Say it ain't snow. But it is.
Parents with kids eager to brave the outdoors don't have to leave Long Island to find ideal sledding spots. We've rounded up a host of places where you can challenge the local powder for FREE. Safety first though, so be sure to check surroundings for sticks, rocks, and more; wear a helmet and proper snow gear to keep warm; and be extra careful after dark. Bring your own equipment to these snow-covered destinations and be ready for some fun.
Don't forget to check our Long Island winter fun guide for more seasonal entertainment ideas for your family, whether the weather outside is frightful, or delightful. There, you'll find information on skiing destinations, ice rinks, hot chocolate spots, indoor play centers, and more.
Bethpage State Park — Old Bethpage
The state park opens parts of its five golf courses to sledders from December 1 to March 31 as long as the sweet stuff is on the ground. It's tranquil, picturesque, and perfect for sledders of all ages and abilities. (Inflatable sleds aren’t permitted; steerable sleighs only.) The park is open Monday through Thursday from 7am to 10:30pm, and from 7am to 7pm on Saturdays and Sundays. On Fridays, you can swoop from 7am to 8:30pm. Park staff organizes sledding and asks potential visitors to call ahead before heading over.
Cedar Creek Park — Seaford
Hilly and expansive, sledders can enjoy this southeastern Nassau wonderland without feeling cramped. Sledding hills are neither too high nor too short. The absence of trees offers an unobstructed run to the bottom. Sled hills are open in January and February, weather permitting. It is FREE for anyone you want to bring along.
Christopher Morley Park — Roslyn
The county park boasts smaller hills, perfect for little ones. It's also easily accessible from the Long Island Expressway, weather permitting.The park is open from 9am to 6pm daily. Make a winter play day of it by visiting the ice rink.
Eisenhower Park — East Meadow
Head to “Sled Hill" near Parking Field 1 when the right amount of flakes have fallen. The hill is wide and a safe thrill for both children and adults. The park is open every day from 8am to 9pm, and is a bunny-jump away from the Northwell Health Ice Center.
Flower Hill Park — Manhasset
Easy to overlook but hard to avoid, this park is near some of the hilliest terrain in Nassau County. A local sledding favorite, the park is open from 9am to 5pm daily.
Grant Park — Hewlett
This 35-acre, sports-oriented county park transforms into one of south Nassau's top sledding destinations once snow hits.
Malverne High School field — Malverne
Who knew sledding near a flat football field could be such fun? It's safe and popular. On weekends the snow is smooth and the field is empty. It's the perfect formula for winter fun.
RELATED: Snow-day boredom busters for kids
An old-school saucer sled works fine on the steep hills of Newbridge Road Park. Photo courtesy of Jason Weissman
Newbridge Road Park — Bellmore
Don't let the single hill fool you: Newbridge offers a steep climb and descent, perfect for daredevils. Newbridge Road Park is open daily from 8am to 7pm and is home also to Newbridge Ice Arena.
Bald Hill — Farmingville
One of the highest points on Long Island, Bald Hill thrills sledders with long runs and maximum elevation. The former home of the Bald Hill Ski Bowl is easily accessible, less than a mile from LIE Exit 63.
Belmont Lake State Park — North Babylon
This 463-acre space is perfect for novices, but it's safer to avoid hills near the large lake. It is open from 8am to 9pm daily.
The Grange — Sayville
A gentle hill perfect for beginners, the Grange is a popular choice for families who live in an otherwise flat part of southern Suffolk County.
Heckscher Park — Huntington
A small space, but residents of northwest Suffolk swear by its steep hills and lengthy runs. Four trees dot the primary run, forming ideal lane dividers.
Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve — Commack
A popular warm-weather destination in the Town of Smithtown, savvy locals know it's paradise for dedicated sledders come the winter. It is open from 9am to 6pm daily.
Mattituck High School — Mattituck
North Forkers have flocked here for generations, but be wary of the traffic as you cross the region's busiest street.
Southampton Youth Services Rec Center — Southampton
This expansive property in the Hamptons is set off from busy streets and ideal for young children. It is open from 6am to 11pm on weekdays, and from 8am to 5pm on the weekends.
Wicks Road Park — Commack
There are a number of potential destinations in Commack, but steep elevation changes near the community Little League field make this a favorite.
Of course, there are plenty more potential venues across Nassau and Suffolk. Ask around and you're sure to find recommendations. Most area parks have free parking and are open as the weather permits. Some have accumulation rules, so call in advance before you bundle up the kids and head over.
This article, first published in 2013, was updated by writer Rebekah Yahoves in January 2019.