After being cooped up in the house all winter long due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is nothing like getting back into nature to celebrate the return of warmer temps. Here on Long Island, residents have their pick of beautiful trails, country clubs and waterways to explore. From the shores of the Gold Coast to the peaceful preserve of Shelter Island, here is your ultimate guide to the best of Long Island’s hiking, biking, golfing and water sports.
Hiking & Biking Trails
Nassau-Suffolk Greenbelt Trail
Extending from Massapequa to Woodbury along the border of Nassau and Suffolk Counties, the Nassau-Suffolk Greenbelt Trail stretches 20 miles from the North Shore to the South Shore. Accessible year-round, though certainly more enjoyable come spring, the trail is dog and bicycle-friendly. It takes an estimated eight hours to walk the full trail, but there are other activities along the way. For example, the west shore of the Massapequa Reservoir is a popular spot for fishing with breathtaking views.
Learn more: www.nynjtc.org
Sands Point Preserve
Located on the Gold Coast, Sands Point Preserve’s grounds are open for visitors on a new summer schedule due to COVID-19. The Great Lawn, Rose Garden, forest trails and pond area are accessible, however, the iconic Hempstead House, Welcome Center, Woodland Playground and dog run are closed for the health and safety of visitors. Restrooms are available in Castle Gould’s Black Box, and are closed periodically for sterilizing and cleaning throughout the day. The number of cars will be limited to avoid crowding in the parking areas and on the grounds.
Learn more: www.sandspointpreserveconservancy.org
Often referred to as the “Jewel of the Peconic,” Mashomack Preserve on Shelter Island is well worth the quick ferry ride from Sag Harbor or Greenport. Stretching more than 2,000 acres, the preserve accounts for nearly a third of the entire island. Trails range from 1.5 to 10 miles long, taking hikers passed tidal creeks, mature oak woodlands, fields and freshwater marshes. The preserve teems with wildlife, and it is common to see ospreys, piping plovers and other animals. Due to COVID-19, Mashomack’s in-person events have been postponed until further notice.
Learn more: www.nature.org
Sunken Meadow State Park
Sunken Meadow State Park in Kings Park offers one of the most stunning views on the Long Island Sound. The 3.7-mile trail takes hikers and bikers passed both wildflowers and sandy shorelines. The park also boasts a boardwalk and activities, including windsurfing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and canoeing. Pets are allowed on the trails, but not in developed areas.
Learn more: www.parks.ny.gov
Quogue Wildlife Refuge
This 300-acre nonprofit nature preserve boasts seven miles of trails to explore diverse habitats, including forests, ponds and wildlife. While the Outdoor Wildlife Complex, Greenhouse and restrooms are closed to the public until further notice due to COVID-19, the trails are open daily from sunrise until sunset. Dogs and bikes are not permitted.
Learn more: www.quoguewildliferefuge.org
*Be advised, to encourage social distancing and help stop the spread of COVID-19, many parks have reduced parking by 50 percent and local roads may have closures in effect. Several popular parks will fill to capacity by noon and close early to incoming visitors and traffic.
Country Clubs & Golf Courses
This daily fee Port Washington golf course is currently open to the public with restrictions due to COVID-19. Tee times on the 18-hole Championship Golf Course are spaced out every 15 minutes from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. The Golf Shop is closed, however, the restrooms are open for golfers. Built on a reclaimed sand mine adjacent to water, the scenic links are perfect for a socially distanced afternoon outing.
Learn more: www.harborlinks.com
Christopher Morley Park
Christopher Morley Park on the beautiful North Shore in Roslyn-North Hills boasts 98-acres of recreational fun, including a fitness trail and a nine-hole, par-30 golf course. The course is 1,603-yards, with holes ranging from 97-yards to 267-yards. Due to COVID-19, single occupation golf carts are available and tee times are by appointment only.
Learn more: www.nassaucountyny.gov/1779/golf
Village Club of Lake Success
Located on scenic Lake Success, Village Club of Lake Success is a championship-caliber at the site of the Vanderbilt’s private golf club. The historic venue offers a 6,329-yard, par 70 course with well-manicured fairways and impeccable greens. Guests can choose from a range of membership options for couples, individuals, new members under 40 years old and full and weekday memberships. Social distancing measures are in effect.
Learn more: www.vclsgolf.com
Town of Oyster Bay Golf Course
Nestled on 121-acres, the Town of Oyster Bay’s 18-hole, par 70, championship golf course features narrow fairways, water holes, sand and grass bunkers, as well as a putting green. Opened to the public Tuesday through Sunday, tee times are 7 a.m. to 3:56 p.m. Twilight golf is also offered Tuesday through Sunday, starting at 5 p.m. Due to COVID-19, restrictions will be in place as per New York State regulations.
Learn more: www.oysterbaytown.com
Bethpage State Park Golf Course
Named one of “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses” by Golf Digest, Bethpage State Park Golf Course is one of the most iconic courses on Long Island. Host to PGA Tour events and the Ryder Cup, the ground boasts 18-hole regulation golf courses, including the world-renowned Bethpage Black. Social distancing measures are in effect. Visitors should reserve a tee time in advance.
Learn more: www.bethpagegolfcourse.com
Lido Golf Club
This green is considered among the most challenging on Long Island. Overlooking the water, the Lido Beach golf course offers 18-holes. It is quite a windy locale so golfers should consider bringing extra balls. COVID-19 protocols are in effect. Visitors can reserve a tee time online.
Learn more: www.lidogolf.com
Watersports & Activities
Long Island Canoe Kayak Rentals at Treasure Cove Resort Marina
Discover the natural beauty of Long Island by traveling across the local waterways of the Riverhead area. Traveling across the Peconic River, the company offers rentals for canoes, kayaks, stand up paddleboards, fishing poles, electric tour boards and bicycle rentals. Also, guided tours are available for purchase throughout the summer. You can travel and view the beautiful surrounding scenery for a few hours or even an entire day depending on what you desire. A relaxing summer get-away for the family to enjoy.
Learn more: www.longislandcanoekayakrentals.com
Hamptons Boat Rental
Renting a boat and sailing around the Hamptons for a day is the essence of summer. The Hamptons is an area with endless opportunity and you’ll rarely find that you’re bored if you venture out to sea. From traveling to Shelter Island, going on Sag Harbor Boat Tours, visiting the many harbors and dining at luxurious restaurants, there are entertaining activities everywhere you look. Explore and appreciate the beauty of the Hamptons with the help of Hamptons Boat Rental. Hamptons Boat Rental is currently accepting single-trip as well as five and ten trip packages with strict COVID-19 precautions in place.
Learn more: www.hamptonsboatrental.com
Stony Brook Harbor Kayak & Paddleboard Rentals
Explore the beautiful Stony Brook Harbor on a kayak or paddleboard with Stony Brook Harbor Kayak & Paddleboard Rentals. Renters are encouraged to pack a small cooler with lunch and bring along fishing poles and a camera to capture the scenery. Due to the tide, hours of operation change every day. Check out the www.sbharborrentals.com for an up-to-date schedule and call or text 631-834-3130 to make a reservation.
Shore Thing Rentals
Shore Thing Rentals in Glen Cove offers pay-by-the-hour kayaks, standup paddleboards, canoes and (for land lovers) bikes. Located on scenic Shore Road, these activities are perfect for a summer’s day. Social distancing protocols are currently in effect. Shore Thing Rentals is open by appointment only during the pandemic, call or text 516-669-2296 or visit www.shorethingrentals.net to learn more.
Long Island Boat Rentals
Long Island Boat Rentals offers a variety of opportunities to get out on the water in Port Washington. In addition to luxury bareboat rentals, which allow boaters to take to the waters solo, the company also offers a number of options for guided boat outings led by an expert captain, including a watersports special. That package includes a three-hour captained boat rental equipped with a wakeboard, tube and water skis all included. As of June, Long Island Boat Rentals is currently operating bareboat rentals on a modified schedule.
Learn more: www.liboatrentals.com