Long Island’s shores are teeming with adventure, but you don’t have to actually get into the water to have fun. Here are outdoor attractions where you can play all day by a bay, beach or riverside, with water views ranging from breathtaking to serene.
Merry-go-Round on the Harbor: Antique Carousel, Mitchell Park
The view: Greenport Harbor, Shelter Island
The activity: Glimpses of the historic harborfront whirl by — again and again — when you ride the brightly painted ponies on this more-than-century-old, glass enclosed carousel.
“The water view adds everything,” says village clerk and local resident Sylvia Pirillo. “And there’s always the competition to get the gold ring” and win a free ride, Pirillo adds.
Choose from 36 multihued horses — 18 believed to be hand-carved originals — and two sleighs.
The location: 115 Front St., Greenport, 631-477-2200, villageofgreenport.org
The cost: $2.50 per ride; multi-ride discount books available
Mini-golf (and more) on the Sound: Bayville Adventure Park
The view: Bayville Beach, Long Island Sound sunsets and — on a clear day — the Connecticut shore
The activity: This pirate-themed North Shore spot offers spectacular Long Island Sound panoramas whether you play mini-golf, ride the giant slide or take a bungee bounce offering a zoom with a view.
The park is across from the Town of Oyster Bay’s Charles E. Ransom Beach Park. Owner D.R. Finley said water views can be seen from the park’s ropes course, the Adventure Tower and the Pirate Adventure miniature golf course, among other attractions.
The location: 8 Bayville Ave. Bayville, 516-624-RIDE, bayvilleadventurepark.com
The cost: $33.75 for VIP pay-one-price unlimited ticket
Romping on the River: Eye Opener, Long Island Aquarium
The view: The Peconic River and Peconic Estuary
The activity: A bird’s-eye view of Long Island’s longest river rewards those who climb to the top of the Long Island Aquarium’s newest attraction, a five-level, 60-foot-tall “tree activity center” open for its first full season.
Part jungle gym, part tree house, it features a 62-step walk to the fifth level for “fantastic views of the river, and birds and other wildlife passing by,” says marketing director Darlene Puntillo. After walking through aquarium exhibits, kids can “let off steam” scrambling over cargo nets, walking on rope bridges and barreling down 13-foot and 18-foot enclosed spiraling slides, Puntillo says.
Youngsters can learn about the Peconic River and estuary at interactive educational stations. At one station, Pepper Fardella, 5, of Mattituck, spread her arms against a depiction of a bird’s wingspan.
“I like to look at the birds,” Pepper says, adding, “and I like the slides.”
The location: 431 E. Main St., Riverhead, 631-208-9200, longislandaquarium.com
The cost: $12 includes four climbs at the rock wall. Children under 45 inches tall must be accompanied by an adult. Fee is in addition to aquarium admission: Children (3-12) $29.99, free 2 and younger, adults (13-61) $42.99, seniors (62+) $31.99.
Skateboarding by the Bay: Veterans Memorial Park
The view: Reynold’s Channel, South Shore
The activity: Long Beach’s skatepark isn’t easy to find tucked away on the city’s bay side along Reynold’s Channel. You’ll need to walk the length of Veterans Memorial Park, past the basketball courts and hockey rink, to find it, and you’ll probably hear the skateboards before you see them.
But the park’s waterside location combined with its concrete design by noted skatepark creator Spohn Ranch of Industry, California, make it “one of a kind,” says Dan Weiss, 29.
“You don’t have many skateparks on the water,” explains Weiss, who grew up in Oceanside and was skateboarding the park’s bowl-shaped section on a recent afternoon with Tyler Collins, 25, of East Rockaway.
The 7,000-square-foot, surf-themed skatepark built in 2015 “has a halfpipe, a full pool and some rails and steps and other humps, and it’s right on the water,” says city spokesperson John McNally, himself a former skateboarder.
Collins says having serene bay waters as a backdrop adds to the skateboarding experience. “When you’re done, you can sit on the benches and decompress,” he adds.
The location: 150 W. Bay Drive, Long Beach, longbeachny.com
The cost: Free
Zip lining by the Ocean: WildPlay, Jones Beach State Park
The view: The Atlantic Ocean, Jones Beach and the boardwalk
The activity: Who needs a sailboat when you're soaring high over the waves on the WildPlay zip lines for a highflying view of the boardwalk and the ocean beyond. A new $50 flight discount pass covers unlimited zip lining all day, Friday through Sunday, a souvenir flight pin and $10 merchandise credit.
Or challenge your balance skills traversing tightropes, cargo nets, rope swings, swinging logs and wobbly bridges. There’s also a course for kids ages 5 to 12.
Also try: Savor the salt air from a different angle playing on the boardwalk’s recently redesigned miniature golf course, its refurbished shuffleboard, paddle tennis and volleyball courts, and recently added Ping-Pong and pickleball courts. Kids can romp at a splash pad and a playground.
The location: 2600 Ocean Pkwy., Wantagh, open daily, park in fields 4 or 5, 800-668-7771, wildplay.com
The cost: $14.99-$49.99; Do-it-all deal, $89.99