The calendar doesn't lie — the window for outdoor activities is starting to close. There's still time to get to these open-air activities before the holidays — and winter's deeper chill — hit.
1. TAKE A BIKE RIDE
Head to the Bethpage Bikeway, which runs about 14 miles of paved paths from Massapequa to Plainview.
“In the fall, the foliage is magical with the surrounding ponds and wildlife,” says Long Island Bicycle Tours owner Tom Flanagan, who offers bike rentals for self-guided rides there. “It’s simple to navigate and a wonderful riding experience, especially for an entire family.”
For an extra sense of adventure, try the company's mobile scavenger hunt. “You find clues along the trail, there’s riddles that you have to solve and a hunt for the treasure box,” Flanagan says. “There’s even a prize in the end.”
INFO $40/day bike rental, $30 per group for scavenger hunt, 631-824-3360, longislandbicycletours.com
2. GO ON A NATURE TOUR
Freeport Water Taxi is offering two-hour seal watching eco tours on a 44-foot catamaran for a few more weekends. Harbor seals can often be seen up close swimming in Haunts Creek, located in the state channel between the Meadowbrook and Wantagh parkways, and gathering on top of the salt marshes.
“They spend the whole winter here. By the end of April they move north,” says captain Rick Cohen. “They feel safe because there’s no predators. You get to see them play around quite a bit.”
The tour also addresses the effects of pollution on the bays and shows how the baymen make a living on the water by pulling up a live crab trap and examining the contents.
INFO $25 ($15 ages 5-10), 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through November, 516-521-7744, freeportwatertaxi.com
3. HIT A WINERY
The grape harvest may be over, but the scenic views of the vineyards are hard to beat in late fall. Many of the North Fork's wineries are open year-round and plenty keep the tastings and entertainment going outdoors as long as possible. At Jason’s Vineyard in Jamesport, for example, you can have a glass of wine on the outdoor deck at high-top tables overlooking acres of grapevines, perhaps with a backdrop of live music. Then visit the winery's alpacas and sheep.
INFO 631-238-5801, jasonsvineyard.com
4. WATCH AN OLD-TIME BASEBALL GAME
The World Series is over, but local play holds on for one more weekend. See the game played by the rules of 1864 — no mitts! — with players dressed in throwback uniforms, beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 3 at Old Bethpage Village Restoration.
INFO $13 ($8 ages 5-12), 516-572-8401, obvrnassau.com
5. TAKE A HIKE
The hardy hike year-round; the uninitiated may want to try a free guided trek before the biting cold. There's plenty happening along the Long Island Greenbelt Trail, including a hilly 6-mile hike at Manorville Hills at 9 a.m. Nov. 10, where participants can see glacial erratics and kettle holes. Bring water and a snack (rain cancels, 631-288-6884). More moderate is the 5.7-mile Stump Pond Circular “Chocolate” Hike, which loops the 120-acre pond at Blydenburgh Park in Smithtown at 9 a.m. Nov. 29. Bring water and a snack — a chocolate treat is provided (631-682-0035).
6. DO A CRAWL
Fall pub crawls are a chance to hop between venues and spend a few hours trying what's new for the season. Drink in the name of charity at Patchogue's Fall Craft Crawl 1-6:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3. You'll visit village establishments including Del Fuego, Bobbique, the Tap Room and BrickHouse Brewery for discounts and perks, with proceeds benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
INFO $25 ($20 advance), fallcraftcrawl.com
7. EAT ALFRESCO
Some of Long Island’s loveliest outdoor dining rooms stay open well into autumn, warmed by either free-standing heaters, fire pits, or both. A light jacket is all you need. And maybe a cup of hot chocolate. Best bets: Hendrick's Tavern in Roslyn (516-621-1200, pollrestaurants.com), Campagne House in Bethpage (516-261-9300, campagnehouse.com), H20 Seafood & Sushi in Smithtown (631-361-6464, h2oseafoodsushi.com) and Prime in Huntington (631-385-1515, restaurantprime.com).