Top 10 cheap things to do this summer on LI
Everybody loves a bargain. Free outdoor concerts and fireworks shows are easy to come by all summer. Less so are inexpensive date nights and under-the-radar tours. We're spilling some open secrets on good-for-summer activities that cost less than $50 a person. Bank on them.
RECLAIM OCEAN BEACH
Call it a "day-cation" -- for the mere cost of a roundtrip ferry ticket from Bay Shore, Fire Island's Ocean Beach is a charming getaway. The seaside town is back in a big way after superstorm Sandy's devastation. There are several restaurants and shops, or sit on a bench with an ice cream and do some fabulous people watching. And, of course, there's the beach ($17.50 adults, $7.50 younger than 12; $8-$15 parking, 631-665-3600, fireislandferries.com).
DANCING DATE NIGHT
Dancing by moonlight at a historic mansion is a sure-fire way to impress your sweetie -- we won't tell anyone that it only cost you $20. The Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport is hosting outdoor dancing nights from 7-9 p.m. most Thursdays this summer. The evening starts with a lesson in salsa, tango, foxtrot or the waltz -- and then the scenic courtyard is yours for the taking (June 27-late August, $20 a person, 631-854-5555, vanderbiltmuseum.org). Here, Walter Monteblanco of Asharoken and a dance instructor, dances with Consuelo Evans of Jersey City, NJ at Latin Nights summer series.
TAKE A SUNSET CRUISE
No boat? No problem. Freeport Water Taxi is running sunset cruises most Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays that depart from the Nautical Mile. Trips last about 90 minutes -- perfect timing if you care to grab a pre-sail dinner or post-cruise drink at any number of waterside restaurants near the dock ($35, 516-521-7744, freeportwatertaxi.com). (June 20, 2012)
Warm weather brings out shiny GTOs and T-Birds. They are often spotted in strip mall and train station parking lots. Among the regulars during the summer months are the Tuesday nights in Oyster Bay (Audrey Avenue near Main Street) where you can gawk at the cars for free and get an ice cream in town. (June 21, 2011)
Lobster is the theme of a dinner at A Lure in Southold.
$4 SUMMER FLICKS
With big summer blockbusters coming out every week, keeping up with your favorite flicks can get expensive. Enter "Super Tuesdays" at Elwood Cinemas, where movies can be seen for $4 (except those produced by Sony, Paramount or Columbia). There are deals at the snack bar, too (631-499-9883, facebook.com/elwoodcinemas). (Nov. 11, 1212)
HEAR A CONCERT FROM THE LAWN
Big summer shows don't have to cost big bucks. The Pennysaver Amphitheater at Bald Hill in Farmingville makes it affordable with $26 lawn seats for shows like Counting Crows and the Wallflowers (June 14) -- $10 for the My Country (96.1 FM) Summer Kickoff with Kip Moore (June 20). Spread out a blanket and enjoy the view from the grass (631-648-2500, pennysaveramp.com)
JONES BEACH BOARDWALK
A periennial favorite: strolling Jones Beach's famous boardwalk after the sun goes down...when you don't have to pay to park and there's nightly free entertainment to boot. Whether you care to hit the game courts (they open in late June this year), try line dancing at the bandshell or simply people-watch on the central mall, it's a crowd-pleaser (late June-Labor Day, 516-826-5979, jonesbeachevents.com). Here, from the left, Sandy Mitchell and Lori Melton hang out at dusk on the boardwalk of the Jones Beach mall in Wantagh. (August 24, 2012)
TRAIPSE THROUGH A CASTLE
Oheka Castle in Huntington is one of the island's grandest Gold Coast mansions -- and you don't need an invitation to a gala or wedding to take a peek at it. The owners run guided tours by appointment. You'll see several of the grandly decorated rooms and the property's gardens are always in bloom. The tour ($25 adults, $5 younger than 12) ends with coffee, tea and cookies from the pastry kitchen -- or you can opt for a full lunch ($50, 631-659-1400, oheka.com). (Undated)
GO FOOD TRUCKIN'
They call it "The Shoregasboard" -- and it's Long Beach's admirable solution to feeding the masses at the beach as the city continues to rebuild from superstorm Sandy. A makeshift court of food trucks is being erected at Riverside Avenue and Broadway -- vendors include a stable of local favorites such as Swingbellys BBQ and Tutti Frutti frozen yogurt, with other trucks rotating in throughout the summer. Here, Karen Ezratty of Long Beach reaches for her order from Alan Adams, owner of Sugo Cafe in Long Beach at Beach Buns and Bites. (April 27, 2013)