50 ways to have an endless summer on Long Island

Noble Horvath

Labor Day may have marked the unofficial end of summer on Long Island, but the fun doesn’t have to stop. Summer technically stretches through Sept. 22 and, this year, we’re soaking up all the sun we can get. Here are 50 ways to have an endless summer.  1. Swim in the […]

Labor Day may have marked the unofficial end of summer on Long Island, but the fun doesn’t have to stop. Summer technically stretches through Sept. 22 and, this year, we’re soaking up all the sun we can get. Here are 50 ways to have an endless summer. 

1. Swim in the ocean. Lifeguards stay on duty at some state park beaches. Jones Beach in Wantagh and Robert Moses in Babylon have lifeguards on duty until mid-September, with vehicle entrance fees ($10) collected until Sept. 13; Hither Hills in Montauk goes until Sept. 20 and Sunken Meadow in Kings Park until mid-September.

2. Rent a canoe. Even a rookie can manage to navigate a skiff boat — essentially a canoe with a power motor — that’s sized just right for a couple of people to putter around calm waters. Rentals continue at outfitters such as the Silly Lily Fishing Station in East Moriches (from $166.50 for the day; 99 Adelaide Ave., 631-878-0247). 

3. Go fishing. You can reel in some kind of catch year-around on Long Island, but late summer is prime time for snappers. The small bluefish are plentiful and relatively easy to catch with a starter rod and almost any bait directly off Long Island’s docks, which make them a great introduction to the sport for young kids who don’t have the patience to wait long for a bite. Captree Fleet fishing boats are setting sail through the month with both open fishing and private charterboats available for reservations. The Captree Princess sails daily through Sept. 30 for jumbo fluke sea bass, porgies and bluefish. (Typically $40 to $60; captreeprincess.com; 3500 E Ocean Pkwy, Oak Beach; 631-404-6817)

4. Drive up on the sand. Pack up the RV and drive onto the beach at Robert Moses State Park, where your permit grants you access to fish and relax on the beach after Labor Day. Off-roading permits are valid through Dec. 31. (Robert Moses Causeway, Babylon)

5. Jump in a pool with a view. Take a dip in the pool at a Long Island hotel offering day rates. The Mansion at Glen Cove’s outdoor pool is set to stay open through the month. Visiting guests will need to purchase a day pass ($25 for a lounge chair, $200 for a day bed for up to four people; both include a credit for food and beverage). Check other local hotels before you head out. (200 Dosoris Lane, Glen Cove, 516-671-6400)

6. Pedal on the East End. Pedal tours passing by farms and vineyards offer a chance to take in the scenes of the North Fork’s wine country and expanding craft brewery landscape. Reserve a 14-person bike with Brew Crew Cycles, currently accepting private reservations, or bring a group of eight or more for a private cruise around Mattituck with Pour & Pedal. Tours often include various stops at wineries, tastings and lunch. East End Bike Tours offers both private and self-guided bike tours, which sometimes include beachside stops and olive oil tastings. (Brew Cycles: 205b Marcy Ave., Riverhead; 631-722-1516, brewcrewcycles.com; weekday rates: $300-$375; Sat.-Sun.: $350-$450. Pour & Pedal: 10200 Main Rd., Mattituck; 516-987-8751, pourandpedal.com; Price is $130)

7. Camp under the stars. Camping, or glamping, outdoors doesn’t have to take you far from home. In fact, you can still escape to your backyard while the weather is favorable. Set up your own tent or call the “Sleepover Fairy,” a backyard glamping company owned by Islip resident Allison Lynch McCauley, to transform the yard for you. Backyard DIY setup options start and $175 a night and there are a range of packages available. Reserve at thesleepoverfairy.wixsite.com/thesleepoverfairy. 

8. Pose with the sunflowers. Strike a pose in a sunflower field. Rottkamp’s Fox Hollow Farm is slated to open a new field mid-September and Sidor Farms expects its field to last through the month. Call ahead to make sure farms are open as weather can impact bloom. (Rottkamp’s: $5 for visitors over 6 years old; 2287 Sound Ave., Baiting Hollow; 631-727-1786, foxhollowfarm.net. Sidor Farms: $7 per person; 8632 Wickham Ave., Mattituck; 631-644-2200)

9. Have your own shark week. A day trip to the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead will have you seeing sharks. Check out the 120,000-gallon Lost City of Atlantis Shark Exhibit to have your own shark week adventure. Reserve a time slot between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday through Saturday and purchase tickets in advance at longislandaquarium.com. ($23 for children ages 3-12, $35 for adults and $26 for seniors over the age of 62; 431 E. Main St., Riverhead; 631-208-920)

10. Sail into the sunset. Enjoy a sunset sail on the Freeport Water Taxi’s Caribbean-themed, 90-minute cruise ($30 per person) or Captain Lou Fleet’s two-hour trip in the Great South Bay ($25 per person), offered through September. American Beauty Cruises and Charters also offers a sunset sail ($45) through mid-October. (Freeport Water Taxi: 211 Woodcleft Ave., Freeport, 516-521-7744, freeportwatertaxi.com. American Beauty: Long Wharf in Sag Harbor, 631-725-0397, americanbeautycruises.com)

11. Spend the day on Fire Island. Summer isn’t ending just yet on Fire Island. To end an unusual summer, many business owners in Fire Island’s communities (including Cherry’s On The Bay in Cherry Grove) have decided to keep their doors open through September for lunch and dinner. Fire Island Tap is extending its $50 wine and cheese pairing events (Sept. 10, 12: “Old World Wine Regions; ” Sept. 17, 19: “New World Wine Regions; Sept. 24, 26: “Kismet Favorites”) through the month too. (177 Pine St.; 631-583-9463)

12. Try a trendy frozen treat. Keep summer alive with a new sweet treat like Sweet Charlie’s hotdog-esque rolled ice cream in a glazed doughnut bun (New Hyde Park) or Pelican’s SnoBalls shaved ice (Valley Stream). (Sweet Charlie’s: 3336 Hillside Ave., 516-493-9697; Pelican’s: 254 Rockaway Pkwy., 516-882-4524, pelicanssnoballs.com)

13. Bike to the beach. Pick your favorite biking trail and make a day of it. Even better, pick a trail that ends with a beachside view, like the path from Cedar Creek Park in Seaford that’ll bring you to Jones Beach State Park. 

14. Governor’s outdoor comedy show. See a comedy show under the stars — and under the tents — at Governor’s of Levittown. The shows go on into October. See the lineup at tickets.govs.com. Upcoming performances include “Girls Gone Funny” on Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. and Jared Freid on Sept. 11 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 12 at 7 and 9:15 p.m. (90 Division Ave., 516-731-3358)

15. Splash away in the park. Cool off at a splash park on those days when the warm weather peeks through. Jones Beach’s water play park for kids is slated to stay open until Sept. 20, park officials say.

16. Go on a kayak tour. Rent a single ($25 per hour) or double kayak ($33 per hour) for one hour and enjoy the afternoon in open waters in Oyster Bay. The Waterfront Center’s rentals are available through Columbus Day. Rentals are also available from local businesses in Riverhead, Cold Spring Harbor and Port Washington, among other neighborhoods. Call ahead for schedule. (The Waterfront Center: 1 West End Ave., Oyster Bay, 516-922-7245; thewaterfrontcenter.org)

17. Visit a waterfront vineyard. Sip on wine flights with a waterside view at Harmony Vineyards (169 Harbor Rd.), a dog-friendly winery in St. James. For something out east, consider Kontokosta Winery (825 North Rd.) in Greenport which overlooks the Long Island Sound. The vineyard is currently open by appointment only.

18. Walk the boardwalk. Even after the beach closes for swimming, the boardwalks at Jones Beach, Long Beach and Sunken Meadow Park stay open for walking or bike riding (in the designated stalls). Catch the sunrise as you enjoy an escape from your own backyard.

19. Eat fresh oysters on the East End. Pair your East End day trip with Peconic Gold Oysters when you visit Jamesport Farm Brewery (5873 Sound Ave, Riverhead). The vendor serves up half-shell oysters with all the fixings every Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m. Founders Oyster Farm in Southold also sets up tents to sell ready-to-eat oysters select dates at Pindar Vineyards (37645 NY-25) in Peconic. Call ahead for schedules.

20. Enjoy a sunset picnic. Pack a picnic basket and watch the sun set behind your table at Gilgo Beach. Or, pick up a prepackaged basket from Mirabelle Tavern in Stony Brook — which launched new “picnic baskets to go” with the choice of three different baskets complete with food and drink ($46 and up) — and head to Avalon Park. Keep in mind parks may close at dusk. (150 Main St., 631-751-0555)

21. Take a scenic drive. The change in seasons makes for an ideal scenic drive around Long Island. Travel Ocean Parkway — the 16-mile barrier island highway accessible from the Wantagh and Meadowbrook Parkways and the Robert Moses Causeway — and pass the Jones Beach Tower, beachside homes and Captree’s boat basin. Should you choose the North Shore, Sound Avenue offers a picturesque route through Long Island Wine Country.

22. Chow down on a lobster roll. Bite into a fresh lobster roll from your go-to spot, or try one of our critics’ favorites, including Maldon & Mignonette in Sea Cliff, Lobster Roll in Amagansett, Flo’s in Blue Point and the waterside Lazy Lobster in East Rockaway. The only thing left to decide: hot or cold?

23. Cruise on a partyboat. Partyboats resumed around Long Island this summer at 50% capacity, and if you didn’t have the chance to experience one, you’ll still have a shot this fall. The Moon Chaser, for example, is continuing its 7:30-11 p.m. partyboat cruises from Captree State Park in Bay Shore to Flynn’s on Fire Island on select Fridays this month and Saturday, Sept. 12. Reservations required-both for the boat and the restaurant  ($15 ride plus $40 dinner; 631-265-1848, themoonchaser.com)

24. Go on a family hike. Your hiking trail options are aplenty, and exploring the outdoors with your family can offer a much-needed escape. For family-friendly paths, consider Connetquot River State Park Preserve in Oakdale, Blydenburgh County Park in Hauppauge, Tackapausha Preserve in Seaford or Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park in Oyster Bay. 

25. Hit the surf. Autumn brings peak surf season for the Long Beach crowd, as the weather remains warm while the waves kick up. On the East End, Montauk has Ditch Plains, where a jetty creates longboard waves, and Turtle Cove, next to Montauk Point State Park. Parking permits may be required.

26. Watch the boats sail by. Sometimes, a scenic view can offer the escape you needed. Walk along the shoreline in Port Washington, Port Jefferson, Oyster Bay or Lloyd Harbor for a relaxing view of the boats passing by. 

27. Drive by a roadside attraction. Drive-in movies and concerts are a great new way to spend the day, but there are other outdoor attractions within driving distance. Roslyn Harbor offers a sculpture park, Hicksville marks Billy Joel’s childhood town, Stony Brook boasts the Hercules Pavilion and Flanders, of course, has The Big Duck. Pack up the car and get driving. 

28. Take an outdoor fitness class. Outdoor classes are a great alternative for those itching to get moving. Love Integration Yoga in Long Beach hosts outdoor yoga classes on the beach with a $20 drop-in option, so you can give it a go before you commit. (54 W. Park Ave., 516-548-7373)

29. Try parasailing. If you’d like to try a ride in the sky, Fire Island Parasail will be open in September based on demand and by reservation only. Any post-Labor Day flights will take place out of Ocean Bay Park; parasailing is $85 while anyone coming along just to watch pays $20. Book online in advance at fireislandparasail.com. (1 Cayuga St., Ocean Bay Park, 631-988-8445)

30. Explore a new town. Long Island towns offer plenty of day-trip opportunities. Pack up the family and drive out to Greenport or Montauk — both offer beach town vibes and waterside views.

31. Visit a lighthouse. Both the Montauk and Fire Island lighthouses offer picturesque backdrops. The Fire Island Lighthouse is now open for climbs, daily between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. The Montauk tower is currently closed, but the grounds remain open for viewing.

32. See a movie under the stars … and in the car. Some drive-in theaters are continuing to offer programming into September. Hit the pop-up drive-in at the Smith Haven Mall to catch “Star Wars: A New Hope” at 8 p.m. Sept. 11, “Trolls World Tour” at 8 p.m. Sept. 12 and “IT” at 11 p.m. Sept. 12. Tickets are $30 to $40 per car and can be purchased in advance at movielotdrivein.com. (313 Smith Haven Mall, Lake Grove) 

33. Explore the historic mansions of the Gold Coast. It is the ’20s, after all. A limited number of visitors are being allowed on the grounds at the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum, Sands Point Preserve, Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park and Old Westbury Gardens properties. Purchase admission in advance to reserve your time slot. 

34. Get up close and personal with farm animals. Hangout with the sheep, bison, camels and more at the Long Island Game Farm, open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. ($16.95 for adults; $14.95 for children 3-11; under 3 enter free). For a private experience, or to celebrate a special occasion, tours and animal encounters are available for up to 4 people for $200. (489 Chapman Blvd., Manorville; longislandgamefarm.com, 631-878-6644)

35. Dine at a restaurant on the water. Does a meal taste better with a view? We’ll leave that up to you. Dining waterside will keep those summer vibes strong long into September. Of the many options is The LakeHouse, (135 Maple Ave., Bay Shore) which serves lunch and dinner daily, plus Sunday brunch with a view of the Great South Bay. Reservations are required. (thelakehouserest.com; 631.666.0995)

36. Meet turtles in Cold Spring Harbor. The Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery & Aquarium has a new Hatchery Turtle Experience that’ll score you a 20-minute encounter with a weeks-old turtle. Advance registration is required at cshfishhatchery.org; $12 per person includes hatchery admission. (1660 Route 25A, Cold Spring Harbor; 516-692-6768.)

37. Sample beers and bring your pup. A monthlong, socially distant “Tails & Ales” event is coming to the Nutty Irishman in Farmingdale — and your dogs are welcome to join. For five days this September, people paired with pooches looking to spend some days in the sun will have the chance to sip on beer samples, browse pet-friendly vendors and listen to live music. Tickets are $40 for samplings and $10 for general admission. (323 Main St., Farmingdale; noon to 5 p.m. Sept. 12, 13, 19, 26 and 27; doors open at noon)

38. Rent a Jet Ski. If you have your NYS Parks boater safety certificate — or one issued by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or the U.S. Power Squadron — you can spend an afternoon in the open waters riding a Jet Ski. Rentals are available through November at Jetskirentals.com Inc, in Brookhaven. Must be 19 and older. ($200 per hour; 320 S. Country Rd., Brookhaven, 631-286-7816, jetskirentals.com)

39. Go clamming or crabbing. Recreational clamming is best in shallow waters, where the tide draws down to thigh-deep or less. And the good news is you can still catch some clams or crabs through October. Cordwood Landing County Park in Miller Place is a good place to start. Catch crabs from docks, boats or while standing in shallow water. (No fee; Cedar Drive, Miller Place)

40. Snack on carnival food. You don’t need to attend a summer carnival to enjoy its delicacies. Keep summer alive as you snack on cotton candy from Shock Ice Cream in Westhampton Beach, fried dough from Saverio’s in Massapequa or sausage, peppers and onions from GNG Italian Sausage Hut, a food truck parked in Island Park 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday. If a soft pretzel is what you’re craving, try the oversized bite at Riverhead Cider House that comes complete with dipping sauces. 

41. Explore the arboretums. Bayard Cutting Arboretum is open for self-guided tours (group tours have been canceled) Tuesday through Sunday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. For $8 per car, you can explore the grounds and take in the nature photo-ops. (440 Montauk Hgwy., Great River; bayardcuttingarboretum.com)

42. Take your dog to the dog park. Fido has been enjoying all this one-on-one time, but he’ll enjoy it even more at the dog park. Let him roam unleashed at a park in Nassau or Suffolk, such as the Eugene Nickerson Beach Park Dog Run (880 Lido Blvd.) or the Cedar Creek Park Dog Run (Merrick Road in Seaford).

43. Sing along at a drive-in concert. Last Child, an Aerosmith experience, performs a drive-in show Saturday, Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. in the Sid Jacobson JCC parking lot in East Hills. ($30 per car, 300 Forest Drive, sjjcc.org/drivein)

44. Explore the night sky. The Custer Institute and Observatory in Southold is participating in the International Observe the Moon Night event on Sept. 26. Starting at 7 p.m., head out as Ed Anderson, a member of the Astronomical Society of Long Island (ASLI) and of the Custer Institute, shares tips on how to view the moon with binoculars or a small telescope. Admission is free but tickets are required. (1115 Main Bayview Rd., custerobservatory.org)

45. Dine at a pop-up restaurant. Dine at Pawpaw for a secret(ish) North Fork supper that’s only offered select Saturday evenings at 6:00 and 8:30 p.m. The menu changes weekly is dictated by what’s been farmed locally. ($75, 208 Main St., Greenport, pawpawpopup.com)

46. Spend the night at a beachside hotel. Spend just one night at a beachfront hotel such as The Allegria in Long Beach or Sound View in Greenport and you’ll wake up feeling refreshed. Both offer up water-view rooms. (Allegria: 80 W. Broadway, allegriahotelny.com; Sound View: 58775 County Rd. 48, soundviewgreenport.com) 

47. Go on a horseback ride. Expert or not, the Bethpage Equestrian Center will take you through picturesque trail rides in Bethpage State Park and the Bethpage State Park Golf Course. Rides are $50 per person, for one hour. (499 Winding Rd., bethpageequestriancenter.com) 

48. Go bird-watching. Keep that phone in your pocket, pick your favorite park and look up. Keep your eyes out for birds in their natural habitat. 

49. Seek out a hidden restaurant. What looks like a small house overlooking the Peconic River in Riverhead actually houses the Farm Country Kitchen where chef-owner Tom Carson offers a daily-changing lunch menu of soups, salads, sandwiches and wraps. Enjoy the search, then enjoy the food. (513 W Main St., farmcountrykitchenli.com, 631-369-6311) 

50. Visit a farm stand. Whether its fresh-grown produce or home-baked pies you fancy, a farm stand is waiting for you. 

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