You could be luxuriating on the beach when a craving for a lobster roll pulls you right off the blanket.
Or staring into a tank full of sharks when you're suddenly bitten by an urge to tear into a gyro sandwich. Maybe you're lining up to putt when the growling in your stomach tells you a short stack of pancakes is in order.
Here on Long Island, where families love to play as much as they live to eat, there's usually something satisfying within reach of whatever your sport or activity may be. Much of the time, you may not even need to move your car.
Here's a rundown of family-oriented eat-and-play experiences available in Nassau and Suffolk, perfect when planning a fun family day trip.
The All Star (96 Main Rd., Riverhead) is a recreational venue that has bowling lanes, a billiard table, a games arcade and a restaurant that's set up in multilevel tiers, stadium-style. Lunch and dinner choices include salads, pizza, wraps and burgers. For more information, call 631-904-0580 or visit theallstar.com.
Bayard Cutting Arboretum
Within the manor house at Bayard Cutting Arboretum (440 Montauk Hwy., Great River) is the Hidden Oak Cafe and tea room where you can order indoors at a counter and claim a table on the scenic veranda overlooking the Connetquot River. The menu features sandwiches and salads, or you can make reservations for a tea service with scones, pastries and finger sandwiches. Call 631-581-1002 or check bayardcuttingarboretum.com for more details.
Bayville Adventure Park
Bayville Adventure Park (8 Bayville Ave., Bayville) is a pirate-themed fun park with bumper boats, rock climbing, tightrope walking, miniature golf, a train ride, video arcade and an ice cream parlor. Visit bayvilleadventurepark.com or call 516-624-7433 for more information.
Bowlmor Long Island
Bowlmor Long Island (895 Walt Whitman Rd., Melville) is an upscale bowling alley featuring 49 lanes, a restaurant and an arcade. For more information, call 631-271-1180 or visit bowlmor.com/long-island.
Country Fair Entertainment Park
Country Fair Entertainment (3351 Rte. 112, Medford) features miniature golf, batting cages, laser tag, driving range, go-karts and an arcade. Call 631-732-0579 or visit countryfairpark.com for more information.
Crab Meadow Beach
The playground at Crab Meadow Beach (off Waterside Avenue, Northport) is big enough to accommodate many kids and has enough shaded areas that you don't have to worry about your toddler getting too burned. Basketball, the beach and a boardwalk are other options to enjoy, and for a full meal theLa Casa Cafe restaurant serves Italian for lunch and dinner. Call 631-261-7574 or visit huntingtonny.gov for more details.
Long Island Aquarium
You'll find a selection of exhibits and interactive experiences at the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center (431 E. Main St., Riverhead), including the Touch Tank, the Shark Dive, Poseidon's Treasure Room and the Submarine Simulator, among a variety of sea life and animals on display inside the building -- as well as outdoor shows and presentations. Guests can also play in an arcade and dine in the Aquarium Cafe, or head out to the neighboring Seaside Grill (451 E. Main St., Riverhead; located behind the Hyatt Place East End & Resort Marina), with re-entry to the Aquarium permitted. Call 631-208-9200 or visit longislandaquarium.com for more information.
Malibu Shore Club
Open seasonally, the Malibu Shore Club (1500 Lido Blvd., Lido Beach) is open to all Town of Hempstead residents, and offers beach access, and features an arcade, an ice cream parlor and the Maliblue Oyster Bar restaurant (that is open to the general public as well). Call 516-670-1050 or check online at malibushoreclub.com for more information and parking details.
Old Westbury Gardens
Cafe in the Woods, on the grounds of the Phipps family estate and formal gardens at Old Westbury Gardens (71 Old Westbury Rd., Old Westbury) is a charming outdoor cafe offering a changing roster of sandwiches, salads and soups (open weather permitting). Kids will love exploring the gardens and checking out the family-friendly workshops and events. Visit oldwestburygardens.org or call 516-333-0048 for more information and schedules.
Planting Fields Arboretum
Take a tour of 65-room mansion Coe Hall (1395 Planting Fields Rd., Oyster Bay) or explore the hundreds of acres of lawns, greenhouses, nature trails and gardens. Then stop by Periwinkles Cafe, situated in the restored Hay Barn of the William Robertson Coe estate with an outdoor deck overlooking woods. For hours, event schedule and other information call 516-922-9200 or check online at plantingfields.org.
Poxabogue Golf Course
On the public 9-hole Poxabogue Golf Course (3556 Montauk Hwy., Bridgehampton) and driving range is Fairway Restaurant, a family-friendly eatery whose many windows overlook the course; there's also outdoor seating. The place serves breakfast and lunch, drawing on local farm stand produce whenever possible. Call 631-537-0025 or visit poxgolf.com for more information.
The parklands that surround the 23-room Victorian home of Theodore Roosevelt at Sagamore Hill (Sagamore Hill Road, Cove Neck) are available year-round, but the buildings are opened seasonally, so call 516-922-4788 or visit nps.gov/sahi for hours and information. Afterward, be sure to check out Bonanza's (25 Shore Ave., Oyster Bay) for homemade Italian ices, hot dogs and chili.
Splish Splash (2549 Splish Splash Dr., Calverton) features water slides, a kiddie area, wave pool, lazy river and interactive play area. Concessions include hot dogs, chicken, pizza, salads, sandwiches, hamburgers, French fries, ice cream, soft drinks, popcorn, funnel cakes and cotton candy. Visit splishsplash.com or call 631-727-3600 for more information.
Open to Town of Oyster Bay residents (non-residents permitted Mon-Fri, excluding holidays), Tobay Beach (Ocean Parkway east of Jones Beach, off Wantagh Parkway Massapequa) offers ocean and beach access, a spray park, marina, picnic area, refreshment stand and full restaurant that touches the sand and is only a short walk from the bay. Call 516-679-3900 for more information.
A resident-only beach, Venetian Shores (Granada Parkway off of Montauk Highway, Lindenhurst) has basketball and tennis courts, a softball field, fishing pier, boat ramp, picnic area and a water spray park. Check out the Beach Hut, which offers order-at-the-counter service and dining on a breezy deck, serving grill food, fried seafood, pasta, salads and ice cream -- and features live music. Call 631-956-0066 for fees and other information, or visit townofbabylon.com.