Long Island

Great Outdoor Dining Spots for Kids on Long Island

What could be nicer during the warm-weather months than taking the kids to a family restaurant with an open-air atmosphere? There's just something about a warm breeze that makes a tasty meal even more delectable.

With that in mind, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite places to eat with kids in Nassau, Suffolk, and the East End. These family-friendly menus, locations, and attractions make them ideal choices for parents with hungry kids. It's just part of our comprehensive guide to Long Island family-friendly restaurants.

If, after dinner, your kids crave some sweets, why not check out our list of old-time ice cream parlors, or for more outdoor inspiration see our guide to summer fun on Long Island.

Weekend Events: Parks Day, Star Wars, Spring Festivals

Learn the science behind making boats float at The Center for Science Teaching & Learning. Join Benner's Farm staff at the maypole. Enjoy dancing and old-fashioned music at the farm. 

This weekend celebrate spring in a field of tulips at Garden of Eve Organioc Farm. Join the Peconic Land Trust at the Children’s Museum of the East End for Peconic Family Fun Day, an annual carnival of environmentally themed crafts, activities, and family fun. 

Venture into the immersive live butterfly exhibit at Hempstead House at Sands Point Preserve.

Free Things to Do on Long Island in May

Keep your wallet tucked away when you head out for these FREE fun family activities in May.

Enjoy nature walks, cultural celebrations, Mother's Day activities, even the start of a three-day celebration of Long Island's favorite sons, legendary poet Walt Whitman.  

For more fun activities that won’t cost you a penny, check out our lists of biking trailsrestaurants where kids can eat free; and even the best places kids can get a free birthday treat on their special day. And we didn't forget Mom: See our annual list of Mother's Day freebies and giveaways. And don’t forget to check out our events calendar and May GoList for more seasonal inspiration.

May GoList: Best Things To Do with Long Island Kids This Month

Short on syllables, long on possibilities.

That would seem to the story of May on Long Island, would it not? Though only three letters, May offers 31 days of family adventures, as outdoor activity becomes a reality and kids can see the end of the school year on the horizon.

So what makes May so appealing, notwithstanding the sunshine, of course?

Well, there’s nature, as in the Greenport Cherry Blossom Festival in the North Fork harbor community. There's the outdoors at state park celebrations across the Island. Add in a touch of multiculturalism and a spring festival or two and you see why we at Mommy Poppins greet this month with such enthusiasm.  

This year too, on the final day of the month Long Island begins a celebration of the 200th birthday of one of its most esteemed citizens — Walt Whitman, the celebrated poet, journalist, and humanitarian.

Secrets of Atlantis: 10 Tips for a Bahamas Family Vacation with Kids

Like many kids, my boys started begging to go to Disney around the time they could walk. Once they were swimming, however, the object of their spring break fantasies became Atlantis—the Bahamas mega-resort known for its gigantic water park, marine life encounters, and luxe casino. For years, unsure whether a place nicknamed "Vegas by the Sea" was the best choice for a family vacation, my husband and I brushed aside their pleas. But after another harsh Boston winter, we broke down and booked a trip, figuring our boys were at the ideal ages—12, 10, and 7— to appreciate all the 'tweeny bopper fun that Atlantis offers (and for which it charges big).

We had a fun-packed five-day stay, and along the way, accumulated plenty of advice for other families who are considering an Atlantis trip, including whether or not it is a kid-friendly destination. Here are the main things moms and dads should know to make sure their vacation in Paradise (Island) lives up to the hype.

Find more top places to stay on vacation in our Hotels & Resorts Guide for Families.

Inclusive Playgrounds for Long Island Kids with Special Needs

Inclusive playgrounds allow kids of all ages and abilities to come together in an environment that facilitates shared play. Long Island has so many great playgrounds where kids can just be kids, but here is our list of accessible playgrounds that also include equipment and/or layouts suitable for children with special needs or disabilities.

Looking for more playground fun? See our lists of the best playgrounds on Long Island and the top playgrounds for toddlers. For a complete overview of parks, playgrounds, and family fun hiking trails, check out our guide to Long Island parks and playgrounds.

Weekend Events: Circus, Eco-Carnival, Spring Celebrations

The circus comes to town this weekend at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury. Or get a little closer and cuddle up with the baby animals at Garden of Eve farm. 

Get grounded at the Eco-Carnival in Islip while enjoying hands-on, nature-inspired activities and crafts. Enjoy rides, games and more at the Kids Fest in Merrick. 

See our events calendar for more weekend inspiration. Our Spring Fun Guide will keep you tuned in all season. 

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Mother's Day Freebies on Long Island

While moms should be honored every day, they all deserve to be extra spoiled on Mother's Day. And it just so happens, there are a few places on Long Island offering FREE items and/or admission to moms on this special day. Some even extend the courtesy all weekend, from Saturday, May 11 to Sunday, May 12. 

If you're looking to treat mom to a Mother's Day brunch, check out our roundup of select local restaurants, complete with kid-friendly menus.  Of course, if the outdoors is more mom's thing, check out our roundup of spring fairs and festivals. Either way, pamper mom on her special day. 

Best Long Island Camping and RV Sites for Families and Kids

Families have for generations bonded over camping. On Long Island, where campgrounds offer oceanside views, hiking trails, historic landmarks, and lighthouses, experienced camping families or first-timers can enjoy roasting hot dogs and marshmallows, making shadow animals on tent walls, chasing after fireflies, and otherwise celebrating nature.

We've compiled a list of the best camping destinations in Nassau and Suffolk counties just waiting to host you and your family. Some are located in state or county parks, where residency restrictions might apply. Others are private or corporately run and open to all. Regardless, camping is especially popular on Long Island from May to October, so call ahead for availability and other essential information.

For tips on other LI outdoor activities, see our guide to Long Island playgrounds and parks. For exciting day trip possibilities and other nature-related activities, see our Long Island getaway guide.

Orlando with Teens: Top 15 Things to Do at the Theme Parks and Beyond

I used to think of Orlando as a destination for little kids, but I discovered Orlando is even better with teens. Amusement parks are so much more fun when you can go on all the rides and don’t have to worry about the dreaded “theme park meltdowns.” My big kids were also able to pack in lots of other adventures and hipster shopping areas as we explored all the fun there is in Orlando beyond the theme parks.

We spent our recent spring break in Orlando with two teens and had a blast.

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