Its location near New York City makes Long Island a convenient spot for fun outdoor adventures for weary dwellers of the Big Apple. On the said island, escaping the hustle and bustle of the metropolis is easy as one, two, three, and one of the best ways to do so is by communing with Mother Nature.
Hiking trails abound on Long Island, especially since it’s the largest and longest island in the contiguous United States – it’s like there’s a spot for everyone. Its South Shore is home to many maritime trails, where beachcombing is taken to the next level. Meanwhile, the North Shore has heritage trails where trekkers can step back in time. Indeed, Long Island is nothing short of a wonder for hikers.
10/10 Sunken Forest Nature Trail
Sunken Forest on Fire Island is a “globally rare” destination, a maritime wonder where lovers of botany can appreciate a unique assemblage of plants.
To best enjoy this Atlantic attraction, tourists can hike a 1.6-mile loop trail that passes through the forest and the dunes of Sailors Haven.
Guests should first head to the visitor center to grab a guide about the area’s vegetation. The trek can be finished in an hour, making it an easy hike that casual strollers will enjoy. A repeat is necessary.
9/10 Sands Point Preserve Loop Trail
Sands Point Preserve is proud of its greenery that’s why it’s always eager to welcome nature lovers. The Conservancy has 216 acres of playground for casual strollers and avid hikers who want to enjoy the sights and sounds of Port Washington.
It has an almost two-mile loop trail that will take trekkers to areas where they can fish, bird watch, or simply enjoy the views.
There are also two historical estates in the preserve, adding to the area’s charm. The hike takes almost an hour to complete, but guests will be enticed to stay longer.
8/10 Sunken Meadow State Park Trail
The North Shore is home to Sunken Meadow State Park, a humble destination proud of its beach that offers one of the best views of Long Island Sound.
Visitors tend to first enjoy the beach, but those who want to start their day by breaking sweat should conquer its hiking trail. The more than three-mile route takes over an hour to finish, with the Atlantic breeze enticing trekkers to go further.
After their stroll, hikers can place their mats on the shore, rest a little and take a dip. What a way to end the day.
7/10 Seal Haulout Trail
Those who want to observe seals should trek on the Seal Haulout Trail in Montauk Point State Park. The seals swarm the shores from March to November, welcoming hikers curious to see them.
Though they are near, it’s not advisable to approach the cute creatures. The path is short, around 1.6 miles, so it’s perfect for families with young ones.
The hike starts from the highway, leading trekkers along a flat path through woods until they reach the beach. The seals are waiting for their visitors.
6/10 Long Island Greenbelt Trail
Those who want a little challenge should take the Long Island Greenbelt Trail, a nine-mile path that takes over two hours to finish. The route will lead trekkers to many parks, namely, Heckscher, Connetquot, Blydenburgh, Caleb Smith, and Nissequogue River.
As such, hikers will experience varied ecosystems, letting them enjoy pockets of paradise. Though the journey takes more than two hours, it’s easy to trudge, so it’s ideal even for first-timers.
Those longing for a satisfying trek and commune with Mother Nature should take this long Long Island route.
5/10 Money Pond Trail
Another Montauk Point State Park course, Money Pond Trail offers a diverse ecosystem for hikers. The nearly three-mile loop route starts from the forest and crosses a few creeks until tourists reach the pond.
This trail is connected to the previously mentioned beach where seals converge so they can be spotted by those exploring from March to November.
For more trekking memories, hikers can combine the Seal Haulout Trail with the journey. On Long Island, when tourists follow the money, err, the Money Pond Trail, they’ll leave with loads of treasure.
4/10 Edgewood Oak Brush Plains Preserve Trail Loop
An almost four-mile loop trail can be explored in Edgewood Oak Brush Plains Preserve, and though it can be trekked in just over an hour, it is a moderately challenging route.
A pine barren forest will be explored by hikers and they should stay alert as bikers also frequent the path. Tourists should keep their eyes peeled for critters like warblers, hawks, cottontails, foxes, and hognose snakes.
There are four habitats in the area, so hikers can enjoy a varied wildlife-watching experience.
3/10 Nassau-Suffolk Greenbelt Trail
Hikers who want to test their skills – and stamina – should take on the challenge of the over 19-mile Nassau-Suffolk Greenbelt Trail.
It starts from Cold Spring Harbor State Park and meanders south until it reaches Massapequa Preserve – or almost six hours, depending on the pace.
The first part of the route is hilly, giving hikers a little action before things mellow down. They will navigate through wooded hills and along ponds and streams, providing the rest they need. The journey is long but it’s worth it.
2/10 Stillwell Woods Trail
All is well in Stillwell Woods, especially for hikers who want to escape the busy NYC. Its 4.2-mile trail will take them on a relaxing sojourn with nature in just over an hour.
The 270-acre preserve where the path meanders is home to a lush kaleidoscope of plants and trees, providing tourists not just a shade but the perfect place to pause.
Add a few uphills, downhills, dirt paths, and ravines, and those exploring this Long Island charmer will have a satisfying day outdoors. Being still in Stillwell means being well.
1/10 Point Woods Loop Trail
The three-mile Point Woods Loop Trail offers a relaxing hike for those who want to experience the wonders of the forest and the Atlantic breeze. The journey starts from the woods, with its canopy enticing trekkers to rest and appreciate the surroundings.
As they continue, they will slowly hear the sound of the crashing waves, encouraging them to walk faster so they can be in the presence of the seascape.
Once hikers reach the top of a bluff, there’s nothing but pure bliss.