Visit Long Island
Long Island is an island located east of New York City, on which the two largest neighborhoods of New York are located : Brooklyn and Queens. This very residential place, which also houses several commercial areas, is also very touristy, in large part thanks to its very pretty fine sandy beaches.
Long Island: The Second Largest Island In The United States
Long Island is the largest island in the United States after Hawaii. It stretches east from New York for more than 190 km in length, and is 30 km wide. In addition to Queens and Brooklyn, Long Island is also divided into 2 additional, much more rural counties: Suffolk and Nassau. In total, nearly 8 million people live on Long Island.
This island, which was occupied by the Dutch and then by the English at the time of the first settlers, has welcomed a growing population since the 19th century. Many of the freed slaves and immigrants who arrived on Ellis Island decided to move away from New York and settle on Long Island.
It was not until the 1930s, with the arrival of the Long Island Expressway, the highway of Long Island, that the island became a particularly popular vacation spot. Since then, tourism has been at the heart of Long Island’s economic activity. Some sectors, especially inthe Hamptons, today are among the places with the highest cost of living in the United States.
Best Things To Do And See In Long Island
Each region of Long Island has its specialties. You can visit some charming towns, admire the homes of stars on the Gold Coast, go shopping, visit museums, spend a memorable day in Adventureland, and of course enjoy the superb beaches in the south of the island.
The Main Cities Of Long Island
With the exception of course of the two boroughs of New York, you will have to go east, towards the Hamptons, to visit the most interesting towns on the island:
- Montauk is a very popular seaside resort during the summer, and a very quiet village the rest of the year. Located at the eastern end of the island, it will take you about 3 hours to get there fromManhattan. This place could be the perfect starting point to visit the main sites of the island on your way back to New York. The main attraction in the village is the Montauk Lighthouse, which houses a small museum, and from which you can admire a spectacular view of the ocean.
- Southampton is an extremely posh little town, known the world over for being home to some big stars. This town is also one of the places to go for shopping on Long Island, if your budget allows. You will find a lot of luxury shops there.
- Sag Harbor is a very quiet little village, where there are also some superb residences, some of which belong to famous personalities.
- Sagaponack and Bridgehampton are two other charming little towns, in which you can discover very pretty wooden houses, typical of the region.
There are excursions (departing from downtown New York) to discover the island of Long Island for a day. You will leave the hustle and bustle of the city to discover quieter lands where a few wealthy people have settled (notably Paris Hilton or Steven Spielberg).
You will quickly realize the change of atmosphere with the heart of New York City and will be able to enjoy this new, more natural atmosphere during the excursion. The program is rather complete and diversified!
Long Island Beaches
If you want to visit Long Island, summer will be the perfect time. You will be able to get away from the fervor of New York, to enjoy a bit of calm and practice a large number of outdoor activities, in particular on the many beaches of the island.
Long Island’s beaches are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, windsurfing or surfing:
- Fire Island State Park Beach is a pretty fine sand beach, very popular with surfers and all sports enthusiasts.
- Cupsogue Beach County park is a very pleasant beach, which has the advantage of being constantly supervised by lifeguards.
- Jones Beach State Park is an easily accessible white sand beach where you can enjoy many activities. It will be ideal for spending a family day at the sea.
- The beaches in the north of the island are quite unpopular, as they are more rocky. Sunken Meadow State Park still manages to stand out thanks to its large wooden walkway, which makes for a really nice seaside walk.
You will find many cultural places on Long Island, and some will allow you to learn more about the history of the region or the life of great historical personalities who have resided on this island:
- Walt Whitman Birthplace is a museum located in the birthplace of America’s most famous poet. Visitors to this museum can discover exhibits retracing the life of Walt Whitman, as well as a large number of portraits of the artist, and many objects that belonged to him.
- The American Airpower Museum is an aviation museum located in East Farmingdale. You can see many perfectly preserved aircraft models there, and learn a lot about the history of military aviation since the Second World War.
- Sagamore Hill was the home of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, until his death in 1919. Located near Oyster Bay in northern Nassau County, this mansion, which has remained virtually untouched since, is home to today the Theodore Roosevelt Museum.
- The Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium is a natural history museum, planetarium, naval museum and 43-hectare park all rolled into one. It is located inside Eagle’s Nest, the home of William K. Vanderbilt II, heir to one of the country’s greatest fortunes.
- The Long Island Explorium is an interactive and educational museum where children can have a great time. Many activities are offered to arouse children’s curiosity, involving them in various experiences, such as construction games and crafts. At first sight, the place is nothing impressive, but at the end of the visit, the hard part will be to convince your children that it is time to leave.
Long Island is a place where the cost of living is particularly high, and when we think of shopping on Long Island, we rather imagine the boutiques of the great designers that can be found on the shopping streets of certain towns in the Hamptons.
However, on Long Island, you will also find two huge Outlets, factory outlets in which you will have the opportunity to get your hands on products at particularly attractive prices. At Tanger Outlets Riverhead and Tanger Outlets Deer Park, discontinued items from nearly 300 brands are on sale. Converse, Nike, Calvin Klein… all the products of these brands whose stock could not be sold in the classic shops are offered in these stores.
Adventureland is an amusement park that has been one of the most popular tourist sites on the island since it opened in 1962. It is located in East Farmingdale, and has a total of around thirty different attractions, including five roller coasters, 3 of which are aquatic.
You can reach this park from New York in just half an hour, to spend a day of fun with the family. In addition to very thrilling attractions, the park also offers attractions and rides for the youngest.
Adventureland is open all summer. In April, May, September and October, the park opens its doors only during weekends and holidays.
How To Get There ?
To get to Long Island from New York, you can take the train, the bus, or opt for a rental car:
- The LIRR is a train line that departs from Manhattan to reach Montauk, at the eastern end of Long Island, in the Hamptons. This line serves about thirty stations on its route, and will therefore allow you to reach practically all destinations on Long Island. This is the most economical solution, but it is not necessarily the most practical, since depending on the period, the trains do not always run very frequently.
- Several bus companies will allow you to reach all the cities of Long Island. Taking the bus to a specific place will not necessarily be possible or practical; but these buses, which offer trips with several stops with organized tours, can be a very good way to quickly discover certain Long Island tourist sites.
- The rental car is really the way I recommend the most to discover Long Island. With a car at your disposal, you can truly tour the area at your own pace and customize your itinerary. Driving in the United States does not really require time to adapt, the main difference being that your vehicle will most likely be equipped with an automatic transmission. Moreover, if you are traveling with several people, renting a car can even quickly turn out to be more interesting than paying for several bus or train tickets.