Discover Long Island's Official Health & Wellness Ambassador, Dr. Michele C. Reed, is not only our resident wellness expert but also a native Long Islander who enjoys the seasonality of taking her weekly exercise routine outdoors. In a recent interview, we asked her to share some of her favorite spots to capitalize on outdoor exercise adventures while the weather is just right. Here is her list of paths, boardwalks, preserves and parks, perfect for taking in fall colors, peaceful meditations, brisk runs, and more.
Hempstead Lake State Park
Home to over 700-acres complete with pavilions, tennis courts, playgrounds, fields, and paths perfect for hiking and biking. The park contains the largest freshwater lake in Nassau County. Health & Wellness Ambassador Tip: The park's paved and unpaved paths are perfect for walking and riding your bike. Head lakeside to catch some chipmunk and turtles sightings.
Long Beach Boardwalk
Stretching 2.2 miles in length, the boardwalk was recently renovated following Hurricane Sandy and reopened in 2013. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and complete with easy beach access, the boardwalk is the perfect place for runners, walkers, and bikers alike. Health & Wellness Ambassador Tip: This might just be a personal thing, but running 4-miles while staring at the ocean seems easier and makes the time fly by. I like to run one way on the boardwalk and head back on the sand by the water for a little resistance.
Belmont Lake State Park
Belmont Lake State Park boasts over 450-acres with softball fields, miles of hiking/walking trails, a 2-mile long bridle path with stables at Babylon Riding Center, as well as rowboat, kayak, pedal boat, and paddleboat rentals available seasonally. Health & Wellness Ambassador Tip: Perfect for a fall run, choose from many tree-lined trails and take in the colorful changing autumn leaves.
Norman Levy Preserve
The preserve is a man-made park with many groomed trails that take visitors to the top of a hill. The trails include exercise stations and the park also boasts fishing, bird spotting, kayaking, and hiking amenities. Health & Wellness Ambassador Tip: Head to the top of the hill for one of my favorite views of the NYC skyline, plus there are plenty of paths and hills for a scenic run/walk.
Robert Moses State Park
Robert Moses State Park is an 875- acre park located on the western end of Fire Island and accessible by the Robert Moses Causeway across the Great South Bay. Established in 1908, the park is the oldest state park on Long Island and is known for its five-mile stretch of beaches on the Atlantic Ocean. Health & Wellness Ambassador Tip: This is one of my favorite escapes when I need a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Enjoy the surrounding nature and wildlife with the ocean in the background and the lighthouse on the horizon.
WildPlay at Jones Beach State Park
WildPlay Element Park at Jones Beach State Park is a fun and exciting adventure park for adults and kids aged 5 and up. Located right off of the Jones Beach Boardwalk, the facility features three different style adventure courses that are guaranteed to make you sweat. Here, guests will enjoy an out-of-the-box exercise adventure complete with ziplining, cargo net crawls, tightrope walks, and the chance to fly through the air on rope swings and swinging logs. If you really want to test your limits, the Extreme Course was designed to do just that. For a sneak peek of what to expect, check out our Long Island TV segment below! Health & Wellness Tip: Cool down after your total-body workout adventure with a relaxing stroll on the Jones Beach Boardwalk. The path stretches nearly four miles down the coast and offers serene views of the Atlantic Ocean.