The crisp arrival of autumn blankets Long Island in vibrant hues, transforming the region into a captivating tapestry of colors and experiences. The foliage transforms the landscape while the air becomes brisk and invigorating – perfect for leisurely strolls, bike rides, and hikes with the family all under a canopy of colorful leaves.
There are dozens of places across Long Island that showcase the beautiful foliage this time of year, from the gardens of mansions and arboretums to the many trails of our parks and preserves. In order to catch all of the colors in their complete fall glory, we’ve put together the ultimate guide for witnessing this beautiful time of year on Long Island.
Insider’s Note: Be sure to snap some pictures of the scenery while you explore, and tag Discover Long Island when you post on social media!
The North Shore is a gold mine for finding nature preserves, sanctuaries, county parks, state parks, bike trails, farms, mansions, and historic sites. The go-to region for scenic fall excursions — the hilly landscapes and miles of trees provide picturesque fall views that are Instagram-worthy.
- Old Westbury Gardens (Old Westbury, NY): Located on an elegant estate featuring a sprawling formal garden over 200 acres, this spectacular mansion in Old Westbury is surrounded by fall foliage and autumn colors.
- Caumsett State Park (Huntington, NY) Offering miles of walking, hiking, AND biking trails in Lloyd Neck that are ideal for spotting the changing of the leaves and a variety of indigenous wildlife, history buffs will be pleased to learn that the historic Henry Lloyd Manor House built in 1711 still sits on the property.
- Planting Fields (Oyster Bay, NY): Featuring 409 acres of greenhouses, rolling lawns, formal gardens, woodland paths, and an outstanding plant collection, Planting Fields is a magnificent Gold Coast estate from the 1920s in Oyster Bay that is perfect to roam and take in the imagery this fall.
- Sands Point Preserve (Sands Point, NY): Home to three spectacular mansions, Falaise, Hempstead, and Castle Gould, the preserve’s green centerpiece is the Great Lawn. With more than 200 acres of natural and landscaped areas, Sands Point offers six marked hiking trails that weave through woods, scenic cliffs, gardens, and a freshwater pond with views of the Long Island Sound.
- Caleb Smith State Park Preserve (Smithtown, NY): Located in Smithtown, Caleb Smith features 543 acres of woodlands with marked trails ideal for exploring with a family. The Preserve provides hiking, cross-country skiing, nature trails, as well as fly fishing. Comprised of freshwater wetlands, ponds, streams, fields and upland woods, the park is nestled in the middle of a suburb. A nature museum is also housed on the premises.
- Quogue Wildlife Refuge (Quogue, NY): The Quogue Wildlife Refuge features 305 acres of marked trails that wind around ponds surrounded by fall colors. The seven miles of hiking trails are free to visit every day of the year from sunrise to sunset. Take a peaceful hike through the Pine Barrens, walk along Quantuck Creek at the Fairy Dell Boardwalk, or visit the Outdoor Wildlife Complex. Dogs and bicycles are NOT permitted.
While the South Shore of Long Island is most popular for its white-sand beaches in the summer, there are so many go-to places to experience the beauty of fall from state parks to arboretums with well-preserved nature trails and miles of hiking.
- Connetquot River State Park (Oakdale, NY): With over 50 miles of hiking, horseback riding, nature trails, and fishing on the Connetquot River, this state park and preserve has over 3,000 acres of land and water for the protection of its animals. Pop in for a hike and leave with some selfies with your new furry friends.
- Massapequa Preserve (Massapequa, NY): This 423-acre parcel of land comprises the largest single acquisition by Nassau County of New York City watershed property. The preserve is divided into three sections bounded by major roadways. The longest hiking trail in Nassau County, the Nassau-Suffolk Greenbelt Trail, begins at Merrick Road and Ocean Avenue and continues through the length of the preserve, ending at Cold Spring Harbor.
- Muttontown Preserve (East Norwich, NY): Nassau County's largest nature preserve spans more than 550 acres and includes a historic estate. The terrain is varied with meadows, streams, and woodlands that are home to birds, small mammals, and many different types of native plants and trees.
- Bayard Cutting Arboretum (Oakdale, NY): Located in Oakdale, the arboretum has 690 acres of lawns and open meadows, a wildflower garden, a marshy refuge, and many nature trails for bird-watching. Serving as an oasis of beauty and quiet, the arboretum is a source of pleasure, rest, and refreshment.
- Prosser Pines Preserve (Middle Island, NY): This preserve is one of the most impressive places to catch the changing of the leaves. Offering 15 acres of white pine forest views, this park serves as the ideal backdrop for any fall photography.
- Cedar Creek Park (Seaford, NY): This park in Seaford is a great place to be active while taking in the views. With paths available for walkers, runners, and bikers, this 259-acre park also serves as the entry point for a six-mile paved path to Jones Beach.
- Bethpage State Park (Farmingdale, NY): Bethpage State Park is usually well-known for its famous golf courses, but the park also features miles of family-friendly hiking trails to explore. In fact, there are 5 miles of paths that cut through the Long Island Greenbelt Trail. It also offers biking trails for you to enjoy with your family, paired with several picnic areas perfect for a lunch pit stop.
With a combination of mature trees and meadows as well as a mix of fresh and saltwater wetlands, the North Fork has some of the most scenic trails on Long Island from preserves to county parks that offer access to the Long Island Sound.
- Sound View Dunes Park (Southold, NY): Located in Peconic with 57 acres of beach, dune, wetland, and forest habitat, the trails at Sound View Dunes offer stunning views of the Long Island Sound with the Beach Trail providing a leisurely hike and the Forest Trail providing a more challenging option.
- Downs Farm Preserve (Cutchogue, NY): Explore Cutchogue’s 51-acre parcel of land with miles of trails that adjoin farmlands and the tidal wetlands of Downs Creek. The National Historic Landmark has the perfect scenic routes for catching the fall splendor of the North Fork.
- New York State Bicycle Route 25: For the ideal biking path with 67 miles of road, Route 25 connects to the EPCAL bike path and runs from Smithtown east to Orient Point, diverging off Route 25 in parts of Riverhead and Aquebogue and also connects with Route 48 in Southold.
- Laurel Lake Preserve (Southold, NY): With an abundance of wildlife and home to a large water-filled kettle hole formed more than 10,000 years ago, Laurel Lake offers 14 miles of hiking trails in the Town of Southold.
The celebrity-famed Hamptons on Long Island’s South Fork is known for the glitz, glam, and luxury that summer has to offer. But did you know that the South Fork also has gorgeous fall foliage to catch on a hike or while on a biking excursion?
- Red Creek Town Park (Hampton Bays, NY): Located on Old Riverhead Road in Hampton Bays, the park has a well-marked nature trail that winds over hills and pine barrens. Choose between the 3.3-mile or 1.6-mile hike to get the full fall experience in the Hamptons.
- Northwest Woods (East Hampton, NY): For those looking for good South Fork hiking and biking trails, try out the mostly single-track loop for intermediate hikers and bikers in the Northwest Woods. With trails leading to the bay, bikers can breeze by and admire all the splendor fall has to offer.
- Sears Bellows County Park (Hampton Bays, NY): A hidden gem of Long Island, the 979-acre Hampton Bays park offers an extensive trail system to attract hikers and horseback riders with a beautiful forest that leads down to the water.
- Westhampton Dwarf Pine Plains (East Quogue, NY): Known for its rare dwarf pine trees, this preserve is one of three dwarf pine forests in the world. The trail is shorter than most on this list but the trek through the unique and rare ecosystem makes it worth it.
To experience scenic beauty surrounded by historical significance, Shelter Island has 20+ properties to explore from gorgeous nature preserves to well-marked trails for the avid hiker. Since 1998, the Town has preserved 363 acres of land with fisheries, viewsheds, endangered plants, and animal species.
- Mashomack Preserve: Edged in by 11 miles of coastline, Mashomack on Shelter Island is considered one of the richest habitats in the Northeast covering 2,350 acres of interlacing tidal creeks, mature oak woodlands, fields, freshwater marshes, and underwater lands to explore and enjoy.
- Turkems Rest Preserve: For peace and quiet, Turkems Rest has a single trail that leads to Shelter Island’s largest body of fresh water. The incomparable view is accompanied by the osprey birds that nest in the trees and the gorgeous fall colors that surround the pond.
- Sachem’s Woods: Accessible through North Midway Road or Route 114, Sachem’s Woods is located on 36 acres of land with a looping trail a little over a mile that winds through an enchanting forest of oak and beech with a large white pine in the majestic center clearing.
- Bunker City County Park: One of the few places on Shelter Island where you can see beyond the Forks into the Atlantic, Bunker City is best accessible through Menhaden Lane off Gardiners Bay Drive. A coastal preserve, the 35-acre tract of land is home to protected species such as Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus and Red Cedar.