Long Island, New York is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, known for its beautiful beaches and charming towns. However, there’s so much more to this area than meets the eye. From hidden gems to off-the-beaten-path attractions, there are countless fun and unusual things to do on Long Island. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the most unique and exciting experiences you can have while exploring this beautiful area. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a lifelong resident, there’s something for everyone on Long Island. So pack your bags and get ready to discover the hidden gems of this amazing destination.
The Long Island Aquarium
The Long Island Aquarium, located in Riverhead, is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Long Island. This state-of-the-art facility is home to a wide variety of sea life, including sharks, rays, sea turtles, and tropical fish. The aquarium features several exhibits that allow visitors to get up close and personal with the sea life, including the Shark Dive, where you can swim with sharks, and the Ray Touch Tank, where you can touch and feed rays.
One of the highlights of the Long Island Aquarium is the “Lost City of Atlantis” exhibit, which is home to over 50 species of marine life and features a 120,000-gallon shark tank. Visitors can also see sea turtles, jellyfish, and tropical fish in this exhibit.
The aquarium also offers several behind-the-scenes tours, including the Shark and Ray Feed, where you can watch as these creatures are fed and learn more about them from the aquarium staff. Another behind-the-scenes tour is the Penguin Encounter, where visitors can feed and interact with the penguins.
In addition to the sea life exhibits, the Long Island Aquarium also features a 4D theater, where you can watch a variety of films and feel like you’re part of the action, and a butterfly exhibit, where you can see a wide variety of butterflies from around the world.
Overall, The Long Island Aquarium is an excellent destination for families, students, and marine life enthusiasts. With its interactive exhibits, behind-the-scenes tours, and knowledgeable staff, it offers a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages.
Sands Point Preserve
The Sands Point Preserve is a hidden gem located on the north shore of Long Island. This 200-acre preserve features several historic mansions, beautiful gardens, and hiking trails. The preserve is open to the public and offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy.
One of the main attractions of the preserve is the two Gold Coast-era mansions, the Falaise and the Hempstead House. Both mansions are open for guided tours and offer a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the wealthy elite during the early 20th century. Visitors will be able to see the grand halls, the ornate decor, and the beautiful gardens surrounding the mansions.
The preserve also features several hiking trails that wind through the property, offering visitors the opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the area. The trails lead through woodlands, wetlands, and meadows, and are home to a wide variety of wildlife, including birds, deer, and foxes.
Visitors can also enjoy the beautiful gardens at the preserve. The gardens are home to a wide variety of plants, flowers, and trees, and offer a peaceful and serene environment for visitors to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
The Sands Point Preserve is also a great destination for events and ceremonies, the preserve offers several venues that can accommodate events of all sizes, from small intimate gatherings to large-scale events.
Overall, the Sands Point Preserve is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Long Island. With its beautiful mansions, hiking trails, and gardens, it offers a unique glimpse into the past and the opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the area.
Long Island Explorium
The Long Island Explorium, located in Port Jefferson, is an interactive science center that offers a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages. The center features hands-on exhibits and activities that are designed to educate and entertain visitors, making it a perfect destination for families.
One of the main attractions of the Long Island Explorium is the “Science on a Sphere” exhibit. This exhibit features a six-foot diameter globe that displays real-time data and imagery of the Earth, including weather patterns and ocean currents. Visitors can interact with the globe, learning about the planet in an engaging and interactive way.
The center also features an exhibit on renewable energy, where visitors can learn about different forms of alternative energy and how they can be used to power homes and businesses. There’s also a section dedicated to the human body, where visitors can learn about the different systems of the body and how they work.
The Long Island Explorium also offers several programs and workshops for children and adults, such as science camps, workshops, and classes. These programs are designed to provide visitors with a deeper understanding of scientific concepts and processes.
The Explorium also features a planetarium, where visitors can watch shows about the night sky, stars, and planets. It offers a unique and immersive experience that allows visitors to explore the universe.
Overall, the Long Island Explorium is a great destination for families and people of all ages who are interested in science and technology. With its interactive exhibits and educational programs, it offers a fun and engaging way to learn about the world around us.
Hot Air Balloon
Taking a hot air balloon ride is a unique and exciting way to see Long Island from a different perspective. Companies like Long Island Balloon Rides offer rides that take you over the beautiful vineyards and other picturesque locations, providing a truly breathtaking experience.
The hot air balloon ride typically starts early in the morning, before the sun is up, when the wind is calmest and the temperature is cooler. Once you reach the launch site, you’ll watch as the balloon is inflated and prepared for flight. Once the balloon is ready, you’ll climb aboard and take off into the sky.
The flight typically lasts for about an hour, during which you’ll be able to take in the stunning views of Long Island. You’ll see the rolling hills, the beautiful vineyards, and the sparkling waters of the Long Island Sound. You’ll also be able to see the sunrise or sunset over the horizon, depending on the timing of the flight.
The ride is typically very peaceful and serene, with just the sound of the burners and the wind. The pilot will point out interesting landmarks and provide a brief history of the area during the flight.
Hot air balloon rides are weather dependent, and the companies will always ensure the safety of the passengers, if the weather conditions are not favorable the ride will be rescheduled.
Overall, a hot air balloon ride is a unique and exciting way to see Long Island. It’s a perfect activity for those looking for a unique experience, and it’s suitable for people of all ages. The views from above are breathtaking, and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you won’t forget.
Go on a ghost tour
Long Island is known for its rich history and many of its locations are said to be haunted. For those interested in the paranormal, taking a ghost tour is a great way to explore the island’s spooky side.
There are several ghost tour companies that operate in Long Island, each offering a unique experience. Some tours focus on specific locations, such as the Amityville Horror House, while others take you to a variety of haunted locations throughout the island.
The tours typically start in the evening and last for about 2-3 hours. The guides are knowledgeable about the island’s history and ghost stories and they will take you to several haunted locations, where they will share the history and legends of each location.
Some of the locations that are included in the tours are The Old Bethpage Village Restoration, a living history museum that depicts life in the mid-19th century on Long Island and is said to be haunted by the spirits of its past inhabitants. The Oheka Castle, a grand mansion built in the early 20th century and is said to be haunted by the ghost of its original owner. The Montauk Point Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse in New York State, is said to be haunted by the spirits of shipwreck victims.
During the tours, you may also have the opportunity to use paranormal investigation equipment such as EMF meters, dowsing rods, and infrared cameras to try to detect any paranormal activity.
Overall, a ghost tour is a fun and unique way to explore Long Island’s haunted history. The tours are suitable for people of all ages and are a great way to learn about the island’s past while having a spooky and exciting experience.
The Vanderbilt Museum
The Vanderbilt Museum, located in Centerport, Long Island, is a unique attraction that offers visitors a glimpse into the life and travels of William K. Vanderbilt II. This museum is housed in Vanderbilt’s former estate and showcases a vast collection of artifacts and specimens from his travels around the world.
The main attraction of the museum is the mansion, which was built by William K. Vanderbilt II in the early 20th century. The mansion features ornate decor, beautiful furnishings, and a vast collection of art and artifacts from Vanderbilt’s travels. Visitors can take a guided tour of the mansion, which includes the grand halls, the library, and the bedrooms.
The museum also features a collection of Egyptian artifacts, including a replica of a tomb of an Egyptian nobleman, which was excavated by the Vanderbilt in the 1920s. The collection includes a wide range of artifacts, such as jewelry, pottery, and statues that provide an interesting glimpse into ancient Egyptian culture.
The Vanderbilt Museum also features a planetarium, which is one of the oldest in the country. The planetarium offers daily shows that explore the night sky, stars, and planets. The planetarium uses state-of-the-art technology to create an immersive and interactive experience for visitors.
The museum also features a marine biology laboratory, which was used by Vanderbilt for its research. Visitors can see the laboratory and learn about the marine life that was studied by Vanderbilt.
The Vanderbilt Museum is a great destination for those interested in history, art, and science. The museum offers a unique opportunity to learn about the life and travels of William K. Vanderbilt II and his family, while also providing a glimpse into ancient Egyptian culture and the study of marine life.
Taking a paddleboarding or kayaking tour is a great way to explore the natural beauty of Long Island’s waterways. The island is home to several waterways, such as the Peconic Bay, the Great South Bay, and the Long Island Sound, that are perfect for paddleboarding and kayaking.
Paddleboarding and kayaking tours are offered by several companies in Long Island, each offering a unique experience. Some tours take you through calm and peaceful waters, while others take you through more challenging and adventurous waters.
The tours typically start in the morning or early afternoon and last for about 2-3 hours. The guides are knowledgeable about the area’s natural history and wildlife and will take you to some of the best spots to paddle and explore.
During the tour, visitors will have the opportunity to paddle through serene creeks and marshes, where they can spot a variety of wildlife, such as ospreys, herons, and egrets. They may also have the chance to explore islands and beaches, and even visit lighthouses.
Some of the tours also include a stop for a picnic or snack, where visitors can enjoy the natural beauty and have a break.
Kayaking and paddleboarding are easy to learn and suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels. It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors, get some exercise, and explore the island’s natural beauty.
Overall, taking a paddleboarding or kayaking tour is a great way to explore Long Island’s waterways and discover its natural beauty. The tours are suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels and offer a unique and adventurous way to see the island.
Old Westbury Garden
The Old Westbury Gardens is a beautiful garden estate located on Long Island. The 200-acre property features beautiful gardens, a mansion, and a working farm, making it a great destination for visitors of all ages.
One of the main attractions of the Old Westbury Gardens is the Westbury House, a Charles II-style mansion that was built in 1906 for John Shaffer Phipps, his wife Harriet, and their family. The mansion is open for guided tours and features beautiful decor, artwork, and furnishings from the early 20th century. Visitors can explore the grand halls, the library, and the bedrooms and get a glimpse into the life of the Phipps family.
The gardens at the Old Westbury Gardens are a must-see attraction. The gardens are home to a wide variety of plants, flowers, and trees, and offer a peaceful and serene environment for visitors to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the area. Visitors can stroll through the gardens and take in the beauty of the different seasons.
The Old Westbury Gardens also features a working farm, where visitors can learn about the history of farming on Long Island and see a variety of farm animals. The farm includes a dairy barn, a chicken coop, and a pigsty, and visitors can see cows being milked and chickens being fed.
The gardens also host several events throughout the year, such as concerts, lectures, and exhibitions, and it’s a popular spot for outdoor events and ceremonies, such as weddings.
Overall, The Old Westbury Gardens is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Long Island. With its beautiful gardens, historic mansion, and working farm, it offers a unique glimpse into the past and the opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the area.
The Tanger Outlets in Riverhead
The Tanger Outlets in Riverhead is a large outdoor shopping center that offers visitors a wide variety of stores, including designer brands, at discounted prices. The center is a popular destination for bargain hunters and shoppers looking for a great deal.
The Tanger Outlets features over 100 stores, including well-known brands such as Nike, Coach, Michael Kors, and many more. The stores offer a wide range of products, including clothing, accessories, shoes, and home goods. Visitors can find a great selection of designer brands and high-quality items at discounted prices.
The Tanger Outlets also features several restaurants and food options, where visitors can grab a bite to eat or have a coffee break during their shopping trip. There’s also a children’s play area, which is perfect for families with young children.
The Tanger Outlets also offer several services such as free Wi-Fi, wheelchair and stroller rentals, and a shuttle service that runs between the outlets and nearby hotels.
The Tanger Outlets also hosts several events throughout the year, such as fashion shows, live music, and holiday-themed events. It’s also a popular spot for groups, such as school trips, church groups, and corporate events.
Overall, the Tanger Outlets in Riverhead are a great destination for shoppers looking for a bargain. With its wide variety of stores, discounted prices, and added services, it offers a convenient and enjoyable shopping experience for visitors of all ages.
Take a wine-tasting tour
wineries on the island have won awards for their wines. Taking a guided wine-tasting tour is a great way to discover the local wines and learn about the history and process of winemaking on Long Island. It’s also a perfect activity for wine enthusiasts and couples looking for a unique and romantic experience.
Some of the most popular wineries to visit on Long Island include:
- Wölffer Estate Vineyard: This winery is known for its high-quality wines and beautiful setting, which includes a tasting room, wine shop, and a restaurant.
- Pindar Vineyards: This winery is one of the oldest on Long Island and offers a variety of wines, including reds, whites, and rosés. They also offer tours of the winery and vineyards.
- Martha Clara Vineyards: This winery is known for its beautiful setting, which includes a tasting room, wine shop, and restaurant. They produce a wide range of wines, including reds, whites, and rosés.
- Bedell Cellars: This winery is known for its high-quality wines and beautiful setting, which includes a tasting room, wine shop, and restaurant.
Overall, taking a guided wine-tasting tour is a great way to discover the local wines and learn about the history and process of winemaking on Long Island. It’s a perfect activity for wine enthusiasts, couples, and groups looking for a unique and enjoyable experience.
In conclusion, Long Island is a destination that offers a wide variety of fun and unusual things to do. From exploring hidden gems like the Sands Point Preserve to visiting the interactive science center, Long Island Explorium. To take a hot air balloon ride or a ghost tour, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The Old Westbury Gardens, Tanger Outlets, and the wineries are also must-see destinations for visitors looking for a unique experience. The island is full of surprises, and with its rich history, natural beauty, and diverse culture, it’s a perfect destination for a weekend getaway or a longer vacation. Whether you’re interested in history, science, or nature, or just looking for a fun and unique experience, Long Island has something to offer for everyone.