Planning a getaway doesn't always require booking flights and spending a ton of money. Long Island and NYC offer plenty of fun experience right in your own backyard — from exploring local beach towns to sipping vino at a North Fork winery, to visiting the East End, to experiencing fairs and festivals. And while gas prices are high, there are places reachable on a tank of gas that are worth the ride. Here are nearby spots and excursions that offer fun ways to enjoy spring, summer and fall.

COVID restrictions vary per venue; be sure to check what’s presently in effect before visiting.


Visitors arrive at the beach in Ocean Beach, Fire Island.

Visitors arrive at the beach in Ocean Beach, Fire Island. Credit: Linda Rosier

Getting there: As a true beach town should be, Fire Island is best accessed by boat. Hop a ferry out of Bay Shore, Sayville or Patchogue and enjoy a roughly half-hour cruise across the Great South Bay to the barrier island's car-free communities. Water taxis are available but are more expensive.

Flynn's at Ocean Bay Park on Fire Island.

Flynn's at Ocean Bay Park on Fire Island. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

Dining scene: Enjoy seafood or American cuisine at Maguire’s Bayfront Restaurant in Ocean Beach (1 Bungalow Lane) while taking in the island’s most picturesque views of the sunset. Grab a drink at fixtures such as C.J.’s Restaurant and Bar (479 Bay Ave.) — a first stop off the Ocean Beach ferry that’s home to lobster specials and the popular Rocket Fuel tropical drink — and Flynn’s (1 Cayuga St.) — which offers happy hour and live music during the day and a nightclub vibe after dark, as well as waterside dining and even dining on the water with their dinner cruise.

Take the kids for some of the island’s best pancakes, French toast and egg sandwiches at Rachel’s Bakery and Restaurant (325 Bay Walk, Ocean Beach), or simply stop in for a cup of coffee and comfort foods like the famed crumb cake at the all-day eatery. Other options include Top of the Bay in Cherry Grove (159 Dock Walk), and the Pines Bistro and Martini Bar in Fire Island Pines (36 Fire Island Blvd.).

Rachel's Restaurant and Bakery in Ocean Beach serves breakfast all...

Rachel's Restaurant and Bakery in Ocean Beach serves breakfast all day and sweets for snacking later. Credit: Aaron Zebrook

Exploring nature: The 32-mile-long island is between the Great South Bay and Atlantic Ocean and bookended by Robert Moses State Park and Smith Point County Park. In between are 101 miles of coastline with beaches stretching from Kismet to Ho Hum Beach and beyond. Get out of the sun for a bit by taking a stroll around the 1.5-mile boardwalk of the Sunken Forest in Sailors Haven, a rare maritime holly forest sunken behind dunes near the island’s center.

Being active: Fire Island is a haven for boating, surfing, fishing and other outdoor activities. Rent a bike on the island and take a ride around the trails, but be sure to let some air out of the tires for a smoother ride in the sand. Get a bird’s-eye view of the island by going parasailing in Ocean Beach. Go camping at Watch Hill. Take a hike through nature trails that stretch from 2 to 5 miles long. Or simply walk around the communities.



A family poses for a photo in front of the...

A family poses for a photo in front of the Montauk Lighthouse in Montauk. Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Getting there: Directions to Montauk are short and simple: head east. The commute there isn't always quite as easy, particularly during peak season when in gridlock with fellow beachgoers traveling to Long Island's easternmost point. The drive on Sunrise Highway eventually will merge into one lane, weaving through areas in the Hamptons that are home to some of the country's most renowned beaches. If you'd rather not be behind the wheel, the Hampton Jitney bus service has connections at MacArthur Airport via reservation, or take the Long Island Rail Road.

Dining scene: Breakfast in Montauk starts with a difficult decision: a stack of pancakes at Anthony's Pancake House (710 Montauk Hwy.) or John's Pancake House (721 Montauk Hwy.)? The answer: whichever of the longtime establishments has a table available first. Other mainstay eateries include Harvest on Fort Pond (11 S. Emery St.) for Italian, Gosman's Dock (500 W. Lake Dr.) for seafood, Shagwong Tavern (774 Montauk Hwy.) for clams, and The Lobster Roll aka LUNCH (1980 Montauk Hwy.) for, well, lobster rolls.

Montauk Brewing Co. is located at 62 S. Erie Ave....

Montauk Brewing Co. is located at 62 S. Erie Ave. in Montauk. Credit: Erin Geismar

Montauk's ever-expanding menu continues to evolve with a growing list of eateries like Navy Beach (16 Navy Rd.), where diners can eat on a private beach overlooking Fort Pond Bay with their toes in the sand; Joni's Kitchen (28 S. Etna Ave.), with creative breakfast offerings, acai bowls, salads, wraps, and healthy alternatives; and The Inlet Seafood Restaurant (541 E. Lake Dr.), for sushi and views of Long Island Sound. Wash it all down at Montauk Brewing Co. (62 S. Erie Ave.)

This alfresco fire pit is one of the more popular...

This alfresco fire pit is one of the more popular amenities found at Gurney's Montauk. Credit: Gurney’s Montauk Resort and Seawater Spa

Exploring nature: Nearly an island in itself with water to its north, south and east, Montauk offers natural beaches and towering bluffs. There are plenty to choose from — some sandy, some rocky — including favorites like Ditch Plains, Gin Beach and Kirk Park Beach. Reserve a beach cottage at Gurney's Resort & Seawater Spa (290 Old Montauk Hwy.) and consider their Beach Club, which includes king-size daybeds on a private beach. Or simply walk the shorelines at Montauk Point State Park Beach to take in views of the Montauk Lighthouse as ocean waves crash into boulders along Long Island's endpoint. Hike or bike the various nature trails along cliffs and overlooks at various parks, including Camp Hero State Park, Shadmoor State Park and Hither Hills State Park. 

Emilia Alberi, takes a surfing lesson with CoreysWave at Ditch Plains...

Emilia Alberi, takes a surfing lesson with CoreysWave at Ditch Plains Beach in Montauk.  Credit: Randee Daddona

Getting active: Hit the links at Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course (50 S. Fairview Ave.), an 18-hole, par-72 public course. Take surf lessons or learn to stand-up paddleboard at one of many water activity locations like CoreysWave (53 Deforest Rd.). Rent a bike at Montauk Cycle Company (463 W. Lake Dr.). Go horseback riding at Deep Hollow Ranch (8 Old Montauk Hwy.). Or just get a boat, kayak, canoe or Jet Ski at various rental locations and set sail.


Getting there: Once you start seeing vineyards, you're close. The Long Island Expressway gives way to local roadways that wind to the near end of this quaint village near the end of the North Fork. Along the way you'll pass farmlands and wineries. The Long Island Rail Road also stops in Greenport, with a train ride from Ronkonkoma taking approximately an hour and a half. There's a Hampton Jitney drop-off point, as well as ferry service to and from Shelter Island.

Claudio's in Greenport.

Claudio's in Greenport. Credit: Corey Sipkin

Dining scene: Let's just say that Front Street and Main Road have enough dining options to satisfy the most undecided of diners and their palettes. The village's burgeoning dining scene boasts an eclectic mix of menus that perfectly complement the area's long-standing mayor of eateries: Claudio's (111 Main St.), which has dining areas perched along the waterfront with great views.

Friends have breakfast at Bruce & Son in Greenport.

Friends have breakfast at Bruce & Son in Greenport. Credit: Randee Daddona

For upscale seafood and new American fare, head to Noah's (136 Front St.). For breakfast and lunch made with local produce, try Bruce & Son (208 Main St.). For a "classic diner with a twist," grab a seat at Crazy Beans (2 Front St.). The list goes on with The Frisky Oyster (27 Front St.), First and South (100 South St.), PORT Waterfront Bar & Grill (104 Third St.), and so on. Depending on your preference of post-meal beverage, head to either Brix & Rye (308A Main St.), a speakeasy with classic cocktails; or to Greenport Harbor Brewing Company (234 Carpenter St.), a brewery and tasting room in a mid-1800s firehouse.

Danny Rubin spends time with his dog Jet at the...

Danny Rubin spends time with his dog Jet at the Greenport Harbor Brewing Company in Peconic. Credit: Randee Daddona

Exploring nature: While the dining is in the heart of town, the beaches in the area are a short drive, including Town Beach and Truman's Beach. Inlet Pond County Park features wooded trails that lead to a freshwater pond. Set up a tent and spend the night at McCann's Campground.

Getting active: Arrange for bicycle delivery to your house, hotel, marina or train station through Dan's Bike Rental. Hop on board a sailboat, lounge in a beanbag chair and sip wine during a chartered trip with Layla Sailing (1410 Manhanset Ave.). Throw on a pair of skates and head to GDC Roller Skating Rink (102 Third St.). And, of course, no visit to Greenport is complete until stopping by Mitchell Park (115 Front St.) to take a ride on the antique carousel.


A view of Shelter Island from the North Ferry.

A view of Shelter Island from the North Ferry. Credit: Randee Daddona

Getting there: Nestled between the Hamptons and the North Fork, but surrounded by water, Shelter Island is most readily reached by sea. For those traveling from the south, board the South Ferry in North Haven. Visiting from the north, take the North Ferry from Greenport. In either direction, the relaxing ride along the Peconic River takes about 10 minutes. The ferry stations can be reached by car or the Long Island Rail Road. At both, boats run from about 5 a.m., leaving every 10 to 20 minutes, until 11:45 p.m.

Fine dining at Vine Street Cafe' on Shelter Island. 

Fine dining at Vine Street Cafe' on Shelter Island.  Credit: Randee Daddona

Dining scene: Grabbing grub is convenient, as there are several eateries along North Ferry Road. Early arrivers can enjoy a classic breakfast of omelets and French toast at The Islander (63 N. Ferry Rd.). After a few hours of sightseeing, pick up a Tex-Mex lunch to-go at Maria's Kitchen (55 N. Ferry Rd.). Gooey cheese quesadillas and grilled chicken salads are a good option for kids and even adults with not-so-adventurous taste buds. An upscale seafood-centric brunch or lunch can be had at Vine Street Cafe (41 S. Ferry Rd.). Complement your grilled tile with a glass — or few — from their deep selection of wines.
Wrap up the day trip with dinner at 18 Bay (23 N. Ferry Rd.). Keep your eyes peeled while traveling along North Ferry Road as this restaurant is set in a Victorian-era house. Inside, though, you'll be roused by the menu of fine Italian meals and local fish. If you've saved on calories throughout the day, try the five-course pasta tasting feast. SALT Waterfront Bar & Grill (63 S. Menantic Rd.) offers everything from lobster rolls to gyros.

The main house at the Sylvester Manor on Shelter Island.

The main house at the Sylvester Manor on Shelter Island. Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Exploring nature: Of course, as one would infer from the town's name, there is plenty of coastline. Enjoy kayaking and kiteboarding at Shell Beach on the island's southern peninsula. Or enjoy the sand and ambience of Crescent Beach, on the north and within walking distance of Sunset Beach Hotel (35 Shore Rd.) and a few eateries. Enjoy bucolic views along hiking trails of up to 11 miles in the Mashamock Preserve, a 2,000-acre wildlife sanctuary. A visit to the Sylvester Manor Educational Farm (80 N. Ferry Rd.) is ideal for kids as it offers a quick lesson in agriculture and local history, along with archaeological sites and homegrown produce.
Getting active: Heave over to Taylor's Island for an afternoon kayak. Visitors often marvel at the serene scenery while paddling along the Coecle's Harbor Marine Water Trail. Kayaks can be rented and, for those inexperienced or uncomfortable paddling on their own, tours can be scheduled. The Shelter Island Country Club (26 Sunnyside Ave.) features a public nine-hole golf course that spans more than 2,500 yards with views of the Peconic Bay.



Runners and bikers on the boardwalk on Monday, July 4,...

Runners and bikers on the boardwalk on Monday, July 4, 2022 in Long Beach. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Getting there: Drive or ride, take your pick. The resort-like city is an isthmus connected to the mainland by bridges on its east and west ends. With that, area is easily accessible by land — traffic notwithstanding. Coming from western Long Island or New York City, head south past Far Rockaway and take the Atlantic Beach Bridge. From the east, Meadowbrook State Parkway connects to Loop Parkway, which carries a motorist straight into Point Lookout. The Long Island Rail Road is an option for those wanting to skip the highways and parking expenses. The "Long Beach Package" includes round-trip train tickets, a coupon for the 24-hour Long Beach bus and discounted admission to the beach.

The renovated takeout area at Lido Kosher Deli in Long...

The renovated takeout area at Lido Kosher Deli in Long Beach. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

Dining scene: Get breakfast or lunch at the newly renovated Lido's Kosher Deli (641 E. Park Ave.). Try its delicatessen omelet with pastrami, corned beef and salami, or keep it simple with a brisket sandwich. Head to Brixx & Barley (152 W. Park Ave.) for a relaxing lunch and explore their something-for-everyone style menu. Get started with the tuna tartare or braised short rib tacos, then consider the lobster tortellini. There also is a vegan menu, and a variety of burgers and familiar dishes for kids.
If there's still room after lunch, hit Swingbelly's Beachside BBQ (909 W. Beech St.). The appropriately-named BBQ joint will send diners home full, with its burnt-end chili, pulled pork-stuffed jalapeños, Buffalo mac & cheese, grilled shrimp tacos and all the traditional barbecue dishes one would expect. The dining list also includes LB Social (62 W. Park Ave.), Roc & Olive (180 W. Park Ave.) and JJ Coopers (124 W. Park Ave.). The kids will love Dough Hut (891 W. Beech St.), offering specialty doughnuts, and Waffle Cabin (874-B W. Beech St.), for Belgian waffles to go.

A surfer rides a wave in Long Beach.

A surfer rides a wave in Long Beach. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

Exploring nature: The beaches, duh! Ocean Beach Park has a 4-mile beachfront and a lengthy boardwalk, making it a popular spot for visitors (you'll need to purchase a $15 daily visitor's beach pass). It's a good location to enjoy an afternoon swimming, surfing or playing beach volleyball. Nearby, there are fishing piers, playgrounds and eateries. To the east are Lido Beach and Point Lookout, which offers white sand and views across at Jones Bay. Visit the Lido Beach Passive Nature Preserve, a restored tidal wetland. The 40-acre site is home to several indigenous plants and a variety of vegetation and marine life. Settle in for a few minutes to do some bird watching and enjoy the views of the inland waterways. For those who drove, the Marine Nature Study Area might be worth a 4-mile drive to Oceanside. The 52-acre preserve has tanks with specimens of marine life from the area, along with plenty of educational material.
Getting active: Skudin Surf (2 Riverside Blvd.) offers water sports including windsurfing and paddleboarding, along with surfing lessons for kids. 



Friends raise a glass at Lenz Winery in Peconic.

Friends raise a glass at Lenz Winery in Peconic. Credit: Randee Daddona

Long Island wineries welcome visitors to stop in for tastings and tours. Figuring out where to go is getting to be a challenge. Maybe you want to sit on a North Fork vineyard’s deck with a glass of wine and listen to a little live music. Or perhaps you’re gathering a big group of friends for an afternoon of serious wine-tasting — but you want to bring your own picnic. And a dog. Or your kids. Newsday’s Winery Finder will give you everything you need to know about LI’s wine country.


Beach goers hit the shores at Jones Beach on Wednesday,...

Beach goers hit the shores at Jones Beach on Wednesday, June 29, 2022 in Wantagh. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Whether you want to swim, sunbathe or play along miles of fine, white sand or find a quiet spot to surf, fish or look for wildlife, you can dive right in at one of these Long Island beaches.


Walkable bridges in the city 

For some it’s a route to work or a path among boroughs, but around the world the bridges of New York City are iconic landmarks, crossing them on foot is a different way to experience the landscape.

The Brooklyn Bridge seen from Brooklyn Bridge Park in Dumbo, Brooklyn. 

The Brooklyn Bridge seen from Brooklyn Bridge Park in Dumbo, Brooklyn.  Credit: Linda Rosier


The Brooklyn Bridge handles about 30,000 pedestrians and 3,000 cyclists daily, and is more than 6,000 feet in length, according to the New York City Department of Transportation. Access to its promenade on the Brooklyn side is at Adams and Tillary streets, while on the Manhattan side it’s along Centre Street by City Hall.


The Manhattan Bridge was the last bridge built in Manhattan's central business district and is the only East River bridge considered a pure suspension bridge.

The bridge’s lower level is 5,780 feet in length, while its upper roadway is 6,090 feet from start to finish. Pre-pandemic more than 500,000 people would cross the bridge daily, making it the most heavily used bridge in the city. Stretching between Manhattan and Brooklyn between the Brooklyn and Williamsburg bridges, it provides a similar view to the Brooklyn Bridge.

To enter from Brooklyn, the walkway begins on Jay Street between High and Sands streets; the Manhattan entrance is along the Bowery between Bayard and Canal streets.



Visitors riding bikes and hanging out on Governors Island.

Visitors riding bikes and hanging out on Governors Island. Credit: Julienne Schaer

Long Islanders often head east to experience the joys of summer. But it’s not the only option. Go the other way and spend a day on Governors Island, the 172-acre park in the middle of New York Harbor (views of the skyline and the Statue of Liberty: priceless), where there’s so much to do a day won’t be nearly enough. Here’s a guide to help you get the most of visiting Governors Island this summer.


Outside Bernadette's, on Rockaway Beach Blvd., in the Rockaways.

Outside Bernadette's, on Rockaway Beach Blvd., in the Rockaways. Credit: Linda Rosier

We all have that distant cousin: The one who looks a little like us, lives an hour away and is always up to cool stuff, but whom we hardly ever see. For Long Island, Rockaway Beach.

Yet there are 101 reasons for Long Islanders to plan a day trip here, and about 99 of those involve eating. This narrow spit of land boasts enough smashburgers, arepas, vegan ice cream, jerk chicken, fish tacos and slushy cocktails to keep you sated all day (and night). But there’s also a beach that stretches as far as the eye can see, a nearly 6-mile-long boardwalk, first-class people-watching, tons of street art, and eclectic shops, plus stylish hotels, should you decide to extend your daycation. Here is a guide of things to do in Rockaway Beach this summer.

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