25 Gorgeous Spring Day Trips near Long Island for Families

Get off Long Island in favor of exploring a different isle: Governors Island.
Get off Long Island in favor of exploring a different isle: Governors Island.

The winter cold has just turned on Long Island, and summer break is still a few months away. But if you are already itching to get out and get away, even if it’s just for a day, 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.

Find more inspiration in our Spring Fun Guide and our Day Trips and Getaways Guide.

The springtime day trip destinations we highlight might take anywhere from one to three 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, then wander the streets of charming Greenport Village. Photo courtesy of Greenport Village

Spring Day Trip Destinations for Families on Long Island

1. Explore the East End on Two Wheels

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. Find Your New Favorite Slide

Take a road trip to a park or playground you haven't explored. Our list of Long Island's best playgrounds is a great starting point.

3. Get Close to Nature

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.

RELATED: Family-Friendly Hotels for a New York Staycation

Two kids at the Fire Island Lighthouse
A trip to Fire Island Lighthouse is a fun outing, especially before the tourist season begins. Photo by Jaime Sumersille

4. Visit Fire Island

Spring is a great time to see the island and its lighthouse before both get overcrowded with summer tourists. Enjoy a relaxing visit walking the boardwalk and collecting shells on the beach.

5. Tap Into Your Child's Historical Curiosity

Take a road trip to one or more of these great Long Island historical sites, like Old Bethpage Village Restoration, which reopens Friday, April 8.

6. Enjoy Springtime on the East End

The new season brings wine tastings, fresh flowers for Mother’s Day, strawberries, and great museums.

7. Be a Tourist 

Why make things complicated? Pick a charming community on Long Island and spend the day exploring. We have the lowdown on things to do in Port WashingtonCold Spring HarborRiverheadSag HarborSayville, and more.

RELATED: Nine Family-Friendly Hiking Trails on Long Island

Ice cream from Arethusa Farm Dairy
Arethusa Farm Dairy serves delicious ice cream for a springtime treat. Photo courtesy of the Arethusa Dairy

Spring Day Trip Destinations to Connecticut

8. Travel Across the Sound

If you must leave LI, hop aboard the Port Jefferson ferry for a scenic ride to Bridgeport, Connecticut.

9. Take a Scenic Ferry Ride

Alternatively, consider traveling by ferry from Orient Point to New London, where the trip is half the fun. Enjoy a getaway to nearby Mystic, Connecticut, where you can experience a quaint seaside town and the largest maritime museum in the country.

10.  Enjoy a Taste of Connecticut

Getting a pie at Frank Pepe’s in New Haven is worth the drive (or ferry ride), but do save time to stop for ice cream at Arethusa Farm Dairy.

11. Reconnect with Nature

Take a hike to see some amazing waterfalls in the Nutmeg State.

RELATED: 25 Fun Spring Activities for Long Island Kids

Central Park is a brilliant spring day trip destination
Central Park is stunning in the early spring sun. Photo by Jody Mercier

Day Trip Destinations in New York and New Jersey

12. Get Some Energy Out in Manhattan

Explore all these fun finds in Central Park, visit the Central Park Zoo, or embark on a tour of its top playgrounds.

13. Go On a New York City Museum Crawl

Check out these famous cultural spots. See if your local library has free family passes to the American Museum of Natural History, Guggenheim, Children’s Museum of Manhattan, and others. 

14. Or Visit Queens

With eight playgrounds, a zoo, a botanical garden, museums, and much more, Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens offers more activities than you can do in a day..

15. Head Down to the Shore

Sometimes overshadowed by other Jersey Shore beach towns, Point Pleasant, New Jersey is a great springtime destination for families. Jenkinson’s Boardwalk has rides, games, and an aquarium.

RELATED: Nature Centers Sure to Delight Long Island Kids

Walkway Over the Hudson makes a great day trip destination
Enjoy panoramic views of the Hudson Valley on the famous Walkway Over the Hudson. Photo by Fred Schaeffer for Walkway over the Hudson

16. Head Upstate

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.

17. Build Some Memories

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. For even more fun, travel to the Hudson Valley to visit Legoland New York. At 150 acres, it's the biggest Lego park to date.

RELATED: Botanical Gardens and Arboretums on LI for a Family Day Trip

Storm King is a great spring day trip destiniaton
Prepare to be awestruck by the artwork at Storm King Art Center upstate in New Windsor. Photo by Janet Bloom

18. See Art Under the Open Sky

Book your tickets in advance to experience art as a family at Storm King Art Center in upstate New Windsor. Pack a picnic and take in more than 100 sculptures at this massive outdoor space.

19. Experience an Iconic New York Destination

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

The park is especially beautiful during its annual cherry blossom festival on May 1.

21. Explore a New Island

While we are thinking about NYC, why not check out the transformed Governors Island, which opens for the season on April 2. Enjoy Slide Hill, the Granite Scramble, an adventure playground, and more.

22. See Wildlife

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 require advance ticket purchases currently.

23. Get Your Heart Pumping

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.

RELATED: The Best Long Island Playgrounds for Toddlers

Girl at the Statue of Liberty Museum
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 has lots of interactive exhibits and touchable artifacts for kids.

25. Discover a Hidden Gem

Visit Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City. Kids and adults can enjoy the beautiful park, sculptures events, and activities, completely FREE.

Originally published in April 2018, this post was updated in March 2022.

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