Off the coast of New York, Long Island is the place to go for family fun. Check out the things to do enjoy Long Island with kids
As the home of the Hamptons – a string of seaside villages where New York’s rich have summer holiday homes – Long Island has starred in countless movies and TV shows. But it also has a range of enticing attractions that make it a great option for families visiting America’s east coast, including beautiful beaches, award-winning wineries and Gatsby-era mansions. Accessible by bridge from the mainland, the 190km-long island is an easy addition to any New York itinerary.
For views of New York City, climb the 182 steps to the top of Fire Island Lighthouse, off the southern coast. At the easternmost point of the island – known as ‘the end’ – you can also visit the Montauk Lighthouse, commissioned by former president George Washington, and take a scenic hike on the bluffs of Montauk Point State Park.
Children's Museum is a must when in Long Island with kids
At the Parrish Art Museum in East Hampton, adults can peruse the collection of works from famed master and contemporary artists, while children take part in interactive art classes, build creations, and enjoy film nights.
Housed in a former airplane hangar, the interactive and fun Long Island Children’s Museum is a must for visitors with kids. Children can create and play in the bubble exhibit, learn about herbivores, carnivores and omnivores in the live animal habitat, and explore the 14 interactive exhibits with daily activities.
Travel back to more than 100 years of history on the Gold Coast
Check out the Gold Coast mansions for a glimpse into the elegant and opulent lifestyles of the elite. Owned by past presidents, artists and aristocracy, many of these homes once hosted royalty, heads of state and stars including Charlie Chaplin. Often the backdrop for Hollywood movies, the homes also served as inspiration for The Great Gatsby. Open for tours and events, travel back to a bygone era visiting OHEKA Castle and Old Westbury Gardens.
The Cradle of Aviation Museum, Planetarium and Dome Theater is home to one of the largest air and spacecraft collections in the world, taking visitors through a journey of more than 100 years of history. Experience a Lunar Module Simulator and view one of three lunar modules on display in the world, the Apollo Lunar Module 13.
Endless fun building sandcastles with kids on Long Beach
Stroll the 3.5km-long Long Beach Boardwalk and step out on the sand for ultimate beach town fun and West Coast vibes. Surf the waves and take on the Atlantic Ocean when learning from the pros at Skudin Surf. Then, set free at I.FLY Trapeze to learn circus tricks for extreme adventure.
The Long Island Aquarium has more than 100 exhibits, including coral reef displays and a 120,000-gallon (454,000 litre) shark tank where you can dive with the creatures of the deep. There are year-round sea lion shows, touch tanks for a stingray interaction, a colourful butterflies exhibit, and a penguin meet and greet.
Go to the best water play when in Long Island with kids
Kids and adults alike will love Splish Splash Waterpark, which has more than 20 slides and attractions spread across nearly 40ha, including wave pools, lazy rivers and a pirates’ cove.
Become a spy for the day at the Brewster House, which was built in 1665. During the American Revolution, Joseph Brewster operated the house as a tavern and general store, entertaining British troops inside. American patriot Caleb Brewster, a frequent visitor to the house, was a member of George Washington’s Culper Spy Ring during the Revolutionary War. Join the fantastic ‘Become a Spy’ and ‘A Day in the Life of the Colonial Child’ educational tours.
Night-sky observation on Long Island
At night you can go stargazing at Vanderbilt Museum & Planetarium, which has a rooftop observatory. It also offers tours of the mansion, exhibits from the former owner’s oceanic expeditions and futuristic science exhibits.
In Partnership with Discover Long Island