25 Great Spring Day Trips for Long Island Families
The winter cold has just turned, and summer break is still a few months away. But you are already itching to get out and get away, even if it’s just for a day, and we've found 25 ideas for a perfect spring day trip.
Living on Long Island, we’re lucky to have so many amazing parks, attractions, and quaint seaside towns for springtime day trips. We’re also lucky to be within driving or ferry distance of New York City, Connecticut, and New Jersey. These areas offer even more fun and exciting experiences for the whole family.
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 an appropriate distance. If you are traveling to an activity outside of your state or local area, check on any travel restrictions, advisories, or quarantine orders.
The springtime day trip destinations we highlight take anywhere from 1-3 hours (or more) of travel time depending on where on Long Island you live. Be sure to factor in extra time to allow for traffic!
Take a stroll on the beach and wander the streets of the cute Greenport Village. Photo courtesy of Greenport Village
Day Trip Destinations on Long Island
1. Pack your bikes and head to Greenport, where you can take a ferry to Shelter Island. Water sports more your thing? Kayak rentals are available on the island.
2. Take a road trip to a park or playground you haven't explored. Our list of Long Island's best playgrounds is a great jumping-off point.
3. Pack up the kids and head to a nearby nature center. Caumsett State Historic Park and Preserve in Huntington is one of our favorites. Another nature-inspired outing: Visit one of Long Island's beautiful botanic gardens and arboretums.
The Fire Island Lighthouse is a fun outing, especially now before the tourist season begins. Photo by Jaime Sumersille
4. Spring is a great time to visit Fire Island and its lighthouse before both get overcrowded with summer tourists. Enjoy a relaxing visit walking the boardwalk, and collecting shells on the beach.
7. Why makes things complicated? Pick a charming community on Long Island and spend the day exploring. We have the lowdown on things to do in Port Washington, Cold Spring Harbor, Riverhead, Sag Harbor, Sayville, and more.
Arethusa Farm Dairy serves delicious ice cream for a springtime treat. Photo courtesy of the Dairy
Day Trip Destinations in Connecticut
9. If you must leave LI, hop aboard the Port Jefferson ferry for a scenic ride to Bridgeport, Connecticut.
10. Reconnect with nature and take a hike to see some amazing waterfalls in Connecticut.
11. The scenic ferry ride from Orient Point to New London, Connecticut, is half the fun of a getaway in Mystic, Connecticut, where you can experience a quaint seaside town and the largest maritime museum in the country.
Central Park is stunning in the early spring sun. Photo by Jody Mercier
Day Trip Destinations in New York and New Jersey
13. Sometimes overshadowed by other Jersey Shore beach towns, Point Pleasant, New Jersey, is a great springtime destination for families. Jenkinson’s Boardwalk is open for the season with rides, games, and an aquarium.
Enjoy panoramic views of the Hudson Valley on the famous Walkway Over the Hudson. Photo by Fred Schaeffer for Walkway over the Hudson
15. Head upstate to catch sweeping views of the Hudson Valley on the Walkway Over the Hudson. This 1.3-mile pedestrian bridge is open year-round, but spring is a wonderful time to experience this easy hike.
16. Go on a New York City museum crawl at these famous culture spots. Check your local library for free family passes to the American Museum of Natural History, Guggenheim, Children’s Museum of Manhattan, and others. Beware: Currently, most museums require advance ticket purchases or reservations.
17. Got a kid with bricks on the brain? Legoland Discovery Center in Westchester is the place to be with its Ninjago City Adventure exhibit, building stations, movies, rides, and impressive Lego structures.
Prepare to be awestruck by the artwork at Storm King Art Center upstate in New Windsor. Photo by Janet Bloom
18. Book your tickets in advance to experience art as a family at Storm King Art Center in New Windsor. Pack a picnic and take in more than 100 sculptures in this massive outdoor space.
19. Coney Island welcomes visitors as early as April. Although it might not be warm enough to swim at the beach, there are plenty of attractions, including Luna Park, Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park—season opening dates are still TBA—and the New York Aquarium.
20. Visit Randall's Island in New York City for its annual cherry blossom festival, which runs a full week from Monday, April 26-Sunday, May 2, though the bulk of its in-person programming takes place on the weekend.
Hop the ferry to Governors Island on your bikes or rent when your get there. Photo courtesy of Governors Island
21. While we are thinking about NYC, why not check out the transformed Governors Island, which generally opens for the season on May 1. Enjoy Slide Hill, the Granite Scramble, an adventure playground, and more.
22. The Bronx is perfect for animal and nature lovers. Check out the New York Botanical Garden—be sure to book tickets soon for its Yayoi Kusama installation—to transport yourself out of the city. The Bronx Zoo's Wednesday admission is a pay-what-you-wish donation, making a family zoo trip more affordable. Both culture spots do require advance ticket purchases currently.
23. Thrill-seeking families should head over to Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, which reopens Friday, March 26, though its record-breaking roller coaster doesn't debut until summer.
The Statue of Liberty Museum houses the original torch Lady Liberty held high above the harbor. Photo by Jody Mercier
24. Stop by for a visit with Lady Liberty. The Statue of Liberty Museum opened up in 2019, with lots of interactive exhibits and touchable artifacts for kids.
Originally published in April 2018, this post is updated annually.