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Welcome to Long Island, nearly 200 kilometres of whimsical waterfront, historic sites, and exclusive experiences. This fish-shaped island is divided into six very distinct regions, each offering a unique take on coastal living. Book a flight, hop in the car or grab a seat on the Hampton Jitney and visit NYC’s beachfront backyard. Here are five reasons why you need to visit this east coast escape.
1. Local brews & bites.
Welcome to wine country, recently named one of the “Top 10 Wine Regions in the World” by Wine Enthusiast magazine. Forget the car at the B&B, thanks to the North Fork Trolley, and enjoy a day filled with “Farm to Fork” bites and ciders in the town of Greenport. This laid-back seaside spot was once a whaling village and is in close proximity to many local vineyards and craft breweries. Finish your day at Claudio’s, a family owned and operated seafood restaurant serving up clam chowder to locals for 147-years.
Signature Event: Enjoy artisanal vendors, live music and a display of classic wooden boats at the Maritime Festival in Greenport this Sept. 21- 23.
2. Reaching historical heights.
Tourists flock to Long Island year-over-year for historical sights including The Culper Spy Ring. Step into the Long Island Spy Trail, where General George Washington’s private eyes helped change the course of the Revolutionary War. Next on the docket is the Montauk Point Lighthouse, located at the very end of The South Fork. This now National Historic Landmark commissioned in 1792 is the oldest in the state and serves as a museum.
Signature Events: Experience history in the making at the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes, June 9, and the 118th U.S. Open Championship at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, June 11-17.
3. Family waterfront fun.
Leave the car at the home and spend your stay close to scenic shorelines. Explore the wildlife-rich Connetquot River, or participate in the Long Island Paddle Boarding tour which finds its way to Fire Island. Once you’ve reached this narrow strip of sand and scrub pines, grab a canoe or kayak and take in the designated National Seashore site, which also happens to be home to 17 small communities, LGBT resorts and alluring dining experiences including CJ’s Restaurant.
Signature Event: Catch the dazzling Lantern Light Tour at the Fire Island Lighthouse on Sat., Sept. 22. Follow a path through history as interpreters share stories that took place at the property.
4. Preserves, parks & recreation.
There is no shortage of bustling state and county parks on Long Island, but if you’re looking for a slice of seclusion be sure to visit Shelter Island. This charming locale lies between the North and South Fork and can be accessed via ferry from villages like Sag Harbor. Be sure to cap off your experience with a guided tour of Mashomack, a nature preserve boasting 2,000 acres of unspoiled greenery.
Signature Event: Jones Beach is most renowned for its expansive state park, but it puts on one dazzling Independence Day celebration. Be sure to grab a seat at the Jones Beach Fireworks celebration on July 4.
5. Serious star power.
All that glitters is certainly gold on Long Island’s Gold Coast, home to the OHEKA Castle and other mega-mansions that inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, and on the South Fork, The Hamptons is summer-home stomping ground for the rich and famous.
Signature Events: Be sure to check out The Hamptons Art Weekend Festival (THAW) a collaboration of theatre, art and more between March 23-25, and The Hamptons International Film Festival, between Oct. 4-8.
This article was brought to you by our friends at Discover Long Island. With world-renowned beaches including the famed Hamptons and picturesque downtowns featuring premiere shopping, theatres, restaurants, museums and more, New York City’s beachfront backyard is waiting – Discover Long Island today.
Plan your visit at the official Long Island Tourism website: www.discoverlongisland.com.