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8 Reasons to Visit Long Island New York and What Not to Miss

by Viola
Long Island Montauk Light House

Photo Source: Discover Long Island

I love a destination that can offer diverse experiences. Why choose between adventure, culture, or foodie travel when you can have it all? Recently, I found precisely such a gem right outside of New York City. Can you guess where? I’m talking about NYC’s backyard, Long Island.

Out of the handful of times I’ve visited Manhattan, honestly, I never really thought to check out its next door neighbour. At least not until last September, when Discover Long Island invited me to come and explore. Upon spending a couple of days in Long Island, I was blown away by how big the island actually is and all the fun things there are to do.

Want to know why you should visit Long Island, New York? Keep reading to find out what makes LI special.

*Big thanks to Discover Long Island for sponsoring my trip. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

 

The stunning beaches

Pink sky on the beach at Sunset

Maidstone Park East Hampton

Photo Source: Discover Long Island

First and foremost, Long Island has endless pristine beaches. Whether you love swimming, surfing, seaside volleyball-ing, or simply sun soaking, you will never be too far from the ocean. This is amazing for aquaphiles like me.

We spent a morning at Long Beach, a popular beach with a 2.2 miles board walk and tons of hip restaurants. After hitting up Allegria Hotel for an ocean view brunch (which was both tasty and very Instagrammable), my friends and I rented some bikes and took a ride down the boardwalk. It was such a blissful experience riding along with sounds of the waves, scents of the sea, and sights of shirtless hot male joggers. *cough I mean…sights of the sand.

I can’t wait to explore more LI beaches in the future! Top on the bucket list: Main Beach in the East Hamptons. Apparently that’s where all the cool kids hang out (I hear Beyonce and JLO go there!)

 

Top on the bucket list: Main Beach in the East Hamptons. Apparently that’s where all the cool kids hang out. (I hear Beyonce and JLO go there!) Click To Tweet

 

Check out these pretty Long Island Beaches

 

The delicious local foods

3 plates of food with chicken wings salmon and salad

Allegria Hotel

The food in Long Island is amazing! With Suffolk County being one of the best farming regions in the New York State, many restaurants use locally harvested ingredients. Since the beginning of our trip, where we stayed at Indigo East End Hotel, we enjoyed farm-to-table breakfasts with cheese from nearby dairy farm and freshly picked berries. Yum!

lobster roll and french fries

Allegria Hotel

And as its surrounded by water, it’s also no surprise that Long Island is an excellent producer of seafood. Truth: I never met a lobster roll I didn’t like while in LI, and we had many. October is when the famous Oyster Festival takes place in Oyster Bay. Featuring an oyster-eating contest, it is a shellfish lover’s dream.

Drooling yet? Check out these stellar restaurants in Long Island

 

The world class wineries

wine bottle with two glasses of wine

Jamesport Winery

Did you know that Long Island is rated as one of the “10 Best Wine Travel Destinations” in the world by Wine Enthusiast Magazine? There are tons of tours you can take to experience the 60 wineries in Long Island Wine Country. So many award winning wines of different variety to try! Cheers!

We visited Jamesport Vineyard in the North Folk. This family owned vineyard, created by a father and son duo, has a really cozy and relaxed vibe. The outdoor lawn is beautiful on a summer day. Don’t miss a photo-op amongst the grapevines!

For the wine tasting, if you are decision-making-challenged like me, get the Flight of 5 so you can taste a couple of wines. I really liked the Estate Riesling, which has the aromas of apricot, pear, and apple. The sweet Estate Glacé dessert wine is delicious as well. My friends and I also recommend getting a wheel of cheese and some prosciutto to share. Oh the gluttony!

Check out these fabulous wineries in Long Island

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The exciting festivals

singing performers all wearing white

Diner En Blanc Long Island

Long Island knows how to throw parties! There is always something going on year round, big or small. Some examples of LI’s signature events include: Winterfest in February to March, Pride on the Beach in June, Jones Beach Fireworks in July, Hapmtons International Film Festival in October, and so many more.

I was invited to attend Diner En Blanc Long Island, an al-fresco-fancy-dress-mystery-ball. I promise I’m not being extra when I say, it was the coolest public party I’ve ever been to! First of all, the aesthetics were incredible. 2,000 people came dressed to impressed in all white. All the fashion and style, ugh I could not even handle. The same kind of creativity went into the event decors. You guys know how much of a visual person I am, so I loved it! Then there were the entertainments. The night started with some killer performances from singing and dancing troupe, and gave way to DJs spinning fiery tracks of Hip Hop, Reggae, and Soca in the later evening. Everyone was dancing and having a good time. (Those Long Islanders are good dancers!) There was so much more going on to tell, from a massage booth, to sparklers, to napkin waving, to champagnes flowing. Let’s just summarize and say I had an amazing time. Well done Long Island! Can’t wait to party with you again!

Check out upcoming events in Long Island

 

The abundant outdoor activities

Bethpage Polo Long Island racers on horses

Bethpage Polo Long Island

Long Island is a wonderland for active souls. Other than the phenomenal water sports, there are ample outdoor activities to choose from. Golfing, fishing, hiking, camping, zip-lining, horseback writing, sky diving, the list goes on.

I got to watch my first ever polo game at Bethpage Polo in the Park. It was a sport I’ve never encountered before, so it was very exciting for me. The players looked so graceful, as they attempted to hit the ball into goal, while riding horses. <- Sorry for possibly the worst description of Polo. Can you tell I’m a complete newbie? The point is, I was impressed by their agility and coordination skills. I also found out that the players came from all over the world, like Canada and Argentina. How International! Definitely experience a polo game at Bethpage. You can even meet some cute horses, like I did.

Check out outdoorsy things to do in Long Island

 

The rich historical sites

Old West Bury Gardens Long Island 1920 Dining room

Old West Bury Gardens Long Island

Culture buffs, you won’t be disappointed. Besides numerous museums that house artifacts and tell stories from Long Island’s past, stop by interactive landmarks like Long Island Heritage Trail or one of the several ancient castles. 

We visited the Old Westbury Gardens, a former property of John Shaffer Phipps, a steel tycoon from the 1900s. The grounds is now a beautiful historic site. The Westbury House, an extravagant Gastby-style architecture, is a must see. You can join a free tour that takes you through the mansion. The guide we had shared many anecdotes about the luxurious lifestyle of the past owner and pointed out ornate details around the house. The tales were fascinating and the mansion was simply gorgeous. You might want to bring an extra memory card for your camera because the grounds is so photogenic!

Check out cultural and historical sites in Long Island

 

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The charming local towns

Store front of Rhum Restaurant

RHUM Patchogue

I am a sucker for quaint small towns vibes. Long Island is scattered with charming little villages that welcome guests with open arms. We had a fun night out in Patchogue, a village on the south edge.  The whole downtown felt like just 3 blocks (at least from my impression), but it was very lively. Restaurant RHUM is the place to be. The Carribean mood here makes it easy to feel relaxed. There are adorable swings you can unwind in on the rooftop patio, while you sip on some island-inspired drinks and bop your head to Bob Marley music.

girl next to gorilla statue in clothing shop

Paperdoll Curiosity Patchogue

I also loved the quirky store in Patchogue like Paperdoll Curiosity. My friends and I could not stop laughing and taking photos of the random hilarious things around the shop. Like, a gorilla man wearing a fanny pack? Why? Don’t really know…Thanks for entertaining us Patchogue!

Check out Patchogue in Long Island

 

The unique places to stay

Lastly, I would come to Long Island simply for staycations. Even during the short time we were there, I saw so many cool and stylish places to stay that made me want to say “just leave me here forever please”. Here are some of my favourite accommodations:

 

Preston House and Hotel

Preston House Long Island King Size room

Preston House and Hotel

Preston House and Hotel is one of my top picks. The hotel is a modern restoration of a historic home (previously owned by Henry H. Preston, the first salaried sheriff of Suffolk County). You can see the blend of old and new in the details throughout the facility. The rooms are absolutely to die for with its chic minimalist design.

 

Allegria Hotel

Allegria Hotel Restaurant

Allegria Hotel

This dazzling new hotel is right on Long Beach. You can step onto the board walk right after you finish breakfast. The sophisticated indoor decors will make you feel oh-so-fancy. I have noted down Allegria as one of my future wedding venue options. I am not joking. It’s that pretty.

 

Indigo East End Hotel

Indigo East End Hotel outdoor pool

Indigo East End Hotel

Situated in Riverhead, between the Hamptons in the South Fork and Wine Country in the North Fork, Indigo East End Hotel is conveniently located. The staff here really takes pride in getting to know all the guests and accommodating to their needs. We definitely had a pleasant stay here. For me, the best features were the delicious farm-to-table food and the awesome outdoor pool.



Booking.com

 

If you have seen my Instagram recently, you would know that my feed is completely lit thanks to Long Island (Check my LI stories highlights to see more from my trip). Whether you are looking for a friends weekend exploration, romantic getaway, or family vacation, Long Island has something for you. Visit Discover Long Island to plan your travel!

 

Whether you are looking for a solo weekend exploration, romantic getaway, or family vacation, Long Island has something for you. Click To Tweet

 

*This post contains affiliate links. Which means at no extra cost to you, I may earn a commission if you make a purchase through a link. 

 

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8 Reasons to Visit Long Island New York and What not to Miss8 Reasons to Visit Long Island New York and What not to Miss

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22 comments

Sarah September 29, 2018 - 3:14 am

ooh those farm-to-table dishes look so tasty!

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Alyse September 29, 2018 - 3:58 am

Wow, what a postcard-worthy sunset in Maidstone park! I’d love to go back to New York someday to spend some time on Long Island because I’ve always loved the look of the little local towns (Rhum looks great too!). Plus, I’m a huge culture buff so according to your post I would not be at a loss for things to see and do! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

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Raksha September 29, 2018 - 4:13 am

This is so stunning! I’m totally sold and want to visit Long Island now!

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Miss Filatelista September 29, 2018 - 4:14 am

I used to only go out to LI for beach days in the summer but looks like I missed out on a lot more!!

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Louise September 29, 2018 - 5:04 am

Ohh, we are planning a trip to New York for my first time ever and I think I need to add Long Island to our itinerary! Those beaches and the food sold me 😉
Thanks for sharing all about your fantastic trip!

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Nicky September 29, 2018 - 9:51 am

I’m exactly the same – I’ve been to NYC, but it didn’t occur to me to visit Long Island! Deeply regretting that now, after seeing these beautiful photos and hearing all about it. And the food looks incredible! Definitely adding to the travel list! 🙂

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Erin September 29, 2018 - 2:03 pm

I would love to visit Long Island for the wineries, but now you’ve sparked curiosity for even more exploration of Long Island. I’ll have to tack this onto a visit to NYC sometime!

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Michelle September 29, 2018 - 3:53 pm

This looks like such a great place. I’ve been to NYC, but never to Long Island. I need to change that! I would love to sink my teeth into that delicious looking lobster roll while sipping a glass of wine! I’ll definitely be saving your post for future reference.

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Sandy September 30, 2018 - 7:35 am

Great post! I haven’t been to the US but roughly know what main places I want to visit but never even knew about Long Island – I’ve added it to the US bucket list! Thanks for sharing ❤️

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Rebecca | Maybe This Way September 30, 2018 - 7:51 pm

I have been to New York so many times but never thought about stopping by Long Island. Looks like a great time!

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Jessie September 30, 2018 - 9:16 pm

My hometown! 🙂 I’m originally from Long Island. Personal favorites include wine country, seal hikes and Fire Island in the summer! So glad to see you’ve explored beyond NYC.

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Hayley October 3, 2018 - 9:19 pm

OMG looks amazing! And I had no idea that Long Island was one of the top 10 wine travel destinations in the world! I also love quaint small little towns. Would love to visit Patchogue

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sam October 3, 2018 - 9:44 pm

I think more people should visit the suburbs more! That heritage building looks so English! Would never had guessed it would be in the US haha

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Michelle M October 3, 2018 - 10:50 pm

This looks so fun and fancy! I’ve also been to New York City but have never made it out to Long Island. I’ll have to add it to my list of places to see!

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Aireona October 3, 2018 - 11:02 pm

I had the chance to visit Ithaca, NY earlier this year and it really opened my eyes to the potential of NY state. I definitely need to go back and check out Long Island now!

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Candy October 4, 2018 - 1:08 am

I have seen so many Diner En Blanc Long Island photos on Instagram and have always wondered what that was! Everyone wearing all white and the amazing decor looks like such a fun public event. My only question now is, “how do people get invited?”

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Viola October 4, 2018 - 12:24 pm

Hi Candy! My friend has a great guide about Diner En Blanc for first timers. Check it out! https://thesophisticatedlife.com/blog/diner-en-blanc-guide-for-first-timers/

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Claire October 4, 2018 - 4:43 am

Yay, my favorite is Montauk! They have The Surf Lodge out there which always books really massive, cool bands that you wouldn’t expect in such a small capacity venue. Plus it’s the location of The Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind.

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Brittany October 4, 2018 - 6:09 am

I love New York but I haven’t don’t half of the things on this list! I’d like to catch a polo game next time I visit 🙂 Thanks for the suggestions!

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Alexis Rae October 4, 2018 - 8:36 pm

I havent been to NYC since I was a kid, and we unfortunately never made it Long Island. Actually debating a trip after the New Year so I’ll keep this in mind!

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Lola October 5, 2018 - 4:12 pm

I’m a sucker for a lighthouse so I’d love to go here.

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Jenny Ventura October 5, 2018 - 5:50 pm

This is definitely a spot on my list! You have some great spots here I will be sure to look back at when I’m planning my trip!

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