Looking for a vacation destination where you get away from the beaten path but don’t have to travel too far? Look no further than your neighbor to the east, Long Island. Long Island has many jewels that are perfect for a family vacation: nature preserves, beautiful beaches, museums, and historic mansions.
Because of the multiple types of attractions, it can accommodate every person on the trip, from the nature enthusiast to the culture vulture. Also, because it’s relatively close by, it’s easy on the pocketbook, a big plus in an unsteady economy.
Another advantage of a vacation destination in Long Island is the flexibility it provides: the wealth of attractions can accommodate a week or more, but you can also focus on one or two for a quick weekend getaway.
Long Island boasts a number of beaches, from the not very traveled to the very popular. A fine example of the former is Lido Beach, a small barrier island with only one road. It’s beautiful, quiet, and the beach has plenty of space.
Tobay Beach is another of the less populated beaches, and close to the larger Jones Beach. If you want to surf or body board, this is the place. . Ocean gazing is also a great activity here; it’s another lovely beach.
Jones Beach State Park is huge (2400 acres and 6 miles of beach) and there’s a ton of activities available. You can swim, obviously, or fish. There is a great theater if you want entertainment at the end of the day. Nature lovers can also visit the Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center to look at marine life. It’s on a barrier island within Jones Beach.
Long Island has a number number of nature preserves – more than 3,000 acres of land maintained as it was before the population explosion on the island that followed World War II. One of the nicest is Bailey Arboretum, which maintains 42 acres of trees, shrubs and flowering plants.
It’s on the site of a former estate. (The Baileys were philanthropists and horticulturists.) Gardeners can get ideas from the luxurious seasonal flower beds and advice on maintaining their own gardens.
Walkers can enjoy the seasonal flowers and plants in any season. The Bailey Arboretum is most famous for its dawn redwoods; in fact, it is one of the few places where they can be seen. The species was thought to be extinct until one was discovered in China in the 1940s.
The Bailey Arboretum is free and open every day.
Cradle of Flight Museum
Fan of Star Wars? Like the story of space flight? Long Island possess a little-known history in the development of the aviation and space industries. Because of its flat fields and unspoiled terrain, Long Island was a natural landing field in the early days of aviation. The Cradle of Flight Museum commemorates Long Island’s role in the aviation and space industries.
Current exhibits celebrate that story, and take the narrative through today’s space exploration. The 8 exhibits in the Donald Everett Axinn Air & Space Museum Hall, for example, walk visitors chronologically through Long Island’s aviation history, from hot air balloons to a moon landing module. (Yes, a real one.)
The National Geographic Leroy R. & Rose W. Grumman Dome Theater houses a planetarium. The films shown allow you to view the solar system or simulate a space flight.
Historic Mansions: Old Westbury Gardens
Before the middle-class development of Long Island after World War II, the north shore was known as the “Gold Coast” due to the number of wealthy New Yorkers who owned mansions in the area. Today, the families are long gone and many of the mansions are open to the public.
Perhaps the most opulent is the 70-room English manor house Old Westbury Gardens. You can tour the mansion, enjoy the 100-acre grounds, and check out the numerous events, such as live history re-enactments and concerts.
Contact us to plan your vacation.