If you think Long Island is just a place where wealthy people spend their summers, we’ve got news for you. Long Island is full of world-class options for entertainment and dining year-round. It is also an ideal destination for people seeking outdoor activities. It is not a question of finding something to do on Long Island, it’s about spending your time wisely so you can do all the great things that this 120-mile long island offers. Many are easily accessible via public transportation.
Below are 10 don’t-miss things to do on Long Island this summer and beyond.
Attend an outdoor concert
The amphitheater at Jones Beach – currently known as Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater – is a 15,000-capacity outdoor concert venue that has been around for over 55 years. The open-air spot hosts major events in May, June, July, August and September each year, rain or shine.
Beyond the offerings at Jones Beach, the BMHMC Amphitheater at Bald Hill also has notable artists in the summer, while Long Island has plenty of other high-profile year-round concert venues like the Theatre At Westbury, The Space At Westbury, The Paramount, The Boulton Center and the recently-relaunched My Father’s Place.
The LIRR goes to Jones Beach.
Check out a film festival
Long Island has been the setting and/or location of many classic films, including The Godfather, Goodfellas, Annie Hall and The Great Gatsby. In turn, it is a ripe home for many annual film festivals including the Long Beach International Film Festival and the Long Island International Film Expo. The multi-day summer festival in Long Beach includes a “Taste On The Beach” event where attendees can sample dishes from top Long Island restaurants inside of a tent on the beach.
Ride the LIRR right into town.
Visit a brewery
Cold beer goes a long way during the warmer weather, and Long Island is home to plenty of breweries. BrewSA, on Freeport’s Nautical Mile, enjoys an outdoor area. Barrier Brewing in Oceanside is located within walking distance of the Long Island Rail Road station in East Rockaway. The Oyster Bay Brewing Company is walkable from the LIRR stop of Oyster Bay. Blue Point is further east in Patchogue and has plenty of seating under umbrellas. All of these spots have nearby food options.
See our Long Island Beer Guide for details
Go to a museum
Should the summer heat feel oppressive and air conditioning a preferable option, Long Island is full of frosty museums. The namesake Long Island Museum in Stonybrook is an all-ages institution — a Smithsonian affiliate — specializing in American art and history.
Garden City’s Cradle Of Aviation focuses of the history of aviation sciences, containing over 60 aircrafts and scale models of airplanes; it is also often home to fun trade shows.
The Heckscher Museum Of Art in Huntington features collections of American and European artists.
The Long Island Maritime Museum in West Sayville includes ship models. Seaford’s Tackapausha Museum and Preserve has live animals in addition to displays about Long Island ecology.
Sagamore Hill in Cove Neck was the home of Theodore Roosevelt and includes the Roosevelt museum.
No matter your primary interest, Long Island most likely will have a museum dedicated to it.
Take a tour in wine country
If wine is more your thing than beer, you are still in luck. Long Island is producing some top-notch wines, much of it on the Island’s North Fork. Dozens of North Fork vineyards offer public tastings. Visitors looking to make a day out of experiencing vineyards may be relieved to know that there are both tour guides that specialize in guided tours of the area and specialized transportation companies that will shuttle you around. Multiple companies offer bike tours of wine country, including East End Bike Tours and Long Island Bicycle Tours.
You can take the LIRR to Greenport or Southold or the Hampton Jitney. Once you’ve arrived, the new North Fork Link offers a free weekend hop-on, hop-off shuttle bus with numerous stops between Riverhead and Greenport. This new service is a real game changer for car-free visitors.
Enjoy an all-day summer music festival
The Great South Bay Music Festival in Patchogue is an annual four-day event that ought to appeal to all types of music listeners. In spite of the festival’s name, music is only one of its offerings: there is also a craft village, food court, and a Kidzone. Long Island also has plenty of other annual multi-day festival offerings, including the Montauk Music Festival, the Oyster Bay Music Festival, and the Long Island Summer Festival.
Experience the great outdoors
Long Island has unbeatable beaches and parks. Jones Beach State Park has a boardwalk and bike path beyond its beaches. Bethpage State Park has five championship golf courses. Nissequogue River State Park connects with Sunken Meadow State Park, offering over 150 riverfront acres of trails and wildlife areas. Camp Hero State Park, Connetquot River State Park Preserve and Captree State Park are all great options for people interested in fishing. Wildwood State Park is ideal for camping by the Long Island Sound, as is Hither Hills State Park in Montauk. The Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park and Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve are estate-oriented nature sites. Simply put, these are just a few of the parks to be found on Long Island.
Dine on the water
If dining outdoors is more your thing, there is no shortage of waterside dining. Plus, Long Island fishermen ensure that many establishments serve just-caught seafood.
Pop’s Seafood Shack & Grill in Island Park is a seasonal spot with a man-made beach.
The Buoy Bar is one of several great waterfront spots in Point Lookout, offering American cuisine and specialty cocktails.
E.B. Elliot’s is located on the Nautical Mile in Freeport, so you can easily incorporate it into a pub-crawl.
Louie’s Oyster Bar and Grille is a spot in Port Washington with well over 100 years of history to it.
Prime in Huntington overlooks Huntington Harbor, a rare waterfront steakhouse.
The Wave Seafood & Steak is situated on the Long Island Sound and is very close to the Connecticut ferry inPort Jefferson.
Visit Fire Island
Fire Island is a car-free paradise. Ride the LIRR to Bayshore or Patchogue, catch the ferry and enjoy some prime beach time. Read our Fire Island Guide for all the details.
This flat island is a paradise for those whose preferred means of travel is pedaling a bike.
Take a hike
Even if you’re a seasoned hiker, bet you haven’t checked out all 10 of these Long Island hikes. Choose one and get going.
For more information, go to Discoverlongisland.com
Feature Image: Bedell Cellars
Photo credits: Discover Long Island, Hans Enderle, Claire McDonough, Peter Dutton, Martha Clara Vineyards, Quinn Dombrowski
Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident (and Long Island native) with over 15 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his favorite band Superdrag. In the years following, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer. Darren’s writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World, TheStreet.com, and the Jewish Journal.