Photo Courtesy of Michael Rega/Shutterstock.comView from the Fire Island lighthouse by www.discoverlongisland.comprovided by: Long Island CVBLong Beach boardwalk, December 10 2013Culinary Wonders at Gurney's Resort and Seawater SpaPairing Event on Long Island's Wine CountryLong Island Wine CountryOheka CastleMontauk Lighthouse - Photo by Alissa Rosenberg

Families will love:

  • Beautiful stretches of sandy Atlantic coastline
  • Laid back shore towns packed with old-fashioned seaside charm
  • Rolling countryside, farms, and vineyards of the North Fork

For many, the idea of vacationing on Long Island instantly brings to mind the famed beaches and celebrity chic of the Hamptons; however, this coastal region just east of New York City is home to much more than high-profile East End glamour.

Comprised of two counties and four distinct areas, Long Island offers everything from the shining gilded-age heritage of the ... more
For many, the idea of vacationing on Long Island instantly brings to mind the famed beaches and celebrity chic of the Hamptons; however, this coastal region just east of New York City is home to much more than high-profile East End glamour.

Comprised of two counties and four distinct areas, Long Island offers everything from the shining gilded-age heritage of the North Shore's gold coast to the verdant rural landscape of the North Fork's wine country and the windswept dunes of Fire Island National Seashore. Bordered on the north by the calm waters of the Long Island Sound and on the south by the Atlantic Ocean's surf and sand, day-trippers and seasonal residents alike will relish all there is to enjoy within this 118-mile coastal/maritime haven.

Traveling from New York City, the first place visitors hit is Nassau County, home to Garden City's fabulous museum row, horse racing's illustrious Belmont Park, and the soft white sands and classic boardwalk of Long Beach. Step back in time at the Old Bethpage Village Restoration, stroll through Gatsby's golden era at Westbury Gardens, or hike along Long Island Sound at Sands Point Nature Preserve.

If old-fashioned beach towns are more your style, Stony Brook, Port Jefferson, and Greenport are just a few not to miss, with their unique shops, picturesque harbors, and delicious restaurants. Take a spin on an antique carousel, walk along the waterfront, and enjoy a hearty bowl of chowder by the marina while the boats tie up to the dock. On the Island's South Shore, the 17 unique communities of Fire Island wait to be explored along with 32-miles of idyllic Atlantic shore, coastal dunes, wetlands, and maritime forests.

Heading east, the town of Riverhead is the gateway to the bucolic landscape of the North Fork and Long Island's wine country, with its lush vineyards and rolling farmland. Several wineries are family-friendly and offer carriage rides, animals to pet, and wide lawns perfect for a lazy picnic lunch. The area is also ripe for beachcombing and exploring nature, with lovely swaths of coastline along the Sound and Peconic River and laid-back Shelter Island just a short ferry ride from the mainland.

Whether you're a day-tripper, a weekend adventurer, or a summertime expat, Long Island family vacations are guaranteed to leave you wanting to return again and again.

Written by Gina Vercesi less

Long Island, NY Planning & Tips
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