East End

Great Summer Fairs and Festivals for Long Island Families

The smell of funnel cake is in the air as fairs and festivals kick off the summer season on Long Island. Summers are perfect for spending time outside with the family and getting to know your neighbors and community.

From old-fashioned street fairs to ethnic celebrations such as Native American powwows and the Highland Games, these family-friendly events are sure to leave everyone smiling. Festivals take place in Nassau and Suffolk counties and all the way to the East End. For more seasonal fun, be sure to check out our Summer Fun Guide.

50 Free Things to Do with Long Island Kids This Summer

Does the thought of summer break make you think of breaking the bank?

In between camps, parties, sitters, and trips, the next two months can get costly. And for a family with more than one child, even a trip to the water park can add up. But summer doesn’t have to strain your wallet: We have compiled a list of 50 FREE things families can do together. From outdoor concerts and movies, to museums, classes, and festivals, Long Island has something going on all summer long. So put that pocketbook away, grab the sunscreen, and enjoy some family time because before you know it, back-to-school sales begin.

Check a few more things off your bucket list with our Summer Fun Guide and 25 things we can't wait to do this summer. Feeling really ambitious? Here are 100 things to do with Long Island kids before they grow up.

Free Outdoor Movies for Long Island Kids This Summer

This summer when the sun goes down, chances are a free, family-friendly movie will be playing outdoors somewhere on Long Island. It’s an ideal way to spend family time under the stars. So spread a blanket, bring a few lawn chairs, pack some snacks or perhaps a picnic dinner, and enjoy the show.

Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, so it is best to arrive early. And be sure to check each venue’s website for up-to-date information on weather-related cancelations.

For more outdoor family activities, check out our roundups of the best places for a family picnic and the best beaches for families on Long Island. Plus, our Event Calendar and Summer Fun Guide are loaded with ideas for more seasonal fun for your family. Happy summer.

Where to Pick Your Own Blueberries, Blackberries, and More on Long Island

Summer is a great time to pick berries on Long Island. Bushes are low to the ground, and berries are small enough for little fingers to grasp. It's a great activity for kids of all ages, and, really, who can resist a bowl of fresh berries and cream?

Late July is peak season for blueberries and raspberries. Blackberries ripen in August. Be sure to call the farms before heading out to confirm picking hours and berry availability. Don't forget to check out our Pick Your Own Guide for more fruit-picking options in the tristate area.

Some tips: Don't forget sunscreen as the sun can shine brightly on these open fields. Dress appropriately; kids can get a bit dirty. And for health and safety reasons, pets are not permitted on farms.

The East End is the prime destination for summer berry picking on Long Island. While there, why not consult our guide to the Hamptons and North Fork and make a day of it? Or for more farm fun, check out our list of LI's top animal farms and petting zoos.

The Best July 4th Fireworks Shows on Long Island, 2017

Break out your red, white and blue, and get ready to wave that grand old flag.

On Fourth of July weekend, and before and after, families across Long Island gather for picnics, barbecues and, of course, fireworks. We've rounded up Independence Day fireworks happenings up and down Long Island, from Nassau to Suffolk counties and all the way to the East End. July 4 is a Tuesday this year, so fireworks celebrations begin as early as Thursday, June 29 and continue past the weekend of July 8-9.   

For more kid-friendly activities, be sure to check out our Summer Fun Guide and our Event Calendar.

The Best Pools on Long Island That Are Open to Everyone

Long Island families look to the beach and public pools to cool off in summertime. But when parents are tired of sand being dragged into the house and the kids are bored of the municipal pool down the street, why not check out a pool in another community?

We’ve done the research and put together a list of the best pools that anyone can visit, even if you’re not a resident of that municipality. Fees to enter the pools are often higher for nonresidents, but might be worth it as a once-in-a-while boredom buster.

While you’re in a different area of Long Island, use our guides to Nassau, Suffolk, and the East End and make an adventure of it all. For more aquatic fun, check out our list of Long Island's best water parks and  water slides, And remember, sprinkler parks are another great way to cool off.

Whale Watching Boats for NYC Kids: See Dolphins and Whales

Most New Yorkers were entranced back in 2014 when the unexpected happened—a humpback whale surfaced in New York Harbor and not only survived, he (or she) toured the city for days. My office was all abuzz, and my daughter and I tracked the whale on social media. (Who says New Yorkers hate tourists?)

When I moved to New York 20 years ago, I'd never have dreamed that we'd have healthy marine life frolicking in our waters, but apparently, whales started appearing in 2010. The numbers have increased exponentially every year since, which is great news for urban kids who want to see a whale outside of the American Museum of Natural History.

We've rounded up four local whale watching cruises, all about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from NYC. (One is even in Queens!). And if you want to make a vacation out of it, we've got the scoop on the best place for a whale-watching weekend getaway on the East Coast. 

Indoor Swimming Classes for Long Island Kids

Long Islanders often boast of long weekends at our family-friendly beaches and endless opportunities for indoor aquatic activities. With proper swim instruction, children can be safe and have fun around our many waterways. From private swim classes to community pools, there are plenty of swim instruction destinations from which to choose. The great thing about these pools is that when summer is gone, kids can continue classes and add to their skills. There are schools for those as young as 6 months, continuing through lifeguard training. 

In addition, Long Island has well-maintained outdoor pools for long days of family fun, including these on the East End. For even more outdoor adventures, see our guide to Long Island's best parks and playgrounds and our guide to LI's best amusement and water parks.

The Best Places for a Family Picnic on Long Island

What better way to introduce kids to the beauty of dining alfresco than with a picnic. There are plenty of hot spots across Long Island that offer an ideal picnic experience, including green meadows, beaches, grills to use, and plenty of open spaces. Here are some great spots to kick off your shoes and enjoy the great outdoors. 

For more great outdoors experiences with kids, visit our guide to Long Island's best family beaches or our guide to LI's best parks and playgrounds. And don't forget our list of 25 things to do with kids this summer or 100 things to do with kids on Long Island before they grow up.

In the meantime, bon appetit !

25 Things We Can't Wait To Do with LI Kids This Summer

At long last summer is here. And that means longer days, warmer weather, and plenty of time to take advantage of all Long Island has to offer families.

From swimming at the beautiful beaches to taking a road trip out east, 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.

From Fire Island to Shelter Island and all points in between, here are our suggestions for the best ways to enjoy this unique island we call home.

For more family fun, check out our guide to Long Island parks and playgrounds, zoos and nature centers, and more. 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. Enjoy!

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