If it’s been a few months since that bike saw the outside of your garage, why not tune it up and welcome the summer with a family bike ride?
Head outside to explore some of the many bike trails Long Island has to offer. If you’re not up for taking on a mountain bike trail, then pack a lunch, bring some water and head to one of the paved paths or boardwalks that offer an easy and enjoyable ride for even the youngest cyclist.
Here are our top picks for the most family-friendly trails on Long Island. Depending on which trail you choose, it may be a good idea to bring along a first aid kit, a tire patch kit or extra tubes, and bug and tick spray. For more outdoor adventures, check out these LI hiking trails and our Summer Fun Guide. While you're at it, why not look into our 50 FREE things to do with kids on LI this summer or our top 100 things to do with LI kids. A good bike ride just might be on both lists.
There are two trails at Bethpage State Park: a mountain biking trail and paved trail for walkers and bikers to share. Photo courtesy of Long Island Bicycle Tours
Bethpage State Park — Farmingdale
There are actually two bike trails here. The mountain bike trail is 4 miles long, and the paved trail, which is for runners and hikers, is about 9 miles long. Part of the larger trail goes through the tranquil Massapequa Preserve, shown above.
Eisenhower Park — East Meadow
With so much to do at Eisenhower Park, this is a great place to bring kids for more than just biking. There is a lake, golf, baseball fields, and playgrounds. The paved jogging and bike path winds around the area and is suitable for all skill levels.
Bikes are permitted on the boardwalk at Jones Beach. Photo courtesy of Long Island Bicycle Tours
Jones Beach Bike Path — Wantagh
This is one of the most well-known bike trails on Long Island. In-line skaters, joggers, and bikers all use the paved trail, which is about 4 1/2 miles and runs parallel to Wantagh State Parkway. The scenery is beautiful and it never crosses a road. Once inside the state park, bikes are permitted on the boardwalk, but keep an eye out for pedestrians.
Valley Steam State Park — Valley Stream
This 2-mile flat, paved loop provides an easy ride for the whole family. For those looking to extend their ride, the state park trail meets up with Hendrickson Park’s trail for an additional 2 miles of biking.
Belmont Lake State Park — West Babylon
This trail winds around Belmont Lake in what used to be the estate of August Belmont, who raised thoroughbred horses on the property. Enjoy the scenery on this 3-mile, mixed-terrain loop. Take some time on the playground or continue with a pedal boat rental.
Cathedral Pines County Park — Middle Island
Cathedral Pines is situated along Carmans River, making this bike trail rather picturesque. This is a mountain bike trail, so be prepared for dirt paths, some bumps, and slight inclines. However, the park offers trails easy enough for beginner to advanced mountain bikers.
Connetquot River State Park Preserve — Oakdale
This trail parallels Sunrise Highway with a connection into the state park. Its 3,400 acres are a haven for fish, birds, rare plants and more.
Heckscher State Park — East Islip
Four miles of trails and views of Fire Island across Great South Bay attract riders to this South Shore state park. Riders often encounter deer, seabirds and other wildlife.
Sunken Meadow State Park — Kings Park
At just over 3 miles, this trail takes you through wooded areas, over a creek, and along the beach. Some hilly areas might require you to walk your bike, but you are rewarded with sweeping views of Long Island Sound. This trail is paved and connects to the boardwalk near the end.
Trail View State Park — Huntington
This Long Island path connects Cold Spring Harbor State Park to Bethpage State Park, where you can ride the Greenbelt Trail. Map out your route before heading out as trails split off and lead to different locations. The Trail View path is FREE, and is accessible from many roads, including Jericho Turnpike in Woodbury.
The East End
Hither Hills State Park — Montauk
Another mountain biking trail, Hither Hills combines advanced courses with paths suitable for novice riders. Be sure to pick up a trail map at the campground or the Montauk Chamber of Commerce as the trails are not marked. Be prepared for some puddles in low spots, bumps, and some overgrowth across the path. As with any trek through the woods, a first aid kit is good to have.
Riverfront Trail — Riverhead
At a half-mile long, this scenic boardwalk trail follows the Peconic River past the Long Island Aquarium and into downtown Riverhead.
Wildwood State Park — Wading River
With a total of 12 miles, this trail is a good option for families with older kids or younger ones if you have a trailer. Expect some hilly terrain with a mix of paved areas and unpaved areas. There are plenty of rest stops along the way to help little legs recover from the hill climbs as well as offering some spots to stop for lunch.
Top photo: The shared-use path at Bethpage State Park is ideal for cyclists and walkers. Photo courtesy of New York DOT
This post, originally published in 2013, was updated in July 2017.