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LifestyleRecreation

Set sail for a day of seal and whale watching

The Riverhead Foundation runs winter harbor seal-watching cruises

The Riverhead Foundation runs winter harbor seal-watching cruises out of Freeport that are led by a biologist Robert DiGiovanni in Hempstead Bay. Credit: Bruce Gilbert

Long Island’s coastal waters are a favorite hangout for harbor seals starting around November and lasting until about May. Here are a few worthwhile seal walks and cruises where you can catch sight of the pudgy pinnipeds.

CRESLI SEAL WALKS, cresli.org, 631-319-6003. Cupsogue Beach County Park, at the western end of Dune Road, Westhampton Beach. Departs from area near the fence at the western end of the parking lot. Walk is about 1.3 miles round trip and takes about 2 hours; weather permitting. Meet 15 minutes before departure, not suitable for strollers, online reservations required. Season Late Nov.-early May Fee Suggested donation: $5, $3 younger than 18. 

FREEPORT WATER TAXI & TOURS, 211 Woodcleft Ave, Freeport, 516-521-7744, freeportwatertaxi.com. Two-hour seal-watching and eco tours on a 44-foot enclosed boat, departing weekends at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. Reservations required. Season Oct.-Nov. and Mar.-Apr.

GUIDED SEAL WALKS, Montauk Point State Park (meet at park office), 631-668-5000, parks.ny.gov. Two-mile round-trip hike to see seals and learn about their habits, behaviors and population trends. Season Nov.-April Fee $4, free younger than 3, plus $8 vehicle fee April to mid-Nov., reservations required.

GUIDED SEAL WALKS, Jones Beach State Park, 516-780-3295, parks.ny.govSeason Jan.-March Fee $4, free younger than 3, reservations required.

SEAL-WATCHING CRUISES, Captain Lou, 111 Woodcleft Ave., Freeport; reservations at 516-623-5823, captloufleet.com. Boats leave out of Freeport, boarding starts at 12:30 p.m. and cruise departs at 1 p.m. A naturalist onboard discusses the behavior and biology of seals and other wildlife you’ll see. Two-hour tour includes an open discussion. Heated cabin and food for purchase. Season Sat.-Sun. and school holidays, Jan.-April.

WHALE AND DOLPHIN CRUISES, Captain Lou, 111 Woodcleft Ave., Freeport; reservations at 516-623-5823, captloufleet.com. Boarding at 11 a.m., boat departs 11:30 a.m. for a four-hour ocean tour. Season Through Nov.

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