Top Attractions in Long Island: Best Things to See and Do With Kids
Long Island is so much more than a New York City suburb. Boasting miles of beautiful coastline, numerous outdoor activities, and a rich history, this region of the Empire State is a fantastic place to visit. So whether you are looking to put your toes in the sand with a great book or get your blood pumping riding roller coasters, we’ve got you covered with some of our favorite things to do.
Great Things to Do on Long Island With Kids
1. Jones Beach State Park — Wantagh
Each year more than 6 million visitors flock to this 6.5-mile stretch of white sand along the Atlantic Ocean. Besides beach activities, guests enjoy miniature golf, shuffleboard, and meals at the restaurants dotting the property.
Delight in the tranquility of Sailors Haven on Fire Island. Photo by the author
2. Sailors Haven — Fire Island
Hop on the Sayville Ferry and head to Sailors Haven, an uninhabited area on Fire Island. There you will be able to explore a sunken forest and enjoy some of Long Island’s best beaches. End the day with ice cream on the dock as you wait for the ferry home.
Explore the natural world at Mashomack Preserve. Photo by Jaime Sumersille
3. Mashomack Preserve — Shelter Island
Nestled between the forks on the East End, 27-square-mile Shelter Island boasts family-friendly activities and plenty of nature trails, including eight of varying lengths at Mashomack Preserve. Shelter Island is accessible from Greenport on the North Fork and North Haven on the South Fork.
4. Long Island Aquarium — Riverhead
Visit the penguins and sting rays at the only aquarium on Long Island. You don’t want to miss this East End attraction. When your visit with aquatic life comes to a close, have some lunch and explore all that kid-friendly Riverhead has to offer.
Challenge yourself at The Adventure Park of Long Island. Photo by Jaime Sumersille
5. The Adventure Park of Long Island — Wheatley Heights
Take your tweens and teens to new heights in the forest at The Adventure Park of Long Island. Kids 7 and up will love the self-guided ropes course that includes several zip lines, while Little Explorers 3 and up can enjoy the Adventure Playground.
6. Montauk Point Lighthouse — Montauk
Whether you consider this East End community the beginning or the end, you don’t want to miss this attraction in Montauk. Constructed in 1796 and commissioned by President George Washington, this lighthouse was the first built in New York State and is open to the public year-round. Check the website for hours and times before heading out.
Sagamore Hill is steeped in presidential history. Photo by Jaime Sumersille
7. Sagamore Hill — Oyster Bay
Spend some time walking the grounds of the historic home of former President Theodore Roosevelt, now a national historic site. While there, be sure to have little ones check in with a ranger and become a ranger for the day. They'll earn pins and patches after completing a booklet about their experience.
8. Sands Point Preserve — Sands Point
Take a trip to the time of The Great Gatsby with a visit to this Gold Coast mansion that’s impeccably maintained. While there, meander along the trails that pass a pond and the Long Island Sound. If the kids aren’t too tired, visit the enclosed playground.
Explore the coastline and stars at Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium. Photo by Elaine Quilici
9. Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium — Centerport
Nestled on the north shore of Suffolk County, this massive estate features several buildings, a carriage house, and a Hall of Fishes museum to explore. The onsite planetarium has several shows that teach kids about the stars, while teens and grown-ups will love their laser light shows set to rock and pop music.
10. Cradle of Aviation — Garden City
Located on the land of the former Mitchel Field Air Force base, this museum commemorates Long Island’s role in aviation history. Kids can get up close to planes from all different eras and see artifacts from space travel.
11. Long Island Children’s Museum — Garden City
Let little ones loose at this Nassau County children’s museum, featuring 14 hands-on exhibits. Don’t miss the live children's shows; tickets are just $9 with museum admission.
12. Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve — Lloyd Harbor
Get some fresh air as you tour the grounds of the former home of Mitchell Field III. Caumsett offers a fully paved trail that runs in a loop, perfect for bike rides with kids. It can get busy on weekends and holidays, so head toward the unpaved fisherman’s path for a less traveled trail that ends with panoramic views of the Long Island Sound.
Don't be afraid to get wet at Splish Splash.
13. Splish Splash — Calverton
Beat the heat at New York’s largest water park, spanning more than 96 acres on the East End. If you are looking for high intensity, try the Dragons Den, which catapults you through the darkness to the water waiting below.
14. Adventureland — Farmingdale
Tucked away on busy Route 110 in Farmingdale, Adventureland has been Long Island’s premier amusement park since 1962. There’s even more excitement in the air as the park anticipates a new roller coaster in the spring of 2022.
15. Jess Owen Carousel House — Greenport
In the heart of the busy summer village of Greenport is a 100-year-old carousel that kids will love. As you sit on one of the 36 antique horses, reach for the brass ring; catching it allows you a free ride.
16. Riverhead Raceway — Riverhead
This NASCAR track constructed in 1949 is one of the oldest stock car tracks in the country. Riverhead Raceway has events from April to November.
17. John W. Engeman Theater — Northport
The Engeman Theater in Northport offers a slice of the Great White Way on Long Island. The theater has kid-friendly shows throughout the year, including special holiday performances. Once the show is over, explore the candy shops, restaurants, and everything else kid-friendly Northport offers.
Say hello to the "residents" at White Post Farms.
18. White Post Farms — Melville
While the animals at this farm first arrived in 1989, the land has been in the family since 1876. It’s now a full petting zoo, with a giraffe, parrots, goats, and more.
19. Long Island Ducks — Central Islip
Part of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, the Long Island Ducks play their home games in Central Islip. Tickets are affordable, and the stadium has plenty of activities for little ones, including bounce houses and raffles. Try to get tickets for a fireworks night for a spectacular ending to the day.
20. Laura Lee Fishing Boat Trip — Babylon
Capt. Neil Delanoy has been fishing Great South Bay since 1974 and knows where the fish are biting. Join him and his crew on a fishing trip where everything is provided, or grab your gear and check out one of these fishing spots.
21. All American Hamburger Drive-In — Massapequa
No trip to Long Island would be complete without a visit to this affordable burger spot that’s been in Massapequa since 1963. There are some seats in front, but it can get busy, especially on the weekends, so take your meal to Jones Beach for the ultimate Long Island picnic.
22. The Lobster Roll — Amagansett and Southampton
Many will recognize the Lunch sign that has stood high above the East End eatery since it opened in 1965. Since then, locals and tourists alike have enjoyed their pub-style food.
Kids can play while mom and dad sample the vintage at Harbes Family Farm and Vineyard. Photo by Jaime Sumersille
23. Harbes Family Farm and Vineyard — Mattituck
Families are welcome at Long Island’s first sustainable vineyard, established in 2003. Visit the Barnyard Adventure next door first, where kids can run around and interact with farm animals on 8 acres of land. Then end your day with a glass of wine among the vines.
24. Long Beach Boardwalk — Long Beach
Rebuilt after superstorm Sandy, the boardwalk at Long Beach is ideal for jogging, biking, and walking. Admission is free, although there is a charge to visit the beach.
25. Avalon Nature Preserve — Stony Brook
There is so much to see among the 216 acres of this nature preserve. Kids can travel through a labyrinth, see reflections in a massive garden globe, and explore some of the prettiest landscapes the area has to offer.