Plan your perfect Long Island picnic at these scenic spots

Tyler Saenzdeviteri of Central Islip and Erin Tamney of North Babylon enjoy a picnic in the park in Northport.  Credit: Newsday / Raychel Brightman

It’s a gorgeous day, the cooler is loaded up with ice. All you need is the perfect spot to munch on barbecued corn, spare ribs and all the other summer staples that taste infinitely better at a picnic. Here are picnic spots, paired with food and drink ideas for dining al fresco.



Osprey's Dominion in Peconic has picnic tables that can be...

Osprey's Dominion in Peconic has picnic tables that can be used by the vineyard's guests. Credit: Randee Daddona

  • The rustic North Fork region of sprawling vineyards and château-like tasting rooms has been compared to California’s wine country.

  • Osprey’s Dominion in Peconic is one of the more picnic-friendly vineyards with loads of outdoor tables for wining and dining near the vines. (44075 Main Rd., Peconic, 631-765-6188)

  • For a blanket-level view of the scenic waterfront, try the wide lawn at Mitchell Park in downtown Greenport. (Front Street, Greenport, 631-477-2200)


A sumptuous cheese board. Michael Affatato, owner of The Village Cheese Shop in Mattituck, can create a wine-pairing platter with selections from over 150 cheeses available in-store — from Belgian goat to housemade truffle Brie — as well as bread, cured meats, caviar and cookies. (105 Love Lane, Mattituck, 631-298-8556,

Pinot grigio is a “beautiful summer wine” that goes well with a cheese board, says Pat Pugliese, owner of Pugliese Vineyards in Cutchogue. Croteaux Vineyards in Southold is dedicated solely to making rosé. Pick up a bottle en route to your picnic. 



Long Island's Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium in Centerport.

Long Island's Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium in Centerport. Credit: Marisol Díaz

  • Sailboat-dotted Northport Bay sparkles just beyond the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum’s Great Lawn, a popular picnic spot, says spokesman Patrick Keefe.

  • Blankets also can be spread on the grass around the renovated (and filled-in) saltwater pool and terrace, and in the backyard of the 24-room Spanish Revival mansion built by yachtsman/adventurer William K. Vanderbilt II of the famous railroad family, Keefe says. (Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum, 180 Little Neck Rd., Centerport, 631-854-5579, General admission $10, $9 students with ID and seniors ages 62 and older, $7 ages 2-11 and free for children under 2.)


Willie K and his second wife, Rosamund, had a “refined palate,” says Killian Taylor, the museum’s archives and records manager. Cold lobster, Maryland chicken and other inspirations for stocking a Vanderbiltian picnic basket can be found in online descriptions of the former Petit Trianon, the Lake Ronkonkoma restaurant built by Vanderbilt.

Dry Champagne was the Vanderbilt’s favorite refresher, Taylor says. Willie K also sipped Stirling punch, named after his brother, three-time America’s Cup champ Harold Stirling Vanderbilt. Variations of the rum-and-fruit-juice punch recipe are posted online.



A woman reads a book in the sand at the...

A woman reads a book in the sand at the Central Mall of Jones Beach State Park at sunset.  Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

  • The Atlantic surf crashes on a panorama of sugary white sand as far as your sunglassed eyes can see when you throw down a blanket at Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh. (Parking fee $10 a car daily May 27-Sept. 17; $8 weekends and holidays April 1-May 21 and Sept. 23-Nov. 5.)

  • The most beloved picnic spot is the sandy patch just east of Field 6, but arrive early to score a table and grill because the area fills up quickly, says George Gorman Jr., state parks regional director.

  • You also can toss your shrimp and steak on the barbies at Zach’s Bay (Field 5), Field 10 (the fishing piers), the West Bathhouse, Field 2, and the less crowded Field 1 and West End 2.

  • Boaters can dock for a picnic at the West End Boat Basin. ($10/car vehicle use fee through Sept. 12.)


Classics from the original Jones Beach concession menu board: hamburgers, hot dogs and French fries drenched in ketchup. Tacos, burritos and gelato have been added recently. Go for the gusto for the drinks: beer and soda from Field 6, the Central Mall, the Central Mall lounge, Zach’s Bay and other Jones Beach concessions.



Clifford Beverly, left, and John Fields at the North Amityville...

Clifford Beverly, left, and John Fields at the North Amityville Old School Association annual picnic at Belmont Lake State Park in North Babylon. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

  • Relax under shade trees by the scenic waters at Belmont Lake State Park while the family chef whips up a feast fit for an old-fashioned picnic day. Grills and picnic tables are available on a first-come, first-served basis; pavilions can be rented for larger groups.

  • Then get ready for family fun at one of the state’s most activity-filled parks. Kids ages 2 through 12 can romp in two playgrounds.

  • Rent a rowboat, pedal boat or kayak for a self-guided tour of the lake ($20 for two hours, personal flotation devices provided), or bring your gear to fish for bass or sunfish from the shoreline (New York State fishing license required for anglers age 16 and up).

  • Hike, bike, jog or take Snoopy for a walk on the park trails through the woods. ($8 a car daily May 27-Labor Day; weekends and holidays April 1-May 21 and Sept. 9-Oct. 9,


Not into spatula duty? Let the experts do the cooking at All American Hamburger Drive-in, the iconic roadside fixture a short drive away, where cheese-covered patties have been flipped (and flipped over by local meat lovers) since 1963 (4286 Merrick Rd., Massapequa, 516-798-9574, Make it a one-stop food run with an All American vanilla, strawberry or chocolate thick shake ($2.85).



  • Gerry Pond Park in Roslyn is arguably the Island’s most picturesque (and romantic) picnic rendezvous.

  • The park’s emerald lawns, picturesque gazebo, historic monument and old mill (with adjacent patio picnic tables) surround a charming duck pond where waddling waterfowl inevitably go quacking by.

  • It’s bordered by beautiful homes in the Main Street Historic District and the community’s Bryant Library. (


Fresh pastry. Diane’s Bakery Cafe, a short drive from the park, sells apple, triple berry and banana cream pies as well as tarts, squares and butter cookies fit for a picnic in the grass. (23 Bryant Ave. Roslyn, 516-621-2522,

Drink something cool on a warm afternoon. Consider an iced coffee (hazelnut, French vanilla or coffee crumb) from Delicacies Gourmet Delicatessen, also located near the park. (1354 Old Northern Blvd., Roslyn, 516-484-7338,



From left: Lisa Barnes and Shaniqua Davis, both of Queens,...

From left: Lisa Barnes and Shaniqua Davis, both of Queens, O'Naris Spencer of West Hempstead, Nicole Joyner of Queens, and Jaclyn Vives of Elmont, enjoy a picnic during a birthday party at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

  • Eisenhower Park’s 930 acres have been picnic central since the venue opened in 1949 (originally called Salisbury Park, it was renamed in 1969 for former President Dwight D. Eisenhower). Parking fee $10 a car daily for nonresidents Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day.

  • Stage a big, family-style blowout by reservation (Nassau County resident Leisure Pass and fee required, 516-572-0200) or a more intimate cookout at the first-come, first-served tables in the shade between Parking Field 3 and a big, colorful playground.


Nassau County's concessionaire provides food and ice cream trucks throughout the park, according to county spokesperson Christopher Boyle.

For the drinks: fresh-squeezed lemonade for a picnic spot that’s as American as a Norman Rockwell painting.

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