75 Free Things To Do on Long Island this Summer with Kids

Riverhead's Main Street is the place to be for Alive on 25, an annual street fair with music, food trucks, kids activities, and more. Photo by Jaime Sumersille
Riverhead's Main Street is the place to be for Alive on 25, an annual street fair with music, food trucks, kids activities, and more. Photo by Jaime Sumersille
5/26/24 - By Jaime Sumersille

Looking for FREE things to do on Long Island this summer? Here are some family-friendly events and activities to add to your list.

Does the thought of summer vacation make you dread an ever-diminishing bank account? From summer camps to weekend trips, the next three months can be costly. But summer doesn’t have to drain your wallet. We've compiled this list of 75 free things to do on Long Island this summer with kids. From free outdoor concerts and free summer movies to free museums, classes, and festivals, Long Island offers tons of free activities all summer long.

Find even more bucket list seasonal fun in our Ultimate Long Island Kids Summer Vacation Guide, including our picks for top beach playgrounds and the best family-friendly outdoor restaurants on Long Island.


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75 Free Things To Do on Long Island this Summer

1. Free Summer Movies

The Town of Islip hosts a summer movies in the parks series, and several other localities offer free summer movie nights as well. Bookmark that post so you catch all the fun, free flicks!

2. Picnic in Greenport

Pack a picnic to take to Greenport's harbor-front Mitchell Park. Make sure to explore the rest of the fun in the village, too.

3. Lakeshore Learning Stores

Lakeshore Learning Stores hosts free STEAM-related events on weekend days.

4. Home Depot Kids Workshops

Prefer using a hammer? Home Depot has kids workshops on the first Saturday of the month.

5. Explore Riverhead

Waddle over to Riverhead and visit the iconic Big Duck. It's a prime family selfie location.

6. Romp on a School Playground

School's out, and your local elementary building grounds have unique playground equipment, fitness stations, swings, and more to explore. If you are trying to beat the heat, check out these cool playgrounds with shade.

RELATED: Best Things To Do in Long Beach with Kids

Best free things to do on Long Island this summer: Go fishing
Go fishing on Long Island this summer. 

7. Go Fishing

Cast a line and catch some fun as you fish from these Long Island piers and beaches.

8. Listen to a Free Story

Barnes & Noble locations in Bay Shore, Smith Haven Mall, Carle Place, and Manhasset host free weekly story time sessions.

9. Make a Craft

Our list of boredom busters is chock full of recipes, games, crafts, and more using commonly found household items.

10. Discover Sagamore Hill

Visit the lush grounds of Sagamore Hill, the former home of Teddy Roosevelt. The 366-foot Eel Creek Boardwalk leads to expansive views of Centre Island and Lloyd Harbor. After your trip, stroll through historic Oyster Bay.

RELATED: 35 Water Games for Kids To Play All Summer Long

11. Catch the 4th of July Fireworks

It's not July 4th without fireworks. Read on to see where you can get the best views.

12. Suffolk County Farm and Education Center

The Suffolk County Farm and Education Center in Yaphank is fun farm with free admission for everyone.

13. Feed the Wild Birds

Go on a kid-friendly nature walk at the Elizabeth A. Morton Wildlife Refuge. Pack birdseed and watch these feathered friends nosh right from your hand.

14. Enjoy a Day in Port Jefferson Village

Stroll around Port Jefferson village and make a stop at Rocketship Park.

15. Eisenhower Park

This lush Nassau County green space is a bevy of activity in every season, but this summer you can marvel at the excitement of the ICC Cricket World Cup that's taking over from Monday, June 3-Wednesday, June 12. Tickets cost a pretty penny, but you can gawk at the stadium that's seemingly sprung up overnight and enjoy the rest of the park's cost-free amenities.

16. Summer Birthday Freebie

Have a summer birthday in the house? Visit the Long Island Aquarium for FREE within a week of your special day. Note: adults must show a valid photo ID and children need a copy of their birth certificate or passport.

RELATEDAwesome Amusement Parks on Long Island for Families

Best free things to do on Long Island this summer: venture to NYC for free fun
Jump on a train to NYC for a free museum day. Photo by Gina Massaro

17. Visit an NYC Museum for Free

Take the LIRR into the city and visit these NYC museums on their free admission days. Once you're there, stick around and enjoy some of these other free things to do in NYC with kids.

18. Explore a Free Nature Center

Check out one of the free nature centers on long island, like the Holtsville Ecology Site and Animal Preserve, Sweetbriar Nature Center, or Garvies Point Preserve, which charges admission to the museum, though its walking trails free and open for all.

19. Splash at a Free Spray Park

Cool off at a free Long Island spray park. Favorites include Blumenfeld Family Park in Port Washington, Clark Street Playground in Long Beach, and Port Jefferson Harbor.

20. Search for Sea Shells

Most state parks and beaches are free after 6pm on weekends and holidays, and after 4pm on weekdays. Go for an evening stroll along the shore and see what sea treasures you can find.

21. Discover Art After Dark

On select evenings this summer and fall, Grangebel Park in downtown Riverhead transforms into a walkable art-after-dark experience.

22. Explore Shelter Island

While you have to pay for the ferry ride to Shelter Island, there's plenty to explore for free once you arrive. Try hiking the majestic Mashomack Preserve.

23. Hit the Trails

Long Island has many family-friendly hiking trails, including some that offer beautiful views of Long Island. Pack some cash for parking, though.

24. See a Live Show

The Huntington Summer Arts Festival brings a roster of exciting performing artists to the Chapin Rainbow Stage in Heckscher Park each year.

25. Wander Through a Sculpture Garden

Experience colorful works of art at the always-free sculpture gardens at the Nassau County Museum of Art, the Parrish Art Museum, or the Hofstra University Museum, which provides free kids' activity packets.

RELATED: Family Day Trips and Weekend Getaways for Long Island

Best free things to do on Long Island this summer: Mom and dad and kids on bikes
See where two wheels take you this summer.

26. Hit the Bike Trails

Pack up the bikes and see where two wheels can take you.

27. Alive on 25

Riverhead's Main Street is the place to be for Alive on 25, an annual street fair with music, food trucks, kids activities, and more on select dates this summer. Bonus: A free fireworks show is held the first evening.

28. Explore a Living Museum and Garden

Take a stroll through a flourishing garden. Alberston's Clark Botanic Gardens is a 12-acre living museum and educational facility that is completely free.

29. Free Passes From Your Library

Many libraries offer free museum passes and other perks to their members, where families can check out places like the Long Island Children's Museum and Cradle of Aviation, both in Nassau County. Some even lend out Empire State Parks passes to our local beaches.

30. Explore a New Playground

Check out a new-to-you playground on Long Island, such as Garvies Point Playground in Glen Cove, Long Beach's new Magnolia Playground, or one of these recently debuted parks and playgrounds.

31. Or...Revisit a Classic Romping Spot

These are our top playgrounds on Long Island and worth visiting and revisiting all summer long!

32. Camp Creatology

Join Michaels free Camp Creatology program where kids and adults can learn how to do different crafts.

33. Kids Bowl Free

The Kids Bowl Free summer bowling program is open to all school-aged kids. Several Long Island bowling alleys are participating.

34. Southampton History Museum

Step back in time to the Southampton History Museum. It offers free programs and activities at various times each week. After your history lesson, enjoy the kid-friendly activities this beach community has to offer.

RELATED100 Free Things To Do on Long Island with Kids

Best free things to do on Long Island this summer: Boy observing the Marine Nature Study Area
Explore wetlands like the Marine Nature Study Area.

35. Marine Nature Study Area

The Marine Nature Study Area in Oceanside has boardwalks that meander throughout a 52-acre marshland. Look down for marine life and up for cranes and osprey, who call this waterfront oasis home. Note: The on-site building is under construction.

36. Strawberry Festival

Celebrate the season's sweetest fruit during the Historical Society of the Massapequas Strawberry Festival on Saturday, June 15.

37. Quogue Wildlife Refuge

Take a short hike among the pine barrens and stop in to visit the animals at Quogue Wildlife Refuge. Don't forget to check out the Fairy Dell Boardwalk across the street.

38. Spend the Day on Fire Island

Head out to Fire Island where its visitor center hosts free hikes and other family-friendly nature education programs.

39. Sunshine Sessions

Play hooky from work and book it to Orient Beach State Park for the season-long Sunshine Sessions concerts on Tuesday afternoons.

40. Goodale Farms

Head to Goodale Farms in Riverhead and pal around with goats, cows, and chickens before heading inside for some farm-fresh goodies. It even has milk bottles and feed for your little farmer to get some hands-on experience.

41. Riverhead Cardboard Boat Races

With cardboard, tape, and paint being the only allowable materials, see how durable the entrants in the Riverhead Cardboard Boat Races really are on Saturday, August 3.

42. Nautical Mile Festival

Celebrate Freeport Village's seaside history during its annual Nautical Mile Festival on Saturday, June 1.

43. Shop Local

Visit your local farmers market to see what's in season. Many markets offer free entertainment and music.

44. Old Time Baseball

Travel back in time and see how athletes used to play baseball in the 19th century. Catch a home game for the Atlantic Base Ball Club at the Smithtown Historical Society.

RELATED24 Best Things To Do in Southampton, NY, with Kids

Best free things to do on Long Island this summer: kids scooting on a boardwalk
Walk, ride, or scoot along one of the many boardwalks on the Long Island Shore.

45. Walk on a Boardwalk

Stretch the family's legs and take in the sea air on these Long Island boardwalks.

46. Go Skateboarding

Carve an ollie or pop a wheelie at one of these local Long Island skate parks. Tell mom not to look!

47. Discover Aztec Culture

The Paumanauke Pow-Wow returns to Babylon Township this year, and kids under 12 are free.

48. Camp at Home

Plan a backyard camping trip. Don't forget the s'mores!

49. Romp on a Ropes Course

Sure, you could shell out some big bucks to explore these local ropes courses and adventure parks, but did you know Captree State Park just debuted a cool playground with a pint-sized ropes course perfect for little kids, and it's completely free?

50. Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center

The Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center is free to explore. It also offers programs for a nominal fee.

51. Wednesdays on Wellwood

These fun, free block parties in downtown Lindenhurst include food, drinks, family-friendly activities, live music and more.

52. Try Out a New Thing

Most local libraries have amassed quite the collection in their new Library of Things. From karaoke machines and oversized lawn games to sand castle molds and movie projectors, your family can plan a lot of fun times for free.

53. Go Birding

Print out a local birder's guide and set off with some binoculars to see which feathered friends you can check off the list. There are decent peeping spots along the shorelines. The South Fork Natural History Museum also hosts free monthly birding club sessions for kids ages 8-18.

54. Pitch in for Beach Clean Up

Give back to the community and Mother Earth as Hallock State Park Preserve hosts weekly clean ups each Saturday morning.

55. Babylon Block Party

The Babylon Block Party is set for multiple evenings this summer, offering games, vendors, food trucks, fun, and more.

56. Long Island Live Steamers

Chug on down to Long Island Live Steamers' twice-monthly Sunday public run days in Southaven Park. While rides are free, this volunteer program does accept donations.

57. Master Massapequa

With bustling downtown areas along both Park Boulevard and Broadway, and a thriving beach community on the South Shore, Massapequa is a family-friendly jewel in Nassau County.

58. Peconic River Herb Farm

Peconic River Herb Farm is a idyllic, serene 14-acre preserve with rolling hills, a picturesque pond, resident animals, and lots of photo-ops. Pack a picnic and settle in for a peaceful afternoon.

59. Love Lane

Mattituck's Love Lane closes to traffic for the first Friday evening of each month through early autumn.

60. Music on Main

Swing and sway under the stars along Farmingdale's Main Street.

61. Pop Ups at WMHO

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization hosts free family weekend fun this summer in the Inner Court with animals, magic, storytellers, and more.

62. Explore a Labyrinth

Open to the public year-round, the Avalon Nature Preserve in Stony Brook is in full bloom in the summer months. Explore trails, two ponds, a labyrinth, and much more.

63. Red Barn Fairs

Get up close and personal with the farms' resident alpacas during these monthly fairs.

64. National Parks Days

On Wednesday, June 19, and Sunday, August 4, admission is free to National Parks.

65. Broaden Your Palate

The Stew Leonard locations in East Meadow and Farmingdale host weekly sample days. Bring your appetite as you peruse the store. Be sure to press the interactive buttons to catch animatronic shows above.

66. Nesconset Day

Enjoy bounce houses, food trucks, face painting, music, crafts, games, and prizes during Nesconset Day on Sunday, August 25.

67. Grumman Memorial Park

Grumman Memorial Park in Calverton celebrates the corporation's aviation achievements. View warplanes like the F-14A Tomcat and the A-6E Intruder on display, all for free.

68. Uplands Farm Sanctuary

Explore the nearly 2 1/2 miles of marked trails at this local sanctuary, and meander through bird and butterfly meadows, forests, and a shaded ravine. The west loop connects to the Nassau-Suffolk Trail.

69. Juneteenth

The North Fork's first Juneteenth Parade steps off in Greenport and includes storytelling, yoga, and more on Saturday, June 15.

70. Levy Preserve

Be sure to check in with the resident goats at the mountain-like, 52-acre, Norman J. Levy Park and Preserve. Choose from three miles of trails plus a 500-foot fishing pier that juts into Merrick Bay. At the park's highest point, make yourself a human sundial to check the time.

71. Prosser Pines

The tall trees of Prosser Pines—Long Island pine barrens—make this Long Island spot particularly unique.

72. 67 Steps Beach

Just below the rolling grounds of the Horton Point Lighthouse is 67 Steps Beach. It's a steep walk down the rocky shoreline of the Long Island Sound, but totally worth it. You'll quickly grow your beach glass collection while down there. Just be careful about parking rules!

73. Stroll Garden of Zen

A quick jaunt through the foothills of Mill Neck brings you to an authentic tea house in the middle of the John P. Humes Japanese Stroll Garden.

75. Bailey Arboretum

From running through fields to hiking around the pond, this North Shore oasis boasts loads of family-friendly fun finds, like oversized lawn chairs for photo-ops, an imaginative play space, nature-made instruments, a see-saw, and more.

75. Kids Eat Free

We've rounded up a bunch of dining spots that let kids eat free.

This piece is updated annually.

Unless noted, photos by the author