Where to Go Seal Watching on Long Island

Long Island's coastal waters are a favorite hangout for harbor seals, starting around November and lasting until May. Photo by Xylia Serafy
Long Island's coastal waters are a favorite hangout for harbor seals, starting around November and lasting until May. Photo by Xylia Serafy
1/16/23 - By Gretchen Allison

Winter is prime seal-watching season on Long Island, which makes it an exciting time for nature lovers. We're lucky enough to live in a place where we can catch glimpses of cute and friendly harbor and gray seals. 

So, bundle up, grab your binoculars and embark on an outdoor adventure: We've rounded up the best places to spot seals on Long Island.

While you're at it, bookmark our Winter Fun Guide for more seasonal entertainment ideas, or check out our Outdoor Activities Guide for Families on Long Island for more al fresco adventures.

Where To Go Seal Watching in Nassau County

1. Jones Beach Energy and Nature Center — Wantagh

Located on the west end of Jones Beach, the nature center offers guided seal walks for $4 per person. Learn about seal migration patterns and life on Long Island. Capacity is limited, and you must RSVP in advance. If you don't want to go with a group, feel free to go for a family walk when a tour is not scheduled.

2. Captain Lou Fleet — Freeport

Sail through Hempstead Bay to watch harbor seals as they swim and sunbathe along Long Island's South Shore. Cruises run two hours and include an informed guide who points out seals and supplies information. There is a cash-only snack and beverage (nonalcoholic) bar on board. Cruises cost $34-39 per person. Visit the calendar for sailing dates. A promotion on its website offers $10 off each ticket on select sailings.


RELATED: Nature Centers Sure to Delight Long Island Kids

Seal on the beach Seal Watching on Long Island
Join the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society for a seal cruise around Shinnecock Bay. Photo courtesy of AMSEAS

Where To Go Seal Watching in Suffolk County

3. Atlantic Marine Conservation Society — Southampton

This 2-hour cruise sails through Shinnecock Bay on the East End. An emphasis is placed on conservation and learning about different species of seals that inhabit Long Island's waters. Tickets are $35 per person.

4. Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island (CRESLI) — Westhampton Beach

CRESLI offers guided walks throughout winter; advance registration is required. There is a suggested donation of $5 per adult, and $3 per child. Donations can be made here or in person. Make sure to bring binoculars. CRESLI also has three seal cruises planned for the 2023 season. Cruises run for approximately 2 hours and cost $35 per person. You must register in advance. 

5. Montauk Point State Park — Montauk

Prepare for a 3-mile hike led by a naturalist. Guided hikes run from November through April and are $4 per person and children younger than 3 are free. Hikes are not stroller-friendly, so bundle up the baby and use a carrier instead. Hikers meet at the office/restroom building at the lower parking lot 10 minutes before the scheduled start. Visit our Event Calendar for details on upcoming hikes.

This post, originally published in 2013, was updated in January 2023.