Going Outdoors in Long Island

Published: Feb 2, 2015

This island is long on winter fun

The outdoors don't take a winter break here. Take your pick-ski trails or seal cruises, nature hikes or skating rinks, winter fishing or ice swimming. If jumping into the freezing Atlantic Ocean is your idea of fun, you can join the brave crowds at the Long Beach Polar Bear Club. Even winter golfers can get their fix on Long Island, a region famous for fresh air.

Outdoor adventure

You can't turn a corner here without hitting a ski trail or hiking path. Bay Park, Belmont Lake, Caleb Smith and Cantiague Park are just a few of many year-round playgrounds offering miles of hiking and cross-county ski trails, bridle paths, birding and nature areas. Nature preserves at Quogue Wildlife Refuge and Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve put you face to face with bobcats, owls and eagles in their winter homes. Winter is ideal for seal spotting as they head for the south shore's cool waters. And if you just can't put away the clubs, there's even winter golfing at Eisenhower, Cantiague and North Woodmere Parks, among others.

Skiing and skating

Ice skating at Long Island park

After that first blanket of snow sticks, grab some skis and head to cross-country trails at East Rockaway's Bay Park, Bethpage State ParkMuttontown Preserve in East Norwich, and Grant Park where toboggans are also invited to tackle the powder. Villages across the island welcome ice skaters to popular outdoor rinks at Greenport Village, Christopher Morley Park, Oyster Bay's Bethpage Community Park, and Hauppauge's The Rinx, among many others.

Winter fishing

Enjoy an ocean view of the south shore from a charter fishing boat where striped bass whack fishing lines well into December. Long Island trout are a popular catch in brown, striped and brook varieties. Sea-run trout stick close to fresh water tidal creeks during the winter months and the fishing's fine right through March. Trout season on Long Island is year-round and hot spots include Laurel Lake, East Lake, Southards Pond, Argyle Lake and Oyster Bay Mill Pond. Winter fly fishers find good catch-and-release action on the Connetquot River, and the Carmans and Nissequogue Rivers are other early season bets.

Wilderness walks

Pier on Long Island in the winterIf you like to walk in the snow, Long Island's nature trails will take you most anywhere. Morton Wildlife Refuge covers a 187-acre peninsula on Noyack and Little Peconic Bays. Dressed in winter white, Caumsett Preserve's vast open spaces jut into Long Island Sound for endless coastline views along its many hiking paths.  Waterside strolls and on the piers bring their own special moments to enjoy.

More aquatic action

The Long Island Aquarium makes a magic day out, and it's full speed hands-on fun during the Aquarium's Winter Adventure Days. Seal watching walks are popular at Montauk Point and Jones Beach State Parks where the best viewing is January to April. Or head to Montauk or Freeport and take a seal watching cruise with outfits like the Riverhead Foundation.

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