Best Fun Things to do on Long Island, NY – Your Local Guide
Wondering what kinds of things there are 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 offer 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 both outdoor and indoor activities and attractions for adults and families.
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links where I may earn a commission at no cost to you.Disclosure
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Best Fun Things to do on Long Island, NY – Your Local Guide
- About 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 State Historic Park
- 6. Flower Fields on Long Island
- 7. Long Island North Fork Wineries & Vineyards
- 8. Hiking Through Long Island’s Parks
- 9. Old Westbury Garden
- 10. Apple Picking Orchards
- 11. The Hamptons
- 12. Oyster Festival in Oyster Bay, Long Island
- 13. Bayard Cutting Arboretum
- 14. Oheka Historic Mansion
- 15. Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium
- 16. Hit the Tanger Outlets
- 17. Long Island Museums
- 18. See a Hockey Game
- 19. Check Out the Races at Belmont
- 20. Go Fishing on Long Island
- 21. Go Whale and Seal Watching – One of the Best Winter Activities to do on Long Island
- 22. Hang Out at the Nautical Mile
- 23. Port Tiki Island Cruises
- 24. Zipline on Long Island
- 25. Skydiving on Long Island
- 26. Riverhead Long Island Aquarium
- 27. Splish Splash Waterpark
- 28. Roosevelt Field Mall
- 29. Adventureland Amusement Park
- Getting Around Long Island NY
- Where to Stay on Long Island
- Best Time to Visit Long Island New York
- Best Things to do in Long Island Review
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 County and Suffolk County. The Island covers 118 miles across, and while you may 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?
However, Queens and Brooklyn are NOT a part of the Long Island Counties. So anything in Queens or Brooklyn (like Coney Island) is NOT Long Island. Brooklyn and Queens are a part of the New York City Boroughs. Long Island even has different laws than other parts of New York, like the legal smoking age.
So, if you ever see a list that includes places outside of Nassau or Suffolk County, you get incorrect information.
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 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.
Oh, and if you happen to visit on November 2nd, they usually have free cake for the Lighthouse’s birthday!
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!
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. After seeing the Kilkenny Castle in person, I can tell you it is a “loose interpretation” of inspiration.
The Owner, Howard Gould’s wife, unfortunately, wasn’t pleased, so he built a second 50,000 square foot mansion across the property, called the Hempstead House, located closer to the sound. Behind the Hempstead House, facing the sound, you will find a beautiful rose garden.
The grounds and entrance to the beach are really beautiful. Sands Point Preserve is full of outdoor activities, including walking and nature 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 Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in 1796 and still serves as an important aid to navigation! In fact, it is the 4th oldest lighthouse that is still active in the USA.
Located on the easternmost 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 white sand beach from this national historic landmark.
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 Rail Road (LIRR) to Long Beach!
Long Beach is one of the most popular white sandy beaches on Long Island, and for good reason! For one, this 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!
Update: Pop’s Seafood Shack has officially closed.
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 held 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 not a NY resident, I would choose Jones Beach or Long 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.
5. Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park
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. It is also one of the best fall activities on Long Island.
The Planting Fields are the perfect place to spend a nice day strolling through the gardens or even setting up a picnic! They often have special events in the gardens as well.
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, Sunflower fields, and tulip 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 in New York? You now have another reason to take a day trip out East!
Explore and go wine tasting with over 60 vineyards on Long Island to choose from! Most vineyards are predominantly on the North Fork, and a couple are out in the Hamptons.
Many of the vineyards and wineries allow you to walk through the fields, go on a tour, enjoy live entertainment music, and eat good 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
- 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 one of my favorite things to do on Long Island! This is also one of the best free things to do on Long Island since most parks are free to visit. 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 great place to go for beautiful gardens on Long Island and one of the best things to do! This former Historic Mansion boasts 200 acres of formal 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 per 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, West Hampton, South Hampton, East Hampton, 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.
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 Oyster Festival always happens in October, making it a great fall event. The next Oyster Festival will be on October 14th – 15th, 2023.
13. Bayard Cutting Arboretum
Another very popular place to visit and enjoy on Long Island is the 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 was 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.
Hours: Tuesday- Sunday 10 AM – 4 PM
Fee: $8 per vehicle (April-November)
14. Oheka Historic Mansion
One of the most epic mansions/castles on Long Island is the 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 the Oheka Castle up close and personal was to attend a wedding. Later, I learned that you can actually take a tour or dine 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 one in 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. This is a great Long Island activity for families. 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 – very fun for families
- 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
- Long Island Children’s Museum
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.
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 seals 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.
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 the 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, which will be cruising around 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.
You can also zipline at The Adventure Park, located in Wheatly Heights. Designed to be like a Switzerland Park, you will be zooming through the trees from one platform to the next. This is a really unique experience since there are very few aerial parks in the states.
They even have a “Glow in the Park” where you can zipline at night with the lights illuminated throughout the trees.
Prices range from $57 USD and up, and The Adventure Park offers better prices if you purchase it online.
Address: 75 Colonial Springs Rd, Wheatley Heights, NY 11798
25. Skydiving on Long Island
Have you ever considered skydiving? You can go skydiving 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 at Nespresso inside of Bloomingdales 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
29. Adventureland Amusement Park
If you are looking for something that is fun to do with the family, consider heading over to Adventure Land, the amusement park located in Farmingdale. I can’t even count how many times I’ve passed this park on my way to work.
While I have personally never been, my husband has very fond childhood memories here and said it must be on my list! Adventureland has over 25 rides and arcade games to enjoy.
Admission: Prices start at $31.99 USD and their website offers a “discount” when purchasing tickets on their official website, Adventureland.
Address: 2245 Broadhollow Rd, Farmingdale, NY 11735
Getting Around Long Island NY
Unlike the boroughs of New York, mass transit is not as popular on Long Island since it is a suburb. While there is the Long Island Railroad and buses, relying on that alone will make it quite difficult to explore the Island.
Renting a car is your best bet when visiting Long Island. You can Uber/Lyft, but it can become costly. If you are planning to just take a trip out to Montauk or Long Beach, however, the Long Island Railroad can be a feasible option. It really just depends on the area you are looking to explore.
Where to Stay on Long Island
Long Island is a giant Suburb, so it can be quite difficult to know where you should stay when visiting. Some of the best towns to check out when looking for a place to stay are Garden City, Manhasset, Long Beach, Port Jefferson, throughout the Hamptons, Montauk, and along the North Fork.
You can find both vacation rentals, as well as hotels. Some top-rated hotels on Long Island include:
Best Time to Visit Long Island New York
As you may be able to tell from the Long Island activities above, there are great things to do all year on Long Island. However, summer is the most popular time people visit Long Island.
This is because Long Island has the best beaches in New York. Additionally, Long Island has a lot of fun outdoor activities. Spring and fall are also very popular on Long Island. You can usually enjoy activities with a smaller crowd.
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 historic mansions and castles 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!
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.
Have any questions or feel like I missed something? Let me know in the comments below!