Between the traffic jams and being stuck behind a computer screen for hours on end, maybe you want to get away from the go-go-go mentality. Or perhaps you're feeling romantic and want to woo your significant other. Consider a leisurely horseback ride through the woods or along the beach. Stables spreading from Old Bethpage to Montauk offer guided trips that don't require you to commit to take riding lessons or buy equipment.
NATIVITY RIDING ACADEMY
11 Ruth Lane, Ridge
INFO 631-949-5629, nativityridingacademy.tripod.com
COST $40 an hour
Tucked away in the Pine Barrens, Nativity Riding Academy takes patrons out on wooded trails or onto the beach for a ride. "The trail ride -- it's, most of all, a social, recreational thing," says owner and trainer Teresa Ferrara. "It's a good way to introduce people to horseback riding." The stables offer one- or two-hour rides, where people can check out a pond, trot along Shoreham Beach or see Longwood Estate, a historic manor and property that has farmland, woods and riverfronts.
FINE PRINT Rides are typically restricted to those 12 and up.
OLD BETHPAGE EQUESTRIAN CENTER
499 Winding Rd., Old Bethpage
INFO 516-531-8007, oldbethpageequestrian.com
While exploring Bethpage State Park's many trails on horseback, you may be lucky enough to see butterflies, owls and hawks in their nesting areas, says office manager Rosy Gonzalez. The wooded and sometimes hilly 5-mile trail provides a scenic escape into nature from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. Riders may even be able to go through the park's golf courses, except the Black Course, which, after hosting the Barclays tournament, is closed until Saturday.
FINE PRINT Must be 12 years old for group rides.
DEEP HOLLOW RANCH
INFO 631-668-2744, deephollowranch.com
COST $35 (30-minute group ride) to $220 (private ride for one person)
Trail riders can enjoy an ocean view or catch a glimpse of the Montauk Point Lighthouse in the woods when they ride a trail horse at Deep Hollow Ranch, a longtime cattle ranch on the East End. Horses set out on the trails daily every two hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Saturdays, there's a special 6 p.m. tour for those who want to catch the beginning of the sunset. Rides last from 30 to 90 minutes -- only those riding for an hour and a half can go to the white sandy beaches of Block Island Sound. "Riding on the beach is a dream for most people," says owner Cate Keogh. Shorter rides go through wooded areas of the park, where you might see deer, foxes and hawks.
FINE PRINT You must be at least 6 years old to ride for half an hour, 8 years old to ride for 90 minutes.
SWEET HILL STABLES
INFO 631-351-9168, sweethillsstable.com
COST $40 an hour
Horseback riders here can go to Jayne's Hill, the highest point on Long Island, or take a tranquil trip along the wooded trails of West Hills County Park. Manager Jane Sandhas says the trails are particularly beautiful in the snow and they attract couples and families looking to celebrate anniversaries, engagements and holidays. You can hit the trails between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. every day. From now through November, riders can see the sunset and experience the woods at dusk on twilight trail rides from 7 to 9 p.m.
FINE PRINT You'll need at least two people to schedule a ride. Tours are cash only. Riders must 8 or older.