25 Bucket List Things to Do This Summer With LI Kids

Cool down with the family this summer at Calverton's Splish Splash Water Park. Photo courtesy of the park
Cool down with the family this summer at Calverton's Splish Splash Water Park. Photo courtesy of the park

Summer fun is what most of us have been waiting for all year.

From swimming at beautiful beaches to taking a family-friendly road trip to the East End or exploring Long Island's many excellent parks and playgrounds, there's no reason you should have to hear the words “I’m bored!” from your kids this summer. To help your family get the most out of this season, we’ve put together this list of 25 summer activities we can’t wait to do on Long Island. Be sure to bookmark our Summer Fun Guide for Long Island Kids for plenty of other things to do.

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1. Dine Outdoors

Pack a picnic and visit one of these charming local picnic spots. Or, if you prefer, dine at one of these great, kid-friendly outdoor restaurants.

2. Peep Pop-Up Art

Gallery North's Annual Wet Paint Festival celebrates outdoor painting at three locations this summer.

RELATED: Guide to Summer Fun for Long Island Families

Splash at the Geiger Lake Memorial Spray Park
Geiger Lake Memorial Park's spray area offers more than 20 play elements to keep kids entertained. Photo courtesy of Stalco Construction

3. Run Through the Sprinklers

There’s nothing like running through the sprinklers to make you feel like a kid again. Long Island has spraygrounds aplenty to visit; just heed residency rules before heading out.

4. Head East

Plenty of fun awaits on Long Island's East End, and we've found 50 things to do with kids in the Hamptons and on the North Fork.

5. Enjoy Pick-Your-Own Farm Fun

Blueberries, blackberries, and even strawberries can be had fresh from the farm this summer. You can also attend a strawberry festival in Mattituck or Massapequa, or visit the family-fun fields (and more!) at Riverhead's Garden of Eve.

RELATED: Super Fun Water Parks, Slides, and Pools on Long Island

Exterior shot of Legoland New York Hotel with Mini-Figures in the foreground
Everything is awesome in Goshen, where the sprawling Legoland New York is welcoming visitors. Photo courtesy of Legoland

6. Go West

There’s always something fun to do in NYC with kids. You can venture a bit further, though, and head upstate for an epic day trip at Goshen's Legoland New York theme park.

7. Take to the Streets

Enjoy themed nights every Friday through mid-September in the heart of Garden City Village, when it closes to traffic and opens up for fun. Additionally, Riverhead's walkable downtown closes along Main Street on select Fridays in July and August for a street fair that includes live music, vendors, food, entertainment, and more.

8. Enjoy Songs and Science Under the Stars

The Science Museum of Long Island is hosting biweekly Live at Five events at the Leeds Pond Preserve. Swing and sway to tunes and indulge in food truck fare as you explore the outdoor grounds.

RELATED: Drive-In Movie Theaters and Pop-up Outdoor Movie Nights on Long Island

Kids strapped into an Adventureland Ride
There are rides to thrill all at Adventureland. Photo by Jaime Sumersille

9. Go for a Wild Ride

Get an adrenaline rush at one of Long Island's amazing amusement parks. Celebrating 60 years in business, Adventureland is a great place to spend the day. 

10. Take a Dip

Cool off at one of these public pools that are open to everyone.

11. Visit the Aquarium

See more than 100 animal exhibits at the Long Island Aquarium, where you can enjoy close encounters with everything from penguins to sharks and burn off some energy on its outdoor Eye Opener Treehouse

RELATED: Ultimate Summer Play List: 100 Fun Activities for Kids

Go kayaking in the Peconic River this summer
Rent a kayak and set off along the Peconic River. Photo by Jaime Sumersille

12. Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Spend some time on the water in a kayak, pedalboat, or canoe. Or join the Race to Save the Sea Turtles Paddle Battle LI along the Peconic River on Saturday, July 30.

13. Climb and Swing

You can’t go wrong with a visit to a playground or a state park to keep kids busy and happy. You can even make it a beach day with one of these awesome beach playgrounds on Long Island. Or notch up the thrill level at Wildplay or The Adventure Park at Long Island.

RELATED: Water Parks Near NYC For Family Thrills

Boy on a mini-golf course in summer sunshine
Go for a hole-in-one at one of the mini-golf courses around Long Island. Photo by the author

14. Hit the Links

Whether you want to play play miniature golf or take on a par-3 course, Long Island's got options. On a rainy day, Monster Golf or Glowgolf is your best bet!

15. Explore Birds, Beaches & Butterflies

Spend a Saturday this summer at the Garvies Point Museum as it hosts various family-friendly activities all season long.

16. Slip and Slide

Make your kids' day with a trip to a water park on Long Island, where kids—and grown-ups—can cool off and have a blast.

RELATED: LI Boardwalks Perfect for a Family Stroll

Jones Beach shore illuminated by fireworks
Enjoy the sands—and the shows—at Jones Beach. Photo courtesy of NY Parks

17. Hit the Beach

The beach is synonymous with summer on Long Island; here's our rundown of the best beaches for families on Long Island, as well as our picks for the best beach gear and hacks.

18. Enjoy an Old-School, Drive-In Movie

The pandemic brought about a revival of drive-in movie theaters across Long Island, and the fun continues this summer. Port Jefferson, IslipFarmingdaleBabylon, and other municipalities are hosting outdoor movie nights. 

19. Take a Hike

There are many family-friendly LI hiking trails to explore. Or, try a bike trail. We're having loads of fun on the lovely waterfront Ocean Parkway Coastal Greenway extension these days.

RELATED: Family-Friendly Boat Rides for Kids on LI

"Bug Light," near Greenport, is one of only a handful of offshore lighthouses that allows visitors. Photo courtesy of the East End Seaport Museum

20. Light it Up

Experience living history by visiting one of Long Island’s beautiful, historic Long Island's beautiful, historic lighthouses.

21. Pitch a Tent

Sleep under the stars at one of these local LI campgrounds, or try your hand at backyard camping for a night you won't forget.

22. See Art After Dark

On four evenings this summer and fall, downtown Riverhead transforms into a walkable art-after-dark experience.

RELATED: Nature Centers Sure to Delight LI Kids

Girl feeds a sheep at Harbes Family Farm
Interact with the residents of Harbes Family Farm in Mattituck. Photo courtesy of the farm

23. Feed the Animals

Petting zoos on Long Island are wonderful places to interact with animals and even feed some of the "residents."

24. See a Summer Concert Under the Stars

Grab a lawn chair or beach blanket and enjoy a family-friendly concert outdoors with your neighbors at Hoyt Farm, Long Beach Pavilion, Harborfront Park, or Eisenhower Park.

25. Go Old School

Show your kids video games from the past during a visit to the Long Island Retro Gaming Expo held at the Cradle of Aviation on August 12-14.  Check out the Cradle's retro, playable Arcade Age exhibit while you're there.

Bonus: Send them to camp. It’s not too late to sign up for a camp on Long Island. Whether your kids are into sports, science, or art, there’s a summer camp on Long Island for almost any interest.

This article is updated annually.

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