Long Island summers – they’re like a perfectly blended cocktail of sun-kissed adventures, salty breezes, and endless possibilities. Whether you’re a born-and-raised local or a lucky visitor itching to explore, this sunny slice of paradise has something for everyone. From beach days that rival postcards to mouthwatering culinary delights and quirky attractions tucked away in every corner, get ready to dive headfirst into a season filled with laughter, relaxation, and unforgettable memories.

With a plethora of epic outdoor escapades dotting the region, we didn’t have to search too hard to curate a collection of must-try activities perfectly tailored for embracing the Long Island Summer vibes. While some items featured are beloved landmarks and events synonymous with our region, our list also unveils numerous hidden gems and offbeat experiences guaranteed to elevate summer 2024 to unparalleled heights.

 

1. Soar into Memorial Day Weekend at the Bethpage Air Show

airshow

Take Memorial Day Weekend to new heights and see the fighter jets at the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach. Marking its 20th year, the show boasts numerous featured guests, with the US Navy Blue Angels as the headline act. The United States Army Golden Knights Parachute Team will make their 17th appearance, other military performers joining the lineup include the US Navy F-35C Tac Demonstration Team, the US Coast Guard, and even the SUNY Farmingdale State College Flying Rams, who plan to fly 22 of their college-owned aircraft. This annual spectacle over the world-famous beach is one of the most popular air shows in the country, consistently attracting well over 200,000 in recent years.

 

2. Get Nostalgic at Nookie’s: a 50s themed restaurant in Greenport

Nookies

Cozied up in the Southwest corner of Silver Sands Motel is Nookies. It’s like stepping into a time capsule: imagine mint-green swivel barstools, bright orange ceramic mugs, and shiny chrome details. Nookies is a haven for both simplicity and flair, where nostalgia meets unexpectedly delightful cuisine and drinks. Their menu draws inspiration from the North Fork region and the Mediterranean, incorporating fresh local produce, grilled dishes, salads, and other regionally inspired creations.

 

3. Catch New York in bloom at Waterdrinker Family Farm and Lavender by The Bay

sunflowers at waterdrinker

Step up your Instagram game with a visit to Lavender by the Bay this summer. Immerse yourself in a purple paradise of over 80,000 blooming lavender plants across two expansive farms nestled in Long Island’s North Fork Wine Country. Relax in an Adirondack chair, marvel at the industrious honeybees, and peruse the onsite farm stands offering fresh lavender bunches, lavender honey, and other seasonal delights.

Discover the enchanting flower fields at Waterdrinker Family Farm in Manorville, renowned for its renowned Tulip Festival in spring and sunflower u-pick in summer. Spend your afternoon strolling amidst a golden sea, interacting with friendly farm animals, and basking in the warm glow of the sunflower fields at dusk. It's a summer experience like no other!"

 

4. Stay in a waterfront bungalow in Westhampton
beach and bay bungalows

Hear the waves of the Atlantic Ocean crashing against the crisp, white sand and smell the salt emanating from the silky-smooth bay at Beach & Bay Bungalows in Westhampton Beach. It is the perfect confluence of Hamptons chic, beachside living, and an authentic getaway.

 

5. Zipline and test your limits at WildPlay in Jones Beach

Wildplay at jones beach

If it's adventure you seek, Long Island has bucket-list worthy activities for you! Visit WildPlay at Jones Beach and put your endurance to the test with its many rope courses, 700-ft. long zipline, and 40-ft. bungee jump while overlooking miles of white sand and crashing waves. With three levels of obstacles to choose from, the park is the perfect place for kids and adults alike.

 

6. Have a weekend getaway overlooking the Peconic at The Pridwin

pridwin

The Pridwin Hotel and Cottages is a classic American resort hotel that has been providing guests a unique experience on Shelter Island since 1927. Lapping waves of a sandy beach transition to sweeping green lawns with Adirondack chairs. To get there, it is a simple ten-minute ferry ride over the Shelter Island Sound departing from either Greenport or North Haven. At the Pridwin, there is a spa, delicious dining options, a pool, bikes, nearby hiking trails, tennis, yoga, watersports—everything you could want for a Long Island summer getaway.

 

7. Explore what Long Island Wine Country has to offer

Sparkling Point long island wine country

Long Island Wine Country boasts 75+ distinct wine producers divided between the North Fork, South Fork, and western Suffolk County. Representing a deep, seasonal, and decades-long relationship between land and table, Long Island winemaking leads to the most amazing consumer experience.

There are so many wineries to check out, but if you're craving gourmet Italian food or some Froze, you must visit Del Vino Vineyards in Northport. And if you're looking for live music with a wine tasting, Pindar Vineyards in Peconic has performers booked. For a gorgeous atmosphere, check out Sparkling Point

 

8. Set sail on a yacht

Onda Bella Cruises

With hundreds of miles of captivating coastline, it goes without saying that boating on Long Island is a huge commodity. Whether you’re a boat owner or not, there are endless opportunities to set sail or tie up and enjoy this iconic #IslandLife pastime.

Sail in style and comfort on the beautiful waters of Greenport Harbor when you book the luxurious Onda Bella Cruises, the spot for a European-inspired cruise experience. Onboard the 22-foot electric yacht, you’ll savor hors d’oeuvres, enjoy music, indulge in some drinks, and partake in water activities.

 

9. Ride on the Tiki Boat

tiki boat

The Tiki Boat is a bar/nightclub on the water, and a must-try experience this summer. You can rent the tiki boat out for a private party, or book one of the scheduled trips with other guests. The boat features a spacious dance floor, for dancing enthusiasts to boogie along with authentic tropical music, transporting you to a Caribbean Island paradise. Sip on some cocktails, sway to the music (and the waves), and party.

 

10. Experience the East Coast’s ultimate LGBTQ+ Pride Celebration: The Fire Island Invasion

invasion of the pines

Fire Island is a famed beach haven only accessible by ferry and best known for its pristine beaches, laid-back vibe by day, vibrant scene by night, and its two wildly popular LGBTQ+ communities, Cherry Grove and The Fire Island Pines. Fire Island brims with LGBTQ Pride all summer long and hosts an annual celebration, largely known only by word of mouth for decades: The Fire Island Invasion!

Since the summer of 1976, visitors and seasonal residents of Fire Island’s Cherry Grove don their finest drag and gather at the Ice Palace 23nightclub at the Grove Hotel on the 4th of July. Following a lively procession through the streets, participants embark on the ferry to Fire Island’s Pines Harbor, where they are met with thunderous celebration and applause from thousands of spectators, marking the beginning of a parade that spills into a community-wide celebration. As each drag queen disembarks the ferry and strides onto the dock, they are ceremoniously introduced by Panzi, the original leader of the 1976 invasion who now serves as the Mistress of Ceremonies. These festivities have evolved into a cherished event known as “The Invasion of the Pines,” commemorating a pivotal moment in LGBTQ+ history.

 

11. Swim with sharks at Long Island Aquarium

swim with sharks aquarium

Calling all daredevils! The Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead has a once in a lifetime adventure for you. Experience the Shark Dive, where you’ll be placed inside a cage in the depths of the 120,000-gallon Lost City of Atlantis Shark Habitat as sharks and schools of fish swirl and swim around you! Learn all about these magnificent creatures as you are guided through their habitat alongside a professional diver.  While you’re there, catch the marvelous Sea Lion Show or hang out with penguins, sea lions, and other interactive animal encounters at the aquarium. 

 

12. Check out the ultimate Billy Joel exhibit in the LIMEHOF

LIMEHOF Billy Joel

A stop at the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame is a must this summer to check out the museum’s special exhibit named: ‘Billy Joel – My Life, A Piano Man’s Journey’. This exciting display will run only through summer 2024 and promises a deep dive into the Piano Man's incredible career, featuring rare memorabilia, records, and instruments donated from the singer’s personal collection.

 

13. Scale the steps of an iconic lighthouse

montauk lighthouse

Lighthouses have been guiding ships at sea to, from, and around Long Island for centuries with the oldest being Montauk Lighthouse commissioned by President George Washington himself in 1792! Celebrated as the oldest lighthouse in New York, the Montauk Point Lighthouse is still in operation and its flashes can be seen every five seconds from up to 19 nautical miles away. Prepare for a scenic climb up the lighthouse as glorious crashing waves and rocky shorelines that can be seen for miles await you at the top. At Fire Island Lighthouse, experience the island’s natural beauty and maritime history when you take the 182-step climb up the landmark building! See the magnificent, panoramic view of the ocean, Fire Island, the bays and Long Island to the north and on a clear day, the NYC skyline. 

 

14. Dare to dive at Long Island Skydiving Center

skydive

Conveniently located just 50 miles from the city, Long Island Skydiving Center’s drop zone is super easy to access, and the views are second to none. On clear days, you can see all the way to Montauk and New York City. Tackle your fears and see Long Island from a whole new angle.

 

15. Hit the trails at the Sunken Forest

sunken forest

Off Long Island’s South Shore, you’ll find the iconic, car-free beach haven Fire Island. While the island itself might be known across the globe, it’s home to a hidden treasure – a rare natural wonder missed by many.  That’s why the Sunken Forrest in Sailor’s Haven, one of the last remaining maritime forests on the eastern seaboard, is at the top of our 2024 bucket list.

When you traverse this peaceful forest and its meandering boardwalks, you’ll feel like you’re below sea level.  This unique 40-acre nature oasis is home to a globally rare collection of plants which can be seen with a walk along the Sunken Forest Nature Trail, a thin strip of forest about a ¼ mile wide and 1.5 miles long.  On the trail, you’ll likely encounter deer, foxes and other wildlife.

 

16. Namaste on the water

floating yoga

Salty Soul Yoga offers yoga classes on paddleboards at various locations across the island. The combination of paddleboarding and yoga is perfect to kill two birds with one stone regarding summer fitness. And the best part—the class is completely beginner friendly, and there is no experience necessary.

Upgrade from your ordinary yoga class and gain a new level of balance on the water.

 

17. See a show under the stars at Jones Beach Theater

jones beach theater

Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater is an open-air amphitheater right on the beach with views of the ocean. The concerts at Jones Beach make for an awesome and memorable night due to the unique venue. This summer’s lineup includes Maroon 5, Alanis Morissette, Jason Aldean, Train, Third Eye Blind, Imagine Dragons, New Kids on the Block, Lynyrd Skynyrd and ZZ Top, and Avril Lavigne.

 

18. Visit the Gold Coast Mansions

oheka castle

Live out your Great Gatsby fantasies with a trip to Long Island’s Gold Coast, home to stunning grand estates set against pristine gardens and shimmering coastlines. Tour the mansions of the Roaring Twenties where industry tycoons (including the Vanderbilts and Guggenheims) reigned supreme and served as the inspiration behind The Great Gatsby.  Stay overnight at the luxurious Oheka Castle, often serving as a set for major Hollywood productions. 

Other must-see mansions for the ultimate Gilded Age experience include Old Westbury Gardens (Westbury), Sands Point Preserve (Sands Point), Coe Hall at Planting Fields Arboretum (Oyster Bay), Marshall Field Estate at Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve (Huntington) and Vanderbilt Museum (Centerport). 

 

19. Attend the Annual Hamptons Interactive Brunch

hamptons interactive brunch

This annual lifestyle brunch event series by Vanessa Gordon celebrates its 5th year running in the Hamptons. The experience brings guests gourmet tasting and beverage stations, designer trunk shows, complimentary beauty and spa treatments, and unforgettable memories. This year the event takes place on June 22nd, so mark your calendars to enjoy this iconic event.

 

20. Have rosé and lobster at Duryeas or Lily’s Seaside

Lily's seaside

Duryea’s is one of the most popular summer spots on Long Island. You’ll feel transported to Mykonos as you dine on the deck at sunset and taste iconic dishes like the lobster rolls and Peconic Bay oysters. The seafood is the freshest, the views are the prettiest, and the service is the most attentive. The original Montauk location is walk-in only, keeping in line with the classic tradition of clipboard orders at the cashier’s window.

Lily’s Seaside at Silly Lily Fishing Station (say that ten times fast) in East Moriches has the perfect retro summer vibes. Lily’s has fun events lined up all season long, from bingo on the bay, to bayside brunch, to free chauffeured boat rides. So, as the tides beckon, it’s essential to stop by for a drink and some seafood.

 

21. Dive into fun at Splish Splash

splish splash

Splish Splash is fun for the whole family—kids from 1 to 92! Splish Splash is the largest water park in the tri-state area. With over 20 uniquely-themes water attractions, from high-speed slides, to wave pools, to a large Kiddie Area, and even the first water coaster in New York, the park is sure to satisfy thrill seekers, sunbathers, and tiny tots alike.

 

22. Tee off where the pros golf

bethpage black

Long Island is the home of classic American golf from beautiful public courses and world-renowned private clubs to professional tournaments like the US Open and PGA Championship. Coming soon in 2025, Long Island will host the Ryder Cup for the first time at Bethpage State Park’s Black Course, the largest international golf event. In the meantime, be sure to visit Sunken Meadow State Park Golf Course, West Sayville Golf course, Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course, and naturally, Bethpage State Park.

Some weather-proof golfing options include Birdies Indoor Golf and cocktail bar in Patchogue, and X-Golf in Westbury and Commack, held at an indoors entertainment facility.

 

23. Ride some coasters at Adventureland

adventureland

Adventureland has been Long Island’s amusement park since 1962 in Farmingdale. The entertainment hub includes over 30 adult and kiddie rides, a state-of-the-art arcade, a restaurant and a gift shop. Experience FireBall, North America’s first and only rollerball Coaster, or take a spin on Turbulence, Long Island’s only spinning coaster. For a refreshing adventure, you’ll find a couple of water rides. Little ones will love the teacups, merry-go-round, and the train ride. Two new rides were unveiled this 2024 season: Moon Chaser and the Jr. Pirate Ship!

 

24. Party downtown across the island

greenport

Stroll along a charming waterfront view or lively main street in one of Long Island’s many walkable downtowns. For a spot with seaside charm, visit Port Jefferson. And for rowdy nightlife, visit Patchogue or Farmingdale.

At the tip of Long Island’s North Fork is the walkable harbor front village of Greenport, named by Forbes as one of the 11 prettiest towns in America.