30 Fun Things To Do On Long Island With Kids

Looking for a wide variety of things to do on Long Island with your kids? Whether you’re a local or vacationing, find over 30 local recommendations!

things to do on Long Island with kids

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Despite its small size, densely populated Long Island offers more to do than one may think, especially for families and children. We’re more than just beaches.

Discover a hidden lavender field, a giant duck on the side of the highway, presidential summer homes and more recommendations that go beyond the cliché Hamptons beaches, country clubs, and golf courses.

Long Island is more than swanky towns and polo matches. Sure, those are all in abundance – along with overprices Sweet 16s and twelve year olds with designer handbags. But, despite what you may read, Long Island boasts plenty of beautiful coast line, farmland, American history, and family fun.

As someone who was born and raised on Long Island – then had my own children there – I can promise you one thing: I’ve got you covered!

Maybe you’re taking a day trip from Manhattan. Perhaps you’re looking to book a summer vacation? Are you local and searching for more activities to keep the little ones busy?

From protected shoreline to indoor museums to adventure parks, there’s no shortage of fun for all ages. Most of the wineries are even family friendly

Learn our favorite spots to:

  • Soak in the sun and sand
  • Get a dose of Long Island history
  • Beat the head or rain or snow indoors
  • Find farmland and animals
  • and more!

Things To Do Outdoors On Long Island With Kids

Beaches

If there’s one thing you must do on Long Island, it’s visit the beach! Famous for sand dunes, boardwalks, and natural, eroded coast line, Long Island beaches are some of the country’s most beautiful.

Not all beaches are created equal on Long Island, though. Being born and raised on Long Island has taught me that.

Is there a boardwalk for your stroller? Bathrooms? Is it rocky or sandy? And which ones are fun for kids? Which are wild, preserved shoreline vs. fancy beaches in ritzy communities? I could go on.

if there's only one thing you can do on long island, with or without kids, visit the beach!

Here’s a quick rundown of some popular Long Island beaches:

  • The Rocky North Shore – I’m generalizing the North Shore here but the beaches are typically smaller and located in inlets. One of my favorite North Shore beaches is Orient Beach State Park, which has a playground.
  • Long Beach and Lido Beach – Long Beach is a popular south shore beach community with a long boardwalk, plenty of restaurants, playgrounds, and beach amenities. Long Beach is very family friendly during the day and ideal for adults at night. Families looking for a top rated beach playground will adore Lido Beach.
  • Jones Beach and Robert Moses – also on the South Shore, Jones Beach and Robert Moses are state parks. Jones Beach has recently undergone a major revitalization, now offering zip lining, sports, water parks, restaurants, and more in addition to its world famous boardwalk. Robert Moses boasts an 18 hole pit-and-putt golf course, perfect for young golfers. Both state park beaches have plenty of parking and facilities.
  • Hamptons Beaches – numerous beaches line the coast of Long Island’s popular Hamptons communities. Some of my favorites are Coopers in Southampton, which is consistently top rated in America and Cupsogue in Westhampton, which features Long Island’s iconic dunes. Driving along Dune Road will yield plenty of other beaches.
  • Montauk – affectionately called The End, Montauk sits all the way out on Long Island’s east end. Ditch Plains Beach is popular for swimming and surfing while Kirk Park Beach is more centrally located to downtown Montauk with restrooms.
  • Fire Island National Seashore – along the south coast of Long Island sits a twenty six mile stretch of protected barrier beach. Fire Island National Seashore is diverse, offering natural landscapes, a sunken maritime forest, the iconic Fire Island Lighthouse, and beach communities such as Ocean Beach, Saltaire, and Kismet. Spending the day or even a week on Fire Island presents a lot to do for kids.

Montauk Lighthouse

Montauk Point Lighthouse is the oldest on Long Island and the fourth oldest in the country. Visiting the lighthouse truly engrosses one in Long Island maritime history. Like the Fire Island Lighthouse, climbing the steps to the top has a height requirement of 41″.

Kids will love visiting the rocky beach below, even though swimming is prohibited.

Camp at Hither Hills

Do you even live on Long Island if you haven’t camped at Hither Hills in Montauk? Ok, I actually have never camped here but I’ve visited…

Hither Hills is popular for RV and tent camping, fishing, a playground, and the “walking dunes” of Napeague Harbor. Vacationers can also enjoy biking and equestrian trails, playing fields, water sports, and swimming. It’s no wonder this campsite is a popular Long Island family vacation destination.

Visit Fire Island

Fire Island National Seashore, a barrier beach off of Long Island’s south shore, boasts 26 miles of protected shoreline. Visitors will find pristine beaches, sand dunes, boardwalks, docks, and a true sunken maritime forest.

find a ton of things to do with kids in the long island beach community of Ocean Beach Fire Island

Perfect for a day trip or a weekend away, Fire Island’s beach communities offer rentals, shops, restaurants, and more. Accessible only by ferry and with no public roads, communities like Kismet and Ocean Beach preserve the quintessential beach feel of Fire Island while offering plenty of facilities for families.

Thinking about setting up shop or taking a day trip to Fire Island? Check out our top recommendations for the popular beach community, Ocean Beach here.

Fire Island Lighthouse

The Fire Island Lighthouse is a destination in and of itself. Though very little children cannot climb the steep 182 steps to the top, they will certainly enjoy the hands on maritime museum on the first few floors.

We personally love visiting the lighthouse off-season to avoid crowds. Regardless, this iconic lighthouse is a must-see and easily accessibly for families. The short boardwalk (less than one mile) from parking lot to lighthouse is stroller friendly, pet friendly, and flat.

one of our favorite things to do on long island without kids is visit the Fire Island lighthouse and the nearby beach

For a fun, classic Long Island afternoon, grab a bacon, egg, and cheese from a local bagel shop, walk to the lighthouse, and enjoy your lunch on Lighthouse Beach, just footsteps from the lighthouse.

Fishing from Captree

Captree State Park, on the eastern tip of Jones Beach, is home to New York’s largest fishing fleet. Join an open boat or charter your own vessel for a day of saltwater fishing. Regardless, the boating staff provides everything necessary; no equipment or licenses are needed.

Scuba diving and sightseeing tours are also available, as well as a restaurant and picnic area with amazing views of Fire Island. Captree is famous for having the best chili dogs around, too.

Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve

Part colonial history, part preserve, Caumsett is a must visit for anyone looking for a diverse Long Island landscape.

The large park contains walking and bridle paths, a salt marsh, gardens, rocky shoreline, and fishing and diving (with permit). Caumsett is popular for birdwatching and nature study.

The main house, built in 1711 presents an interpretation of Long Island life during colonial times and is still preserved by the local historical society.

Bethpage State Park

Bethpage State Park is my particular favorite, perhaps because I grew up just a few minutes away and have a ton of memories there.

Vast and diverse, Bethpage offers more to do on Long Island than one can experience in a single visit. From polo matches to equestrian trails to the five world class golf courses, it’s a must-see when on Long Island.

Without a doubt, older children (and golf loving adults) will enjoy at least viewing the famous Bethpage Black Course, home to multiple PGA tournaments and championships. While the Black Course is pricy and difficult, four other courses are available for golfers.

Younger children will enjoy spending the day at the playground, with a picnic lunch, and the somewhat hidden children’s nature garden.

visit the bethpage black course on Long Island with older children who love golf and the PGA
one of our favorite hidden things to do on long island is take our children to the bethpage park children's nature trail

Sunken Meadow State Park

Sitting on the North Shore, Sunken Meadow State Park offers exceptional views of the Long Island Sound and even Connecticut. Sunken Meadow Creeks runs through the park to tidal flats, emptying into the Nissequogue River. South of the flats vistors can find wooded rolling hills.

Sunken Meadow is popular among families for its large picnic area and exceptionally calm swimming waters. Playgrounds and a 3/4 mile boardwalk are available, as well.

Visit an Arboretum

There are quite a few arboretums and botanical gardens scattered across Long Island. Children will love running through fields, seeing different flowers and trees, and interacting with nature.

Bailey Arboretum offers a hands on ‘children’s habitat’ where kids can climb, explore, and create. Admission is free and dogs and picnics are welcome. Other popular gardens are Bayard Cutting, Old Westbury Gardens, and Planting Fields.

Lavender by the Bay

Between Greenport and Orient, on the North Fork, is a beautiful lavender field. Walk through the field and inhale the aromas or shop the many lavender products available. Children will enjoy frolicking in this tucked away gem before spending a day at the beach or state park.

Farms and Animals

Long Island Aquarium

The Long Island aquarium features both indoor and outdoor exhibits containing various Long Island marine life, turtles, coral, butterflies, bugs, reptiles, owls, seals, otters, and more. Children love the interactive touch tank and the penguin encounter, too.

exploring at the Long Island aquarium

Additional adventure activities, like boat tours, behind the scenes experiences, and bug encounters, are available for a fee.

With plenty of exhibits and other things to do nearby, the Long Island aquarium is a perfect stop during a day trip or east end weekend with your kids. Plus, admission is free for your birthday!

Long Island Game Farm

The Long Island Game Farm is home to over 200 animals, including kangaroos, the only lemurs born on Long Island, and an 18 foot giraffe. Wander the nature trails that weave their way through exhibits or enjoy the carnival rides located throughout the wildlife park.

Young children will especially love the please touch motto in petting zoo and interactive areas. The Long Island Game Farm is unique in comparison to other hands-off zoos in that visitors can feed many animals, as well, including the giraffe!

White Post Farm

Perfect for young children, White Post Animal Farm and petting zoo is sure to be a hit. Not only will children love animal exhibits like Giraffe Station, Primate Barn, and Bird Landing, they can enjoy cooling off on the water slides or take part in many of the special events.

Harbes

Harbes truly has it all! Stop by the Mattituck farm stand (and snag some cider donuts!), play at the Barnyard Adventure, visit the orchard, or chill out at their family friendly vineyard. A Long Island family staple, Harbes also features many annual events, like the Pumpkin Festival, Apple Festival, and Watermelon Festival, that are great for kids and families.

head out for a day of apple picking on Long Island at Harbes or another family oriented farm

If you’re visiting Long Island in the fall and looking to enjoy more farms for apple and pumpkin picking, check out this post on where to go picking on Long Island.

Museum and Historical Sites on Long Island to Visit with Kids

The Big Duck

Did you know that there’s literally a giant duck sitting between Long Island’s North and South Fork? Originally constructed to draw attention tot he local duck farm, it’s now a gift shop and visitor’s center.

The Big Duck, listed on the US National Register of Historic Places, is one of the most unique things to do on Long Island with your kids.

The Long Island Children’s Museum

The Long Island Children’s Museum contains fourteen interactive exhibits full of things to do for kids of all ages. Some exhibits are continuous, including music, tinkering, bubbles, sand, and a climbing gym. Others rotate to feature topics such as dinosaurs, science, art, animals, and more.

A tot spot for smaller children is available, as well as an outdoor garden and water play area during the warmer months.

the Long Island Children's museum has a ton of interactive things to do for kids of all ages

Children’s Museum of the East End

The Children’s Museum of the East End, of CMEE, provides play and imaginative experiences for children’s of all ages and abilities. Located on the eastern end of Long Island, CMEE is a great stop when visiting Montauk or the Hamptons with kids.

Children love seafaring on the ship, dropping in to the art studio, playing in the indoor playground, and golfing the 9 hole mini golf course.

  • Learn more about CMEE

Cradle of Aviation

The Cradle of Aviation is affectionately known as Long Island’s very own air and space museum.

With over 75 space crafts and eight exhibits, the museum chronicles over 100 years of aviation. Children will love seeing and climbing in some of the airplanes and watching the hot air balloon fly! Young children can enjoy an aviation themed play area, as well.

The American Air Power Museum

In addition to The Cradle of Aviation, Long Island is home to The American Air Power Museum. Sitting on a historic airfield, this museum features aircrafts and exhibits on WWII specific aviation. Some of the planes are outfitted for tinkering and climbing.

visit the american air power on a historic airfield

Nassau County Fire Fighter’s Museum

Small but exciting, the Nassau County Fire Fighter’s Museum features hands on exhibits and antique fire trucks and gear. Through play, children will learn about fire safety and and the importance of our first responders.

Garvies Point Museum and Preserve

Part museum, part outdoor adventure, Garvies Point is dedicates to the education and preservation of Long Island’s glacial and cultural history. The indoor exhibits offer an opportunity to learn about Long Island’s geological and archeological history, while 62 acres of glacial moraine contain five marked trails. Many of the exhibits are interactive; children will have a lot more fun learning about rocks than you might think!

Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium

The Eagle’s Nest summer estate of William K. Vanderbilt sits on 43 acres, overlooking Long Island’s Gold Coast. Not just another Gold Coast mansion, however, the Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium is dedicated to education, even fore children.

Visitors can walk through Vanderbilt’s art and furniture, collected from his travels, see his curations and artifacts in the natural history museum, stroll the gardens, and enjoy the marine museum. Most popular among children, though, is the Vanderbilt Planetarium, which offers daily shows.

Sagamore Hill

Sagamore Hill was the summer home of 26th US President, Theodore Roosevelt. Explore his house, antiques, and hunting trophies, along with the 83 acres surrounding the property.

Children can also enjoy participating in Junior Ranger activities to learn more about nature, geography, and art.

Old Bethpage Village Restoration

Old Bethpage Restoration living history museum designed to give visitors an opportunity to experience 19th century Long Island. Children especially get a kick out of the old one room school!

In addition, visitors can enjoy old time baseball games or visit during the Long Island Fair, an annual event held on the restoration. My personal favorite, though, are the holiday evening events. During Christmas, enjoy carols and cider while the entire village comes alive by candlelight!

Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum

Long Island’s whaling history is brought forth in this interactive and family friendly museum. Hoist a sail, plan a voyage, and experience life as a whaler. I even remember, as a kid, doing scrimshaw artwork at this incredibly unique Long Island museum.

Family Amusement Parks

Fairs and Carnivals

Long Island loves its pop up fairs and carnivals. And honestly, who doesn’t enjoy a day our with the kids full rides, games, crafts, and indulgent food!?

A few of my favorite annual festivals are:

the mattituck strawberry festival is a great summer event for families

Adventureland

Adventureland has been Long Island’s #1 amusement park since the 1960s! From roller coasters to water rides to kiddie attractions, Adventurland has something for everyone.

Bayville Adventure Park

This smaller adventure park sits on the North Shore, overlooking the Long Island Sound. During the warmer months, visitors can enjoy rock climbing, a ropes course, mini golf, and more.

One of my favorite things to do on Long Island is visit the adventure park with our kids, then grab gyros at the small greek place next door and sit at the beach across the street!

Splish Splash

With over 20 water slides, two wave pools, a lazy river, and an area for young children, it’s no wonder Splish Splash is a summer staple on Long Island. Beat the heat and heat out east during your next Long Island summer trip.


Have you been to Long Island? Did you know that there were so many fun and diverse things to do on Long Island with your kids? Will you be adding Long Island to your bucket list? Let me know in the comments, and feel free to reach out with any questions or requests for recommendations.

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30 things to do on Long Island with kids

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1 Comment

  1. June 29, 2020 / 8:17 pm

    Wow! What an extensive list. This is awesome! I don’t have kids but if I did, I would go to all these spots.
    However, even without kids, I’d want to go to many of these spots. As a kid, we used to go to Jones Beach. I’d love to see it now. I can’t believe it has ziplining. How fun! And I can just imagine how many restaurants and food options there must be now. I want to go! I’ve been to Long Beach too but that also was many years ago. And a friend brought me to a rocky beach in LI. I can’t remember what beach it was. I do prefer sand though, not gonna lie. Fire Island is a spot I’ve been meaning to go to. One day!
    That lighthouse looks so cool too. Being near a lighthouse instantly gives a vacay feel. I’m really wanting to see some water now. I need to figure something out this summer!

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