By Niko Vercelletto

Top 20 Things to Do in Winter on Long Island

June 26, 2014   |    

Well the weather outside may be frightful, but there are lots of delightful things to do on Long Island in the winter, including The Nutcracker, sledding and ice skating, and The Dickens Festival.


1. Make Charlie Brown proud.

Cut your own Christmas tree at Mike’s Christmas Tree Farm in Manorville, late November through Christmas Eve. Choose your favorite tree and chop it down yourself, making it feel like a country Christmas. Find details on Mike’s and more tree farms near you in our round up.

mother and daughter with trees 

2. Have a historic Christmas.

Hallockville Christmas at Hallockville Museum Farm in Riverhead sets a scene that will take your whole family back to a simpler time. In early December, you can tour historic homes decorated in Victorian and Depression-era style, try your hand at old-fashioned baking techniques, and take part in traditional children’s Christmas games and traditions. 

girls on Seal Cruise

3. Go on a cruise.

Seal Cruises in Freeport, aboard the Captain Lou Fleet, show families these beloved creatures in their natural habitat. Bundle up: January is when the sightings are best. Learn about the biology and behavior of seals and other marine life on this scenic junket. Cruises are presented by The Riverhead Foundation and board on select weekend dates through April.

4. Light it up.

Watch little eyes light up with holiday joy during a community tree or menorah lighting, such as the Ronkonkoma Menorah Lighting at Raynor Beach Park, where families can enjoy potato latkes, chocolate gelt, and holiday togetherness to kick off the festival of lights. Check our calendar for more holiday lightings.

5. Create a candle.

Love the old-fashioned, understated look of a single candle lighting each of your home’s windows during the holidays? Head to Paint a Piece in Commack to create your choice of scented candle (the pottery and glass creations make great holiday gifts, too). 

6. Experience the magic of Disney.

The Disney on Ice tour stops by Nassau Coliseum in January and is sure to wow with its trademark top-notch costumes, sets, music, and talent. Disney lovers and fans of ice-skating in general will enjoy seeing their favorite characters fly around the gigantic rink. 

Disney Magic on Ice
New York Islanders 

7. See Islanders on ice.

A New York Islanders game at Nassau Coliseum, especially in January or February as the final games are approaching, is nonstop excitement. Support the sport of hockey and our local heroes by snagging one of the center-ice ticket packages. Who needs to schlep into the city to see that other team?

8. Lace up your skates.

Go ice-skating at Christopher Morley Park in Roslyn, voted best outdoor skating rink on Long Island by the viewers of News 12 Long Island. Enjoy the 200-foot rink, surrounded by forest, from November through March (weather pending). And find more indoor and outdoor rinks in the area on our list.

girl ice skating 

9. Visit the ghost of Christmas past.

The Dickens Festival in Port Jefferson in early December is a holiday treat that celebrates the author of A Christmas Carol. From costumed characters to Victorian entertainment and food, this event will surely bring out the Christmas spirit. 

10. Go nutty. 

It’s not hard to find performances of The Nutcracker in December, but there’s only one version done by the Long Island Ballet Theatre. Savor the local spin on this classic ballet in Port Washington in early December. Tickets are much less expensive than Lincoln Center, too!

boy sledding

11. Go downhill.

When the snowflakes fly, take advantage by going sledding. The hill in Eisenhower State Park in East Meadow is ideal because of its gentle slope and thrilling length—perfect for the littlest snow bunnies. Peruse our list to find more sledding spots.

12. Hit the slopes.

Head to a nearby mountain for skiing and snowboarding. Belleayre Mountain in Highmount is great for families because of its Learning Zone, a designated retreat for first-timers ages 8 to adult. Visit our website to find more nearby slopes.

kids skiing 

13. Honor your heroes.

House fires peak in December and January. Honor our everyday heroes (and learn essential fire safety) at the Nassau County Firefighters Museum and Education Center in Garden City. This destination teaches all about the work and sacrifices of firefighters by letting visitors put on actual firefighter uniforms and go through obstacle courses.

14. Partake in maritime merriment.

The Harborfrost festival in Sag Harbor in early February is a celebration of the maritime history of Sag Harbor. There will be whaleboat racing, clam chowder tasting, underwater archaelogical exploration, and many other acitivies in which the whole family can partake.

15. Go for a dip.

Watch the most hardcore people jump into the freezing Atlantic Ocean on Super Bowl Sunday when the Long Beach Polar Bear Club raises money for charity. Maybe you’ll even want to join them!

16. Play laser tag.

Any kid will say lasers are awesome. So Long Island Laser Bounce in Levittown is a no-fail way to thrill the kids on cold winter days. The arcade includes a laser tag arena filled with glow-in-the-dark obstacles and cool special effects lighting systems.

Bethpage airplane

17. Soar to new heights.

Highlighting L.I’s contributions to flight, which many people don’t know about, The Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City aims to get kids excited about the science and beauty of flying planes. Make a day of it by stopping by the nearby Long Island Children’s Museum and Historic Nunley’s Carousel.

18. Cure your cabin fever.

By the time February rolls around, everyone is getting a case of cabin fever. Have the kids jump off the stir-crazies at Bounce! Trampoline Sports in Syosset. Aside from plain old jumping, they can play trampoline basketball, dodgeball, and fly into ginormous foam pits. Talk about a cure for cabin fever!

girl doing flip 

19. Dream of a summer treehouse.

A real eucalyptus tree brought in from California stands at a height of 18 feet in Once Upon A Treetop in Plainview. Playing in the treehouse makes summer seem that much closer. Little ones can also roam around in a pint-size village complete with a train station, grocery store, and other interactive “stops.”

20. Enjoy a show.

The Long Island Puppet Theatre in Hicksville gives your kids a taste of entertainment you probably enjoyed all the time as a kid. The shows use both marionettes and traditional hand puppets. Craft workshops are also available. 



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