13 Best Things to do on Long Island, New York 2021

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13 + Fun Things to do on Long Island, New York

Even after living in Long Island, New York for over 10 years, 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 13 + awesome things to do on Long Island that will have you planning your day-trip out!

Better yet, all 13 things to do are outdoor activities and attractions on Long Island that everyone can enjoy!

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?

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 in Long Island

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1. Fire Island Lighthouse and National Seashore

The Fire Island Lighthouse is probably one of my favorite places to go 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

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!

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 New York 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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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! 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 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 allow you to walk through the fields, offer tours, live music, and food, making it the perfect outing. Also consider going vineyard hopping since they are pretty close to one another, this way you can sample a few!

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), 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! 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.

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.

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 Festitival in Oyster Bay, Long Island

One of the most popular events and things to do on Long Island 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.

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

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)

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!

Top 10 Long Island Highlight

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24 thoughts on “13 Best Things to do on Long Island, New York 2021”

  1. 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.

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
  2. 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!

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  3. 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.

    Reply
  4. 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

    Reply
  5. 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!

    Reply

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