There’s nothing quite like a group outing to break into spring on the right foot.
The days are getting longer, and the winter wind is starting to lose its bite. Spring is around the corner, and sometimes a change of pace is all you need to brush off the remaining chill.
Why not share the changing season with others?
Whether you’re hitting the road with a youth group, your senior community, your out-of-town family, or any combination of travelers, there’s nothing quite like a group outing to break into spring on the right foot. And as Long Island starts to thaw, there’s plenty of reasons to get out and stretch your legs before the summer rush arrives.
Here’s just a few group trips you can take in and around Long Island this spring:
1. Visit a Winery or Vineyard
Because nothing cures cabin fever quite like a tall glass of local Prosecco.
Whether you plan to scope out the local wineries on the island or want to venture out to the renowned vineyards in the middle of the state, one thing’s for sure: the more, the merrier. Even in the spring—far from the peak of the fall harvest—there’s plenty to see and do, since many vineyards and wineries are itching to show off their spring collections. This season, gear up for the Spring Wine and Cheese Weekend up in Seneca, soak up the sun in Hudson-Chatham Winery out in Hudson Valley, or keep it short and sweet with a winery tour in North Fork.
When you start planning your wine tour itinerary, you may want to reserve a ride service through an area charter bus company, like National Charter Bus New York
. That way, everyone has a safe ride home, and no one has to miss out on the libations. Instead, a professional driver will be there as your DD, ready to whisk you throughout New York wine country in total comfort.
2. Go Seal-Watching
Traveling with nature-lovers or aspiring marine biologists? Plan a field trip
to see the harbor seals during their annual migration!
Come March or April, these adorable pinnipeds pass through the Long Island coastal waters. While you might stumble upon them anywhere there’s a beach, you’re most likely to find them sunbathing along the Atlantic shoreline. Round up your seal-watchers and head out to the designated Harbor Seal Watch Spot on Jones Beach Island, any of the beaches on Fire Island, or the hiking trails around Montauk Point for a glimpse of the springtime beach bums in their natural habitat.
If a guided tour is more your group’s speed, the Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island offers seal-watching walks around Cupsogue Beach County Park.
Even if you still can’t find any out and about—or if the weather doesn’t cooperate—you can always visit the resident harbor seals at the Long Island Aquarium instead.
3. Hit the Beach
Sure, the summer warmth won’t quite settle in until late May or early June, but that doesn’t mean spring beach trips in Long Island are out of the question—though it’ll probably still be too chilly to swim. In fact, planning your group beach excursion for March, April, and May means you can take in the ocean views without dealing with Long Island’s summer vacation crowds.
Here are just a few beaches we recommend for this spring:
Whether you’re taking the 45-minute drive from Manhattan for some sun and surf or you’re a local looking to get your beach on before the summer crowds arrive, Long Beach delivers. Take a stroll down the iconic boardwalk, sun yourself on the powder-white dunes, or people-watch from the benches lined up along the shore. Finding enough cheap parking for multiple cars can be tricky around this popular beach, so consider reserving an alternate form of transportation
before you go.
Sunken Meadow Beach
Tucked away from the more-trafficked parts of South Shore, this North Shore beach is a great option for those seeking peace and quiet. Beyond bumming it on the beach, the surrounding Sunken Meadow State Park offers plenty of activities for outdoor adventure seekers—6 miles of hiking trails, canoeing and kayaking ops along the Sound, and horseback riding amidst the marshes, just to name a few.
Jones Beach State Park is one of the most-visited nature preserves in the state—second only to Niagara Falls. If you’re lucky enough to stop by around Memorial Day, be sure to catch the Bethpage Air Show—the beach’s annual aircraft showcase. Set up your blankets on the sand, lather on the sunscreen, and watch as the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels or the Air Force’s Thunderbirds zoom and spiral overhead.
4. Get Out of Town
Long Island’s centralized location makes it a great launch point for all kinds of day trips across the tri-state area. Of course, the type of outing you plan depends heavily on the crowd you’re going with.
Hitting the road with a bunch of art enthusiasts? You can pop into the city to see a Broadway show
or even venture out to Philly to see the Museum of Art and Rodin Museum.
Or do you just want to get out and smell the roses? There’s plenty of flower festivals just a hop, skip, and jump from Long Island, including the Boston Flower & Garden Show, the Orchid Show at the NY Botanical Garden, and the Spring Flower Fair in New Jersey.
What about your sports fans? Well, baseball season is nearly in full swing. Why not plan a tour of historic East Coast stadiums to celebrate? From Fenway Park down to Camden Yards, most of the MLB fields offer behind-the-scenes tours for groups of fans and history buffs alike.
Start Planning Your Spring Group Trip
When it comes to coordinating group travel, the sooner you have the details in order, the better—that means now is the best time to start planning! Next steps? Get a general headcount, draft out a rough itinerary, and—if you’re opting for a private coach rental—request a quote
early. That way, your travelers will spend less time wondering what to do next and how you’ll get there and more time enjoying all that Long Island has to offer.