Head east from the big-city environment of Manhattan to parks, museums and beaches. Enjoy the mix of affluent and laid-back communities on this long island.
Some of the biggest attractions of Long Island are its beaches, starting less than a 1-hour drive from New York City. Coopers Beach in Southampton and the Main Beach in East Hampton are two of the most popular beaches along the Atlantic coastline. Bring your swimsuit and Frisbee to Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh, Hither Hills State Park and Montauk Point State Park, where you’ll find the iconic Montauk Point Lighthouse. End a summer of sun with Labor Day fireworks at East Hampton’s Main Beach.
Take a ferry to Fire Island, a narrow barrier island stretching along the southern coast. Relax on beaches on the inner and outer shorelines and walk along dunes to the Fire Island Lighthouse.
The area offers more than just beaches. Long Island’s North Shore is known as the Gold Coast for its early 20th-century mansions, as depicted in The Great Gatsby. Visit Old Westbury Gardens, Oheka Castle and Vanderbilt Museum. On the south shore is the more modern, affluent part of the island, the Hamptons. Drive around to view huge modern mansions, play at high-end golf courses or mingle at coffee shops with summer residents vacationing from New York City.
For excellent cultural experiences, select from dozens of museums and art galleries. Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington has five centuries of Western art while the Parrish Art Museum near Southampton focuses on contemporary art. Tour the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City for the story of aerospace. Enjoy a music concert or big-name comic performance at NYCB Theatre at Westbury. See Broadway shows or children’s productions at the John W. Engeman Theater in Northport. Simply relax at the athletic facilities of Nassau County’s Eisenhower Park.
Drive, take a bus or ride the Long Island Rail Road from Pennsylvania Station. Montauk on the eastern tip of Long Island is about 120 miles (190 kilometers) from the heart of Manhattan.