Suffolk

Visiting Stony Brook: New England Charm in Suffolk County

For some, Stony Brook is synonymous with the sprawling campus of Long Island's largest state university. For others, it is is a quaint North Shore village that is home to historic sites, a beautiful harbor with a bustling village center, and plenty of family-friendly events and festivals all year round.

Known to locals as Stony Brook Village, it is technically a hamlet that is part of the Three Village area, along with Setauket and Old Field.  It is a coveted Suffolk County school district and a desirable area to live and work with its well-tended homes tucked back into groves of maple trees. It is also an ideal destination for a day trip or weekend getaway

It's Farm-to-Table Fresh at These Great LI Farmers' Markets

There's something about a farmers' market that inspires even the pickiest eater to try something he or she otherwise would not. Perhaps it's the fun of meeting a farmer, the spectacle of all the bold, colorful displays of produce, or maybe it’s simply the freedom of an outdoor market filled with delicious aromas and live music.

Spring is the traditional opening of farmers' markets across Long Island. So we’ve rounded up markets from Nassau, Suffolk, and the East End sure to supply you and your family with delicious locally grown fruits and veggies, as well as inspiration for how to prepare them once you get home. Bring reusable bags so you and the kids can comfortably tote your bounty. Bring your appetite, too: You'll want to snack while you shop.

Times are as of May 2018. But be advised: Times and locations can change, and inclement weather can postpone markets. If you're traveling some distance, call ahead or check websites before heading out. 

For more outdoor activities as the weather warms up, check out our Summer Fun Guide.

The Best Beaches for Families on Long Island

Stretching along the north and south shores of Long Island are dazzling beaches known for their family-friendly vibes and natural beauty, and we don't mean just the Hamptons. Whether you have younger kids looking for tranquil shores or older kids looking to body surf, there is a Long Island beach for you. It's time to get ready for cool sea breezes and the feeling of sand between your toes.

At these Long Island's family beaches, you'll find picnic areas, swimming pools, and bathroom complexes along with food trucks and umbrella rentals. Use our guide to choose the best beach for your family's needs. These beaches are open from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, unless noted. Prices listed are for summer 2018.

If you're in the mood to travel, check out our list of the best family beaches near New York City or our guide to the Jersey Shore area. For more family fun, see our guide to Long Island amusement and water parks.

16 Super Sprinkler Parks for Kids on Long Island

When the temperature rises, there’s nothing like jumping through a sprinkler to cool off. Long Island sprinkler parks are great places to take kids because unlike pools and beaches, sprinkler parks have low water depth and often a rubber-like surface. Just add sunscreen and let the adventures begin.

We’ve put together a list of super sprinkler parks that are open to everyone. We've even included a few parks open to residents only. Proof of residency and/or a membership pass can be required at those facilities. Fees vary, so check the websites or call before going.

For more aquatic fun, take a look at our guide to Long Island amusement parks and water parks. For other kid-friendly activities, check out our Summer Fun Guide, and our recommendations for the best beach playgrounds as well as other top playgrounds and parks on LI

Sensory Garden in Shoreham: An Immersive, Kid-Friendly Experience

If you have kids who love investigating their surroundings, the AHRC Suffolk's sensory garden is a great spot to spend an afternoon. The garden, which opened in May 2017, is a therapeutic environment for residents of Shoreham Homes as well as children and adults of all abilities.

A visit to this unique space is unlike a trip to any park or playground in the area. The garden offers different ways for visitors to interact with the installations and natural settings while inviting them to touch, smell, taste, and play. Admission is FREE. 

For more sensory experiences with kids, see our guide to special-needs facilities and programs on Long Island, including our list of inclusive playgrounds that offer more choices for great outdoor fun.

7 Great Programs for Long Island Kids With Special Needs

Without doubt, people who are challenged with special needs can experience sadness, insecurity, isolation, and exclusion. With increased attention paid to autism, cerebral palsy, dyslexia, and other conditions, research and resources seem to be increasing.

Unfortunately, some of these programs are not publicized sufficiently to provide easy access for families who are faced with the responsibility of designing a quality life for their children. There are, however, several organizations here on Long Island that help those with special needs live their best lives possible. And, we’ve compiled a list just for you.

For more educational and developmental programs for Long Island kids, see our classes and enrichment guide or our Long Island Special Needs Guide.

Stunning Long Island Lighthouses Worth Visiting with Kids

Long Island lighthouses are a beacon into the past. To explore them is to immerse yourself in the history of the region, from the Revolutionary War to the whaling age, and the great steamship era of the 19th century.

There are about 20 lighthouses on Long Island, from New York Harbor to Montauk and the North Fork. Four—Bug Light, Fire Island, Horton Point, and Montauk Point—are open for public exploration. A fifth, Huntington Harbor Lighthouse, has been undergoing major renovations and plans are underway to reopen to the public at the end of June 2018.

In the meantime, check out our guide to these incredible lighthouses your family can visit. A word of advice before you go: Limber up, as some of these lighthouses boast steep climbs although we think you’ll agree the panoramic views are definitely worth the effort. Have fun exploring.

Got the travel itch? Check out our guide to popular Long Island family day trips

Awesome Amusement Parks on Long Island

Feeling the need for speed and splash? Long Island amusement parks are ready for you and your thrill-seeking family. If your kids are eager to check out the latest rides and attractions, or you can’t wait to make new memories with your family at parks you enjoyed as a child, now is the perfect time to explore these local amusement centers.

For more entertainment inspiration, see our guide to Long island amusement and water parks or our guide to family fun on Long Island. Both are loaded with reviews of local and regional destinations sure to delight your child.

10 Great Stroller-Friendly Park Walks on Long Island

They might be too young for the playground, but Long Island babies (and their caregivers) can still enjoy our great parks.

Of course, not all parks are created equal, especially when it comes to taking your baby out for fresh air. Some parks are aesthetically beautiful, but the trails are rocky and covered in sand, making pushing a stroller nearly impossible. Others are smoothly paved, but have nothing for you and your little one to look at. From Nassau to Suffolk, here are our picks for Long Island walks with the best terrain and intriguing scenery—perfect for a day out with baby.

Check out these FREE attractions across Long Island for even more fun activities to do with your baby, or find more ways to meet new parents who, like yourself, might be eager to socialize. 

If you are looking to cool off after your walk, why not visit a nearby spray park

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