: 2549 Splish Splash Dr, Calverton, NY 11933

28. Roosevelt Field Mall

I wouldn’t necessarily put this at the top of my list of best things to do on Long Island, however, if you haven’t been to the Roosevelt Mall yet and want some shopping therapy, this is a pretty great mall.

I should know, I worked inside of Bloomingdales here for years! Besides the luxury shops along with many other stores you’d expect a mall to have, they also have a really good dining scene. From the Capital Grill, 52 Seasons to the Cheesecake Factory and their newly designed food court, you can easily spend all day here. There is even a movie theater and gym if the shopping wasn’t enough!

See the Roosevelt Field Mall stores here.

Address: 630 Old Country Rd, Garden City, NY 11530

Best Things to do in Long Island Review

This covers the 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! 4 Days in NYC | Fee Things to do in NYC | Things New Yorkers Say | NYC at Night | Where to Stay in NYC

One place I did not mention, although popular is the Long Island Game Farm. It is a children’s Zoo, although zoos are not my thing.

Top 10 Long Island Highlight

Enjoy this Best things to do on Long Island guide? I’d appreciate it if you could share it below!

Best things to do on Long Island New York

33 thoughts on “30 Best Things to do on Long Island, New York From a LOCAL”

  1. Hi! Great post, checked out Sands Point after reading this yesterday, we had an awesome day, thank you! Entrance fee was $15 per car though not $5, and castle tour is 12 and older (my son wasn’t old enough but we enjoyed the grounds and park!) just figured I’d share so others are prepared. Also I definitely recommend a picnic lunch too under one of the big shady trees, happy summer everyone!

    • Thank you so much for adding that correction! I will fix it now, I am thinking the 1 got deleted or missed. I am so happy you enjoyed this post!

  2. Very good and varied list, but I wonder how many Long Islanders stopped reading after the first sentence said “IN Long Island”.

    • Hey Ray I appreciate it and it pains me to have to write “IN Long Island” but it seems that more people search IN long island rather than ON long island so I had to include both variations in my article in order to rank for both. Trust me, it pains me to write it like that lol – I hope you understand!

  3. You left out Delvino Vineyards. It’s one of the most beautiful and put together vineyards on long island. Besides the beauty the food and wine are over the top. Please try to include in your next best of.

  4. I just wanted to mention the Peconic Herb Farm in Calverton. ItThe farm is considered a hidden secret. Absolutely breathtaking. If you have never been, you must visit. Along with tree, herbs and plants sales there are 2 barns filled with new and antique items. The girls who work the farm (herbetted) make thier own honey, spices, lavender spray, soap and bug spray plus much more. Nothing quite like this experience. If you go be sure to bring a picnic basket and get a seat along the peconic river!!!

    • Thank you so much for this comment, Mary! I have not been yet, but I will surely look to check out the Peconic Herb Farm soon!

  5. Great suggestions! Long Island is a beautiful place to live. I was born and raised there and just recently relocated to Texas, what a change! But, I think I would add Bayard Cutting Arboretum to your list. It features a 3 mike hike around the Great South Bay and a beautiful organic farm growing around the perimeter. The old Mansion is gorgeous and you can have tea/ coffee and a sandwich. I went here everyday for two years healing a broken heart and this place just gives and gives.

    • Thank you so much for leaving such a thoughtful comment, Lisa! I will look into adding Bayard Cutting Arboretum to the list. I have heard from many others it’s a beautiful place, I just haven’t had the chance to check it out yet!

  6. On any given summer evening. A sunset in Bayville is incredible! My wife, myself and our 2 boys took the classic car up to the North Shore almost every weekend. We played ball and Frisbee then watched the sunset while eating ice cream.
    Don’t forget Oyster Fest! Not far from the planting fields. It is one of my favorite places and events. Although fifty years I choose to escape the stressed city life for the mountains of NY. I will always treasure those memories!

    • I totally agree with you that the Oyster Fest is so much fun! Long Island in general has some of the best sunsets. Thank you so much for sharing on the thread!

    • Hi Grit N Grace! Thanks so much for your comment, I am so glad you enjoyed this article. The reason why the article has both “in” and “on” is so the article will come up either way, even though “on” is not correct, people still search “in” so I’ve sprinkled it through.

  7. This is GREAT. I’m a Long Islander that also lives in the Raleigh area. Let me know if you’d like some ideas of fun places to visit in your new home state.

  8. Long island looks so lovely! I’ve never been but considering I’m in Toronto I’m not that far… adding it to the list! Thanks for all the Long Island inspo <3

  9. I can’t believe I lived in NYC for 10 years and never once made it to Long Island! Hopefully next year I’ll be able to get back and explore. Thank you for all the great inspiration!


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