Long Island's coastal waters are a favorite hangout for harbor seals starting around November and lasting until about May. Photo by Xylia Serafy
Long Island's coastal waters are a favorite hangout for harbor seals starting around November and lasting until about May. Photo by Xylia Serafy

Where to Go Seal Watching on Long Island

Winter is here, and it brings with it more than the usual snowy, cold weather. Winter is an exciting time for nature lovers as it's prime seal watching season. Long Islanders in the know can catch a glimpse of harbor and gray seals.

So, bundle up, grab your binoculars and embark on an outdoor adventure. Whether you're searching by foot or by sea, we've rounded up the best places to spot seals on Long Island.

Bookmark our Winter Fun Guide for more seasonal entertainment.

Editor's note: While we are trying to promote safer activities that occur outdoors or with social distancing guidelines in place, please keep your family and others safe by always wearing a mask and maintaining appropriate social distancing. If you arrive at an event that appears too crowded, try using the “nearby” search feature on our Event Calendar to find something else to do.

Where To Go Seal Watching in Nassau County

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 2 hours, and include an informed guide who points out seals and supplies information. There is a snack and beverage (non-alcoholic) bar on board, but it is cash-only. Cruises cost is $34-39 per person. Visit its calendar for sailing dates.

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, so book 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.

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

Atlantic Marine Conservation Society – Southampton

This 2-hour cruise sails through Shinnecock Bay. An emphasis is placed on conservation and learning about different species of seals that inhabit Long Island's waters in the winter. Tickets are $30 per person.

Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island (CRESLI) – Westhampton Beach

CRESLI offers guided walks throughout winter; advanced registration is required. Also, note that masks are required, even when six feet apart. There is a suggested donation of $5 per adult, $3 per child. Donations can be made here. If you'd rather go at it alone, make sure to bring binoculars.

Montauk State Park – Montauk

Prepare for a 3-mile hike lead by a naturalist. Guided hikes run from November through April and are $4 per person. Hikes are not stroller-friendly, so bundle up the baby and use a carrier instead. Masks are mandatory. Hikers must 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, has since been updated.

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