Have fun in the fall on Long Island at these 20 must-do family events, including country fairs and harvest festivals, Halloween celebrations, apple and pumpkin picking at local farms, and more!
1. Eat like an Italian.
Grande Festa Italiana, held annually in early September at North Hempstead Beach Park in Port Washington, is both the largest and oldest Italian feast on Long Island. Along with the rides, fireworks, and live music, kids can enjoy sampling a variety of Italian foods and watching cooking demonstrations. Find details on more cultural festivals in the area in our round up.
2. Go apple picking at a nearby farm.
Pick fresh apples (along with many other fruits and veggies) in September at Lewin Farms in Wading River. The first “pick your own” farm on Long Island, Lewin Farms is the place to make a childhood memory. Bake a pie with the bounty! Find more apple picking places in our full list of apple orchards.
3. Hop on a tractor at Hallockville's fall festival.
Celebrate Long Island’s rich history and traditions at the Hallockville Museum Farm’s Fall Festival and Craft Show, which includes demos on basket weaving, yarn spinning, woodworking, blacksmithing, and more, plus more than 50 craft vendors. See livestock displays, farm machinery and tractor exhibits, and even a model railroad display.
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4. Head to a true country fair.
The iconic Long Island Fair at Old Bethpage Village Restoration has been going on since 1842 (yes, really!), making it the longest-running county fair in New York state. Happening in late September and early October, the fair features traditional music, wagon and pony rides, farm animals, fair food, and more.
5. Celebrate land and sea at Septemberfest.
Southampton embraces fall with a full weekend of art, music, food, entertainment, and history near the end of September. The aptly named Southampton Septemberfest allows residents and visitors to explore Southampton’s rich cultural heritage and its close connection to agriculture and the sea. Adding to the entertainment are volunteers dressed in traditional outfits who sell locally grown produce, teach traditional crafts like basket weaving, and even hold class in a one-room schoolhouse.
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6. Walk for a good cause.
Walk Now for Autism Speaks at Jones Beach in Wantagh in early October is an amazing way to raise money for this increasingly prevalent condition. Your whole family can do a good deed for a great cause—and get some exercise while you’re at it. Find more ways to get moving for a reason.
7. Walk through an amazing display of jack o' lanterns.
The Rise of the Jack O’ Lanterns at Old Westbury Gardens, presented throughout October, showcases the amazing work of dozens of local artists. Spend an hour walking through the trail and see more than 5,000 hand-carved Jack O’Lanterns light up the night.
8. Go pumpkin picking.
Pick your own pumpkins at Stakey’s Pumpkin Farm in Aquebogue and enjoy a brisk walk through the 26-acre pumpkin farm throughout October. With more than 18 varieties of pumpkins to choose from right off the vine, this pumpkin and gourd paradise is well worth the drive. And check out our round up of more u-pick pumpkin farms on Long Island.
9. Have some old-fashioned fun at a festival in Huntington.
The Long Island Fall Festival at Heckscher Park in Huntington is an ideal way to spend a sunny afternoon. Held in early October, families come from all over the island for the carnival games, a farmer’s market, old-time rides, and yummy homemade treats.
10. Cast your line at a fishing fest.
For family-friendly fishing, check out the Fall Family Fishing and Children’s Festival at Hempstead Lake State Park in West Hempstead in mid-October. Lessons in fly fishing and fish-cleaning, plus pumpkin decorating, pony rides, and a magic show make this one of the most popular fall festivals in Nassau.
11. Crack open some shells.
In Theodore Roosevelt Park in—where else?—Oyster Bay, you can shuck yourself silly (while the kiddos will find more kid-palatable fare) at the Oyster Festival. And it’s not just shellfish. Find pirate shows, tall ships, and midway rides in mid-October.
12. Get spooked at a kid-friendly Halloween party.
The Ghostly Gala Halloween party at Long Island Children’s Museum in late October is a fun, safe, and festive way to enjoy the holiday. With face painting, gallery trick-or-treating, and a costume party, this is one event you’ll remember well past the spooky season.
13. Take a hike to take in the fall scenery.
Long Island has many beautiful hiking trails, and one of the best is Garvies Point Museum and Preserve in Glen Cove. Leading down to a quiet beach, this easy-for-kids trail is one of the most serene on the island.
14. Spot a ghost.
If you have older kids who are over the trip to the pumpkin patch, take an afternoon outing to one of the most haunted places on Long Island. A ride down Sweet Hollow Road in Huntington (just south of Jericho Turnpike), infamous for its ghost spotting, will be a creepy good time for all. Find many more ghoulish activities for all ages in our Halloween guide.
15. Stroll through a sculpture garden.
Take a stroll through the 145 acres of fields, woods, and ponds at The Nassau County Museum of Art in Roslyn Harbor and be amazed by the inspiring sculptures created by established artists. And if you’re looking to do some leaf peeping outside the area, check out our list of suggested locations.
16. Cruise through the wetlands.
Relax, sit back, and enjoy as the Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s Discovery boat takes you for a cruise through Long Island’s wetlands (offered select dates, May through October). Learn about the history, geology, and ecology of the gorgeous area we call home. The pontoon departs from Stony Brook Harbor and cruises through the organization’s 88-acre wetlands preserve for a 1½-hour tour.
17. Get lost in a corn maze.
With the exception of pumpkin picking, nothing says fall like a romp in an old-fashioned corn maze. One of the bigger examples on the island is the Maise at Fairview Farm in Bridgehampton. The site also has a corn cannon and yes, it is as cool as it sounds.
18. Visit slimy and slithery friends.
If your kids think cute and cuddly is boring, Jungle Bob’s Reptile World in Centereach is sure to please them. And the fact that there’s no charge for admission will please you! This unique showroom allows you to see unusual creatures living in their own habitats.
19. Celebrate the arts at this month-long festival.
From visual, musical, and performing arts to community festivals and epicurean delights, the annual Arts Alive LI festival in October is a month-long tribute to Long Island’s arts and entertainment world. It takes place on stages, in galleries, at film houses, and in neighborhood restaurants across the island.
20. Brave the crowds for the famous Thanksgiving parade.
Arguably the world’s most famous parade, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade boasts behemoth balloons, beautiful floats, and the biggest names in entertainment—and it all takes place a train ride away, in the heart of Manhattan.
MORE SEASONAL FUN ON LONG ISLAND