Long Island is home to many wonderful outdoor activities for families. From beaches, to parks and farms, there are plenty of ways to keep everyone busy all year long. Long Island's parks are definitely on the top of our list for great outdoor destinations. Check out these three North Shore gems that are perfect for a family day trip. For more trip ideas, visit our Hamptons and North Fork Family Guide.
Caumsett State Park
25 Lloyd Harbor Road
Huntington, NY 11743
Tucked away on the North Shore of Long Island, this place is a well-kept secret. Originally owned by Marshall Field (as in the department store), the 1750-acre park is his former estate, complete with multiple homes, a dairy barn, and horse stables. The park offers peace, serenity, and the best walking, biking, and running trails on Long Island. Not to mention open fields where kids stretch their legs, and spectacular, serene beaches which feel completely private. The park has an equestrian center, which offers lessons and services, an outdoor education center, which provides guided nature tours, and a wildlife rehabilitation center. For an adventure-filled day, go fishing, horseback riding, and hiking along the trails. Weekend mornings are the best time to go before the heat really sets in. When leaving the park, take a quick detour into Huntington Village for a slice of pizza at Rosa’s on Main Street.
Sands Point Preserve
127 Middle Neck Road
Port Washington, NY 11050
The Sands Point Preserve is another North Shore gem with a straight up castle that houses a museum and one of the few intact historical houses remaining on Long Island's Gold Coast. The property, once owned by the Guggenheim family, is maintained by Nassau County. The park has four self-guided walking trails, some of which are paved, so it's easily accessible, even with a stroller. There is also a nice rocky beach for hanging out and lots of beautiful spots to enjoy a picnic. On the way over, stop by Whole Foods for last-minute picnic food.
Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park
1395 Planting Fields Road
Oyster Bay, NY 11771
The Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park, another former Gold Coast estate, includes greenhouses, gardens, wooded paths, and a museum on over 400 acres of land. The grounds are landscaped by the Olmsted Brothers (of Central Park fame) and the estate includes Coe Hall, a 65-room former residence, which houses the museum. The two greenhouses offer one of the largest collections of camellias in the Northeast, as well as hibiscus, orchids, succulents, and seasonal displays. This park is like a private oasis, where kids run on the huge sweeping lawns while parents relax on a blanket and watch. Weekdays are a great time to visit, as it's less crowded. The Long Island Expressway exit for Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park is the same exit as IKEA, so stop by and satisfy any hankerings for Swedish meatballs or wine glasses on the way home.
Photo Credit: Caumsett State Park by sparkylu25
Originally published on 7/14/08. Updated on 8/6/13 by Jennifer Battista