Our favorite places to walk with a stroller on Long Island (Part 1) | Long Island Family Photographer
I've written before that one of the things we try to do everyday to maintain sanity around here is get the heck outta the house. I'm always looking for fun, free-ish things to do with Lila and Logan, and we love the outdoors. I cannot wait until these two littles are big enough to start hiking with me! But while they are both still little, I am always on the hunt for good places to take walks with a stroller. This information is surprisingly hard to find online for our area, so I thought I would start to keep a list on the blog in case other local parents are also looking for places to go. We recently bought an Empire Passport, which gives us free parking at all the New York state parks for a year, so I am hoping to check out some more parks very soon! As we discover more places to go that are suitable for kids and strollers, I will write follow-up blog posts. We live in Nassau County (on Long Island), very close to the Queens border, so we haven't ventured too far east out in Suffolk county yet. Our outings generally take place between 10am-2pm so that I can get everyone home in the afternoon for naps...so for now we try to stay within an hour driving distance from our house. I look forward to exploring Suffolk though - especially some of those beaches!
If you are from Long Island, or know it well, and have other suggestions for places to go that might be stroller-friendly, please comment! I'd love to add some other destinations to our regular roster of outings.
I have A LOT of places on our "bucket list" to visit, but so far this summer, these six places have been our favorite places to go for walks or as Lila would say "an adventure!".
PLANTING FIELDS ARBORETUM
I've been bringing Lila here since she was a baby. It is a former Gold Coast estate located in Oyster Bay. Beautiful grounds, including huge sprawling lawns and some gorgeous manicured gardens. Picnic tables available. There are also greenhouses and a house that you can tour, but we always stick to running around outside. Parking is $8 or free with an Empire Passport. We have easily gotten around the grounds with our City Mini stroller and also our BOB. Some of the gravel paths near the gardens are tricky, but otherwise the lawns and pine-needle strewn trails are easy to maneuver.
CAUMSETT STATE PARK
Another former estate, this one is located in Huntington. We actually just visited this park for the first time last week and I was really impressed. There is a main paved trail that loops around the grounds, that I believe is 2.5 miles long. It is perfect for strollers and we also saw lots of families on bikes. There are other trails as well that looked to be dirt or gravel, so we stuck to the main path. It was the perfect length for us. Lots of benches along the way, and huge open areas of grass if you want to picnic. A gorgeous view of the Long Island Sound at one point - I think one of the trails goes along the water, but I was afraid to take the stroller down the hill to that trail in case I couldn't get it back up! We will definitely be going here again. Parking is $8 or free with an Empire Passport.
This is the first summer I have been back to Jones Beach since 2003! We have starting coming here every week. The boardwalk is beautiful and pristine, there are concessions stands if you get hungry (we always get a frozen yogurt before we leave) and during the week (even in the summer), it is relatively un-crowded. There is a big playground here as well, although we usually just stick to walking the boardwalk. Parking is $8 (or $10 when the beach is open), or free with an Empire Passport. We can get here really quickly from our house and I love that it is usually breezy even on a hot day. This has been our favorite place to go this summer.
LONG BEACH BOARDWALK
This used to be our favorite boardwalk until I realized how much faster it was to get to Jones Beach from our house. That being said, Long Beach's boardwalk is beautiful and clean, with gorgeous views of the beach, and is a great place for a good long walk with a stroller. Parking and the boardwalk are free, but you have to pay if you want to go down onto the beach. I've never had trouble finding parking here, either. I think there are two playgrounds along this boardwalk although I haven't been to them. Food and drink are not as available as they are at Jones Beach (but you can find drink and ice cream carts in the summer), so bring lunch.
I wish wish wish that Eisenhower Park were more picturesque, but its just not. I am such a huge lover of Central Park, and I want Eisenhower to be more like Central Park, but again, its not. However, it is close by (in East Meadow), has a really awesome playground that is good for all ages, and it has a paved walking path that goes around much of the park - I think the path is something like 3 miles round-trip. There are lots of ball fields and golf courses here, as well as an Aquatic Center and plenty of picnic tables. I find that there are always a lot of park vehicles driving around which is a drawback when you are with a toddler on the loose, but Eisenhower is an easy outing for us, and Lila likes the playground, so we do make visits here quite frequently. And bonus, its free to park and enter!
NASSAU COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART
We just came here for the first time this summer - and its awesome! You have to pay to enter the museum, but walking around the grounds (which houses their sculpture collection) is free. This place is huge! I know we didn't even see half of it. There is a paved road that runs through the property, and I saw many dirt hiking trails veering off along the outskirts. We stuck to the lawns (which are massive!) and Lila had a great time running around. We had no problem navigating the terrain in our BOB stroller, but it might be a bit more challenging in a lightweight stroller as there aren't really trails throughout the main grounds.
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I want to add two "runners up" to this list... the reason I call them "runners up" is because we haven't actually had a chance to get back to them this summer, since we got our BOB stroller (which ROCKS at getting around on most terrain). We visited both of these places last summer when I had Lila in a City Mini, and it was a bit difficult to get around them, but not impossible.
OLD WESTBURY GARDENS
Another gorgeous estate, very near us in Westbury. There are some paths and trails around the property (which vary in terrain from gravel to dirt), but also a lot of open lawns to traverse. The house and gardens cost between $8-$10 to enter, depending on the time of year. It was a little difficult pushing Lila around here in the City Mini, but I'd like to go back with the BOB and see if its any easier.
SANDS POINT PRESERVE
Another Gold Coast estate, this is an awesome place for a picnic. There is also a great little beach on the property that is perfect for kids - the water is very calm as it is the Sound, and there are lots of shells and rocks for collecting. On the grounds, you can tour the house and there are also hiking trails, which I attempted with our City Mini and had a really hard time. I wouldn't recommend trying to navigate them with a stroller, but then I haven't tried them with an all-terrain stroller. Its worth the trip here though for the little beach, which has never had more than a few people on it every time we've been. It costs $10 to enter the property at Sands Point or you can buy a season pass.
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So those are our favorite places to go at the moment. Again, please let me know if you recommend any other great stroller-able places near us, I'd love to check them out! I'm especially interested in hearing if any portions of the Long Island Greenbelt would accommodate strollers. Anybody know? I will update this list as we discover more places!
Francesca Russell is a documentary-style family photographer and filmmaker located in Garden City South, NY. Head over to her Facebook page to see more of her recent work at https://www.facebook.com/francescarussellphotography/, or follow her on Instagram @francescarnyc. If you are looking for a photographer on Long Island or in the New York City area to document your family's story in photos or a film, please contact her for a session!