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 few places where you can hit the local powder for FREE. Safety first though, so be sure to check surroundings for sticks, rocks and more, and wear a helmet and proper snow gear to keep warm. Bring your own equipment to these snow-covered destinations and be ready for some fun.
Don't forget to check our January GoList and Event Calendar for more ideas on winter entertainment for your family, whether the weather outside is frightful, or delightful.
There's also plenty of seasonal fun in our Long Island Winter Fun Guide, from skiing to hot chocolate spots to FREE events all winter.
Bethpage State Park – Old Bethpage
The state park opens parts of its five golf courses to sledders. It's tranquil, picturesque, and perfect for sledders of all ages and abilities.
Cedar Creek Park – Seaford
Hilly and expansive, sledders can enjoy this southeastern Nassau wonderland without feeling cramped. The absence of trees offers an unobstructed run to the bottom.
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.
Eisenhower Park – East Meadow
Another golf course destination, hills at this county park are wide and gently sloping, making it ideal for younger children.
Flower Hill Park – Manhasset
Stonytown Road and Port Washington Boulevard
Easy to overlook but hard to avoid, this park is near some of the hilliest terrain in Nassau County.
Grant Park – Hewlett
Broadway and Sheridan Avenue
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
Corner of Lakeview and Ocean Avenues
Who knew sledding near a flat football field could be such fun? It's safe and popular.
An old school saucer sled works at steep hills like 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.
Bald Hill – Farmingville
North Ocean Avenue
One of the highest points on Long Island, Bald Hill thrills sledders with long runs and maximum elevation. It, too, is easily accessible, less than a mile from LIE Exit 63.
Belmont Lake State Park – North Babylon
Southern State Parkway Exit 38
This expansive space is perfect for novices, but it's safer to avoid hills near the large lake.
The Grange – Sayville
10 Broadway Ave.
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
Prime Avenue and Route 25A
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
200 New Highway
A popular warm-weather destination in the Town of Smithtown, savvy locals know it's paradise for dedicated sledders come the winter.
Mattituck High School – Mattituck
15125 Main Road, across from the school building
North Forkers have flocked here for generations, but be wary of the traffic as you cross the region's busiest street.
St. George's Golf and Country Club – East Setauket
134 Lower Sheep Pasture Road
Locals favor the hills here, but be advised: This is a private country club and access can be restricted.
Southampton Youth Services Rec Center – Southampton
1370A Majors Path
This expansive property in the Hamptons is set off from busy streets and ideal for young children.
Wicks Road Park – Commack
Wicks and Larkfield Roads
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 open only when weather permits. Some have accumulation rules, so call in advance before you bundle up the kids and head over.
This article was first published in 2013, but has since been updated.
Top photo by Philms via Flickr.