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Long Island Travel Guide

Looking for an in-depth Long Island travel guide?

Then you’re in the right place!

If your knowledge of Long Island only goes as far as The Great Gatsby and thick accents, it’s high time you explored this colorful sliver of New York State for yourself.

Located just a short drive from New York City, Long Island often feels like a world away with it’s beautiful beaches, exciting attractions, and rich history.

It’s the perfect place to get some fresh air at any time of year, whether you’re taking a stroll along the shore, exploring state parks, or setting off on one of the many scenic Long Island hiking trails.

More of an indoor cat? You’re sure to find a museum to pique your interest; Long Island is home to everything from historic homes to planetariums to world-class art galleries to aviation museums.

You’ll also find plenty of exciting events happening on the island all year round, whether you’re looking for top-notch theatrical productions or farming festivals.

From beach vacations in the Hamptons to exploring the mansions of the Gold Coast to sipping your way around the Long Island wineries of the North and South Forks, great adventures are just a short ride away on the Long Island Railroad. Make a point to discover Long Island on your next trip!

Keep reading to dive into resources that will help you with planning a trip to Long Island in New York State.

Note: This ultimate Long Island guide contains affiliate links to trusted partners!

Long Island Map

Use this Long Island USA map to begin planning your trip to this incredible destination!

map of Long Island

Click here for an interactive Google Map version of the above graphic.

Long Island Travel Guide

Visiting Long Island? These guides can help you plan the perfect trip!

New York City Travel Guide

Looking to take a Long Island day trip to NYC? Don’t miss:

New York State Travel Guide

Explore other parts of New York State with the help of these guides!

Best Long Island Tours

Explore local culture with a Long Island tour guide through these unique excursions:

Click here for a full list of Long Island travel tours!

Renting A Car On Long Island

Need a rental car for your Long Island trip?

Use Discover Cars to quickly compare your car rental options.

Their comparison tool does the homework for you, so there’s no need to have up 10+ tabs trying to figure out which company is the most affordable. Actually, you can save up to 70% using their tool!

Hotels On Long Island

Click here to browse the best Long Island hotels!

Prefer self-contained stays?

Click here to check out unique local rentals!

You can also use this map to search for local stays and experiences. It’s set to Montauk, but you can easily change the location to your specific destination:

Long Island Travel Insurance

It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling solo or with a group on a Long Island tour. When visiting Long Island — or anywhere else in the world — make sure to get travel insurance to protect your health and safety.

In my opinion, the best travel medical insurance for travelers is SafetyWing as they’ve got a large network and offer both short-term and long-term coverage — including coverage if you’re traveling for months as well as limited coverage in your home country).

Additionally, SafetyWing is budget-friendly and offers $250,000 worth of coverage with just one low overall deductible of $250.

With coverage, you’ll have peace of mind as you embark on your Long Island travel itinerary.

Click my referral link here to price out travel insurance for your trip in just a few clicks.

Long Island Travel Guide FAQ

Below, find answers to frequently asked questions about traveling on Long Island.

Q: What is Long Island known for?

Long Island has tons to offer travelers, but it is probably best known for its gorgeous beaches. From Montauk to Jones Beach, Long Island’s South Shore is home to some of the best-known beaches on the East Coast.

Travelers from around the world flock to The Hamptons every summer to soak up the sun on the white-sand beaches and rub elbows with the rich and famous who come to the area to relax in style.

For even more of an escape, head to Fire Island, a car-free barrier island with a well-preserved shoreline and plenty of great little villages to explore.

And music lovers will definitely want to visit Jones Beach, home to the famous outdoor arena that hosts top artists every summer.

Long Island also boasts many historic homes that you’ll definitely want to visit. Here you’ll find the summer hideaways of President Theodore Roosevelt, William Kissam Vanderbilt II, and the Guggenheim family, among others.

Fans of the Roaring 20s and The Great Gatsby will want to visit some of the opulent mansions of the 1920s on Long Island’s North Shore, also known as the Gold Coast.

Oheka Castle, former home of philanthropist and financier Otto Hermann Kahn, is a visitor favorite for its opulent gardens and formidable size. The house now functions as a hotel and wedding venue, and you’ll likely recognize it from Taylor Swift’s music video for “Blank Space.”

There’s also the famous Vanderbilt mansion Eagle’s Nest, a Spanish-style mansion in Centerport that now operates as a museum and education facility. Come for the epic views, stay for the incredible planetarium show and star-gazing opportunities up in the observatory.

Q: Where should I go on vacation on Long Island?

The Hamptons, a cluster of beachside towns out on the East End of Long Island, are always the place to be during the summer. With adorable little towns, some of the best beaches on the East Coast, top-notch vineyards, and plenty of cultural happenings, the Hamptons have a lot to offer.

While there are plenty of towns to choose from, Southampton is a favorite for its abundance of hotels, shops, restaurants, and celebrity-spotting opportunities.

Nearby Cooper’s Beach and Ponquogue Beach are some of the best shores the island has to offer, with plenty of space to soak up some rays.

If you’re a surfer, you’ll want to head out to Montauk to catch some of the island’s best waves at Ditch Plains Beach. The town also boasts the famous Montauk Lighthouse — a National Historic Landmark — and top restaurants like Harvest on Fort Pond and Scarpetta Beach at Gurney’s Resort.

Looking to get away from it all? Head out to Fire Island, a car-free barrier island with well-protected beaches that will transport you away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The island is only accessible via ferries that leave from various towns along the South Shore of Long Island, with different ferries offering access to different towns along the island.

Fire Island has plenty of great places to stay that range from cozy bed and breakfasts to energetic, party-friendly hotels.

During the day you can ride your bike along the beach or the many miles of boardwalk, do some clamming, go for a hike along Otis Pike or in Sunken Forest, or just soak up the sun on the beach.

At night, you can check out some of the island’s top restaurants or dance the night away at the area’s famous clubs.

Looking to get a taste of Long Island’s famous wineries? Head to the North Fork, located on the East End of the island. This area is home to many of the island’s top wineries, such as Kontokosta Winery and Rose Hill Winery, many of which offer tours and tasting experiences for visitors. You’ll love wandering through the lush fields of grape trees and learning what makes this area so great for cultivating wine.

The area also has plenty of great towns to call your home base for your trip. Mattituck offers access to great local farms and beaches as well as plenty of great restaurants, while Greenport has plenty of attractions and shops that just might pull your attention away from the wineries for a few hours.

Q: What are the top things to do on Long Island?

One of the top things to do on Long Island is to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors! From hiking to boating to surfing, there are plenty of ways to explore the island’s natural wonders.

Long Island’s beaches are some of her top attractions, but there are also plenty of opportunities for hiking throughout the island.

Out in Suffolk County, you can hike the Long Island Greenbelt Trail, featuring 32 miles of open space and varying terrain along the Nissequogue and Connetquot Rivers.

Sands Point Preserve, also home to some of the most epic Gatsby-style mansions on the island, also has some great hiking trails along the property that will get you up close with local wildlife like geese and turtles.

Or, if you’d rather hike the beach than surf it, check out the Seal Haul Out hike at Montauk Point State Park, where you’ll find (you guessed it!) adorable seals sunning themselves on the shore.

Thanks in part to its proximity to New York City, Long Island also boasts a robust cultural scene, with tons of great art galleries, museums, and performing arts centers throughout the island.

The Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington features works from around the world, particularly focusing on American and European art of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as well as works from artists with a connection to Long Island.

The area is also home to several great theaters that attract talent from Broadway and beyond. The Bay Street Theater mainstage season mounts innovative productions of classic works as well as new plays from up-and-coming artists every summer in Sag Harbor. And with many live music venues throughout the island, there’s no shortage of things to see!

Q: Where can I explore Long Island history?

Long Island has a rich history that dates back hundreds of years and will entice any history buff.

Sagamore Hill, the home of President Theodore Roosevelt, is a favorite stop for many visitors to Long Island. Known as the “Summer White House” during Roosevelt’s time in office, the house is filled with artifacts from Roosevelt’s many adventures in the wild, historic photographs of the former president and his family, and amazing vies of Eel Creek and nearby Cold Spring Harbor.

Long Island has also played a major role in the advancement of aviation over the last century and has been dubbed the “Cradle of Aviation.”

At the (aptly-named) Cradle of Aviation Museum and Education Center in Garden City, you can get up close to over 75 historic air and spacecraft, from fragile flying machines developed in the style of the Wright Brothers to the Mars Rover.

Want to really immerse yourself in the history of aviation? Head to the American Airpower Museum, where you can learn more about the military history of aviation and even take a ride in a historic plane like a WACO bi-plane or T-6 WWII trainer.

Q: How much spending money do you need for Long Island travel?

The average traveler to Long Island spends about $178 USD per day on accommodations, transportation, food, activities, and other common travel expenses.

This estimate can go up or down depending on your style of travel and itinerary. For example, you’re likely to spend more in The Hamptons than you would in other destinations on Long Island.

Q: What is the best way to get around Long Island?

One of the best things about Long Island is that its fairly easy to get around.

The Long Island Railroad has several routes that run all the way from Manhattan to Montauk and throughout different points of the island.

Nassau County also has its own local bus system as part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Looking for an easy way to get out to the Hamptons?

The Hampton Jitney bus runs express service between Manhattan and Eastern Long Island to popular destinations like Sag Harbor, Southampton, and more.

Of course, if you need to reach a destination that isn’t serviced by train or bus, you may want to rent a car. We recommend using DiscoverCars for this. This will give you the freedom to explore the island at your own pace without being locked into a specific timetable.

Q: Is Long Island safe to travel?

Though no destination is 100% safe, Long Island is considered one of the safest places in the United States.

Crime rates are low overall and public safety officials and emergency services are very responsive.

As with any travel destination, the usual safety advice applies here:

  • make sure you lock your hotel room, rental home, or car before you leave
  • make sure any valuables are in a safe place
  • stay vigilant in crowded spaces

In addition, you’ll want to keep an eye on the weather, particularly during hurricane season.

If you’re visiting the beach, familiarize yourself with any storm evacuation routes as flooding can be an issue during severe summer storms.

Q: How long can a tourist stay in New York?

Most visitors from abroad who are allowed to enter the United States — the country New York State is located in — can stay for up to six months. Entry requirements and allowances vary depending on where you are from, so definitely check the US government website.

Q: Do I need a travel visa for New York?

Visa requirements vary depending on where you are from. You can visit the US government website to see if you need a visa and what type.

Q: Where is Long Island?

Long Island is located at the southern tip of New York State, east of New York City. In fact, Brooklyn and Queens are technically located on Long Island.

Long Island is bordered by NYC, the Long Island Sound, and the Atlantic Ocean.

Q: Are credit cards accepted on Long Island?

Credit cards — particularly Visa and Mastercard — are widely accepted around Long Island, though it is always wise to carry some cash for smaller establishments and in case of emergency.

Q: Can you drink the tap water on Long Island?

Yes, the tap water is safe to drink on Long Island.

Q: What is the local currency in New York State?

The local currency in New York is the US Dollar (USD).

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