10 things to do outdoors on Long Island
Golf, kayak, sail -- surely you want to spend as much time as you can outside this summer. Spend a few hours on a guided tour or simply play spectator and cheer the masses on from the sidelines. The exploreLI annual summer series continues with 10 surefire ideas to get you and the clan out and about this season.
RUN AT THE PARKS
It might be Long Island's most adored Monday night tradition -- joggers turn out by the hundreds to partake in the Long Island State Parks' Summer Run Series. From June 11 to Aug. 6 (no race July 2), runners take over various state parks at 7 p.m. for a 4-5k, 5-mile or 10k race. After the finish line, everyone lingers for refreshments and camaraderie. No single race registration this year -- but you can still sign up for a pack of four races until May 31 ($45, 631-321-3510, flrrt.com). (2011)
TEE OFF IN SEA CLIFF
UPDATE (6/1/12): This event has been postponed to a yet-unannounced date in September. It's not your typical round of miniature golf -- but that's exactly the point. For one day a year, volunteers transform the village of Sea Cliff into a mini-golf adventure land. The zany course winds through the backyards of several private Victorian homes -- over fences, past gardens -- and public parks. The winner is robed Masters-style in a green blazer at the finish. It's $30 to tee off, $100 for a foursome, $5 to be a spectator walking the galley (516-662-6045). (June 26, 2010)
SEE AN (OLD) GAME
Indulge in a love of baseball and get a dose of history at the same time. Three vintage "base ball" clubs play games through summer, dressing in period uniforms and following rules of the game from the 1800s. The Atlantic Base Ball Club plays at noon most Saturdays at Smithtown Historical Society (brooklynatlantics .org). A four-team vintage baseball league plays at noon Sundays at Old Bethpage Village Restoration ($10 adults, $7 ages 5-12, leaguelineup.com/ obvr) -- the same place The Mutuals, a traveling team, plays its few home games (nymutuals.com). (June 25, 2011)
CELEBRATE THE LIGHT
The Huntington Harbor Lighthouse is marking its 100th anniversary this year. The offshore lighthouse continues to undergo renovation -- its parent nonprofit is hosting a soiree June 16 with a birthday party for Huntington residents in the sand at Gold Star Beach -- that's followed by a limited access benefit ($150) at the lighthouse itself at 5:30, with cocktails and music, 516-768- 2575, huntingtonlighthouse .org). (May 15, 2012)
BIKE THE GOLD COAST
Whether you prefer a leisurely ride or a serious pedal, the 30th annual Gold Coast Bike Tour is the ultimate ride. Roll your way through your choice of courses (from 12.9 to 100 miles) starting in Greenlawn -- all include scenic water views and historic mansions (7 a.m. July 29, $25-$35, huntingtonbicycleclub.org/goldcoast .html). (2010)
KAYAK TO DINNER
You'll have to work for your dinner -- but it's worth it. Join Empire Kayaks in Island Park for a guided two-mile paddle over to the popular Jordan's Lobster Farm, where the group pulls up for a picnic dinner of fresh-caught lobsters. Then, it's off again for the paddle back by moonlight. The first paddle of the season is June 6 -- reservations suggested ($35 plus dinner a la carte; 516-889- 8300, empirekayaks.com).
SUNSET ON THE HARBOR
Spend an evening cruising Oyster Bay Harbor aboard the historic landmark oyster sloop Christeen -- the WaterFront Center runs two-hour sunset sails at 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays (weather permitting) through August. Passengers can help the crew sail -- or just sit back and relax. BYO snacks and drinks ($25, 516- 922-7245, thewaterfrontcenter .org). (undated)
SPIKE A BALL
The beach, the balls, the bodies. Put them all together and they spell two days of fun in the sun at the 34th annual Jones Beach Volleyball Tournament as four- and six-player teams vie for cash prizes and bragging rights. While there's no fee to play, teams must register in advance for the two-day event, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. July 14-15 ($10 parking, 631-321-3510, nysparks.com). (2008)
WALK TO FIRE ISLAND
Spend a day on Fire Island -- without springing for the ferry. Walk from Robert Moses field 5 ($10 parking) and follow the boardwalk path to the Fire Island lighthouse, where you can climb to the top, check out the museum and see the new building showcasing an enormous Fresnel lighthouse lens ($7 adults, $4 ages 12 and younger; 631-661- 4876, fireislandlighthouse .com). Then, be ready for a robust hike along the sandy road or the ocean to Kismet -- if you choose the ocean route, be prepared to pass through the clothing optional beach. Once there, head toward the bayfront where you can dine indoors or al fresco at Surf's Out (631-583-7400, surfsoutfireisland.com or the Kismet Inn (631- 583-5592). (May 21, 2011)
SMELL THE FLOWERS
Deemed one the best public gardens in world by Four Seasons Magazine, Old Westbury Gardens is a dreamy place to spend a summer afternoon. Consider timing a visit to catch a garden tour, where staffers share growing secrets and advice. Coming up (all at 2 p.m.): "Irises and Peonies," June 3; "English Country Estate Gardens," June 10, and "Roses" June 17. Included with $10 admission ($5 ages 7-17), 516-333-0048, oldwestburygardens.org.