25 Bucket List Things to Do This Summer With LI Kids
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
2. Peep Pop-Up Art
Gallery North's Annual Wet Paint Festival celebrates outdoor painting at three locations this summer.
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.
Everything is awesome in Goshen, where the sprawling Legoland New York is welcoming visitors. Photo courtesy of Legoland
6. Go West
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.
There are rides to thrill all at Adventureland. Photo by Jaime Sumersille
9. Go for a Wild Ride
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.
Rent a kayak and set off along the Peconic River. Photo by Jaime Sumersille
12. Row, Row, Row Your Boat
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.
Go for a hole-in-one at one of the mini-golf courses around Long Island. Photo by the author
14. Hit the Links
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.
Enjoy the sands—and the shows—at Jones Beach. Photo courtesy of NY Parks
17. Hit the Beach
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, Islip, Farmingdale, Babylon, and other municipalities are hosting outdoor movie nights.
19. Take a Hike
"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
22. See Art After Dark
On four evenings this summer and fall, downtown Riverhead transforms into a walkable art-after-dark experience.
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
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.