These Long Island spots are among the top gems of the New York state park system.
Bethpage State Park
99 Quaker Meetinghouse Rd., Farmingdale, 516-249-0700; golf reservations 516-249-0707; pro shop, 516-249-4040; restaurant 516-927-8380; stables 516-531-8007; Greenbelt Trail tours 631-360-0753; tennis 516-777-1358; parks.ny.gov/parks/default.aspx. This 1,475-acre park boasts one of the nation’s finest public golf complexes. Season: All year except Christmas Day. Facilities: Five 18-hole courses, including the famed Black Course, restaurant and bar, softball fields, basketball courts, bocce ball, horse shoes, volleyball, handicapped-accessible playground, bridle paths (5 ½ miles), bike paths (2 ½ miles), 5-mile stretch of the Greenbelt Trail, hiking, picnic area, picnic pavilions (permit), 8 clay tennis courts (fee), 4 all-weather courts (fee), golf shop, driving range. Fee: Picnic area only: $8 a car daily May 26-Sept. 3, weekends and holidays April 1-May 25 and Sept. 8-Nov. 4.
Hempstead Lake State Park
The part is off the Southern State Parkway in West Hempstead, 516-766-1029, parks.ny.gov/parks/default.aspx This 775-acre park offers a historic carousel and party room (can be rented). Season: All year, sunrise-sunset. Facilities: Softball field, basketball courts, playgrounds, hiking trails, bridle paths (9 miles), nearby stables with rentals (New York Equestrian Center, 516-486-9673), freshwater fishing (license required), picnic areas, tennis courts (fees April 16- Nov. 6); main lake, car top or inflatable boat access (permit required, $50); antique carousel (weekends and holidays, $2); outdoor pavilion (reservations required). July 16: Summer Run. Aug. 4: Summer Family Fishing Clinic. Oct. 20: Fall Family Fishing and Children’s Festival. Fee: Parking $8 a car daily May 26-Sept. 3, weekends and holidays April 7-May 20 and Sept. 8-Oct. 8. Buses by permit.
Jones Beach State Park
2400 Ocean Pkwy., Wantagh, 516-785-1600, parks.ny.gov/parks/ default.aspx Parking lots 4, 6, 10 and West End 2 open all year. Season: Daily, hours vary. Facilities: 7 ocean beaches (6 ½ miles); part of a 2,413-acre park. Zachs Bay beach, boardwalk band shell, 4 basketball courts, 9 beach volleyball courts for rental, 2-mile boardwalk/health walk, surf chairs for the disabled (Field 2, West Bathhouse, Field 6 and Central Mall), beach ramp at Field 6 and Central Mall and West Bathhouse, multiuse bike path along the Wantagh and Ocean parkways, including year-round bicycling on the boardwalk, day use slips at the Boat Basin, picnic areas, Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater concert venue, paddle tennis, equipment rentals, miniature golf ($5), 4 finger piers, surf casting, 2 league softball fields (permit), shuffleboard courts, bocce courts, outdoor Ping-Pong and cornhole bases, concessions. The nature center at West End 1 with displays, hands-on kid’s activities and programs; call 516-780-3295; open all year, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. weekends and holidays and Wed.-Fri. and holidays May 26-Labor Day. Fee: $10 a car daily May 26-Sept. 9; $8 weekends and holidays April 7-May 20 and Sept. 15-Nov. 4.
Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park
1395 Planting Fields Rd., Oyster Bay, 516-922-9200, parks.ny.gov/parks/default.aspx Season: Daily, closed Christmas Day. Facilities: 409 acres; 6 miles of trails and 200 acres of landscaped plantings, synoptic garden, rose garden, main greenhouse with exotic plants year-round, camellia house, gift shop and cafe in visitors center. Fee: $8 a car weekends April 7-29, daily April 30-Labor Day, weekends Sept. 8-Nov. 11. Coe Hall tours and exhibits: $5, free younger than 12.
Trail View State Park
Jericho Turnpike (Route 25), 1⁄4 mile west of Woodbury Road, Woodbury, 631-423-1770, parks.ny.gov/parks/default.aspx Season: Open daily. Facilities: Hiking, biking and birding trails throughout its 400 acres; 7.4-mile stretch of the Greenbelt Trail (Greenbelt runs 22 miles from Cold Spring Harbor to the Massapequa Park Preserve). Features nature views, bird-watching and cross-country skiing. No pets. Fee: Free.
Valley Stream State Park
Exit 15A, Southern State Parkway, Valley Stream, 516-825-4128, parks.ny.gov/parks/default.aspx Smallest of the Island’s state parks with 97 acres, it features ballfields, playgrounds and picnic areas. Season: Sunrise-sunset year-round. Closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Facilities: Picnic pavilion, 2-mile biking and hiking trail, 5 horseshoe pits, 2 basketball courts, 2 softball fields, 2 playgrounds, volleyball courts, board games; 2 environmental trails. In the winter, cross-country skiing permitted. Games equipment rental at park office. Fee: $8 a car weekends and holidays April 7-May 20, daily May 26-Sept. 3, weekends and holidays Sept. 8-Oct. 8.
Belmont Lake State Park
Exit 38, Southern State Parkway, North Babylon, 631-667-5055; Babylon Riding Center, 631-587-7778, parks.ny.gov/parks/default.aspx Season: All-year, sunrise to sunset. Facilities: two softball fields, 2 miles of biking/walking trails, 2-mile bridle path with stables at Babylon Riding Center (631-587-7778 for rentals), rowboat, kayak, and pedal boat rentals (seasonal), freshwater fishing from shore with license (year-round) or rowboat (seasonal), picnic area and four pavilions (rental), two playgrounds, exercise trail, horseshoe pits, bocce ball. Fee: $8 a car weekends and holidays April 7-May 20, daily May 26-Labor Day, weekends and holidays Sept. 8-Oct. 8. $80 Empire passport card sold at this facility. Pedal boat/rowboat rentals $15 for 1 ½ hours; kayak rentals $20 for 2 hours.
Brentwood State Park
375 Crooked Hill Rd., Brentwood, 631-667-5055, parks.ny.gov/parks/default.aspx Season: Year-round. Facilities: 60-acre complex consists of synthetic turf soccer and baseball fields, soccer-themed playground. Bathroom open during park hours, and concessions available during league play, parking for 285 cars. Fields are used by permit holders only. Fee: For permits, call 631-321-3515.
Caleb Smith State Park Preserve
Jericho Turnpike, Smithtown, 631-265-1054, parks.ny.gov /parks/default.aspx 581 West Jericho Tpke., Smithtown, 631-265-1054, parks.ny.gov. For more, see Preserves.
Camp Hero State Park
1898 Montauk Hwy., (Route 27) east to the end, Montauk, 631-668-5000, parks.ny.gov/parks/default.aspx Facilities: 415 acres includes woods, beachfront and a historic military installation; maritime forests, freshwater wetlands, ocean vistas and dramatic bluffs; trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding; surf fishing locations open 24 hours a day to fishermen with permits; picnic areas; environment shelters, birds and other wildlife. The former military base inside the park is registered as a National Historic Site. Fee: $8 a car weekends May 5-20, daily May 26-Oct. 8, weekends and holidays Oct. 13-Nov. 11.
Captree State Park
Off Robert Moses Causeway, West Islip Captree Boat Basin, 631-669-0449; restaurant, 631-376-1866; Captree Boatman’s Association, 631-669-6464; bait, tackle and fuel, 631-321-1716, 631-669-0449; parks.ny.gov /parks/default.aspx Captree’s 298 acres focus on a boat basin off State Boat Channel that draws all levels of boaters. Season: All year. Facilities: Marina with open and charter fishing, excursion and scuba diving boats (reservations required), 2 fishing piers (open 24 hours from April 1-Dec. 31, night permit required), boat launch ramp, bait and tackle and marine fuel station (closes Nov. 29), free tire air-up station, free pump-out station, restaurant (seasonal), snack bar (all year), playground and picnic area. Aug. 11-12: Snapper & Crab Fishing Derby. Sept. 8-9: Captree Dockside Family Festival. Oct. 12-14: South Shore Fishing Classic. Fee: $8 a car daily May 26-Sept. 3, weekends and holidays May 5-20 and Sept. 8-Oct. 8.
Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve
25 Lloyd Harbor Rd., West Neck Road north from Huntington Village to the park, Lloyd Neck, 631-423-1770; Lloyd Harbor Equestrian Center (stable), 631-427-6105; Lloyd Harbor Historical Society, 631-424-6118; Nassau BOCES, 631-549-0071; parks.ny.gov/parks/default.aspx Season: All year, sunrise-sunset. Facilities: Formerly the estate of investment banker and publisher Marshall Field III, the 1,600-acre park sits at the head of a scenic peninsula jutting into Long Island Sound; 27 miles of trails. Bicycling permitted (helmets mandatory); scuba diving area (permit good to Dec. 31); Long Island Sound fishing sunrise to sunset April 1-Dec. 31 (permit required for overnight fishing); cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter; bridle trails (helmets required), nature walks (reservations), walking, jogging, bird watching and nature photography (Commercial Photography requires a permit issued only thru the Permit Office at Regional Headquarters 631-321-3515). No pets. Fee: $8 a car weekends and holidays April 7-May 20, daily May 26-Oct. 8. Call for hours the fee is collected.
Cold Spring Harbor State Park
Route 25A, across from the harbor, Cold Spring Harbor. parks.ny.gov /parks/default.aspx Season: All year, sunrise to sunset. Facilities: Hiking trails and bird-watching in 40 acres in the heart of Cold Spring Harbor. Dogs permitted on maximum 6-foot leash. Restrooms for trail users are accessible from the outside of the Cold Spring Harbor library during building hours. No entrance fee.
Connetquot River State Park Preserve
Sunrise Highway, Oakdale, 631-581-1005, parks.ny.gov/parks/default.aspx Sunrise Highway, Oakdale, 631-581-1005, parks.ny.gov For more, see Preserves.
Gov. Alfred E. Smith/Sunken Meadow State Park
At north end of Sunken Meadow State Parkway, Kings Park, 631-269-4333, parks.ny.gov /parks/default.aspx This 1,288-acre beachfront park on Long Island Sound features a ¾-mile boardwalk and a 27-hole golf course set up as a 9-hole and 18-hole course in rotation; open all year. Cross country, cross-country skiing course used for track programs. Season: All year, sunrise to sunset. Facilities: 3-mile beach on Smithtown Bay and Long Island Sound. Lifeguards: Call for hours. Swimming in season, beach ramp and sand wheelchair available, picnic area, driving range, putting green, clubhouse with café and bar, pro shop 631-544-0036, biking and running trails, refreshment stands, beachfront catering hall 631-269-6850, 6 playgrounds, outdoor showers, 4 softball fields, soccer field, 8 basketball courts, Field 4 picnic shelter available for rental in the East Orchard Picnic Area, 4-mile nature trail, fishing (night fishing to Dec. 31; permit required), 2 miles of Greenbelt Trail, first aid station open during swimming season. Fee: $10 a car daily May 26-Labor Day; $8 weekends and holidays from April 1-May 20 and Sept. 8-Nov. 11.
Heckscher State Park
Southern State Parkway east to south end of Heckscher Parkway, East Islip, 631-581-2100, parks.ny.gov/parks/ default.aspx This 1,657-acre park draws boaters and landlubbers alike. Season: All year. Facilities: Two swimming beaches, 5 softball fields, biking and walking paths (4 ½ miles), boat ramp (no additional fee with vehicle-use fee), picnic areas and pavilion rentals; Greenbelt Trail (1 ½ miles); basketball courts, playgrounds, 21-hole disc golf course; fishing in Great South Bay (7 a.m.-sunset); nature programs (631-581-1072). Beach access for kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, catamarans and windsurf equipment (Field 7) Fee: $8 a car weekends April 7-May 20 and daily May 26-June 22; $10 daily June 23-Labor Day; $8 a car weekends Sept. 8-Oct. 8.
Hither Hills State Park
164 Old Montauk Hwy. (Route 27), 4 miles west of hamlet of Montauk, 631-668-2554, parks.ny.gov/parks/default.aspx Major lure at this 1,755-acre park is camping along a beautiful stretch of the Atlantic; features nature trails and a freshwater fishing pond. Season: All year, sunrise-sunset. Facilities: 2 ½-mile ocean beach, campsites (April 14-Nov. 18), call 800-456-2267 for reservations and fees, softball field, hiking and nature trails, saltwater fishing (bluefish and striped bass season April-Dec.), ocean surf casting, fishing on 40-acre freshwater pond (license), 2 volleyball courts, 3 sand chairs, playground, 2 picnic areas, general store (hours vary), horseshoe pits, movies, children’s activities. June 28-Aug. 30: Sand castle contests, 9:30 a.m. Thur. Fee: $10 a car daily, May 26-Sept. 9.
Montauk Downs State Park
50 S. Fairview Ave., north of Route 27, Montauk, 631-668-5000; restaurant, 631-483-5024, parks.ny.gov/parks/default.aspx restaurant, parks.ny.gov, 631- 483-5024. This 160-acre park is built around a golf course. Season: All year, sunrise-sunset. Golf season all year; tennis mid-May to mid-Sept., outdoor pool and kiddie pool open daily 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. June 23-Sept. 3, 6 tennis courts mid-May to mid-Sept., fee), pro shop, grill room, 18-hole golf course, driving range. No entrance fee.
Montauk Point State Park
2000 Montauk Hwy., Route 27 east to end, Montauk, 631-668-5000, parks.ny.gov/parks/default.aspx On 724 acres, Montauk Point offers breezes and vistas. Season: All year, sunrise-sunset. Facilities: Surf casting (no license), hiking trails (5 miles), picnic area, refreshment stand, gift shop (all year, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.). Sept. 21-23: Montauk Surf Classic. Fee $8 a car, daily May 26-Oct. 8; weekends only April 1-May 20 and Oct. 13-Nov. 11.
Nissequogue River State Park
799 Saint Johnland Rd., Kings Park, 631-269-4927, parks.ny.gov/parks/default.aspx Features: natural habitats, wildlife, hiking trails, canoe launching and tours by reservation. Season: All year, sunrise to sunset. Facilities Hiking, birding, canoe/kayak launch (rentals available, 631-979-8244), stand-up paddleboarding with permit (see park office for permit), boat launch at marina, environmental programs (registration and fee required, call for details). Fee: $8 a car daily May 26-Sept. 3; weekends and holidays only Sept. 4-Oct. 8.
Orient Beach State Park
40000 Main Rd., (Route 25), Orient 631-323-2440, parks.ny.gov/parks/default.aspx The 372-acre park offers 8 miles of shoreline, including wilderness areas ideal for shell collecting, plant study and birding. Season: All year 8 a.m.-sunset. Facilities: 300-foot swimming beach on Gardiners Bay, playground, picnic areas with barbecues, 2 sand wheelchairs, pavilion (rental available), gazebo, hiking, birding, bike path, gift shop, self-guided nature and water trails, bathhouse, showers, snack bar, comfort station, food concession, surf fishing, windsurfing, bocce, horseshoe area, volleyball, shuffleboard and rentals available for kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding. Launch site for windsurfing, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. Swimming permitted June 23-Labor Day. Fee: $10 a car daily June 23-Labor Day; $8 a car daily May 26-June 22 and weekends and holidays Sept. 8-Columbus Day.
Robert Moses State Park
Sagtikos Parkway south to Robert Moses Causeway to western Fire Island, 631-669-0449, parks.ny.gov/parks/ default.aspx Facilities: 875 acres with 5-mile beach, 4 bathhouses and nearby boat basin (with pump-out stations). Field 5 open all year, beach shop, bathhouses, fishing (night fishing April 1 to Dec. 31 by permit), sand wheelchairs (all fields), specially equipped playground (Field 5), protected bodyboarding areas, surfing areas (all fields; unprotected), first-aid stations, 18-hole par-3 golf course April 1-Nov. 12, hours vary, snack bars, picnic areas at Fields 2, 3 and 4. Fee: $10 a car daily May 26-Sept. 16; $8 a car weekends and holidays March 31-May 20 and Sept. 22-Nov. 11.
Shadmoor State Park
900 Montauk Hwy., Montauk 631-668-5000, parks.ny.gov/parks/default.aspxSeason: All year, daily. Facilities: 99-acre park (owned by New York State, Suffolk County and East Hampton Town, which manages it with the Nature Conservancy) opened in 2001; ocean beach, freshwater wetlands, hiking and biking trails and two bunkers (designed to look like cottages from the water) built for surveillance during World War II. Dogs on leash allowed. Fee: Free.
Wildwood State Park
790 Hulse Landing Rd., north of Sound Avenue, Wading River, 631-929-4314, 800-456-CAMP (for camp reservations), parks.ny.gov/parks/default.aspx This 769-acre park sits above a rugged stretch of shoreline on Long Island Sound and is the only state park on the Island with full hookups (water, electric and sewer) for trailer campers; campsites open first Fri. in April-Columbus Day. No pets allowed. Season: All year, daily, sunrise sunset. Facilities: Beach, 2 sand wheelchairs, showers, campsites (800-456-CAMP to reserve), picnic area, playground, softball field, 2 basketball courts, volleyball courts, 5 hiking trails (14 total miles of trails), sand volleyball pit for campers, saltwater fishing, snack bars, horseshoe pits, on-duty lifeguard, cross-country skiing and sledding in the winter. No equipment rentals. Fee: $10 a car daily June 23-Labor Day; $8 a car daily May 26-June 22.