Family vacations can be stressful to plan, especially if you’re attempting to keep kids happy and occupied throughout the trip. Adults and children typically have different opinions on what a “fun vacation activity” is!
Long Island has a variety of attractions and things to do, many of which are great for families with children. Some of the best things to do on Long Island are kid-friendly! Museums, markets, galleries, wineries, nature centers, and parks are a few examples of family days out that are fun for kids and adults. With so many attractions, it’s easy to find fun things to do in NY!
Below, we’ll highlight more of these events and activities to give you a good idea of the best things to do as a family on Long Island.
What Makes Long Island Such a Great Place
Long Island, New York City, is a beautiful place to live or visit. If you’re not sure where Long Island begins and ends or where it sits in relation to Brooklyn and Southampton, check out this NYC neighborhood map for some perspective!
Locals say the gorgeous year-round scenery makes Long Island a great place to live. Long Island has beaches, lighthouses, and outdoor adventures like zip-lining for visitors who enjoy nature and the outdoors.
Long Island offers plenty of dining, shopping, and performance experiences for those who prefer a more laid-back vacation. Living on Long Island means you’ll never run out of things to do!
Multiple cities within Long Island have ranked high on Niche’s 2022 list of the best places to raise a family in America. Great Neck Gardens and Syosset ranked third and fifth, respectively.
Most, if not all, residents would agree that Long Island is an enjoyable living place. But, the borough isn’t ideal for everyone, so if you’re ready to pack up and move out, we buy houses New York residents need to sell fast. Not a Long Island resident? That’s okay, we have cash home buyers in Queens, too!
Of course, you don’t have to live in the area to appreciate the attraction. Long Island is fantastic for getaways!
Best Things to Do on Long Island
We’ve narrowed down the extensive list of things to do on Long Island for you! Below are the things you must do in Long Island, New York, on your next vacation.
1. Long Beach Boardwalk
Walking down the boardwalk on Long Beach gives you the complete beach experience. White, sandy beaches boast perfect tanning spots and open volleyball nets. Visitors can spend the day surfing, exploring local food trucks, and even experiencing free concerts. There are bars and restaurants along the boardwalk for a dine-in experience.
2. The Hamptons
What is more iconic than the Hamptons? Though it’s commonly a getaway destination for the wealthy, the Long Island hotspot attracts people from all walks of life. It’s officially a collection of two townships, East Hampton and Southampton, but the relaxed atmosphere boasts notable scenery, historic museums, and incredible food.
3. Old Westbury Gardens
Spend some time at the Old Westbury Gardens and experience beautiful scenery straight out of a painting. The gardens often host events and exhibitions on their grounds. They host movie nights, children’s programs, and yoga in the gardens, to name a few. Otherwise, you can schedule to take a tour and learn all about the gardens’ history and architecture.
4. Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve
If you’re looking to exercise during your vacation, stop by Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve. This state park boasts beautiful walking, jogging, hiking, and biking paths. Their trails expand through acres of woodland, meadows, rock shoreline, and salt marsh. It is a spectacular park to visit if you’re looking for a dose of nature.
5. Suffolk Theater
Once known as “the Radio City Music Hall of Long Island”, Suffolk Theater continues to bring live entertainment to Long Island. Suffolk Theater brings a wide variety of performers to its stage. They’ve hosted comedy shows, classical artists, country artists, and more. Check out their list of events while scheduling your itinerary to catch a show.
6. Nassau County Museum of Art
After spending days on the beach, it’s nice to cool off in an air-conditioned museum. Nassau County Museum of Art offers traveling exhibitions, special events, a sculpture garden, and formal garden city, and a variety of programs and events year-round. There’s plenty to see and experience in this museum, both inside and out.
Did You Know This About Long Island
Long Island holds a lot of history, so keep reading to learn more about New York’s island!
Montauk Point Lighthouse
At the very eastern tip of Long Island sits New York’s oldest lighthouse, Montauk Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse was commissioned by President George Washington in 1792 and was named a National Historic Landmark in 2012. Only 12 lighthouses have this title! The lighthouse is open for tours and is a memorable add-on to any vacation.
Long Island’s Gold Coast, AKA the North Shore of the island, was the backdrop of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. The North Shore gained its nickname before the Great Depression as it boasted large estates owned by wealthy aristocrats. Many of these mansions are still standing for visitors to tour and even spend the night in!
Long Island Rail Road
The Long Island Rail Road counts as the most used commuter railroad in North America. It carries about 301,000 passengers every weekday and has 735 daily trains. This railroad was founded in 1834 and has been operating since 1844.
Best Things to Do in Long Island if You Have Children
Now, let’s talk about some of the best family things to do on Long Island. There are plenty of fun things and ways to spend a family fun day out, so we’ve compiled the top 10 best things to do on Long Island as a family.
1. Long Island Animal Farm Petting Zoo
Located in Manorville, the Long Island Animal Farm Petting Zoo is a hands-on family park that’s fun for everyone. Most of the animals in this zoo are from the park’s rescue program! They have hundreds of animals including llamas, emus, wallabies, camels, giraffe and more. There’s even a puppet theater and playgrounds to keep the kids occupied.
So long as you schedule your vacation between spring and fall, Adventureland is a top attraction on Long Island to visit. This amusement park has thrill rides, water rides, family rides, and kiddie rides to make sure everyone has fun. An arcade and plenty of outdoor games round out the park and provide plenty of entertainment for you and the kids.
3. Long Island Adventure Park
If roller coasters aren’t your preference, try Long Island Adventure Park instead. This park features zip lines, rope bridges, and hiking trails. They have rope courses and activities designed for kids of all ages. Everyone will find something to tire them out here!
4. Long Island Children’s Museum
A history museum built for kids to play in? What better way to spend a day than playing and learning at the same time! Long Island Children’s Museum offers permanent and rotating exhibits like giant bubble making, dinosaurs, live animals, and more. Check their calendar while planning your vacation to see which exhibit will be featured when you visit.
5. The Big Duck
It’s exactly what it sounds like: A big duck. Built in 1931 by Broadway set designers, the Big Duck watches over Reeves Bay in Flanders. It is the vision of Long Island’s duck farmer Martin Maurer and has become a staple of the island. Everyone needs to visit Big Duck once in their life!
6. Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary & Audubon Center
Spend a day bird watching at the Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary & Audubon Center in Oyster Bay. Try and spot the small Eastern Kingbird or the Red-tailed Hawk within their gorgeous trails and gardens. The sanctuary often offers activities for kids, so be sure to check their calendar as well to see if any coincide with your schedule.
7. Long Island Ducks
While they aren’t a major league baseball team, the Long Island Ducks are part of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. A Ducks game is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon or evening with the kids. The stadium hosts events centered around kids often, and their mascot QuackerJack is sure to get a laugh between innings.
8. Splish Splash
Thinking of visiting Long Island in the summer? Plan a day at Splish Splash, New York’s largest waterpark. They have a variety of waterslides, rides, and pools for you and the kids to explore all day.
9. Long Island Aquarium
A family trip isn’t the same without a visit to the local aquarium. Stop by the Long Island Aquarium to explore indoor and outdoor exhibits hosting amphibians, penguins, turtles, and more.
10. Vanderbilt Museum
The Vanderbilt Museum is not only a museum – but it is also a planetarium! Stop in to view shows highlighting outer space and learn more about our universe. There’s also a rooftop observatory open to the public on Friday nights where visitors can examine the stars with the help of an astronomy educator.
Local Parks on Long Island
There are plenty of local parks on Long Island for you and your family to schedule day trips to during your vacation.
1. Sunken Meadow State Park
Located in Kings Park, Sunken Meadow State Park offers picnic spots along the beach and open lawn areas.
2. Cantiague Park
This park offers a variety of activities including mini-golf, ice skating, batting cages, and a swimming pool. Cantiague Park is located in Hicksville.
3. Nickerson Beach Park & Campground
One of the most desirable oceanic campgrounds, Nickerson Beach Park is located in Lido Beach. This park offers a playground, basketball and volleyball courts, and a baseball field.
4. Montauk Point State Park
This park is a perfect spot for those who enjoy water sports like surfing, windsurfing, and paddle boarding. Montauk Point State Park is located in Montauk and is a great spot to catch a glimpse of seals on the rocks off the shore. Make it an extended stay with one of the vacation rentals, including comfy cabins.
5. Valley Stream State Park
For nature-loving kids, check out Valley Stream State Park in North Valley Stream. It offers two nature trails that allow children to explore various habitats within the park.
Play Centres on Long Island
Long Island offers some fantastic options if you’re looking for a play centre to take the kids to. Each center has different activities to wear down your kids!
1. The Kiddie Clubhouse
The Kiddie Clubhouse is designed for kids 2-8 years of age. They have an open playhouse environment that allows kids to build physical abilities and of course, have fun.
2. Planet Play
This interactive play center includes virtual reality experiences, arcade games, a toddler area, a bounce house, and a large indoor jungle gym for children of all ages. Planet Play even offers coffee for parents to enjoy while their kids tire themselves out.
3. Bounce! Family Entertainment Center
Do you have a child that loves trampolines? Check out Bounce! Family Entertainment Center – they have huge trampoline jumping courts that are sure to keep your kid occupied for a few hours at least.
4. Once Upon a Treetop
For the younger kids, Once Upon a Treetop caters to babies and children up to 8 years old. They offer educational classes, a toy boutique, playgroups, and even field trips!
5. Active Kidz
With 20,000 square feet of room to play, kids of all ages will love the Active Kidz centre. Explore the adventure maze, inflatable fun zone, or the ninja warrior course.
Attractions on Long Island
We’ve added a few more general activities you can add to your itinerary as you plan for your Long Island vacation.
1. Jones Beach State Park
With 6.5 miles of white-sand beach, Jones Beach State Park is a must-visit when you’re on Long Island. You’ll get a full day out of swimming, walking the boardwalk, visiting restaurants, and more.
2. Blue Moon
Looking for some authentic New York-style pizza? Head over to Blue Moon for a coal-fired pizza to banish rumbling stomachs. If pizza isn’t your style, they also offer multiple authentic Italian pasta dishes.
3. Macari Vineyards
You don’t have to be a sommelier to enjoy a nice glass of wine. Macari Vineyards offers wine tastings paired with cheese and charcuterie to give you the full vineyard experience.
4. Roosevelt Field
Shop ‘til you drop at Roosevelt Field, New York’s biggest mall. You’ll find your favorite retailers and discover new stores you can only find on Long Island.
5. Huntington Village Farmers Market
Who doesn’t love a good farmer’s market? You don’t have to mess with planting fields to get fresh produce with the Huntington Village Farmers Market nearby. Find anything you can think of (within reason), including food, crafts, jewelry, flowers, and much more.
Long Island is a wonderful destination for family events. From museums and galleries to adventure zones and aquariums, you’ll find something of interest along the island.
Of course, if you’re tired of the city life and prefer Long Island for getaways, it might be time to move out. When you’re eager for someone to buy my house on Long Island, we’ve got you covered.