Long Island is 118 miles long and roughly 20 miles across, and 7 bridges and 2 tunnels connect Long Island to Manhattan – so you can get to the island by road, rail or fly.
Long Island is an island of contrasts. On the west end of the island closest to Manhattan you have Queens and Brooklyn – both identities in their own right, with many people not recognizing that they are really a part of Long Island, then you have Nassau County and Suffolk County, with the of island to the east identified in 4 districts – North Shore, South Shore, North Fork and South Fork which are the two peninsulas that run each side of Peconic Bay that lies between them.
On the north coast of Long Island is Long Island Sound, and south of the island is the Atlantic Ocean, with the coastline around Long Island a mixture of long white sandy beaches, sand dunes, coves, ports, inlets and bays. This is a beautiful part of the United States and hugely popular with New Yorkers in the summer time heading for the beaches, resorts and other attractions that are located here. There’s a lot to see and do here, with lots of places to eat and many places to stay too from up-market hotels and resorts to Bed and Breakfast places. You are never far from the water – beaches, marinas, walkways, sand dunes, bays and inlets.
These are just some of the attractions that you will find on Long Island –
- Golf Courses – the oldest golf course in the USA is located in Southampton – the private club of Shinnecock Hills, while the biggest golf course complex in the world is in Bethpage State Park where there are five 18 hole golf courses. There are many others on Long Island too so you are never far from a Golf Course.
- Events – there are events always happening throughout the year – particularly through the summer months – everything from horse racing, boat shows, food, craft, street fairs and more and every village on the island has its own ambience and attractions to seek out.
- Cruises – This is a great way to see the island and there are a number of water taxis, cruises, cruise boats and ferries that leave from Freeport, Greenport, Great South Bay, Manhasset Bay and the Peconic River.
- River boating – kayaking and paddle boarding – head to Carmans River, Connetquot River, Nissequogue River or Peconic River.
- Fishing – see www.fishonli.com – take a cruise, or fish from a beach or pier or in a river (with a license). Head to Montauk, Babylon, Freeport o Captree State Park. Or just head to a restaurant to enjoy Chowder, clams, scallops, striped Bass and other local fish.
- Maritime Museums – head to Freeport where there is a fishing fleet and fish market. The Long Island Whaling Museum is located at West Sayville; Cold Spring Whaling Museum is in Cold Spring Harbor and also Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery; another whaling museum is in Sag Harbor; the East End Seaport Museum & Marine Foundation is in Greenport and the American Merchant Marine Museum is in King’s Point. Also head to the Mather House Museum at 115 Prospect Street in Port Jefferson, the 19th Century home of the ship builder, John Mather.
- Lighthouses – There are 25 lighthouses on Long Island, the oldest lighthouse being on the eastern end of the island at Montauk and built in 1797. Three other lighthouses that you might want to see are Fire Island Lighthouse, built in 1826, the 1912 Huntington Harbor Lighthouse and Horton Point Lighthouse built in 1857.
- Beaches – Long Island is famous for its sand dunes and white wide sandy beaches that are located here with more than 50 miles of beaches along the south east end of the Island. East Hampton’s Main Beach and Coopers Beach are said to be two of the best beaches in the USA, but there are many, many others that will be close to wherever you stay. Other beaches you might look for are Long Beach, Jones Beach and Lido Beach. The beaches on the Atlantic Ocean side are mainly “Barrier Beaches” with an off shore sand barrier creating its own beaches. You tend to have more waves here than the ones on the Long Island Sound side, but the beaches are equally stunning on both sides of the island. Some on the northern side you might look for are Orient Beach, Gardiner’s Bay and Crescent Beach which is on Shelter Island. If you are looking for surf head to Montauk.
- Mansions – ‘The Hamptons’ have some of the most expensive big mansions in the USA, with many owned by the rich and famous – from Billionaires to movie stars. There are gigantic homes with price tags to match, some homes for sale for over 100 million. The Hamptons gained its name based on the number of small villages and towns along this part of Long Island that have Hampton in their name – Hampton Bays, East Hampton, West Hampton, Bridge Hampton and South Hampton, and while the big mansions with the helicopter pads, pools and security may be an attraction, it is the location and beaches that have attracted them in the first place, and those beaches, sand dunes, bays and waterways are all still here to enjoy.
- Old Westbury – www.oldwestburygardens.org Tel: (516) 333 0048 (See gardens below).
- De Seversky Mansion – part of NYIT – Northern Rd, Old Westbury. See www.nyit.edu/deseversky.org Tel: (516) 686 7675
- Okeka Castle – 135 West Gate Drive, Huntington. Now a hotel where you can stay. See www.okeka.com Tel; (631) 659 1400.
- Mill Neck Mansion – 40 Frost Mill Rd. Mill Neck. Tel (516) 628 4243.
- Eagles Nest Vanderbilt Mansion – 180 Little Neck Rd, Centerport. See: www.vandebiltmuseum.org tel: (631) 854 5555. There is also a planetarium and Sky Theater here too.
- Coindre Hall Park and Museum – a 40 room mansion with Turrets. See gardens below.
- William Floyd Estate – 245 Park Drive, Mastic Beach. Tel: (631) 399 2030. The mansion was built between 1724 and 1930 and besides the 25 room mansion there are a number of outbuildings to see as well as the 613 acre estate.
- Chelsea – Northern Boulevard, East Norwich. Tel: (516) 571 8550. A 32 room mansion.
- Falaise – at Sands Point Preserve – 95 Middle Neck Rd. Port Washington. Tel: (516) 571 7900. Overlooks Long Island Sound and was the home of Captain Harry F. Guggenheim. Here you will also see Hempstead House ad Castlegould – once the homes of Daniel and Harry Guggenheim.
- Chrysler Estate – Steamboat Rd, Kings Point. Tel: (516) 773 5000. This is now where the U.S Merchant Marine Academy is located.
- Sagamore Hill – Cove Mill Lane, Saddle Rock. Tel: (516) 922 4788. This is the 23 room mansion home of President Theodore Roosevelt.
Historic sites – Long Island has a history going back to the times before the Dutch and English first arrived on these shores, and certainly the Island has Indian, Dutch, English, European and American history, including whaling, bootlegging and Military History too.
Some of the museums you might like to visit are as follows –
- Long Island Children’s Museum – 11 Davis Avenue, Garden City. Tel: (516) 224 5800. A really big museum designed for children and located in an old aircraft hangar. Close by the museum is also the Nassau County Firefighter’s Museum at #1 Davis Avenue, Garden City.
- Nassau County Police Museum – Franklin Avenue, Mineola in the Police Headquarters. Tel: (516) 573 7620. Lots of Police memorabilia dating back to 1925.
- Southold Indian Museum – main Bayview Rd, Southold. Tel: (631) 765 5577. An insight into the world of the Long Island Algonquin Indians and their culture and traditions.
- Southold Historical Society Museums – Main Rd and Maple Lane, Southold. Tel: (631) 765 5500. A whole village complex with restored houses, a barn and other buildings.
- African American Museum of Nassau County – 110 N. Franklin St. Hempstead. Tel: (516) 572 0730. Art, tradition, culture and exhibits.
- Hofstra University Museum – Hempstead Turnpike, Hempstead. Tel: (516) 463 6600. Outdoor sculptures and five galleries to see through.
- Islip Art Museum –Brookwood Hall, 50 Irish Lane, East Islip. Tel: (631) 224 5402. Lots of current day artists exhibit here.
- Old Bethpage Village – Round Swamp Rd, Old Bethpage. Tel: (516) 572 8400. A pre-Civil war village with lots of buildings and exhibits to see.
- Horton Point Nautical Museum and Lighthouse – also in Southold at Lighthouse Rd. Tel: (631) 765 5500.
- North Shore Historical Museum – 140 Glen St. Glen Cove in the 1908 former City Hall. Lots of historic things to see including the old jail and judge’s bench.
- Sands-Willets House – built in 1735 – 95 Middle Neck Rd. Port Washington. (Also see Falaise under Mansions above.
- Grist Mills – these were used to mill grain, and you can see three different ones – the 1735 Roslyn Grist Mill at 1384 Old Northern Boulevard, Roslyn; the working Stony Brook Grist Mill at Harbor Rd, Stony Brook Tel: (631 751 2244); and Saddle Rock Grist Mill at Grist Hill Lane, Saddle Rock. Tel: (516) 571 7900.
- Hallockville Museum Farm – 163 Sound Ave, Riverhead. Tel: 631) 298 5292. This farm dates back to 1765, giving you an insight into farm life in the early days.
- Oysterponds Village House – Village Lane, Orient. Tel: 631) 323 2480 see the Village House, Old Point and Amanda Brown schoolhouses.
- Railroad Museum – three to see at Greenport, at the end of 3rd Street (Tel:^31) 477 0439; at 416 Griffing Avenue, Riverhead. Tel: (631) 727 7920 and the Wantach Railroad Museum 1700 Wantach Avenue, Wantach. Tel: (516) 826 8767.
- American Airpower Museum – 1300 New Highway at Republic Airport, Farmingdale. Tel: (631) 293 6398. Lots of World War two aircraft to see.
- Cradle of Aviation Museum – Charles Lindbergh Boulevard, Garden City. Tel: (516) 572 4111. Lots of restored aircraft to see including the sister aircraft to ‘Spirit of St Louis’ aircraft that Charles Lindbergh flew, and the Lunar Excursion Moon landing module, built on Long Island.
- Museum of American Armor- Old Bethpage Village – 1303 Round Swamp Rd, Old Bethpage. Tel: (516) 572 8400. See lots of tanks and armored cars here.
Wineries – there are more than 3000 acres of vineyards – a number being in and around Southold, Riverhead and Sayville. See www.liwines.com . Also in Cuthogue, Jamesport, Peconic , Greenport and Mattituck.
Zoos – head to Manorville to the Long Island Game Farm and Children’s Zoo and the Animal Farm and Petting Zoo; Animal Preserve in Holtsville, the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead and the Suffolk County Farm in Yaphank. There are also a number of wildlife Refuges on the island as well as whale watching cruises to enjoy.
Waterpark – head to ‘Splish Spash in Calverton – 96 acres of wave pools, water slides, pools and rides. Tel: (631) 727 3600.
Parks and Gardens – there are many great parks for biking, hiking, walking as well as gardens to enjoy. These are just a few of them –
- Old Westbury Gardens – 71 Old Westbury Rd on Old Westbury – 160 acres of formal gardens, woodlands and ponds around the 1906 Mansion that was built here. (See www.oldwestburygardens.org ) Tel: (516) 333 0048.
- Coindre Hall Park – 101 Browns Rd, Huntington – see the 1912 Mansion built like a French Chateau with 33 acres of grounds overlooking Huntington Harbor around it.
- Bailey Arboretum – Bayville Rd, Lattingtown has 42 acres of rare exotic trees, shrubs and flowers to see, including a sensory garden.
- Planting Fields Arboretum – Planting Fields Rd, Oyster Bay. See the amazing 1918 Tudor Mansion “Coe Hall” surrounded by 40 acres of lawns, 150 acres of gardens with greenhouses and 200 acres of woodlands.
- Bayard Cutting Arboretum State Park – Montauk Highway, Oakdale. See the 1887 Tudor style mansion surrounded by 690 acres of conifer trees including yew, spruce, cypress, pine and hemlock trees.
- Sagtikos Manor County Park – Montauk Highway, West Bay Shore. Tel: (631) 854 0939. This mansion home was built for Stephan van Cortland, the first American born Mayor of New York City.
- Tackapausha Museum and nature trails – Washington Avenue, Seaford. Tel: (516) 571 7443. Here you will find 5 miles of walking trails and also exhibits focused on animals and the flora.
Fire Island – is a ferry ride away (See www.fiferries.com ) from Bay Shore, Patchogue or Sayville and the island is almost car free. People come here by boat or ferry to enjoy the beaches, marina, restaurants, bars, nightlife, wilderness and walking trails, small hotels, B&B’s, and the Fire Island National Seashore Boardwalk that runs along the coastline. Also look for the 300 year old primeval Holly Forest and the Robert Moses State Park. There are 17 small communities that are located along the island’s coastal beaches, making the Island a popular place to head to during the summer months.
Shopping – there are many shopping malls and also small village shops too, some of the best villages being Huntington, Rosslyn, Port Jefferson, Northport and Cold Spring Harbor.
Theaters and Shows – there are a number of Theaters and concert venues located on Long Island, two of the biggest being ‘The Nikon at Jones Beach Theater’ in Wantach, Jones Beach State Park and the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale. There are many others, and so it is worth checking where you are staying to see what’s happening close by. There is always something happening on the island each week.
LONG ISLAND is an island that attracts writers, artists, performers, musicians, surfers, beachgoers, golfers, fishing enthusiasts, hikers, day trippers and holiday makers – and the mix of rich and famous, bohemians and ordinary folk make Long Island a great place to live as well as visit.
If you have the time, it is definitely a place to put on your list of places to visit.