Suffolk

Support Groups, Play Groups, and More for LI Special-Needs Families

Families of special-needs children encounter special challenges. The good news is, on Long Island there are quite a lot of resources available for support.

Many times these challenges are not anticipated. Although caregivers might get some relief from drop-off respite programs, other support services can be required. The firms and agencies below offer support programs ranging from personal care and training to financial services, and even playtime.

For more information, see our guide to special-needs services on Long Island, including a look at the region's top sensory gardens, inclusive playgrounds, and more.

The Best Ice Cream Shops Near Playgrounds on Long Island

Summer was made for ice cream and exuberant swoops down the slide in the toasty sun.

Here are our picks for magical treats near Long Island’s pristine parks and our favorite playgrounds. And while you’re thinking about sweet treats, check out our list of old-fashioned ice cream parlors on Long Island and the best candy shops for kids in our region. 

For more dining and dessert inspiration, see our guide to kid-friendly restaurants on Long Island, including information on outdoor dining, birthday freebies for LI kids, and more.

Enjoy.

8 Kid-Friendly LIRR Stops for a Fun Day Trip

Let’s face it. Traffic on Long Island is no picnic. In fact, sometimes the thought of taking a day trip to another part of this beautiful island makes us cringe when we think of the hours on the road and the challenge of keeping the kids in the backseat entertained.

But there is a another way to get from here to there…the LIRR! Taking the train is a convenient, fun way for families to get around the Island without the hassle of driving. From beach communities to charming downtowns to family-friendly museums, there are plenty of LIRR stops where families can hop off and explore the area for the day.

We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite family day trips reachable via the LIRR, highlighting the best attractions and sights in the area. All aboard!

Top Beach Playgrounds on Long Island

Long Island beaches offer the opportunity for memory-making experiences. Some of the best include those times spent frolicking on the playground to the soundtrack of crashing summer waves.

We've rounded up some of the best beach spots to play in Nassau, Suffolk and the East End. So pack a lunch and plan to spend the day enjoying these destinations. Make sure to snap pictures of the smiles from a fun day in the sun.

And remember Long Island has plenty of family-friendly beaches. While you're at it, why not check off a few activities on our list of 25 things we can't wait to do with Long Island kids this summer.

On a budget? See our list of 50 FREE things to do with kids on Long Island this 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: Some farms charge an entry fee while others charge by the ounce, so take note, bring cash, and be prepared. 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.

7 Long Island Boardwalk Gems Kids Will Love

The best part of the beach isn't always sand and water. Sometimes, it's a quaint stroll along the boardwalk. And Long Island has plenty of these planked paths dotting its shores.

Gone are the splinter fears and potential pitfalls of yesterday; most Long Island boardwalks have been refurbished with less flammable, sustainable woods. These boardwalk spots offer something special for kids and adults alike. Best of all, besides a nominal parking fee for some, these are FREE. 

Here are a half-dozen of our favorite Long Island boardwalks, including a few you might not immediately associate with the ocean. From Nassau County to Suffolk and the East End, they are yours to explore.

For more seasonal fun, be sure to see our Summer Fun Guide, our list of the best beacheswater parks, and sprinkler parks and perhaps even our guide to LI beach playgrounds and outdoor music.

And for FREE summer fun, check out our list of 50 FREE things to do with Long Island kids this summer.

Great Summer Fairs and Festivals for Long Island Families

Nothing says summer more than spending time as a family at a fair or festival on Long Island. It's a chance to be outdoors, spend time with the friends and neighbors, and make lasting memories.

Whether your family enjoys an old-fashioned street fair in your neighborhood or ventures nearby to see how other communities celebrate summer, these family-friendly events are sure to leave everyone smiling. Plus, many of these events are FREE to the public. That's why we've rounded up a list of the best fairs and festivals taking place in Nassau and Suffolk counties and on the East End in July and August. 

For more seasonal inspiration, check out our Summer Fun Guide and Events Calendar. And while you're at it, consider one or two of our 25 must-do activities with kids this summer. If you're on a budget, try a few of our 50 FREE things to do with LI kids before school resumes. 

50 Free Things to Do with Long Island Kids This Summer

Does the thought of a full summer vacation make you think of empty pockets?

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 drain 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.

Check a few more things off your bucket list with our Summer Fun Guide. Feeling really ambitious? Here are 100 things to do with Long Island kids before they grow up. See our guide to FREE family activities on Long Island for even more inspiration.  

50 Things to Do with Kids in the Hamptons and North Fork This Summer

So much to do, so little time.

That’s a popular refrain on Long Island’s East End, where vacationers and residents alike struggle to pack as much adventure as possible into the 60-some days between school years. Which is where we come in, of course.    

Our Mommy Poppins experts have updated their list of the best fun things to do this summer and family-friendly events on the North and South forks. We’ve researched family beaches, state and county parks, pools, and even indoor options just in case Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate.

So have a look, and while you’re at it check out our guide to this unique region, home to farms, museums, wineries, and even the trendy celebrity or two. Who knows: While you’re here, you might even scratch an item or two off our list of 100 must-do things with LI kids. Hurry, time’s a-wasting.

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