Where to go Hiking on Long Island: 11 Family-Friendly Hiking Trails to Explore
Whether you're a family of expert outdoorsmen or are just looking for a relaxing nature walk with your little ones, Long Island is home to an abundance of family-friendly hiking trails. Not only do the local Long Island hiking trails offer a chance for exercise and quality time with your kids, but they also provide an opportunity to learn about Long Island's diverse natural landscape. From toddlers to teens, these hiking adventures offer all-ages fun for your family.
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1. Blydenburgh County Park – Smithtown
The 627-acre Blydenburgh County Park features several trails to enjoy, including a six-mile loop around Stump Pond. Most trails offer water views, and fishing is allowed with a permit. Four-legged friends are welcome, so grab a leash and take in all nature has to offer. Admission is FREE to Suffolk County residents with a Green Key residency card.
2. Massapequa Preserve – Massapequa
This 20-mile trail is the longest hiking trail in Nassau County. It follows the shore of Massapequa Lake over a charming log bridge, where the landscape changes from traditional vegetation to pine barrens. Parts of the trail parallel Bethpage Parkway. The trail is mostly flat, but a hilly north section ends at Cold Spring Harbor State Park. Picnic areas dot the route, making it an ideal choice for day-trippers.
Trails at Sands Point Preserve meander through acres of diverse habitats.
3. Sands Point Preserve – Sands Point
This site offers six marked trails through 216 acres of diverse habitat, including woods, fields, a pond, and even beachfront along the Long Island Sound. The preserve offers guided nature walks, and hikers can grab a trail map and find their own way. Dinosaur lovers enjoy the Dino Trail, which provides a short walk through the woods complete with dinosaur footprints. Sands Point Preserve is open Wednesday-Saturday, 11am-6pm and Sundays, 9am-6pm, with the last entry at 5:30pm daily. Admission is $15 per car, and a contactless pay station is available at the Gatehouse. Walk-in visitors pay $4 per person. Leashed dogs are welcome.
4. Caleb Smith State Park Preserve – Smithtown
Caleb Smith State Park Preserve features 543 acres of woodland with marked trails perfect for exploring with the family. Once you're there, keep an eye out for a variety of birds. Children ages 15 and younger can fish on Willow Pond from April to October. The preserve also offers nature programs for all ages. The park is open from 9am-4pm Wednesdays through Sundays year-round. Admission is $8 per car.
Take in a diverse environment while hiking through Bayard Cutting Arboretum.
5. Bayard Cutting Arboretum – Great River
This Long Island oasis offers eight marked trails that wind through gardens along the Connetquot River and around Long Island's pine barrens. The arboretum is open Tuesday-Sunday, from 9am-6pm. Vehicles pay an $8 fee to enter.
6. Mashomack Preserve – Shelter Island
The Mashomack Preserve is a Long Island nature-lovers dream, with more than 2,000 acres of tidal creeks, oak woodlands, fields, and freshwater marshes. The flat landscape makes it a perfect hiking destination for kids. In addition to beautiful fall foliage, Mashomack is home to more than 200 species of birds, so bring your binoculars for some excellent bird-watching. The trails are open from dawn to dusk daily.
Meditate while walking the labyrinth with your family at Avalon Park and Preserve.
7. Avalon Nature Preserve – Stony Brook
Between dusk and dawn, enjoy the gifts of nature at Avalon Park and Preserve. The preserve features eight acres of hiking trails, including a boardwalk and crushed stone paths. There is also a wheelchair-accessible paved hiking trail, as well as several points of interest to explore, including a labyrinth, rock formations, and sculptures. Leashed dogs are welcome. The park is closed on Mondays and admission is FREE.
8. Sunken Forest – Fire Island
For a true adventure close to home, hop on the Sayville Ferry and visit Sailors Haven. There you will find a rare ecological community known as the Sunken Forest. This holly forest contains a 1.6-mile loop that takes you below sea level. Be sure to keep everyone on the trails as poison ivy can be found along the edges. Before you head home, grab some ice cream or lunch at the Snack Bar located next to the ferry dock. The forest is open from May through October and is FREE to visit.
Hike along the Long Island Sound. Photo by the author
9. Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve – Huntington
The historic 1,750-acre Caumsett State Park offers 13 marked trails to explore, from less than a mile in length to six miles. With sweeping views of the Long Island Sound, paved paths, and crushed stone trails, woodlands, and beachfront, all amid historic charm, it is clear why this park is a Long Island favorite. The park is open daily from sunrise to sunset, and entry is $8 per car.
10. Sunken Meadow State Park – Kings Park
Sunken Meadow State Park's main trail features beautiful views of the mouth of the Nissequogue River. With varying topography, from wooded areas to beach bluffs, a hike through Sunken Meadow State Park is sure to be interesting. After your journey, cool off in the Long Island Sound. The park is open year-round, from sunrise to sunset, and entry is $8 per car.
The Quogue Wildlife Refuge features seven miles of explorable rails for young and old.
11. Quogue Wildlife Refuge – Quogue
This refuge is home to diverse wildlife, some of them injured and undergoing rehabilitation, plus 7 miles of trails to explore. The trails, which run through bogs and pine barrens, are easy hikes for all ages, and accessible for wheelchairs and strollers. Keep an eye out for turtles and frogs, and stop by the outdoor wildlife complex and nature center to view owls, foxes, and a bald eagle. The grounds are open daily from sunrise to sunset. FREE
Photos courtesy of the parks and preserves.
This post, originally published in September 2017, has since been updated.