It may be too cold and rainy to enjoy much of the outdoors, but there are still ways to enjoy yourself without emptying your wallet. Of all of the free activities on Long Island, there are many to enjoy in the cooler weather. For specific events, be sure to browse our Free Events Calendar, and make sure to check if events are only open to certain groups, such as town residents or those who currently hold library cards at that library in particular. Bundle up and try your hand at one of these activities that certainly won't break the bank!
Make the Most of Your State Parks
Yes, it is chilly, but parking is free at most state parks after certain dates in November, or even as soon as Labor Day. Hither Hills State Park has free parking as soon as Labor Day. After November 16, parking is free at Robert Moses State Park, and after November 23, you can make as many trips as you would like to Sunken Meadow State Park.
Lend a Helping Hand
There are hundreds of volunteer groups across Long Island that can use your help, especially with the start of the holiday season. Volunteer your time at a soup kitchen or at a swap shop that allows people with little money to get warm coats, hats, and gloves for free.
Christmas Tree Lightings
Christmas tree lightings always make for a great free family bonding time. Get into the holiday spirit by seeing your town and neighbors get festive! Keep your eyes peeled for LongIsland.com's Christmas tree lighting guide!
Your local library card is a passport not just to the numerous books and movies that they have on shelves, but it is also the key to get into fun library events for both kids and adults. Check out your local library for after-school and weekend events for the kids, such as crafts, volunteer opportunities, movies, and game nights. For adults, you can also see movies and even join in on educational sessions on varying topics with visiting local experts.
Get Cultured at an Art Gallery or Museum
Attend a free art gallery and enjoy light refreshments at a local library or not-for-profit, like the Matittuck-Laurel Library Art Gallery or the new art show at the Rosalie Dimon Art Gallery in Riverhead. You can also visit one of Long Island’s free museums (yes, free!) – the Nassau County Museum of Art in Roslyn Harbor is free on weekdays and a mere $2 parking fee on weekends, and 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 are all totally free.
Support Local Artists at a Craft Fair
Vendors are turning out in record numbers this holiday season to sell their wares at craft fairs and jump onboard the DIY crafting scene that has made artsy and upcycled crafts some of the most popular gifts this year. You can also get crafty yourself by taking one of those free trips to the state park and collecting shells or beach glass to turn into something brand new!