Long Island, NY Quick Guide

Long Island offers some of the most exciting and varied vacation experiences imaginable, yet it's easy to get to and relatively inexpensive. The bad news? Once you get here you may not want to go home.

Why visit Long Island? In a nutshell:

  • World’s best beaches
  • Wineries and vineyards that rival those in France and California
  • Scenic agricultural landscapes
  • Authentic maritime communities
  • Shopping, shopping and more shopping
  • Excellent sport fishing grounds
  • Top rated golf courses
  • Baseball
  • First class hotels and restaurants

Long Island is part of New York State and is located just east of Manhattan and south of Connecticut.

On its south shore you’ll find Jones Beach, Fire Island, the Hamptons and Montauk Point. On the North Fork are our famous wineries and vineyards.

Between the forks is picturesque Shelter Island.

Best Things to Do and Places to Visit

Here are 4 things you don’t want to miss on your trip to this place. You won’t be able to see everything in one day so plan on spending at least a day or two in each area.

With over 400 miles of coastline Long Island beaches are some of the most beautiful and comfortable on the planet. The surf’s not too rough, the water temperature is comfortable, the fine sand is easy on your feet and the sun is just right for a great tan.

Fire Island
Fire Island is one of the most peaceful, yet exciting places on Long Island. The island is home to 17 or so unique seaside communities that offer something for everyone. Nightlife, shopping, wilderness, camping, music, hiking, dining, art galleries, beaches--You’ll find it all on Fire Island.

The North Fork
Long Island’s north fork is an unusual mixture of agricultural and coastal communities. You’ll find farms, restaurants, bed & breakfasts, wineries, beaches, motels and marinas in abundance here.

For tourists this works out very well. You can go from picking corn to whale watching to wine tasting in almost no time at all. If activity hopping is not your sport you always have the option of spending the day exploring just one of the north fork’s many wonders.

Wine tasting for example has become very popular with tourists and locals alike. With almost 30 wineries on the north fork, you can easily spend an entire day touring the vineyards and still not see them all.

A trip to the north fork requires no map or reservation. Just drive along on Rt. 25 between Riverhead and Orient Point. You’ll see vineyards, farm stands and restaurants at every turn.

Make sure you stop in Greenport for a little shopping or bay front dining and leave plenty of room in your car for bottles of wine, fresh fruits and vegetables, home baked pies and other goodies…

The South Fork (the Hamptons & Montauk Point)
The south fork of Long Island is larger than the north fork and comprised entirely of the Hamptons and Montauk Point.

The Hamptons are frequently referred to as the playground of the rich. This beautiful area is both scenic and sophisticated with beaches, museums, wineries, farm stands, art galleries, antique shops and upscale restaurants.

Montauk Point is the easternmost tip of Long Island. Some consider it the end of long Island, others the beginning. In any case, this town is the fishing capital of Long Island and one of the fishing capitals of the world.

Of course, Montauk Point is more than just fish. Camping, hiking, shopping, dining, whale watching, the lighthouse and romantic ocean-front hotels make Montauk the perfect choice for family fun.

The south fork is huge and you really can’t see it all in a one day trip. Your best bet is to drive through the Hamptons and spend the night and following day in Montauk Point.

Travel Tip

The Shelter Island ferry is an excellent way to get from the north fork to the south fork. You’ll avoid back tracking through Riverhead, enjoy a short but scenic boat ride, and get to see picturesque Shelter Island. Ferries run 365 day a year from 6:00am until midnight and depart every 15 minutes from terminals in Greenport on the north fork and North Haven in the Hamptons.

Best Time to Visit

To get the most out of your Long Island trip the best time of year to visit is between Memorial Day and Labor Day (last week of May through first week of September).

During that time of year absolutely everything is open and running in full swing. During the fringe times early in May or Late September things are either gearing up or slowing down, so in the summer oriented communities you might find some restaurants and shops closed.

The advantage to touring at these times is of course, fewer crowds and better hotel rates.

Can’t get to Long Island?

Well you can still have a little taste of it. Some hot, lazy afternoon why not treat yourself to a Long Island Ice Tea?

What I’ve presented in this short article only hints at the possibilities. Long Island is THE place for memorable summer vacations, romantic weekend getaways, and exciting day trips.

About the Author - William (Bill) Drago was born in Brooklyn and raised on Long Island. His love for the island began as a boy with a duck’s eye view from aboard the family boat as they explored the coast each summer. Bill now shares his passion with readers worldwide through his website, Loving-Long-Island.com.

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