Long Island

Long Island Destinations for Delicious Hot Chocolate

Winters on Long Island might not be as cold as we make them out to be. Still, when the snow starts to fly a hot drink helps to take the chill away.

Adults and kids can enjoy hot chocolate, especially when it’s topped with marshmallows, whipped cream, or both. And while you can make it at home, isn't it nice to get out of the house with the kids? After all, it squashes cabin fever and there’s no cleanup for you. Here are 13 places acrosss Long Island that serve up delicious hot chocolate and other tasty treats.

If hot chocolate isn’t your thing, why not try one of these spots for afternoon tea with the kids? See our guide to family-friendly restaurants for even more dining ideas on Long Island. And for more winter fun, check out our Long Island events calendar.

30 Things to Do Over Holiday Break with Long Island Kids

We get it. School vacation is intimidating for many parents. The kids will be home all week and in need of entertainment. Yikes! 

Well, we're here to help. We've rounded 30 of our top December break activities for Long Island families—some FREE—from drop-in play to lingering holiday-themed events.

For most LI kids, holiday break runs from Monday, December 25 through Tuesday, January 2. For a full list of events and happenings on Long Island, check out our daily Events Calendar. And our December GoList has a number of fun activities for kids through the end of the month.

Don’t Visit Disney’s Aulani Resort in Hawaii without Reading This

Aulani Resort in Hawaii is a unique property in the Disney family, offering an absolutely luxurious resort vacation with enough family fun that parents can enjoy without feeling like they are vacationing in Romper Room. The property is designed with a big “H” and a small “d” to put the emphasis on being an authentically inspired Hawaiian experience with a touch of Disney magic. This balance is just another example of how well Disney knows how to please families.

Aulani is a wonderful resort by any standards. With upscale, but family friendly accommodations, a world-class spa, and plenty of activities, we spent an entire week there and never ran out of things to do. In fact, the resort has so much going on that it’s worth doing some planning before you start packing in order to make sure you get the most out of your stay. We sussed out all the ins and outs of the resort to provide you with what you need to know to get the most out of your Disney Aulani vacation, reduce stress, and even save some money.

Sensory Play Spaces and Experiences for Kids on Long Island

New sensory experiences are great for kids' development, from digging their hands into Play-Doh to swinging in a hammock. For those children with a disability or sensory issue, such interactions can be even more rewarding. Several museums and play spaces on Long Island have recognized this and built in unique sensory rooms and encounters into their popular children's attractions.

If lights, sounds, and crowds become major obstacles for your family, these half dozen spots will offer a calming environment geared at soothing little souls. 

8 Indoor Water Parks Perfect for a Warm Getaway Near NYC

Indoor water parks offer summertime-style family thrills year-round and many are just a car ride away from the New York City metro area.

With winter's icy chill upon us, many families start looking for ways to escape the city for a warmer locale. Jet-setting to a tropical island might seem ideal, but if you're looking to stay a little closer to home, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Hudson Valley indoor water parks and resorts are a closer option for beating the winter blues.

We've found eight warm and wet indoor resorts perfect for kids and families that are less than two-and-a-half hours from Midtown Manhattan, along with a couple of bonus suggestions for further-flung options. Most indoor parks keep temperatures around a hot and humid 85 degrees year-round, creating a perfect beach day in any season! So leave the sunscreen at home, dust off that bathing suit, and hit the water.

Check out our NYC Weekend Trips Guide for more destination inspiration.

Momo's Clubhouse Opens an Indoor Jungle Gym for Kids in Syosset

Kids in Long Island's Syosset gained a brand-new play space this fall. Momo's Clubhouse opened in September, offering all-day drop-in play at its indoor playground, birthday parties, classes for toddlers and preschoolers, and even snacks and coffee for the parents.

We, of course, had to hear more! The bright indoor space is designed to promote imagination and creativity for ages 2 through 9, though there is a separate section (and lower pricing) for crawling babies, too!

Read on for our review of this new Nassau play space, and find more local indoor fun in our Long Island's top Long Island Play Space guide, including those just right for toddlers.

Weekend Fun: A Charlie Brown Christmas, Hanukkah Celebrations

Holiday shows are on stage across Long Island. Catch Mooseltoe in Bellport or 101 Dalmatians in Merrick. Get crafty at Old Westbury Gardens, Not Just ArtPicasso Kidz, Key to My Art or As You Wish.

On the East End, light up Hanukkah at Temple Adas Israel or follow the MenorahCade in East Hampton.

Create a Google map and zigzag your way around Long Island, checking out these Long Island homes with spectacular light displays. Or hit the rails to peep these holiday train displays.

With the ho-ho-holidays swiftly approaching, take a gander at our Long Island Holiday Guide. And don't forget, our Event Calendar is loaded with fun, daily happenings for Long Island kids. Our December GoList offers more great family events through the rest of the month. Don't see a great event here? Add it to our calendar yourself.

12 Inexpensive Winter Weekend Getaways for NYC Area Families

It’s getting cold outside, but falling temperatures don’t necessarily translate to falling prices when it comes to family vacations. Luckily, we’ve rounded up 10 well-priced family getaways that are all either driving distance or a short nonstop flight from New York City. Whether you’re in the mood for salty New England seaside charm, an urban weekend in New Orleans, Carolina comfort, or tropical heat, we’ve got plenty of budget-friendly suggestions for a quick winter weekend away with the kids.

Where to Donate Gently Used Toys and Baby Gear on LI

If your kids are anything like most, their holiday wish lists are filled with requests for new toys. And once the holiday comes—and they're happily playing with their gifts—what do you do with all of the old toys that are cluttering up the house? Or all of the baby equipment that the kids have outgrown?

For safety reasons, fewer and fewer places seem to be accepting gently used toys. But before you put those toys out on the curb, consider these Long Island organizations that accept preowned toys and baby items provided they are clean, undamaged and in working order.

For safety reasons, charities do not accept cribs or car seats. However, many will accept strollers, bouncers, and even baby care items such as diapers. At this busy time of year, however, contact these charities to make sure they haven't reached their donation limits. One other tip: Ask your preschool child's school director, local library or church. Often, those institutions are willing to accept used toys and books from someone they know and trust. 

Looking for more ways to help your community? There are plenty of holiday volunteer opportunities for kids and families. And for other seasonal activities, check out our Long Island Holiday Fun Guide.

Winter Day Trip Ideas for Long Island Families

Although it might be tempting to spend your family time during the winter months snuggled under a blanket or in front of a roaring fire, eventually someone’s going to get cabin fever. No worries: We’ve got just what you need to get everyone off the couch and out of the house with our list of fun, family-friendly winter day trips for Long Island families.

So pile into the car, hop on a ferry, or jump on the LIRR, because there is plenty to do and see on and off Long Island. From the excitement of New York City to the serene beauty of the North Fork to skiing and more in New England or the Hudson Valley, with our roundup of winter day trips (and some weekend getaways) your family has plenty of options for keeping busy this winter.

Stay warm! 

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