Long Island Nature Preserves

Long Island has plentiful nature preserves that offer secluded forests, wetlands, and fields for hikers, birdwatchers, and other nature enthusiasts to explore the natural wonders of the island.  Many preserves are also home to animal sanctuaries, historical buildings from Long Island’s Gold Coast era, and science, history, and art museums.  For an inexpensive (or even free) outing with the family, take a look at some of these preserves across Long Island.

Suffolk County Preserves

Sweetbriar Nature Center
62 Eckernkamp Drive
Smithtown, NY 11787

This family-friendly nature center consists of a historic home on a scenic 54 acre property that lets visitors see a variety of resident mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds up close.  There is also a butterfly house that is open in the spring and summer. 

Caleb Smith State Park Preserve
581 West Jericho Turnpike
Smithtown, NY 11787

At Caleb Smith, visitors can view the recently renovated Nature Museum, which showcases natural history exhibits on foxes, otters, and herons.  There are many paths through this 543 acre preserve, and there are also many locations for bird watchers to view warblers and osprey, among other bird species.

Avalon Park and Preserve
199 Harbor Road
Saint James, NY 11780

Avalon has a variety of hiking and biking trails that tour through the park's forests and fields. Created by the Paul Simons Foundation, the park  provides a comfortable location for visitors to peacefully enjoy nature and serves as an essential destination for those with leashed dogs. Additionally, volunteer and stewardship programs are available for teenagers to learn more about caring for the environment.

Connetquot River State Park Preserve
Sunrise Highway/Route 27
Oakdale, NY 11769
631 581-1005

This 3,473 acre preserve includes beautiful views of the Connetquot River which are ideal for birdwatchers and fishermen.  The preserve also has 50 miles of hiking, horseback riding, cross-country ski and nature trails.

Edgewood Oak Brush Plains Preserve
Commack Road
Deer Park, NY 11729

Edgewood Oak Brush Plains Preserve is largely made up of pitch pine-scrub oak barrens, and has foot trails, bike trails, and a model airplane flying field.

Terrell River County Nature Preserve
20 Main Street
Center Moriches, NY 11934
[No number available]

This preserve is bordered by the Moriches Bay and Terrell River, and is a popular birding location.

Cranberry Bog County Nature Preserve
Edwards Avenue South
Riverhead, NY 11901

In this small preserve that functions as a part of the drainage system for the Peconic River, visitors can hike along the Little Peconic River and see various species of plants, birds, and reptiles.

David A. Sarnoff Pine Barrens Preserve
County Road 63
Riverhead, NY 11901

Enjoy the Pine Barrens with hiking, biking, horseback riding, and seasonal hunting with opportunities to catch small- and big-game.

Dwarf Pines Plains Preserve
Sunrise Highway and County Road 31
Westhampton, NY
(No number available)

A dwarf pine plain is a rare ecosystem that exists in only a few locations in the world.  This one has a trail that is 6/10 of a mile long, and gives you the opportunity to spot American kestrels, marsh hawks, and a variety of owls.

Nassau County Preserves

Tackapausha Museum and Preserve
Washington Avenue
Seaford, NY 11783

Tackapausha is a large preserve with a nature sanctuary with animal exhibits and shows for families, as well as interactive activities for children.

Muttontown Preserve
Jericho-Oyster Bay Road
Syosset, NY 11791

The Muttontown Preserve is Nassau County's largest nature preserve, which spans 550 acres of fields, woodlands, ponds and estate grounds.  It also includes such historical buildings as the Chelsea Mansion and Nassau Hall.

Sands Point Preserve
127 Middleneck Road
Port Washington, NY 11050

Here, visitors can explore six different marked trails that lead through forest, meadows, beaches, and a scenic pond.  There are also historic homes on the property that are available during certain hours for tours.

Welwyn Nature Preserve
100 Crescent Beach Road
Glen Cove, NY 11542

This sprawling preserve is on the former estate of an heir to an oil fortune, and has four marked trails through the forest that lead to the shoreline, a wooded stream valley, a pond, and a coastal salt marsh.  The preserve also hosts the Holocaust Memorial and Educational Center, hich has exhibits and educational programs.

Garvies Point Museum and Preserve
50 Barry Drive
Glen Cove, NY 11542

Garvies Point preserve is a serene wooded area with hiking trails, a butterfly garden, and the historic Garvie family cemetery.  Families and history buffs can head to the Garvies Point Museum, which has exhibits on Long Island geology and Native American archaeology, complete with Native American artifacts and geological phenomena.

Massapequa Preserve
Merrick Road and Ocean Avenue
Massapequa, NY 11758

Massapequa Preserve is an incredibly ecologically diverse land, and includes rare and endangered species of plants – including carnivorous ones – and also offers entry to Nassau County’s longest hiking trail.  Fishing is also allowed in several of the lakes and streams, but a permit is required.

Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center
134 Cove Road
Oyster Bay, NY 11771

Originally known as the first Audubon Songbird Sanctuary in the nation, the Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center offers educational programs for all ages on stewardship and conservation.

Mill Neck Preserve
Perry Avenue
Bayville, NY 11709

This beautiful estuary consists of waterways and marshy land, and includes a boat launch that is available to the public.

Stillwell Woods Preserve
South Woods Road
Syosset, NY 11797

Stillwell Woods consists of 270 acres of land that includes the Greenbelt Trail for hikers, as well as bicycle trails and equestrian trails.

Tiffany Creek Preserve
Oyster Bay Cove
Oyster Bay, NY 11771

Winding walking paths are abundant at Tiffany Creek, where there is a trail for every ability level.  The preserve also includes old Gold Coast homes, horse stables, and grazing horses on neighboring estate lands.

Tanglewood Park and Preserve
Tanglewood Road between Ocean Avenue and Lakeview Road
Lakeview, NY 11552

Tanglewood is situated on a small 11 acre parcel of land, and includes a nature trail and new brick walkway surrounding a pond stocked with fish by the New York State Bureau of Fisheries, where visitors can fish with a permit.

Twin Lakes Preserve
Old Mill Road
Wantagh, NY 11793
516 766-1580

Here, sports fishers have the choice of five freshwater ponds to find the day’s catch, and there is a trail system for casual hikers.

Meroke Preserve
Orange St & Farmers Ave
Bellmore, NY 11710
(No number available)

This smaller 25-acre preserve is located between Sunrise Highway and Merrick Road, and has a few marked trails along two small streams that branch off from Newbridge Creek.

Brookside Preserve
Brookside Avenue north of Sunrise Highway
Freeport, NY 11520
(No number available)

The Milburn Creek meanders through this 22-acre freshwater preserve, and provides a serene environment with clear water and a sand and pebble bed.

William Cullen Bryant Preserve
1 Museum Drive
Roslyn Harbor, NY 11576
(No number available)

This preserve is home to the Nassau County Museum of Art, and consists of 141 acres of grounds with formal gardens and outdoor sculptures.