Heat Wave Hot List: 26 Cool Things To Do on Long Island with Kids

Chill out at Splish Splash Water Park when the mercury rises. Photo courtesy of Splish Splash
Chill out at Splish Splash Water Park when the mercury rises. Photo courtesy of Splish Splash
7/9/23 - By Jaime Sumersille

Looking for ways to beat the heat on Long Island? Here are 26 awesome things to do during a heat wave.

Deep summer usually brings high temps and plenty of humidity, leaving Long Island families scrambling to find ways to cool off. Whether you want to bask in the sunshine or chill in central AC, there are plenty of options in both Nassau and Suffolk counties to help you beat the heat—and all are guaranteed fun for every age. After all, you want to enjoy every bit of summer before school begins. 

Find more great outdoorsy things to do in our Ultimate Long Island Kids Summer Vacation Guide, and be sure to bookmark our frequently-updated Long Island Family Activity Calendar


Get our picks for every weekend in your inbox—sign up for our newsletters.

Long Island beat the heat Lics ice cream
Stop into  Lics Ice Cream for a colorful treat. Photo courtesy of the shop

Indoor Spaces to Visit on Long Island During a Heat Wave

1. Movie Theaters

Sit back and relax in an air-conditioned theater while you all enjoy a family-friendly film; perhaps Sonic the Hedgehog, Sing 2, or Minions? You can also catch a summer flick as the sun goes down with these FREE outdoor movies for kids

2. Bowling Alleys

Cool off and hit the lanes at one of these bowling alleys on Long Island. The Kids Bowl Free program has locations throughout Long Island where your children can bowl all summer at no cost to you.

3. Plaster Craft Shops

Letting the kids paint their own plaster craft is a great indoor activity when it’s raining or too hot and humid to be outside.

4. Local Libraries

Pick up some books and enjoy the many activities and perks your local library offers. Both Nassau and Suffolk have libraries with a variety of kid-friendly programming. Plus, several now have a robust Library of Things where patrons can check out various games, devices, and more to use in the comfort of their own homes.

5. Ice Cream Shops

Pay a visit to one of LI’s old-fashioned ice cream parlors for a sweet treat.

6. Long Island Children's Museum

LICM is fully air-conditioned and filled with activities for little ones. They have weekly drop-in programs, crafts, and more. Plus, the Our Backyard exhibit boasts aquatic fun and sensory-friendly activities in an outdoor setting.

RELATEDAll the Top Summer Day Trips Near Long Island

Heat Wave Hot List: 26 Cool Things To Do on Long Island: Nunley's Carousel
Make a stop at Nunley's Carousel after visiting the nearby museums. Photo courtesy of Mommy Poppins

7. Nunley's Carousel

Nestled in between LICM and the Cradle of Aviation on Museum Row, riders can choose between ornately painted horses and lions or relax on a carriage bench at this indoor carousel.

8. The Cradle of Aviation

Garden City's Cradle of Aviation has attractions that will delight everyone from toddlers to teens. Anyone into gaming will want to check out the Long Island Retro Gaming Expo this August.

9. Nassau County Firefighters Museum

Your little ones will delight in all things firefighting at this indoor museum located off of the Cradle of Aviation. In addition to breaking down vital emergency preparedness education for young guests, visitors can get a glimpse at how fires were fought in the past with historical apparatuses and memorabilia. Children can climb aboard a life-size fire truck and either take the wheel or hang on the back.  

RELATED25 Bucket List Things to Do This Summer With LI Kids

Jones Beach is a great summer destination spot. Photo courtesy of Jones Beach

Beat the Heat on Long Island with Water Activities

10. Jones Beach

Long Island is home to plenty of beautiful beaches—Jones Beach happens to be the most visited on the East Coast. If your kids get bored just playing in the sand, pay to visit one of the beaches with an on-site playground

11. Spray Parks

You can turn on the sprinklers at home or take a drive to one of Long Island's sprinkler parks and splash pads. Some have playgrounds nearby, and a few are even FREE.

12. Swimming Spots

We are spoiled for swimming options on LI: We can swim in the ocean, at the nearby community pool, and of course, there are plenty of lessons available for kids who are just getting their feet wet.

13. Water Parks 

Families can take a trip to Splish Splash to spend the day on its variety of super-fun water rides. But there are also some smaller—but just as fun—water slides peppered throughout Long Island. And who doesn't love a little adrenaline rush?

14. Fishing Charters

Hop aboard a family-friendly fishing charter or drop a line at a fishing destination.

15. Water Races

Race the Narrows in Mastic Beach or build a boat and participate in the Cardboard Boat Races down the Peconic River in Riverhead.

More Cool Things to Do on Long Island When It's Hot

LI beat the heat Boy shooting a water gun
Get out the water guns for hours of water fun in the backyard. Photo by Rose Gordon Sala

16. Backyard Adventures

No need to travel. This roundup of DIY water games will keep everyone happy all summer long.

17. Music and Theater

Kidz Bop Live visits the Jones Beach Theater stage this July while the Argyle Theater, Elmont Theater, and John W. Engemen Theatre also have some really cool family-friendly shows lined up for the summer. 

18. Water Activities

Cool down with a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard rental, or check out one of the top surfing schools

RELATEDLong Island Water Parks, Slides, and Pools to Cool Off in this Summer

Heat Wave Hot List: 26 Cool Things To Do on Long Island: WildPlay at Jones Beach
Take on the challenges at WildPlay at Jones Beach. Photo by the author

19. WildPlay At Jones Beach

Feel the wind at your back as you traverse an oceanside obstacle course and zipline. Finish off the day with a dip in the water and a picnic at nearby Jones Beach.

20. Puck Shots

Skate onto the ice and practice puck shooting at the Freeport Recreation Center on weekends this summer. 

21. Drop-In Arts & Crafts

Create fun works of art in a variety of materials inspired by artwork in the Heckscher Museum’s collection and exhibitions.

22. Immersive Art

Immerse yourself in Starry NightSunflowers, and other Van Gogh masterpieces in a three-dimensional exhibition at the Samanea Mall.

RELATEDTop Beach Playgrounds on Long Island

Heat Wave Hot List: 26 Cool Things To Do on Long Island: boardwalks on Long Island
Explore the many many boardwalks on Long Island. Photo by the author

23. Boardwalks

Feel the breeze as you stroll some family-friendly boardwalks on Long Island. 

24. Ice Skating

There's no better way to cool down than to hit the ice. Long Island's indoor ice skating rinks will quickly transport you to winter. 

25. The Greenway

Explore Long Island's South Shore as you bike or walk along the fully paved Coastal Greenway. The 14-mile trail runs along Ocean Parkway and has stops at playgrounds, beaches, and even spray parks to keep everyone cool. 

26. Camping and Glamping

Sleep under the stars at one of the many campgrounds on Long Island. Or notch up your game to go glamping instead. Some spots are even on or near the water, offering cool nighttime breezes.