10 Jul The Best Free Activity on Long Island? Its State Parks
If you’re looking for a free outdoor activity, look no further than Long Island state parks in the East End. From winding nature trails to picturesque beaches, the East End is filled with gorgeous scenery. To help you plan your visit, we’ve picked some of our favorites.
Wildwood State Park
Who it’s perfect for: Hikers, camping enthusiasts, beachgoers, photographers
With 600 acres of forest and bluffs overlooking the Long Island Sound, Wildwood is the perfect spot for hikers, camping enthusiasts, photographers and beachgoers alike. The pebbled beaches with their large boulders are a must-see. And don’t forget to pack a lunch so you can have a nice picnic and take in the scenery.
If you’re interested in taking a break from the civilized world, Wildwood also features one of the largest campsites in the area. Thrifty travelers will be pleased with the free entry and low-priced parking — only $10 per day.
Camp Hero State Park
Who it’s perfect for: History buffs, fishing enthusiasts
Located on the furthermost end of the South Fork, Camp Hero offers scenic landscapes and a historic military installation. (Interesting fact: Camp Hero, commissioned by the U.S. Army in 1942, was originally planned as a defense station and cleverly disguised as a fishing village to prevent a sea invasion during WWII.) Outside of the military site, Camp Hero offers 415 acres of maritime forests, wetlands, ocean vistas and dramatic bluffs rising from the beach. If you’re interested in fishing, look no further — this park offers some of the best surf fishing in the world.
Who it’s perfect for: Beach lovers, camping enthusiasts
Rolling dunes and beautiful sunsets are the iconic images of Long Island’s East End, and at Hither Hills, you can experience it in spades. Hither Hills offers a whopping 189 campsites with ocean views. And whether you choose to camp, stay in a hotel, or just visit for a day, the white sand beaches make this an ideal place to spend all day laying in the sand and offer a break from the glitz of the Hamptons.
Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve
Who it’s perfect for: Families, history buffs, animal lovers, environmental enthusiasts
Located on a peninsula jutting out into Long Island Sound, Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve offers beautiful, winding paths through forests and meadows, rocky shorelines and salt marshes. This park was originally an estate owned by Marshall Field III, where he built an English-style estate packed with hunting, sporting, and fishing facilities. Additionally, the manor is home to the Lloyd Harbor Historical Society, which offers a glimpse into colonial life on Long Island, complete with beautiful gardens.
Today, visitors can enjoy the beautiful land and sprawling estate and take horseback riding lessons at the Lloyd Harbor Equestrian Center. Families will love a visit to the summer cottage, where the Nassau BOCES Outdoor and Environmental Education Program gives park-goers a chance to learn about reducing their environmental impact.
Cold Spring Harbor State Park
Who it’s perfect for: Avid hikers, birdwatchers
Hikers, rejoice. Cold Spring Harbor State Park offers challenging uphill climbs complete with views of the breathtaking harbor. Enjoy 40 acres of hardwood forest, which features old-growth oak trees measuring over three feet in diameter.
Come in the late summer or early fall to see bird migrations. Be sure to bring binoculars to catch glimpses of great horned owls and red-tailed hawks.
One Final Tip:
If you’re considering a nature-filled stay in Long Island, consider staying in Riverhead. The great location, at the base of the North and South Forks, makes it easy to plan day trips to all the state parks.
Call Hotel Indigo at 631.369.2200 and we’d be happy to help you plan your stay in Riverhead.