It's what most of us have been waiting for all year: summer. At long last, it's nearly here. That means longer days, warmer weather, and plenty of time to take advantage of all Long Island has to offer families.
From swimming at beautiful beaches to taking a family-friendly road trip to the East End, to exploring local parks and playgrounds, there is 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 the season, we’ve put together a list of 25 things we can’t wait to do with our kids, including great events.
From Fire Island to Shelter Island, Port Washington to Port Jefferson, and all points in between, here are our suggestions for the best ways to enjoy this unique island we call home. Or see how many of our top 100 things to do with Long Island kids you can complete before summer is out!
Plus, our event calendar is full of the best ideas for family fun, sorted by date and location. So here's to sunshine and family time.
It's more than just a bounce house. Big Bounce America is a full-on day of thrills. Photo courtesy of Big Bounce America
1. Bounce the day away: It’s possibly the world’s largest bounce house and it comes to Long Island this summer.
2. Picnic in the park: Eat alfresco at these ideal picnic spots. Bonus: Cleanup is a breeze.
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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 sprinkler parks aplenty.
4. Head East: We’ve got you covered with 50 things to do with kids in the Hamptons and North Fork.
5. Go West: There’s always something fun to do in NYC with kids.
6. Pick-your-own: Blueberries, blackberries, and even some strawberries still can be had fresh from the farm this summer.
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There are rides for every thrill level at Adventureland. Photo by Jaime Sumersille
7. Go for a ride: Get an adrenaline rush at one of these amazing amusement parks.
8. Take a dip: Cool off at one of these public pools that are open to everyone.
9. Row, row, row your boat: Spend some time on the water in a kayak, pedal boat or canoe.
10. Take a swing: Head to the green for miniature golf or a par-3 course, where kids can learn and practice the game.
11. Have a blast in the backyard: You don’t have to leave home to have a great time this summer. Enjoy some outdoor games as a family.
12. Sleep under the stars: Make some memories by going on a camping trip. Whether you pitch a tent or take the RV, Long Island has some great campsite options.
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Few places on Long Island beat Jones Beach on a summer afternoon. Photo by ric shaw/CC BY 2.0
13. Hit the beach: The beach is synonymous with summer on Long Island; here's our list of the best beaches for families.
14. Cast a line: Fishing can be a fun and exciting pastime. Target your catch of the day at one of Long Island’s many family-friendly fishing destinations.
15. Rainy-day fun: Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. There’s plenty of indoor fun to be had with these rainy-day activities.
16. Take a hike: There are many family-friendly hiking trails just waiting for you and your family to explore.
"Bug Light," near Greenport, is one of only a few offshore lighthouses that allow visitors. Photo courtesy of the East End Seaport Museum
17. Light it up: Learn some history by visiting one of Long Island’s beautiful and historic lighthouses.
18. Hit the road: There are so many fun and interesting places to visit within driving distance. Why not pick one or two of these family-friendly day trip spots this summer?
19. Climb and swing: You can’t go wrong with a visit to a playground or park to keep kids busy and happy. And make it a beach day with one of these awesome beach playgrounds.
20. Get farm fresh: Visit a farmers’ market and let the kids choose a fruit or vegetable they’ve never tried.
21. Smell the roses: Summer is peak season for gazing at the gorgeous blooms at one of Long Island’s botanical gardens.
RELATED: Nature centers sure to delight LI kids
Interact with the animals at Harbes Family Farm in Mattituck. Photo courtesy of the farm
22. Feed the animals: Petting zoos and game farms are wonderful places to interact with animals, and even to feed some of them.
23. Visit a kid-friendly winery: They do exist—and that means fun for the entire family. Some wineries even allow pets, so Fido can join in on the fun.
24. Slip and slide: Make their day with a trip to a water park, where kids, and grownups, can cool off and have a blast.
25. Take in a seaside view: Marinas are great places to enjoy a meal together, take a boat tour, and watch the sun set.
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 camp for almost any interest.
This article is updated annually.