Free Things to Do on Long Island
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Looking for something fun to do on Long Island that won’t break the bank? The economy has been rough on many of Long Island families. But don’t worry, there are plenty of free things to do to keep you and your family entertained. Here are a few suggestions of free things to do on Long Island …
Beaches: Long Island has a wealth of public beaches to explore. Whether you want to dip your toes in the water or watch the sunset over the sandy beaches, parking is FREE before Memorial Day and after Labor Day, and typically after 5 or 6pm throughout the year.
Boardwalk Bandshells: During the summer months, Jones Beach Boardwalk Bandshell offers FREE outdoor summer concerts on the boardwalk in the evenings starting at 7:30 pm. Parking is free after 6pm in Field Four. Just pack up your kids, a few beach chairs and beverages…and kick back and enjoy the show! You must be 21 years of age to drink. Please drink responsibly and designate a driver.
Outdoor Summer Concerts: Long Island’s towns put on a series of live music, outdoor summer shows all across Long Island; for example, the town of Nesconset uses a local town park, and has had some great shows covering legendary rock bands like The Rolling Stones, Queen and The Police. Other towns offering FREE outdoor summer concerts include Glen Cove, Lindenhurst, Deer Park, North Hempstead, Long Beach, Smithtown, Montauk, Northport, Oyster Bay, Sag Harbor, Sayville, Southampton, Stonybrook and Westbury Square, to name just a few.
Port Towns and Boardwalks: Long Island has many port, waterfront and historical towns to explore. It’s FREE to walk the boardwalks in Long Beach and Freeport or enjoy a beautiful day walking around waterfront towns such as Northport, Port Washington, Cold Spring Harbor and Port Jefferson. Some towns offer museums and the chance to explore the local heritage and history of the area. Stony Brook’s Grist Mill tour is only $2 per adult and $1 per child; call (631)751-2244 for more information. Exploring a new town can be fun and an inexpensive adventure for the whole family.
Wineries and Vineyards: Many wineries on Long Island’s north and south fork offer FREE entertainment in both winter and summer months, outdoor seating areas and low cost or free wine tastings. Bring an array of snacks and relax with your family in the covered patios or outdoor seating areas! Some even offer petting zoos and host art shows. An assortment of live music is often featured with various types of musical styles, from rock and roll to jazz, acoustic and classical, there is certainly something for everyone. Make sure you don’t miss out on the fun… explore the east end with your family this summer!
Museums: The Nassau County Museum of Art in Roslyn Harbor is FREE of charge on weekdays and a mere $2 parking fee on weekends. Other free museums include Stony Brook’s Museum of Natural Science, the American Guitar Museum in New Hyde Park, and The African American Museum and Center of Education and Applied Art in Hempstead.
Tulip Festival: Huntington’s Annual Tulip Festival at Hecksher Park offers tons of interesting booths, entertainment and plenty of beautiful flowers. This FREE event is typically at the beginning of May and is a rain or shine event. There are plenty of free events, festivals and parades at Huntington’s Hecksher Park throughout the year, so be sure to check for upcoming events.
Music Festivals: There are many festivals all over Long Island, notably Montauk’s Annual Music Festival. This festival is generally held in the middle of May and is FREE of charge. Click here for the website and schedule. Another excellent event is the Long Beach Jazz Fest typically held in September; Click here for the website and schedule.
Annual County Fairs: The Brookhaven Annual Fair runs from the end of May through the middle of June. Charges are $8 per person for admission and FREE for children under the age of 2.
Zoos and Animal Preserves: The town of Brookhaven Ecology Site, Park & Animal Preserve offers a petting zoo with FREE admission and is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., seven days a week. The Town of Brookhaven Ecology Site Park & Animal Preserve, Buckley Road, Holtsville, NY. (631) 758-9664
Memorial Parks: Grumman Memorial Park is FREE and open daily to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (weather permitting.) Located on Route 25 in Calverton, NY, the Grumman Corporation (now the Northrop Grumman Corporation) has had been an integral part of the history of the area and is located on the former Grumman Aerospace Flight Test Facility in Suffolk County.
Of course, these items represent only a small fraction of Long Island’s free things to do. Whether it’s the airshow on Memorial Day at Jones Beach, the numerous free concerts, or the philharmonic summer concerts at our state parks, there are simply an abundance of choices available. Long Island’s state parks also offer miles of hiking trails, beautiful gardens and gorgeous beaches. Take advantage of the rich heritage of Long Island’s history and explore all that the island has to offer with your family this year.
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Photo credit: Carrie Brandstrom