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Hiking trails for families on Long Island

There are many family-friendly hiking trails on Long

There are many family-friendly hiking trails on Long Island, including Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park in Oyster Bay. Credit: Newsday/Yvonne Albinowski

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To see Long Island from a fresh perspective, far from cars, noise and crowds, take a hike. Long Island's hiking trails offer an escape for family time or your own mental or physical health. Here are some places to go.

BLYDENBURGH COUNTY PARK, HAUPPAUGE

The east side is flat, making the walk very kid-friendly. The west side is a bit more hilly, but both have spectacular water views of the pond. On the east side is also the rowboat concession that opens on Memorial Day and benches, as well as picnic tables.

When you're at Blydenburgh County Park, go in the north entrance off New Mill Road near Route 347, where the main office of the Greenbelt Trail Conference is situated. The office can provide information and maps. The start of the trails also is here.

Masks are required where physical distancing (staying at least six feet apart) cannot reasonably be maintained.

INFO Northern entrance is at the end of New Mill Road; open dawn to dusk; no parking fee at north entrance, no fee collected from the main gate in the fall and winter; 631-854-3712, ligreenbelt.org.

CONNETQUOT RIVER STATE PARK PRESERVE, OAKDALE

This scenic, 3,473-acre preserve is recommended for families because they can hike any part of the 50 miles of trails. Along the way, you will see deer, waterfowl and osprey, as well as numerous rare plants.

Masks are required where physical distancing (staying at least six feet apart) cannot reasonably be maintained.

INFO 4090 Sunrise Hwy., Oakdale; call 631-581-1005 or visit parks.ny.gov for current hours and fees.

DOWNS FARM PRESERVE, CUTCHOGUE

This family-friendly place is an easy walk with the trail a little more than a mile long. The trail is marked, flat and stroller-friendly. The preserve is home to a fort of the Corchaug Indian tribe that is on the National Park Register of Historic Places and is considered ancient land.

Masks are required where physical distancing (staying at least six feet apart) cannot reasonably be maintained.

INFO Route 25, Cutchogue; open daily, dawn to dusk; free; 631-765-1283, southoldtownny.gov.

PLANTING FIELDS ARBORETUM STATE HISTORIC PARK, OYSTER BAY

Walkers can select from different paths, covering about five miles in total, as well as all different lengths to accommodate different ages and abilities. You can expect to see lots of wildlife. Trail map available on the website.

Social distancing required for all visitors throughout the grounds. Masks are strongly recommended if social distancing is not possible. Also, park staff may turn away visitors when the parking lot reaches 50% capacity.

INFO 1395 Planting Fields Rd., Oyster Bay; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; $8 parking fee holidays only through March 31, weekends April 3 through late November, and daily Memorial Day through Labor Day; 516-922-9200, plantingfields.org.

QUOGUE WILDLIFE REFUGE, QUOQUE

The 300-acre nature preserve has been tending and rehabilitating animals since the 1930s, and its wooded property is a great place to hike. It offers 7 miles of well-blazed paths. Take the mile-long loop around the Old Ice Pond, stopping at the bridge to see turtles and fish. The paths are well marked and stroller-friendly on flat terrain (no bikes or dogs). After your walk, stop and see the animals sheltered there (Nature Center is closed due to COVID, check website). Adults and older children might like the 3-mile trail that goes around the northern end of the refuge through dwarf pines.

Masks are required where physical distancing (staying at least six feet apart) cannot reasonably be maintained.

INFO 3 Old Country Rd., Quogue; trails open sunrise to sunset daily; donation suggested; 631-653-4771, quoguewildliferefuge.org.

SAGAMORE HILL, OYSTER BAY COVE

After a tour of President Theodore Roosevelt’s Summer White House (closed due to COVID, check website), explore the "backyard" of the nation’s youngest commander in chief, an avid hiker. Roosevelt and family often walked down to swim and camp out at the nearby beach. The trailhead next to the Old Orchard Museum leads to a rugged dirt road through a tulip tree forest. (The right fork is moderately hilly, the left features more challenging terrain.) The trail opens up at the 366-foot-long Eel Creek boardwalk, which spans a salt marsh rustling with native horseshoe crabs. The beach, on Cold Spring Harbor, is part of the 3,209-acre Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge. By the way, Teddy was a dog lover, so leashed hiking companions are welcome.

Visitors over the age of two years must wear masks, except when actively eating or drinking. Masks are also required in the outdoor areas when others are present and where physical distancing (staying at least six feet apart) cannot reasonably be maintained.

INFO 20 Sagamore Hill Rd., Oyster Bay; 516-922-4788, nps.gov/sahi.

SOUTHAMPTON TRAILS

The Southampton Trail Preservation Society runs many guided trails in the Hamptons, some suitable for even small children. Reservations and face masks required.

INFO Visit southamptontrails.org for hiking trails and a list of guided hikes.

TACKAPAUSHA PRESERVE, SEAFORD

The preserve has self-guided trails for the public and is a fun walk for kids with a stop at the museum to complete the visit. Guided walks at the county museum are available with advanced reservations for organizations, scouts and school groups. Paths are flat, well-maintained and clearly marked, with a pond with bridges and a waterfall along the way.

Masks are required where physical distancing (staying at least six feet apart) cannot reasonably be maintained.

INFO 2225 Washington Ave., Seaford; trails free and open sunrise to sunset daily; 516-571-7443, nassaucountyny.gov/2951/Tackapausha-Museum-and-Preserve.

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