At Wildwood State Park in Wading River, you can pitch your tent or park your trailer at a campsite, or — new this year — rent a cabin and spend a peaceful night sleeping under the stars.
Wildwood’s 600 acres are covered with hardwood forest bordering high North Shore bluffs. Visitors can hike 12 miles of marked trails to the mile and a half of pebbly beach. It's a 10-minute sprint to the beach for swimming, with lifeguards on duty in July and August. Anglers can surf-cast for striped bass or bluefish ($35 night-fishing permit sold at Long Island State Park Headquarters in West Babylon, 631-669-1000). Bring your own barbecue or metal fire container to cook your catch for an alfresco dinner at shaded picnic tables. Treasure hunters can scan the sand with their metal detectors ($40 fee).
Wildwood’s 300-plus campsites are available for $18-$34 a night. Or you can splurge on one of 10 new one- and two-bedroom cottages, renting from $175 to $250 a night for up to six people. The cottages are equipped with screened patios, electric heating, queen-size beds and refrigerators. Reservations can be booked online at reserveamerica.com. An on-site camp store sells firewood, bug spray, snacks and other beach and camping essentials. During peak season in July and August, end your busy day with movie night or an evening of outdoor line or square dancing to tunes played by a professional caller. ($10 vehicle entrance fee June 30-Sept 3; 631-929-4314, nysparks.com)