Great Outdoor Dining Options for Long Island Families
What could be nicer during the warm-weather months than taking the kids to a family restaurant with outdoor dining? There's something about a warm breeze that makes a tasty meal even more delectable.
We've rounded up some of our favorite restaurants with outdoor dining in Nassau and Suffolk counties, plus a handful of spots on the East End. Family-friendly menus, locations, and attractions make them ideal choices for parents with hungry kids.
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Family-Friendly Outdoor Dining in Nassau County
1. AcQua – Merrick
Located within the Blue Water Yacht Club in Merrick, AcQua's extensive Italian menu has options that will please even the pickiest eater. Kids love its chicken fingers or pasta with various sauce options. When you finish your meal, take a stroll along the nearby pier. If you're coming by boat, dock-and-dine services are available.
2. Louie's Grill & Liquors – Port Washington
Adults come for the seafood and exquisite cocktails while kids can enjoy dining outdoors on Louie's chicken strips, grilled cheese, and pasta. Kids can, of course, also sample the adult menu, which includes lobster rolls, fresh seafood, steaks, burgers, and biscuits. Louie's dessert menu offers both adult- and kid-friendly options. While you dine, soak in the views of Manhasset Bay and the Port Washington harbor.
3. Plattduetsche Park - Franklin Square
Plattduetsche is steeped in German culture, which informs the restaurant's architecture, decor, and the menu. Outdoor dining is available in their large courtyard. Choose from traditional German dishes like sauerbraten, schnitzel, and different sausages known as wursts. They also offer burgers and out-of-this-world desserts. The apfelstrudel is a must-have.
Pop's in Island Park offers a fun, tropical vibe. Photo by bernard121882 via Instagram
4. Pop's Seafood – Island Park
Pop's opens for the season on Wednesday, May 18, and operates 7 days a week through September, offering lunch, dinner, and drinks daily. It's a hotbed of live music and DJs all summer long. In addition to its covered outdoor deck, Pop's also boasts a beach area, dockside views, and a gorgeous fire pit lounge. While the nightlife at Pop's might not be kid-friendly, it's a great place to bring the kids for lunch or an early dinner. With vibrantly-lit palm trees and white sand to lounge on, you'll feel as if you're taking a tropical getaway without leaving Long Island.
5. Salt – Merrick
With a stunning view of the marina and an enticing brunch menu, it's no wonder reservations at Salt fill up fast. Kids and adults will enjoy options like cookies-and-cream pancakes, stuffed French toast, and avocado toast. Salt's dinner menu features signature burgers, soft-shell crab sandwiches, fingerling potatoes, and zucchini noodles.
6. Swingbelly's Beachside BBQ – Long Beach
If your family loves barbecue, this Long Beach restaurant is the place for you. In addition to Swingbelly's famous pickle chips and house-cured bacon, the menu includes irresistible choices like smokehouse cheesesteak, shrimp and avocado BLTs, classic barbecue favorites, and much more.
7. Walls Wharf – Bayville
Nestled along the North Shore, this family-owned business has been around since 1945, and it’s easy to see why. There are two decks, and it offers outdoor dining on a 10,000-square-foot private sandy beach. No matter where you sit, you are treated to panoramic views of Long Island Sound and, on a clear day, Greenwich, Connecticut. There isn’t a special menu, but it offers kid-friendly fare, including quesadillas and hamburgers. Seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Kids have plenty of room to roam on the massive deck at The LakeHouse.
Family-Friendly Outdoor Dining in Suffolk County
8. The LakeHouse – Bay Shore
The LakeHouse is an upscale seaside restaurant located right on Great South Bay. Like many of the best dining establishments on Long Island, it specializes in seafood, though kid-friendly options such as eggs and burgers are available.
9. Mill Pond House Restaurant – Centerport
From delicious sushi to its Monday night lobster bake, Mill Pond's food is as exciting as its views. If you are lucky, you may witness one of the resident bald eagles catching a meal from the water. A heated outdoor patio is open year-round, and the restaurant offers daily specials.
Fido can join the whole family for some outdoor dining at Nantuckets.
10. Nantuckets – Port Jefferson
Formerly known as Crazy Fish Bar & Grill, Nantuckets has an extensive menu that includes kid-friendly options such as Belgian waffles, lobster mac, bacon cheeseburgers, and more. This family restaurant books reservations by phone, online, or in person.
Enjoy the rooftop bar and grand views of Great South Bay from Nicky's on the Bay.
11. Nicky's on the Bay – Bay Shore
Open-air dining at Nicky's can be enjoyed on the rooftop deck or on the dock. There are additional restrooms on the upper level, which is a godsend when you have little kids. The menu is seafood-focused, but mozzarella sticks, flatbread pizza, roasted chicken, and burgers are available for pickier eaters.
12. The Whales Tale – Northport
Located at the entrance to scenic Northport, The Whales Tale is a laid-back restaurant that features tacos and flatbreads. The restaurant is inside the Britannia Yachting Center and offers views of the marina and the more than 1,200 boats it houses. It’s open every day and has a popular $3 taco special on Tuesdays.
It's seafood and gorgeous sea views at Gosman's Dock in Montauk.
Family-Friendly Outdoor Dining on the East End
13. Gosman's Dock – Montauk
If you're in Montauk, you must stop by Gosman's Dock, which is situated at the entrance of Montauk Harbor. Walk-ins are welcome and, weather permitting, you have the option of topside dining. Additionally, Gosman's features a sushi bar, clam bar, and even a gourmet fish market. With kid-approved dishes such as burgers and tacos, this place is sure to please both parents and kids.
14. Greenport Harbor Brewing Company - Peconic
The Peconic location has a tasting room as well as a restaurant. This outdoor dining location welcomes both families and dogs. Kids can run and explore the lush, green lawn while adults grab a bite and brews. The menu changes seasonally, so check the website for the most up-to-date offerings.
Watch the boats dock while you dine at A Lure Chowder House & Oysteria in Southold.
15. A Lure Chowder House & Oysteria – Southold
A Lure Chowder House & Oysteria boasts a delightful atmosphere overlooking the Port of Egypt Marina and Peconic Bay and a fun menu that literally offers "chow-dah." For pickier eaters, steak, chicken, and burgers are available. A Lure features dock-and-dine services, too.
16. Hellenic Snack Bar – East Marion
This North Fork favorite sits on the Main Road east of Greenport and features a pretty outdoor patio and ample space for kids to play after they sample the Greek specialties. The menu features traditional Mediterranean dishes and various dishes incorporating local fish. A full kids' menu is also offered. Enjoy homemade gelato for dessert.
La Fondita offers traditional Mexican food in a picnic-like atmosphere. Photo by Andrew Steinthal via Instagram
17. La Fondita – Amagansett
La Fondita serves up Mexican street food made with fresh ingredients, and kids will love the tacos and tostadas. Eat while relaxing with the family at one of the picnic tables overlooking the pond in downtown Amagansett.
18. Oakland's and Sundays on the Bay – Hampton Bays
These related waterfront restaurants offer great food served with a view of Oakland's gorgeous marina. Both establishments offer a kids' menu with a free drink; choices range from fried flounder to kids' burgers. Kids delight in the passing boats at Shinnecock Inlet and the flurry of marina activity at these fun spots.
19. Navy Beach – Montauk
There’s a reason Navy Beach has become a hot spot for yachts. It features stunning views of Fort Pond and unrivaled sunsets. This casual eatery has outdoor dining all along its 200-foot private beach. Whether your kids like food caught from the sea or grown on land, its kids’ menu has you covered. Currently, Navy Beach is open to customers with confirmed reservations only.
Unless noted, photos courtesy of the restaurants
A version of this article was first published in 2017; it is updated annually.