Whether you are on the hunt for a scenic jaunt through Gatsby-style mansions or trekking through a 300-year old Sunken Forest, Long Island’s unique hiking trails will earn some major social media bragging rights for you this season. Here is our go to trail guide – get your cameras ready! Whether you’re hiking along the Fire Island shoreline or getting lost in the jazz age at Sands Point Preserve show us how you explore Long Island.
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Hidden alongside the Long Island Sound is the 216-acre park, Sands Point Preserve. Embodying the grandeur and elegance of Long Island’s famed Gold Coast,, the preserve dates back to the early 20th century. If you’re a fan of literature, then you might recognize this location as being famed the “East Egg” of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “The Great Gatsby”. Not only does this park have historic mansions but six trails that take you through woods, gardens, scenic cliffs, beaches and manicured lawns. Perfect for that insta selfie! Trails 3-6 take visitors all around the beautiful grounds of Castle Gould and Hempstead House where the Long Island Sound is visible.
Muttontown Preserve is known for its beautiful nature walks of wild flowers and woodlands. This preserve features emerging colors and life for all four seasons as participants view the many things nature has to offer. While walking along the 550-acres of fields and ponds, visitors will stumble across the Chelsea Estate which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This is a great spot for a snapshot of the estate peeking through the wildflowers and woodland’s of the trail. Today, you can hike along towering apple trees, wild violets, estate grounds and find the crumbling ruins of King Zog’s Estate on Long Island’s largest nature preserve.
Venture into the mystique on this three-mile shoreline hiking trail, biking, horseback riding and watersports. Stop at the spectacular boardwalk or bluff views of the Long Island Sound for a photo-op. Then, venture down to the beach for a hike along the shore. After your hike, stay a while and have a picnic while watching the waves come and go.
Get nautical and stroll down a ¾ mile walking trail to the Fire Island Lighthouse. Discover the sights, sounds and scents of this barrier island. After years of rebuilding and decommissioning, the lighthouse was restored in 1982 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Experience Fire Island’s natural beauty and maritime history exhibit center at the end of your hiking trail. Hope your cameras charged because you do not want to miss capturing this scenic area.
Extend your hike from the Fire Island Lighthouse and head over to Sailors Haven/Sunken Forest. Hidden between sand dunes this maritime holly forest trail is a rare ecological community. According to the New York Natural Heritage program that means there are a few remaining occurrences of this collection of plants throughout the world. The trail is a one-and-a-half-mile long boardwalk and offers a snack bar with picnic tables at the end. Today, you can visit this rare habitat from May to October, when the ferry runs from Sayville to Sailors Haven.
On the largest lake in Nassau County, Hempstead State Park offers hiking trails alongside three ponds that are accessible for fishing. Shaded picnic areas and a historic hand carved carousel adorns this tranquil state park. Recreate that famous Instagram worthy pic with the carousel along your hike. Visit during the fall season as the leaves change color from green to orange making it the prettiest scenery in town.