20 Reasons Why You Should Visit Long Island, New York

Long Island, New York, is a great place to visit all year round. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, visit historical sites, enjoy the outdoors or sample some of the local fare and cuisine, Long Island offers it all. Here are 20 reasons why you should visit Long Island when planning your next trip to the East Coast of the United States.

Fire Island Lighthouse and National Seashore

Fire Island is a narrow barrier island that parallels most of Long Island’s south shore. It runs about 20 miles and is home to several miles of beach and nature walks, along dunes planted with native wildflowers.  

It is also home to the tallest lighthouse on Long Island, New York, at 180 feet high.  The Lighthouse is just $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for children and seniors to climb, but the view is so worth it!  

You will see stunning views of both Fire Island and Long Island’s south shore, you may even see the outline of the city as well.  

Address: Field 5, Robert Moses State Park

Sands Point Preserve

The Sands Point Preserve, also known as the Guggenheim Estate, consists of two beautiful castles of an era gone by.   Book a tour and take a walk back in time as you learn about the history of these magnificent castles, also known as Hempstead House. 

 It was regarded as one of the most luxurious estates that exists along the Long Island’s Gold Coast in its prime.  Today the castle and grounds are owned by Nassau County, NY. 

They are maintained by the Sands Point Preserve Conservancy, providing public and private events year-round of educational and cultural programs and fitness activities as well as concerts and lectures.

The Castles also serve as a prime location for the filming of many Movies like Boardwalk Empire, Great Expectations, and The Great Gatsby Movie. Be sure to take many pictures to remember your visit. 

Address: 127 Middle Neck Road, Sands Point, New York 11050

Montauk Lighthouse

Located in Montauk on Long Island’s East End and built-in 1796, Montauk Lighthouse was once part of a network of lighthouses designed to guide ships through what is now known as New York City’s Gateway Region. 

The lighthouse has been renovated throughout its lifetime, but today it still stands as one of Long Island’s most cherished and historical landmarks.

Montauk is a major tourist attraction and is popularly known for recreational saltwater fishing.  On your way out, stop by the gift shop and see what treasures you may find.  

Address: 2000 Montauk Hwy, Montauk, NY 11954

Planting Fields Arboretum

Another Gold Coast beauty Located in Oyster Bay on Long Island, New York, is  Planting Fields Arboretum and Garden Museum.  

They offer visitors a chance to explore over 400 acres of spectacular botanical gardens and thousands of living plants that were originally designed and landscaped by the well-known Olmsted Brothers.  

The grounds with The original historic estate building, Coe Hall,  and the surrounding buildings all remain intact and preserve the grandeur of the 19th Century styles.  

Tickets and reservations are required for tours,  open Wednesday to Sunday, from 10 am to 3 pm. However, it is not necessary for access to the Greenhouses so you can have a walk around the grounds and enjoy at your leisure the stunning blooms and sprawling greenery.  

With so many grounds to cover, you can easily spend an entire day here. And fall in love with Planting Fields. 

Address: 1395 Planting Fields Rd, Oyster Bay, NY 11771

The Long Island Aquarium

The Long Island Aquarium

Themed around the Lost City of Atlantis, The Long Island Aquarium is always a fan favorite to visit.  They have one of the largest living coral reef displays, a 120,000-gallon shark tank, complete with a swim with the shark activity and delightful year-round sea lion shows.

 Inside you will find an elaborate display of butterflies and birds; There is an underground cave-like area where you can pop into a glass dome to see the penguins in action as if you are right next to them.  

Try a snorkel event with tropical fish from around the world!  There are so many fun things to see and do here. Your kids will love it absolutely, but you will also be mesmerized as an adult.  The only thing better than seeing animals up close? Touching them!

Address: 431 East Main Street, Riverhead, NY 11901

Hiking Through Long Island’s Parks

fall mountain over the hill

Because Long Island is made up of so many parks and is surrounded by water on all sides, there are lots of spots to get out and do some hiking. 

Most of these hikes take you through beautiful forested areas where you can pause for a moment and appreciate the surroundings,  maybe do some bird watching, and just take in a breath of fresh air.  

Some popular Parks are Sunken Meadow State Park, Hempstead Lake Park, Jones Beach Lake Park, Hecksher State Park, and Cold Spring Harbor State Park.  

This is one outdoor activity you won’t want to miss if you find yourself in New York needing a break from city life. 

Long Island North Fork Wineries & Vineyards

Closeup of Winery Tasting Room Open sign with bokeh background of grape vineyard winery farm landscape

If you’re looking for a reason to visit Long Island, look no further than Long Island North Fork Wineries & Vineyards. The North Fork of Long Island is home to nearly thirty wineries and vineyards. 

Sample reds, whites, and rosés,  made from many grapes, including Merlot, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Most wineries provide beautiful indoor and outdoor seating with live music. 

They have light lunches like charcuterie boards and finger foods for purchase.  Enjoy beautiful rolling hills of grape vines where you can toast to your special occasion, bring a blanket and board games for the kids, and spend the day in this beautiful environment.

Another option is to rent a tour bus to drive you there and back.  This is the best option; you get to visit multiple wineries and have a designated driver already in place Plan your visit, take lots of photos and make memories!

Some winery tours you can look into are Wine Tours Long Island, Luxury Long Island Wine Tours, and Long Island Winery Limo, to name a few.

Tanger Outlets

Portrait of an excited beautiful girl wearing dress and sunglasses holding shopping bags isolated over blue background

Tanger 1 and Tanger 2 make up this fantastic shopping outlet in Riverhead, New York.  Shopping is always enjoyable, and we can always make time for it, especially when you can find almost every brand you like in one location. 

They have shops like Saks off 5th Ave, As seen on TV, and famous brands like Nike, Michael Kors, and many more. You can easily spend the entire day here, especially if you snag a shoppers savings book, offering discounts on most stores. 

Refuel with a delicious meal in their food court or drive a short distance to find restaurants galore.

Address: 1770 W Main St, Riverhead, NY 11901

Port Tikki Island Cruise

Book a private Long Island Tour aboard the Port Tikki Island Cruise and sail exclusively inside Manhasset Bay. 

If you book the sunset tours you will enjoy the views on the water as well as extraordinary mansions, magnificent yachts, and amazing sunsets!.  

Inspired by French Polynesia on the islands with straw roofs, this unique slow crawl pub boat is fitted with a blue tooth sound system, a restroom, and superb mood lighting that creates the most relaxed vibes. 

Cruises must be booked two weeks in advance and can cater to any occasion.  They run for 90 mins at $500.00 or 3 hours at $1000.00.  Port Tikki can carry up to 6 passengers or fewer, but if you want a tour for a larger party, try Angler IV or Angler V.  

405 Main Street, Port Washington, NY 10050

Oheka Castle

Oheka Castle is a private luxe Chateau-style estate built alongside the Golden Coast on Long Island.

It’s been named one of America’s most incredible houses by Forbes and is widely known as an oasis for artists, poets, and performers since it was built in 1919 and is surrounded by formal lush gardens. 

The rooms are uniquely decorated with Italian linens and original artwork with antique-style furniture,  Some suites have fireplaces and dining room chandeliers.

On the grounds is an upscale restaurant/bar, a fitness center, in-room massages, and vast beautiful rooms available for special occasions and events are on the grounds.  

To spend a night here in this historic building is very sought after so be sure to make reservations in advance.

Address: 135 W Gate Dr, Huntington, NY 11743 

The Hamptons 

The Hamptons is a string of seaside communities populated primarily by the wealthy from New York City. There are stretches of beaches and many farms, towns, and villages where eighteenth-century buildings still stand. 

The Summer months are the best times to visit here, with the beaches prepped and ready to welcome all visitors, with live bands and music that creates great summer vibes.  When the high-end restaurants, bars, and designer boutiques open early and are ready to add flavor to your time.  

A famous beach to visit in the area is Cooper beach; Wine Tasting makes up a considerable part of the Hamptons fun thing to do, but most enjoyable is the scenic drive over town and to Montauk – the end of Long Island.

Old Westbury Garden

Nestled in Old Westbury Gardens lies one of Long Island’s most beautiful secrets. The Old Westbury Garden was once an English-style estate that boasted stately gardens and a mansion.

Today, it is home to many different types of flowers and plants: formal gardens, woodland paths, and meadows.  When in the season, the blooming variation of flowers makes for a fantastic photo opportunity.  

If you decide to visit, you might see a bride or two doing a photo shoot.  Don’t miss out on your chance to see what Long Island has to offer. Book a tour and head over to Old Westbury Gardens today!

Address:  71 Old Westbury Road, Old Westbury, NY 11568

Long Island Beaches 

Long Islanders have some of the best beaches in all of New York. From Long Beach to Montauk Point, Long Island has plenty of great beaches with so much to do. They’re absolutely beautiful in every season.  

There are beautifully themed bars, delicious restaurants, and snack shops; You can rent boats, go kayaking, Jet skiing, paddle boating..or enjoy a nice relaxing day and work on your tan while the kiddies build sand castles at your feet. 

Some famous beaches on long island are Long Beach, Lido Beach, Tobay Beach, Jones Beach, and Robert Moses Beach, to name a few.  With only three months to enjoy the summer, the beaches are such a popular place to spend your days, especially on the weekend.

Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater

Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater, also known as The Jones Beach Theater, is one of the two largest amphitheaters in the New York Metropolitan area; it was designed by Robert Moses, who also, created Jones Beach, state Park. 

The Theater is home to thousands of musical and theatrical performances annually, including Broadway musicals and concerts from top performers such as The Who, Sting, Pitbull, The Eagles, and Bonnie Raitt. 

There is a place for the boats to anchor and enjoy the show on the sides of the theater, imagine spending the day out on the boat and ending it with a delightful concert?

 With its sweeping views of Jones Beach State Park and proximity to New York City, it’s no wonder that more than two million people come to Jones Beach every year.  

Address: 895 Bay Pkwy, Wantagh, NY 11793

Hang Out at the Nautical Mile

The Nautical Mile is Nassau county’s hot spot for nightlife. As the name suggests, it’s s a one-mile stretch ending in a gazebo where you can sit and listen to the water lapping on the pier’s edge or enjoy sightseeing as the boaters and jet skiers drive by. 

Adjacent is a lovely walkway alongside the water’s edge, where you can enjoy a pleasant stroll in the evening while the sun goes down.  Along the one-mile stretch are many restaurants, from Italian to Caribbean to Mexican food; you will want to try them all. If you love cooking, check out one of their fresh seafood markets. 

You can also find various hot spots playing different genres of music, from Live music to famous DJs, where you are sure to find your vibe to jam to, from Reggae to top the 40s to disco.  The excitement and upbeat vibes are present in all.  There are many cruises that leave from this port as well. 

For the kids, there is mini-golfing, a lovely ice cream shop, and lots of shopping, but as a family, the stroll down the mile is most definitely the most relaxing and fun thing to enjoy.

[1 – 499] Woodcleft Ave, Freeport, NY 11520

4th July Fireworks 

Fireworks and parades are a staple of Independence Day in America. On Friday, July 1st, head to East Meadow on Long Island, for its annual July 4 Fireworks display in the Eisenhower park.

Enjoy the Pre-show with live music from different bands and artists every year.  This year will be featuring Captain Jack, a Billy Joel Tribute Band, followed by the fireworks.  

Bring your picnic basket, drinks, and music, and every family or friend you can find, come early and spend the entire day.  

Note:  Eisenhower Park is over 930 Acres, and you can be sure every inch will be packed with onlookers, including sides of the street surrounding the park.  Also, the gates close when the parking areas are full, so car-pool or walk but get there early so you can enjoy all the festivities.

Address: 1899 Park Blvd, Westbury, NY 11590

Sky Dive Long Island 

What better way to see Long Island than jumping out of a plane with a parachute on? Skydiving at sites like Skydive Long Island can offer spectacular views of the Atlantic Coastline, Hampton Beaches, and Fire Island.  

They are ranked as one of the most scenic places to skydive in the USA.  Instructors are very experienced and have been offering first-time tandem skydiving for years on Long Island and the NYC metro area 

Safety is their #1 priority so you can enjoy it confidently. Experience this exhilarating dive right here on Long Island, New York.

Address: 133 Dawn Dr, Shirley, NY 11967, 

Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium

A unique and favorite museum on Long Island is located at Vanderbilt University in Centerport. The Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium was originally built by philanthropist William Kissam Vanderbilt as a memorial to his father, Cornelius Vanderbilt. 

The English bungalow Home has been expanded over the years into a Spanish Style as the family grew and also to accommodate the exhibits and artifacts that he acquired during his many years of traveling, including presentations on marine life and other topics.  

The expansions also included a boat house and a hanger for his plane.    A planetarium complete with a high-grade projector and full-dome display projector with surround-sound technology was built in 1970 for a true-to-life experience. 

There is so much to see and do here, it’s no wonder there are so many visitors, be sure to make a reservation to ensure admittance.

180 Little Neck Road, Centerport, New York 11721

Oyster Festival in Oyster Bay, Long Island

The annual Oyster Festival in Oyster Bay is a great way to celebrate your love of seafood and hang out by the water. 

Held at the beginning of October and marking the beginning of the Fall season, enjoy local music, engage in the many activities from craft stands, and enjoy all things pumpkin along with dessert drinks, Seafood, and of course, Oysters from their many vendors.   

With over 200,000 people visiting each year, parking will be super limited, so be sure to carpool or, better yet, take the train. This festival is known as one of the largest East Coast Waterfront festivals. A fun family event that will have everyone entertained. 

Address: 1 West End Ave, Oyster Bay, NY 11771

Apple/Pumpkin Picking at Lewin Farms

Tractor spraying pesticides at soy bean fields

Every fall, people come from far and wide to visit apple orchards in hopes of scoring some crisp and juicy apples. These places are also great for picking pumpkins during Halloween time.

If you’re looking for a family-friendly way to spend a day on beautiful Long Island (Nassau County), head out to Lewin Farms.  One of the main attractions at Lewin Farms is its unique corn maze, which is designed with a new route each year. 

They are opened seasonally where you can enjoy picking apples, pumpkins, berries, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. There is music, local food, and small activities to enjoy, don’t leave without grabbing a cob of roasted corn at the farm stand.

 Address: 812 Sound Avenue, Calverton, NY 11933

Conclusion

Long Island has activities for every season.   If you like the outdoors and the incredible scenery. The Hamptons make a lovely day trip from NYC or a weekend trip. Long Island beaches are a haven for surfers and families looking for fresh air. The Aquarium is a fantastic place for kids of all ages and is one of the most affordable, family-friendly attractions on Long Island.  These are just a few things to do but if you have the time for it when visiting Long Island, New York, go ahead and plan your vacation around these top 20 things to do with activities for everyone.