Long Island – to borrow the words of the famous American poet born in what’s now West Hills – contains multitudes. It’s both polarized and polarizing. While many New Yorkers hold strong beliefs about Long Island, there’s no denying that some of the most historical, quaint, and scenic places can be found here.
Take a look at the list below for a brief highlight of its many must-visit sights.
Sands Point Preserve
127 Middle Neck Road, Sands Point, New York
This 216-acre expanse is home to four mansions that belonged to the Guggenheim Estate and is exemplary of the opulence exhibited by North Shore’s wealthy elite during Long Island’s Gold Coast period. One of the mansions, the Hempstead House, even served as the inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s East Egg in “The Great Gatsby.”
Aside from its historical and architectural conservation, Sands Point Preserve is also a popular destination for long nature walks, the rugged scenery of the Long Island Sound, or taking leashed dogs through the park’s wooded trails.
2000 Montauk Highway PO Box 943, Montauk, NY
Located at the borough’s easternmost tip, Montauk Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in the state of New York. Commissioned during the presidency of George Washington, it has been guiding vessels safely through the Block Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean since 1796.
This National Historical Landmark is also the site where surfers catch strong waves from its rocky beaches. Anglers also camp on big boulders dotting the shoreline to fish. Visitors with enough tenacity to conquer 137 steps up the lighthouse are rewarded with a bird’s-eye view of the dramatic scenery below.
Jones Beach State Park
Ocean Parkway Southern State Parkway, Exit 18, Wantagh, NY
Made popular by its clean, white sand beaches and its boardwalk, Jones Beach has been a favorite for families because of its kid-friendly range of activities. During the summer, kids and adults alike enjoy rounds of miniature golf, 6.5 miles of shore, and any beach activity of their choosing (swimming, building sandcastles, or just soaking in the sun). Nature lovers are also treated to sightings of migratory birds as the seasons change.
Bethpage State Park
99 Quaker Meeting House Road, Farmingdale, NY
Spending half a day at the Bethpage State Park will delight golf aficionados. The park is renowned for having five world-class golf courses, including the famous Black Course, which will host the Ryder Cup in 2024.
While golf is the state park’s major draw and claim to fame, there arealso a slew of other activities for visitors. Hike through the park’s varied landscape on trails like the scenic Hoffa, Aspen Loop, and the history-filled Old Bethpage Village Restoration Trail. If leisure is the day’s foremost agenda, go on apicnic with the family or a few friends.
Sag Harbor Whaling & Historical Museum
200 Main Street, Sag Harbor, NY
Housed in a mansion with a stark white classical Greek façade, the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum preserves the history of the whaling industry in the area. Artifacts like scrimshaw, harpoons, whalebone corset stays, and portraits of whalers from the 19th century tell stories of a practice that once played a significant role in the village economy and society.
The museum currently offers a virtual tour for those who’d like to view the exhibits online. Admission to the museum costs $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, and $3 for children younger than 11.
1.5 hours east of New York City via ferry
Shelter Island is an ideal day trip destination for anyone searching for a quiet place or a brief escape. Many beaches on the island – Shell Beach to name one – lend themselves well to vacationers who prefer strolling sparsely populated beaches to taking a dip in the water.
Since all trips to Shelter Island are made by boat, visitors coming from the South Fork may want to take a self-guided historical tour of Sag Harbor before hopping on a ferry.
Day-trippers can take a break from the water and head to the beautiful Mashomack Preserve at the eastern end of the island where calming hikes and personal nature retreats are easily arranged.
The list above is only a quick introduction to what Long Island has to offer. Explore your options for living in Long Island, New York and enjoy firsthand the quality of life that comes when both the city and the great outdoors are within easy reach. Call me, Alexander Meskouris, at 917.741.4296 or email info(at)alexandermeskouris(dotted)com for your real estate options.