Great Spring Day Trips for Long Island Families

Great Spring Day Trip Ideas for Long Island Kids and Families
Strawberry season begins in June. Pick your own across the metropolitan area.  Photo via Bigstock

The snow from a lengthy winter might just have melted and summer break is still a few months away. But you are already itching to get out and get away. A change of scenery does everyone some good, even if it’s just for a day.

Living on Long Island, we’re lucky to have so many amazing parks, attractions, and quaint seaside towns to visit. 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.

The destinations we are highlighting 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 traffic when traveling because we know what it’s like living here. Either way, relax and enjoy the scenery because adventure awaits.

For more ideas on warmer weather fun, head over to our Spring Fun Guide

1. Let's start right here on Long Island. Take a road trip to a park or playground you haven't explored. Our guide to children's playgrounds can get you started. 

2. Pack up the kids and head to a nearby nature center. Caumsett State Historic Park and Preserve in Huntington is one of our favorites. Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay, meanwhile, celebrates Arbor Day on April 28 and is not far from the community's downtown. 

3. 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, JamesportRiverhead, Sag Harbor, and more.

4. Tap into your child's historical curiosity with a road trip to one or more of these great Long Island historical sites. Return to a simpler time at Old Bethpage Village Restoration—where they play "base ball" the old-fashioned way—an historic lighthouse, or even a working farm.

5. Still don’t feel like leaving Long Island? Springtime on the East End brings with it wine tastings, fresh flowers for Mother’s Day, strawberries, and great museums.

6. OK, if you must leave LI, hop aboard the Port Jefferson ferry for a scenic ride to Bridgeport, Connecticut. Visit the animals at the Beardsley Zoo, learn about the circus at the Barnum Museum, and shoot for the stars at the Discovery Museum and Planetarium. 

7. With eight playgrounds, a zoo, gardens, museums, and so much more, you will not run out of things to do and see at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens. You might even need to plan your next trip back.

8. 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. Then head over to the New Jersey Museum of Transportation for all things train-related.

9. Don’t feel like leaving Long Island? Springtime on the East End brings wine tastings, fresh flowers for Mother’s Day, strawberries, and not to mention, historic sites and great museums.

RELATED: Nature centers sure to delight Long Island kids

Enjoy panoramic views of the Hudson Valley on the famous Walkway Over the Hudson. Photo by Shinya Suzuki/CC BY 2.0

10. Head upstate to catch sweeping views of the Hudson Valley on the Walkway Over the Hudson. This 1.3-mile long pedestrian bridge is open year-round, but spring is a wonderful time to experience this easy hike.

11. Getting a pie at Frank Pepe’s in New Haven, Connecticut is worth the drive (or ferry ride). But do take time to stroll through the campus at Yale University and stop for ice cream at Arethusa Farm Dairy.

12. Go on a New York City museum crawl. Check your local library for free family passes to the American Museum of Natural History, Guggenheim, Children’s Museum of Manhattan, and others.

13. 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.  

14. 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, and the New York Aquarium.

15. Go on a dinosaur expedition to Field Station: Dinosaurs in Leonia, New Jersey. Open Memorial Day weekend through November, budding paleontologists can get hands on and up close with fossils and life-size dinosaurs in a wooded setting.  

RELATED: Spring fairs and festivals across Long Island 

Prepare to be awestruck by the artwork at Storm King Art Center in upstate New Windsor. Photo courtesy of Storm King Art Center

16. Experience art as a family at Storm King Art Center in upstate New Windsor. Pack a picnic and take in more than 100 sculptures in this massive outdoor space.  

17. The scenic ferry ride from Orient Point to New London, Connecticut is half the fun. Head up to Mystic to experience a quaint seaside town that hosts the largest maritime museum in the country.

RELATED: The most family-friendly wineries on Long Island's East End

Your kids will be intrigued by the Healthyville exhibit at the Stepping Stones Museum for Children. Photo courtesy of the museum

18. Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk, Connecticut is one of our favorite children’s museums. Be prepared to get wet in the Energy Lab, hear squeals of delight from babies and toddlers in Tot Town, let your imagination run wild in the outdoor Celebration Courtyard, and more. Bonus: Tour the Lockwoods-Mathews Mansion Museum next door.   

19. Take the tram out to Roosevelt Island in New York City for its annual cherry blossom festival in late April. Enjoy Japanese cultural performances, a community picnic, and of course, cherry blossoms.

20. While we are thinking about NYC, why not check out the transformed Governors Island, which opens for the season in early May. Enjoy Slide Hill, the Granite Scramble, a kids-only art museum, and more. 

21. Spring is a great time to visit Fire Island and its lighthouse before they get overcrowded with summer tourists. Enjoy a relaxing visit walking the boardwalk and collecting shells on the beach.