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Insider’s Guide to Catching Long Island’s Fall Splendor

September 12, 2019

Autumn in the northeast is unlike any other region in the United States. As the days shorten and temperatures drop, the leaves begin to change from green to yellow, orange, and red, creating a beautiful array of colors that cannot be missed.

There are dozens of places across Long Island that showcase the colorful foliage as you hike or bike the many trails of our parks, preserves and mansions/arboretums. Here’s a complete list of spots that are sure to please the senses this fall. To discover where you BeLong this Autumn, see our full list of Fall Festivities & Seasonal Specials on Long Island.

Hotspots on the North Shore

The North Shore of Long Island is generally the go-to region for scenic fall excursions, with hilly landscapes and Gatsby-like mansions.

Fall Splendor of the leaves changing at Caleb Smith State Park Preserve

Caleb Smith State Park Preserve

While on the North Shore, visit Caleb Smith State Park Preserve in Smithtown. This park offers 543 acres of woodlands with marked trails that are great to explore and take in the amazing views. While there, you can also check out the Nature Museum on the premises that showcases natural history exhibits.

Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve in Huntington offers miles of scenic nature trails and paths that wind through gardens, woodlands, meadows, and the shores of the Long Island Sound. In that area but looking for more of a climb? Head to West Hills County Park in Huntington to take a walk along the historic and picturesque Walt Whitman trail to Jayne’s Hill, Long Island’s highest peak.

If your feeling adventurous, you can also catch the foliage at the top of the rolling hills in Sunken Meadow State Park in Kings Park. Fronting the Long Island Sound, you can enjoy hiking six miles of trails, biking, horseback riding and picnicking.

King’s Park is also the home of Nissequogue River State Park. The Greenbelt Trail, for walking and hiking, parallels the Nissequogue River and provides scenic views of the river and the Long Island Sound from the top of the bluffs.

Don’t Leave Just Yet…

The North Shore is the home to several beautiful mansions that you can enjoy. The Muttontown Preserve in East Norwich is the home to the Chelsea Mansion and offers a 550-acre preserve featuring glacial kame and kettle ponds plus various successions fields and woodlands.

Sands Point Preserve has 3 spectacular mansions: Falaise, Hempstead House and Castle Gould. With miles of trails and a beautiful garden, you can walk the grounds as you enjoy the view of the Long Island Sound. With Port Washington close by, you can spend some time at the amazing shops and restaurants as well.

Sand's Point, Hempstead House

Sand’s Point – Hempstead House

Other grounds to explore are Old Westbury Mansion and Gardens, Planting Fields Arboretum/Coe Hall, and the Vanderbilt Mansion and Museum in Centerport. Here you’ll find a natural history museum and the mansion of William K. Vanderbilt, heir to one of America’s greatest railroad fortunes.

Hotspots on the South Shore

The South Shore of Long Island is most popular for its white sand beaches in the summer, but there’s definitely some go-to places to experience the beauty of fall. Connetquot River State Park maintains 3,473 acres of land and water for the protection and propagation of fame birds, fish and animals. The preserve also has 50 miles of hiking, horseback riding, and nature trails, as well as fishing on the Connetquot River.

The leaves changing color at Connetquot River State Park

Connetquot River State Park

Bayard Cutting Arboretum in Oakdale has 690 acres of lawns and open meadows, a wildflower garden, a marshy refuge, and many nature trails for bird watching. The manor house features fireplaces, antique woodwork and Tiffany stained windows. An interesting side note—its landscaping and tree planting was designed by the famous design firm, Fredrick Law Olmstead, who later designed both New York’s Central Park and Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.

Seaford’s Cedar Creek Park is a great place to be active while taking in the views. This 259-acre park offers jogging paths, an aerodrome field, an archery field, and a dog run area. It also serves as the entry point for a six-mile paved path to Jones Beach for joggers, hikers, cyclists and rollerblade enthusiasts.

You can also head to Bethpage State Park for picnic facilities, bridle paths, hiking and biking trails, playing fields, tennis courts, and five world-class gold courses. A short distance away is Eisenhower Park, which is considered Nassau County’s own “Central Park”. This 930-acre park is a mecca for sports and leisure fun for all.

Also Check Out…

Before leaving the South Shore, you should head to the trendy villages of Babylon, Sayville, or Patchogue. These small towns offer dozens of unique shops and restaurants.

Another fun adventure is a visit to Old Bethpage Village Restoration. Considered Long Island’s 19th-Century “Living History” Museum, it provides visitors an opportunity to step back in time and experience life in a recreated mid-19th-century American village. Each fall, the village hosts the Long Island Fair that features the best of old-time county fairs.

Downtown Patchogue on Long Island

Downtown Patchogue

After the excitement of your outdoor excursion, you’ll want to warm up at one of our local restaurants, breweries, wineries, or spend the night at one of the many lodging locations available so you can enjoy another colorful fall day on Long Island.

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