As a parent who’s always on the lookout for new adventures to share with my kids, I’ve found Long Island to be a treasure trove of fun, family-friendly activities. Each visit to this vibrant area brings new discoveries and fond memories. From the sun-kissed beaches to the interactive museums, there’s never a dull moment.
Long Island consistently offers a diverse range of experiences that appeal to kids (and adults!) of all ages. I’m excited to share with you my top 10 favorite activities in this place that have not only brought joy to my family but have also become cherished traditions we love to revisit time and time again.
1. Adventure at Adventureland
Adventureland, located in Farmingdale, offers a variety of rides and attractions that cater to all ages, making it a perfect family destination. From thrilling roller coasters to gentle kiddie rides, there’s something for everyone. The park boasts a mix of exciting rides and family-friendly attractions.
The highlight for thrill-seekers is the Turbulence Coaster, Long Island’s only spinning roller coaster. For younger kids, the Little Dipper Coaster offers a gentler experience. Besides the rides, there are various games and an arcade, providing fun for the whole family.
Adventureland offers various pricing options, including pay-per-ride and all-day wristbands. Prices vary depending on the season and the day of the week, with special discounts often available for groups and during off-peak times.
Throughout the year, Adventureland hosts several seasonal events. Their Halloween festivities are particularly popular, featuring themed decorations and special activities that add an extra layer of excitement to the visit.
2. The Long Island Aquarium
The Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead presents an immersive experience of the aquatic world. It’s not just an aquarium; it’s an educational journey through various marine habitats. The aquarium features a wide range of exhibits, including the fascinating Lost City of Atlantis Shark Exhibit.
Daily shows like the Sea Lion Show are both entertaining and educational, offering insights into the lives of these marine creatures. What sets the Long Island Aquarium apart are its interactive experiences. Your children can enjoy close encounters with butterflies in the Butterfly Exhibit or hand-feed stingrays at Ray Bay.
Admission and Membership
General admission tickets cover most exhibits and shows, with additional fees for certain interactive experiences. Membership options provide unlimited visits and discounts on guest tickets, making it a great option for frequent visitors.
3. Bayville Adventure Park
Bayville Adventure Park, situated on the North Shore, is a seasonal outdoor amusement park that offers a variety of attractions, perfect for a family day out. The park features a range of attractions, including miniature golf, bumper boats, and a funhouse.
During the summer, the beach-themed water park is a major draw, offering a refreshing escape from the heat. Sounds good, right?
Bayville Adventure Park is known for its seasonal transformations. The park becomes a spooky Halloween village in the fall and a winter wonderland during the holiday season, providing unique experiences throughout the year.
The park operates on a pay-per-attraction basis, with the option to purchase an unlimited day pass. Prices vary by season and the number of attractions chosen, with package deals often available for families.
4. Old Westbury Gardens
Old Westbury Gardens, nestled in the heart of Long Island, is a beautiful estate with lush gardens and a historic mansion, offering a serene escape for families. The expansive grounds feature various themed gardens, each with its unique charm.
The Rose Garden and Walled Garden are particularly enchanting, offering a colorful display of flora.
Old Westbury Gardens hosts educational programs and workshops for children, focusing on nature, art, and history. These programs are both fun and informative, providing a unique learning experience outside the classroom.
Admission and Events
General admission includes access to the gardens and the mansion. The estate also hosts seasonal events like summer concerts and holiday celebrations, adding extra allure to the visit.
5. The Sands Point Preserve
Sands Point Preserve is located on the North Shore of Long Island, and it combines historical sites with natural beauty, making it an ideal spot for a family outing. I think we all love the places where both our kids and we can have fun!
There is an entrance fee for vehicles, with additional fees for mansion tours. Membership options offer unlimited access and discounts on programs and events.
Touring the Historic Mansions
The preserve is home to two magnificent mansions, Hempstead House and Castle Gould, which offer a glimpse into Long Island’s opulent past. Guided tours are available, providing fascinating insights into their history.
The preserve’s 216 acres include walking trails, a beachfront, and a pond. Families can enjoy hiking, picnicking, and bird-watching in this picturesque setting.
6. Adventure at the Cradle of Aviation Museum
The Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City is a must-visit for families interested in aviation and space exploration. My boys loved the educational adventure through the history of flight. The museum features over 75 air and spacecraft, from hot air balloons to an actual lunar module.
Interactive exhibits and a planetarium add to the immersive experience. The museum offers a range of educational programs for kids, including STEM workshops and summer camps. Special events like Astronomy Nights are both fun and informative.
Admission and Membership
General admission includes access to most exhibits and the planetarium. Membership provides unlimited visits and discounts on camps and special events.
7. Exploring the Fire Island Lighthouse
The Fire Island Lighthouse, located at the western end of Fire Island, offers a unique blend of history and natural beauty, making it a fascinating destination for families.
The lighthouse, dating back to 1858, is rich in maritime history. Visitors can learn about its historical significance through exhibits and guided tours.
Nature Trails and Wildlife
Surrounding the lighthouse are nature trails where families can explore the local flora and fauna. The area is also a great spot for birdwatching. For a small fee, visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse for panoramic views of the ocean and the bay.
It’s a rewarding experience for both kids and adults.
8. Fun at Jones Beach State Park
Jones Beach State Park, one of Long Island’s most famous beaches, offers a variety of recreational activities, making it a perfect spot for a family day out. The park boasts miles of sandy beaches, ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and beach games.
There are also areas for fishing and boating. It is equipped with playgrounds, picnic areas, and a boardwalk with food concessions, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable visit for families.
Outdoor Concerts and Events
Jones Beach is known for its outdoor concert venue, hosting various performances throughout the summer. The park also holds special events like air shows.
9. The Long Island Children’s Museum
The Long Island Children’s Museum in Garden City is a vibrant space designed to inspire young minds through interactive exhibits and educational programs. The museum features hands-on exhibits that cover a range of topics from art and music to science and nature, encouraging learning through play.
Regularly scheduled workshops and performances add an extra layer of engagement, with activities tailored to different age groups.
Admission and Membership
The museum offers daily admission tickets and membership options. Members receive benefits like unlimited visits and discounts on birthday parties.
10. Planting Fields Arboretum
Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park in Oyster Bay is a botanical paradise, offering a peaceful retreat with its diverse gardens and historic buildings. The arboretum features a variety of gardens, including rose, perennial, and sensory gardens.
The greenhouses, with their exotic plants, are a highlight.
Coe Hall Historic House Museum
Coe Hall, a Tudor Revival mansion on the grounds, offers guided tours that showcase its historical and architectural significance. The arboretum hosts educational programs for children and families, including nature walks and workshops. Seasonal events add to the charm of the visit.
What is the Best Time of Year to Visit Long Island for Family Activities?
Long Island is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit for family activities is during the summer and early fall. This period offers the most pleasant weather for outdoor activities like beaches and parks. However, many attractions like museums and indoor amusement centers are open year-round.
Can You Recommend Activities for Toddlers on Long Island?
For toddlers, Long Island has many suitable activities. The Long Island Children’s Museum and the Nassau County Museum of Art offer interactive exhibits and programs tailored for young children. Additionally, many parks have dedicated playgrounds and gentle walking trails perfect for little ones.
What Are Some Indoor Activities on Long Island for Rainy Days?
On rainy days, families can visit indoor attractions like the Cradle of Aviation Museum, which offers interactive exhibits on aviation and space. The Long Island Aquarium is another great option, with its fascinating marine life displays and indoor activities.
Are There Educational Activities on Long Island That Are Also Fun for Kids?
Absolutely! The Suffolk County Farm and Education Center offers a hands-on learning experience about farming and agriculture. Old Westbury Gardens and the Planting Fields Arboretum provide educational programs in nature and history, making learning fun and engaging.
How Accessible Are Family Attractions on Long Island for Visitors Without a Car?
Many attractions on Long Island are accessible via public transportation, especially those located near major towns. However, having a car can provide more flexibility and ease in reaching some of the more remote locations like certain beaches and parks. It’s advisable to check public transport options and schedules in advance for specific attractions.
Long Island is a fantastic destination for families, brimming with activities that cater to a wide range of interests and ages.
These 10 activities are just a glimpse into the rich tapestry of experiences that Long Island provides. They have given my family countless hours of joy and have helped create lasting memories.
Whether you’re a local or a visitor, I highly recommend taking the time to explore these wonderful spots. Each visit promises new adventures and the chance to make special family memories that you’ll cherish for years to come.