The blazing sun of summer can sometimes be too much for Long Island families to handle. Kids want to run and climb, but some days the heat gets in the way. Shady playgrounds, some even with water features, help families stay cool while burning off energy.
The design of Bethpage State Park's playground takes inspiration from a treehouse. Kids can climb through tunnels and ramps, leading to platforms that resemble a treehouse. Adventurers can tack the lifelike rock wall or climb from leaf to leaf. There are swings and toddler-friendly structures as well. There is plenty of shade for parents to watch from the sidelines, and most structures are covered by trees. Admission to Bethpage State Park is $8 per vehicle, but it's free for Empire Pass holders.
Blumenfeld Family Park is not the largest park on this list, but the main playground structure packs in a lot. Tube tunnels, slides, monkey bars, and climbing walls are some of the apparatuses kids can conquer. The best cooling feature isn't just the shade, but a splash pad located near the playground. The splash pad is also shady, and features ground sprinklers, buckets and buttons to activate water flow. Blumenfeld Family Park is FREE.
Park at Field 2 for the most convenient access to both playgrounds and the splash pad. Both playgrounds offer plenty of shade, and different sections for various ages. At the Field 4 playground, toddlers can climb, crawl, and explore structures sized just for them. Kids can dance on musical platforms, climb wire structures, spin around and slip down slides of various sizes. The playground is also accessible to children of all abilities. The Field 2 playground offers raditional fare such as tire swings, slides, and a climbing structure. The splash park doesn't offer the same shade as the playgrounds, but the sprinklers feel great on an especially hot day. Eisenhower Park is FREE to Nassau residents with a Leisure Pass.
4. Seamans Neck Park — Seaford
The playground at Seamans Neck Park has various play structures spread out, varying from completely shaded to partially shaded to no shade. There is equipment for kids of varying ages and abilities, from preschoolers to older kids. There is also a small sprinkler pad right next to the playground, which helps little ones stay cool. FREE
Bayberry Park, or Police Officer's Memorial Park, is completely surrounded by trees. There is small equipment for toddlers to safely climb on, as well as larger structures for older kids. The highlight is a train made of metal bars, perfect for swinging, climbing, and imaginative play. There are also basketball and tennis courts, as well as picnic tables. FREE
There are two playgrounds at Belmont Lake State Park, and both have plenty of shade. The first is meant for toddlers and preschoolers. It includes tunnels, animals to ride, a caterpillar to climb, and traditional equipment such as swings and slides. The second playground is meant for older children, and the structure is much taller. Slipping down the slide will definitely provide a bit of a thrill. There are lots of shady parks to picnic at, and if you don't mind getting in the sun for a bit check out the paddle boat rental. Belmont Lake State Park is $8 per vehicle, but it's free for Empire Pass holders.
Shady Elwood Park in Huntington is also home to Sgt. Paul Tuozzolo Memorial Spray Park. Photo by Jen Tomeo
7. Elwood Park — Huntington
There is plenty to climb on, swing from, and explore at Elwood Park. Towering trees offer plenty of shade, and the neighboring splash park, Sgt. Paul Tuozzolo Memorial Spray Park, gives Town of Huntington residents an opportunity to cool off with some water fun. There is a lot of equipment at the playground, for both big and small kids. The splash park is open to Town of Huntington residents and their guests only with a recreation card. Playground is FREE.
Toddlers and older siblings can enjoy the various equipment at San Remo Park and Playground. Large trees shade most of the structures, which include a rock-type tunnel for toddlers to crawl through or climb on, a swirly slide, and more. San Remo Park and Playground is FREE.
There are two playgrounds at Southaven County Park, where you can also rent a campsite. The first playground is for larger kids, and features swings, monkey bars, slides, tic-tac-toe, and metal apparatuses to climb on. This playground gets most of its shade in the morning. The second playground is smaller, and features many of the same activities as the larger playground. This playground remains shady throughout the entire day. There is a $7 parking fee for Suffolk County residents, $15 for nonresidents.
Like many of the parks on this list, there are two playgrounds to sample at Indian Island County Park. One is in full-shade, the other in full-sun. The equipment here is definitely meant for younger elementary-aged kids; older ones won't find much to do. There are various slides, including tube, spiral, and straight slides. Word of warning: As of August 2021, there seems to be a missing bridge so parents should make sure kids don't take a tumble. Indian Island County Park has a parking fee that is collected on weekends in the summer.
Ria Del Bene Playground's equipment is modern and unique. While it's small, it offers lots of shade and is located just behind the village shops and restaurants. If you're in the area it's worth a stop to let the kids burn off some energy. FREE