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SUMMER FUN IN THE PARKS AND ON THE WATER ON LONG ISLAND

     Home  >  Articles  > Summer Activities
by Celene McDermott and Colleen Shaffer

Related: parks, state park, beach, pond, lake, long island, new york, ny, nassau, suffolk, county, family activities, outdoor, events, destinations, kids, children,


Summer fun in the parks, Rockland, Westchester, Fairfield

By land (outdoor concert, anyone?) or by sea (canoeing time!), local parks provide an array of family options this season.

family picnicking in a park; family picnic; summerkayak on the water; two kayaks; lake; summer

 

As the days get warmer and longer, Long Island parks are gearing up for an entire season of family-friendly events and outdoor activities. Whether you want to enjoy an afternoon of miniature golf, attend a concert under the stars, or simply have an old-fashioned picnic, the area's green spaces have plenty to take advantage of. If you prefer to cool off around the water, choices include fishing and boating, from pedal boats and rowboat rentals to canoeing and speedboats. Here's what's happening at select parks in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, Long Island:

 

 

ON LAND...

kids on a playground; jungle gym; monkey bars

 

NASSAU COUNTY

  

Bay Park

First Avenue, East Rockaway

516-571-7245

Families can picnic on Hewlett Bay (registration and pass recommended); enjoy a large playground with spray pool, tennis and basketball courts, ball fields and bike and running paths. A 9-hole golf course and putting green is also available. There's a dog run on the eastern end of the park.

 

Bethpage State Park

99 Quaker Meeting House Road, Farmingdale

516-249-0701

While renowned for its golf courses, including the Black Course (site of two U.S. Open Championships), Bethpage also offers plenty of hiking and biking trails, tennis courts, playing fields, playgrounds and picnic facilities. Summer Run Series is a series of Monday night 5K races at various state parks with awards ceremony and raffle prizes that also includes a half-mile kids' fun run. Monday, August 2, 7pm. Registration fee.

 

Cantiague Park

West John Street east of Cantiague Rock Road, Hicksville

516-571-7056

The park's highlights include an ice skating rink, which is open seven days a week until July 1 as well as a miniature golf course and driving range. For just relaxing in the park, there are picnic areas to reserve, and a playground with equipment appropriate for pre-schoolers through teens. There are also lighted tennis, handball/paddleball courts, several multi-sport fields, a golf course, and an outdoor swimming complex with an Olympic-sized pool, a diving pool, "kiddie" pool and water play area.

 

Cedar Creek Park

Merrick Road east of Wantagh Avenue, Seaford

516-571-7470

Enjoy a large playground for kids, several picnic areas, athletic fields and courts, a roller rink, designated dog runs, bicycle and walking paths, and more. Some unique features include: an archery range, varying from 25-100 yards long; an aerodrome field for radio-controlled airplanes (host to a few model aircraft shows a year) as well as a tether-car track.

 

Christopher Morley Park

Searington Road, Roslyn-North Hills

516-571-8113

This 98-acre park on the North Shore features a 9-hole golf course, a one-mile fitness trail with fitness stations for stretching, a renovated playground for kids, several picnic areas to reserve, as well as plenty of ball fields and courts for athletics. In addition, the park offers 30 acres of wooden nature trails, a pond, and an outdoor swimming complex featuring an Olympic-size pool, diving tank and "kiddie" pool.

 

Eisenhower Park

Hempstead Turnpike & Merrick Ave N, East Meadow

516-572-0290

Families can head to this park for a variety of athletic fields and courts, playgrounds, indoor Aquatic Center for swimming, or simply just sit under the shade to read or picnic. Highlights include: Harry Chapin Lakeside Theatre, an outdoor theater that hosts a full schedule of entertainment events during the summer, from concerts to movies: 516- 572-0396 for more information; batting cage, 516-572-0407; and miniature golf, 516-572-0407.

 

Grant Park

Broadway and Sheridan Avenue, Hewlett

516-571-7821

Families can enjoy a variety of athletic facilities, including basketball, tennis, handball/paddleball courts, baseball and softball fields, paths for jogging, and an outdoor roller/ice skating rink.  Or, picnic in designated barbecue areas. One of the highlights of this park is its modern playground for kids, which offers three separate areas for different age groups.

  

Hempstead Lake State Park

West Hempstead

516-766-1029

This park offers the largest lake in Nassau County plus three ponds. Kids can play on several playgrounds, ride the historic carousel, compete on 20 tennis courts, or enjoy horseback riding, hiking and biking on trails. There is a picnic pavilion available. Summer Run Series is a series of Monday night 5K races at various state parks with awards ceremony and raffle prizes that also includes a half-mile kids' fun run. Registration fee.

 

Jones Beach State Park

516-785-1600; www.jonesbeach.com

With a two-mile boardwalk and miles of shoreline, summer on Long Island is not complete without a trip to Jones Beach. Besides swimming in the ocean, visitors can take a dip in the park's two swimming pools, play deck games or on on Pitch and Putt Court, and compete at mini golf. There is a popular Summer Concert Series that attracts world-renowned performers; see website for full schedule. At the Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center. kids can learn about the marine habitat and dune environment that surrounds them. With a focus on hands-on learning, children are encouraged to reach out and touch the back of a horseshoe crab or the shell of a turtle, dig up whale bones in the Discovery Bone Cove, and view a shipwreck. Open Wednesday-Sunday 10am-4pm until Labor Day.

 

North Hempstead Parks

www.northhempstead.com

Summer Concert Series begins July 4 and runs through Labor Day. Visit the website for a concert schedule at participating parks.

 

Tanglewood Park and Preserve

1 Tanglewood Road, Rockville Centre

516-764-0045

Home to the Center for Science Teaching and Learning, families can view a permanent live animal exhibit and trek on nature trails. Pack a picnic for a fun day. Closed Monday and Tuesday. 10am-4pm. $6.

  

Trail View State Park

Off Jericho Turnpike, Woodbury

631-423-1770          

Enjoy biking and hiking along this park's 400 acres, also a prime site for bird-watchers. A 7.4 mile stretch of the Greenbelt passes through this park. The complete trail extends 22 miles from Cold Spring Harbor Park to Massapequa Park Preserve.

 

Valley Stream State Park

Off Southern State Parkway, Exit 15

516-825-4128

This 97-acre park features a variety of playgrounds, a picnic pavilion, 2-mile hiking and biking trails, basketball, bocce, and volleyball courts, softball fields and more. Parking fee: $8 per car.

 

 

SUFFOLK COUNTY

  

Belmont Lake State Park

625 Belmont Avenue, Babylon

631-667-5055

This park features the Babylon Riding Center (631-587-7778), which offers horseback lessons, a 2-mile bridle path with stables, a lake and picnic area with pavilions, playgrounds, horseshoe and basketball courts. Summer Run Series is a series of Monday night 5K races at various state parks with awards ceremony and raffle prizes that also includes a half-mile kids' fun run. Monday, July 19, 7pm. Registration fee. Wheelchair accessible.

  

Caleb Smith State Park Preserve

581 West Jericho Turnpike, Smithtown

631-265-1054

Explore ponds, streams, and more at this 543 acre preserve. Hiking, fishing, and bird-watching are encouraged all summer, with beautiful spots to relax and appreciate the natural habitat along the Nissequogue River. The park is open Wednesday-Sunday, 8am-4pm. $8 per car until Labor Day.

 

Camp Hero State Park

Route 27 East to the end, Montauk

631-668-6549

This park features 415 acres along the beachfront, featuring dramatic cliffs, and wooded areas and trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding. There are also picnic areas and a former military base that is now registered as a National Historic Site. $8 parking fee per vehicle.

 

Caumsett State Historic Park

25 Lloyd Harbor Road, Huntington

631-423-1770

Located on a peninsula jutting into Long Island Sound, families can enjoy miles of hiking and biking trails as well as beautiful gardens, woodlands and meadows. Summer Run Series is a series of Monday night 5K races at various state parks with awards ceremony and raffle prizes that also includes a half-mile kids' fun run. June 28, 7pm. Registration fee. Wheelchair accessible.

  

Connetquot River State Park Preserve

Off Sunrise Highway, Oakdale

631-581-1005

Offers 50 miles of hiking, horseback riding and nature trails as well as a wide array of one-day children's programs, including a moonlit family hike and explorations of the natural habitat.

 

Deepwells Farm County Park

Rt. 25A Moriches Rd, St. James

631-862-6080

This park on the North Shore features a Greek Revival-style 19th century mansion that is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. A variety of special events are held throughout the year, including an Arts and Crafts Summer Festival.

 

Heckscher State Park

East Islip

631-581-2100

Take a dip at the park's Great South Bay, open to swimmers from June 26-September 6. The park also offers picnic areas, playing fields, and 20 miles of trails for hiking and biking. The park is open from dawn to dusk, seven days a week. Parking is $8 per car from June 27-September 7 and $6 otherwise. Summer Run Series is a series of Monday night 5K races at various state parks with awards ceremony and raffle prizes that also includes a half-mile kids' fun run. Monday, July 26, 7pm. Registration fee.

  

Hither Hills State Park

Route 27 East, Montauk

631-668-2554 or call 800-456-CAMP for camp reservations and fees

This enormous park features camping along the Atlantic Ocean, nature trails for hiking and biking, a freshwater fishing area, volleyball courts, softball field, a playground and picnic areas.

 

Mitchell Park, Front Street

Greenport

631-477-2200; www.greenportvillage.com

This 4-acre waterfront park features an antique carousel, harbor walk, observation deck and 60-slip marina. Every Monday in July and August, Dances in the Park features live music by local bands at 7:30pm.

 

Nissequogue River State Park and Marina

799 Saint Johnland Road, Kings Park

631-269-4927

A portion of this park is designated as a State Bird Conservation Area. Walk along the Greenbelt Trail and enjoy great views of the Long Island Sound from the bluffs. They also host a 5K Sunset Ru in conjunction with the Long Island Track and Field Circuit. Call for registration and fees.

 

Orient Beach State Park

Off Route 25, Orient

631-323-2440

Enjoy hiking and biking trails, a maritime forest, ball fields, picnic areas, a playground and beach overlooking Gardiner's Bay. $6 per car up to June 26and $8 until September 7.

 

Robert Moses State Park

Parking Field 5, Fire Island

Located on the western end of Fire Island, families can park at Parking Field 5 and walk along the boardwalk to view the Fire Island Lighthouse for great views of the Atlantic Ocean. Enjoy miles of oceanfront beach, or take a shot at the 18-hole Pitch & Putt Golf Course. There are also picnic areas and playgrounds. Summer Run Series is a series of Monday night 5K races at various state parks with awards ceremony and raffle prizes that also includes a half-mile kids' fun run. Monday, July 26, 7pm. Registration fee.

  

Sunken Meadow State Park

Rte. 25A and Sunken Meadow Parkway, Kings Park

631-269-4333

This park along the bluffs overlooking the Long Island Sound features six miles of trails for horseback riding, biking or hiking. The 22-mile Greenbelt Trail also starts here on the north end. Enjoy the boardwalk, have a picnic, or take advantage of the park's driving range, 27-hole golf course and putting green. Summer Run Series is a series of Monday night 5K races at various state parks with awards ceremony and raffle prizes that also includes a half-mile kids' fun run. Monday, June 21, 7pm. Registration fee.

  

Watch Hill, Fire Island

631-597-3109

www.watchhillfi.com or www.fireisland.com

Enjoy backcountry hiking, bird watching, and camping. You can also visit the Watch Hill Visitor Center, which offers programs for children and families throughout the summer, plus exhibits on various natural history topics and a fish tank hosting marine life of the Great South Bay. A variety of restaurants are located nearby for family dining.

Admission: Beach access is free; camping is $20 per night with a two-night minimum

 

Wildwood State Park

Hulse Landing Road off Sound Avenue, Wading River

631-929-4314 or 800-456-CAMP for camp reservations

This park overlooking the Long Island Sound features full hook-ups for trailer campers. Enjoy a softball field, basketball and volleyball courts, a playground, picnic areas and hiking trails. $8 parking fee per vehicle.

 

 

ON THE WATER...

young boys sitting on a dock; children; bay

 

NASSAU COUNTY

  

Bay Park

First Avenue, East Rockaway

516-571-7245

Offers a fishing ramp open year-round, plus a transient sailboat launch and launch ramps. Leisure Pass and permit required; call for information.

 

Cow Meadow Park and Preserve

South Main Street near Ann Drive South, Freeport

516-608-0514

This park is home to a year-round fishing pier and a marina with approximately 30 boat slips. Leisure Pass required.

 

Grant Park

Broadway and Sheridan Avenue, Hewlett

516-571-7821

The 6-acre pond is open for shoreline fishing and home to bass, sunfish, and carp.

 

Inwood Park

Motts Basin, Inwood

516-571-7894

This park offers saltwater fishing and crabbing. A launch ramp is also available for boaters with permit and Leisure Pass.

 

Wantagh Park

Just south of Merrick Road

516-571-7460

Located on the waterfront, this park houses a marina and fishing pier open yearround. Launch ramp permits are available for a fee.

 

 

SUFFOLK COUNTY

 

Belmont Lake State Park

625 Belmont Avenue, Babylon

631-667-5055

Families can rent rowboats on the lake or enjoy freshwater fishing.

 

Blydenburgh County Park

Enter from Veteran's Memorial Highway, Smithtown

631-854-3713

Families can fish for pumpkinseed sunfish, large-mouth bass and more at Stump Pond from dawn to dusk. Rowboat rentals are also available until Labor Day.

 

Captree State Park

1 Rescue Road, Babylon

631-669-0449

This state park, off the tip of Jones Beach Island, is a haven for fishermen. Open and charter boats are available for fishing. Plenty of piers are available, including two that are handicap-accessible. Visitors can also fish on the beach at Fire Island Inlet. Snapper Derby, a children's fishing tournament with prizes awarded for the heaviest snapper caught in varying age categories from 7-16, is Saturday and Sunday, August 14-15. 8am-4pm. Consider the South Shore Fishing Classic: Fish the waters between the Moriches and Jones Inlets at this fishing tournament with giveaways and an award ceremony. Starts Friday October 15.

 

Cedar Point County Park

Off Dune Road, East Hampton

631-852-8111

Try your hand surfcasting for bass and bluefish. Rowboat rentals are also available until Labor Day; $10 deposit, $6 for the first hour, $4 for every subsequent hour; or, $30 all day.

 

Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium

Off Route 25A, Cold Spring Harbor

516-692-6768; www.cshfha.org

Learn about Long Island's freshwater ecosystems; tour the two aquarium buildings and eight outdoor ponds; or try your hand at Catch & Keep trout fishing. $5 per session, $4 for any trout caught. Sessions run Friday-Tuesday 10am-12pm, 1pm-3pm as well as 4pm-6pm Saturday-Sunday through August. Bring your own equipment or rent from the Hatchery. Admission $6 adults, $4 children under 13 and seniors; children 2 and under FREE.

 

Connetquot River Canoe Rentals

Oakdale

631-269-2774

Families can rent canoes and kayaks along Nicoll Bay to Sunrise Highway. Call for pricing information.

 

Cupsogue Beach County Park

Off Dune Road, Westhampton

631-852-8111

Offers saltwater bass fishing. The 296-acre barrier beach park offers fishing, swimming and scuba diving.

 

Heckscher State Park

Field 1, East Islip

631-581-2100

Fishing is available at the park's Great South Bay.

 

Hither Hills State Park

Route 27A, Montauk

631-668-2554 or call 800-456-CAMP for camp reservations and fees

Enjoy a freshwater fishing area at this 1,755-park along the Atlantic Ocean.

  

Indian Island County Park

Off Route 105, Riverhead

631-852-3232

Encompassing 275 acres, this park offers saltwater fishing on the peaceful Flanders Bay.

 

Lake Ronkonkoma County Park

Off Lake Shore Road, Ronkonkoma

631-854-9699

This park offers a handicap-accessible fishing pier for freshwater fishing, and small watercrafts are available to rent and sail out on the lake.

 

Montauk Point State Park

50 South Fairview Avenue, Montauk

631-668-3781

Home to the historic Montauk lighthouse, this park offers great surf-fishing, and a few families of seals that can be spotted sunning on the rocks offshore. 

 

Nissequogue River Canoe and Kayak Rentals

Nissequogue River, Smithtown

631-979-8244; www.canoerentals.com

Rent canoes and kayaks to sail along the river between Kings Park and Smithtown.

  

Orient Beach State Park

Off Route 25, Orient

631-323-2440

Offers fishing and kayak rentals. $6 per car up to June 26and $8 until September 7.

 

Peconic Paddler

89 Peconic Avenue, Riverhead

631-727-9895; www.peconicpaddler.co

Offers canoes and kayaks along Peconic Bay through the Long Island Pine Barrens. Open from May-October, 8am-5pm. Wednesdays-Sundays.

 

Robert Moses State Park

Parking Field 5, Fire Island

631-669-0470

Allows visitors to surf-fish or try their luck from one of the piers.

 

Sears Bellows County Park

Bellows Pound Road, Hampton Bays

631-852-8290.

Offers freshwater fishing of bluebill, bass, perch, and pickerel from dawn to dusk. Rowboat rentals are available for Bellows Pond.

 

Shinnecock East County Park

Off Dune Road, Southampton

631-852-8899

Offers saltwater fishing. Striped bass fishing is particularly popular.

 

Smith Point County Park

William Floyd Parkway to Fire Island

631-852-1313

At the county's largest oceanfront park, visitors can choose between swimming, scuba diving, surfing, and saltwater fishing.

 

Southaven County Park

Victory Avenue, Brookhaven

631-854-1414

Offers more freshwater fishing, rowboat rentals and canoeing.

 

Sunken Meadow State Park

Rte. 25A and Sunken Meadow Parkway, Kings Park

631-269-4333

This park on the Long Island Sound is a popular spot for windsurfing, fishing, canoeing and kayaking.

 

Theodore Roosevelt County Park

Off Montauk Highway, Montauk

631-852-7878

Offers shore fishing. Suffolk county residents can use their beach permit and obtain a fishing license from any tackle shop, and non-residents can obtain a beach permit for $200.

  

Watch Hill, Fire Island

West Avenue (across from Patchogue Railroad Station) with ferry service to Fire Island

631-597-3109; www.watchhillfi.com or www.fireisland.com

Guided canoe tours are offered, and there is a fish tank hosting marine life of the Great South Bay. Admission: Beach access is free; camping is $20 per night with a two-night minimum.

 

 

For more info on the parks listed, and to discover even more parks throughout Long Island, visit:
www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/Parks or www.co.suffolk.ny.us (for county parks) or www.nysparks.com/parks or www.nysparks.state.ny.us (for state parks).

 

To get info on how to obtain permits and licenses, visit www.dec.ny.gov.

 

Find more parks and water fun in the New York metro area:

New York City: Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens

Suburbs: Rockland, Westchester, and Fairfield Counties


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local zones

Nassau

Nassau cont.

Suffolk

Suffolk cont.

Westchester

Westchester cont.

Fairfield

Rockland

Rockland cont.

Queens

Queens cont.

Brooklyn

Brooklyn cont.

Manhattan

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