This is not your typical walk in the park.
Many parks across Long Island offer a wide variety of activities and amenities in addition to traditional playgrounds, foliage, and fresh air. With the temperature dropping, leaf color changing, and summer costs dropping as fall approaches, now is a great time to explore these local parks and take advantage of their unique offerings.
Here are four on Long Island that stand out for those looking to spend some time outdoors this fall.
Hempstead Lake State Park: West Hempstead
Take a horseback ride around a lakeside equestrian trail or on the park’s famous merry-go-round.
The New York Equestrian Center, which is located just outside the park on Eagle Ave., offers guided horseback riding tours that take riders around parts of the park’s five lakes and scenic nine miles of dedicated wedding path. . Hiking for two people with a guide costs $ 60 per person, reduced to $ 55 per person for groups of three or more.
Or just ride a horse on the hand-carved wooden carousel, which is open on weekends and holidays until October 11 and costs $ 2 each way.
The 775-acre park also features newly remodeled tennis courts, pickle board courts, basketball courts, playgrounds, cross-country skiing, and a dog walk. Kayaks and inflatable boats are permitted on Lake Hempstead, the largest lake in Nassau County. It is also one of the park’s three ponds accessible to fishing. The park is expected to open an environmental and resilience education center this fall and add new fishing docks and a kayak launch pad, according to Mike Drumm, deputy park manager.
There is no charge on weekdays after Labor Day. A vehicle entry fee of $ 8 will be collected on weekends until October 11.
INFO: 1000 Lake Drive, West Hempstead; 516-766-1029, parcs.ny.gov
Cantiague Park: Hicksville
This park offers athletes a bit of everything.
For golfers, there is a 9-hole, par 30 golf course, an illuminated 270-meter driving range with 36 heated and covered bays and an 18-hole mini-golf course. For baseball and softball players, there is an outdoor batting cage and grass pitches. For hockey players and skaters, there is an indoor rink once used as the training facility for the New York Islanders. For swimmers looking to soak up the last days of summer, there is a resort that includes an Olympic-size pool, children’s pool, training pool, and interactive water play area.
The park also includes three basketball courts, five tennis courts, six handball courts, two playgrounds and a multi-purpose turf field for football, lacrosse and soccer.
Prices for each activity are discounted with a recreation pass for residents of Nassau County. Mini golf costs $ 9 with the pass and $ 14 without ($ 6 for children), batting cages are $ 7 with the pass and $ 9 without. Admission to the Nassau Resident Pool is $ 10 with the pass and $ 25 without ($ 6 for children with a pass, $ 20 without). Admission to the rink is $ 10 for a resident and $ 15 for a non-resident ($ 6 to $ 10 for children).
INFO: 480 John Street West, Hicksville; 516-571-7056, nassaucountyny.gov
Southaven County Park: Brookhaven
Long Island Live Steamers, miniature steam, diesel and electric trains roam the areas of this 1,300-acre park. Hop aboard and reserve a seat on one of the remaining public racing days, which will be September 12, 26, October 10 and 24. The rides are free, but donations are accepted.
The Carmans River flows through the park’s pine and oak forest, which allows freshwater fishing for trout, bass, and perch with a New York State fishing license. Rowboat rentals were only available until Labor Day, but kayaking and canoeing are offered Thursday through Sunday with a required $ 5 permit. Bring your own or rent one from the nearby Carmans River Canoe & Kayak.
The stables are now closed but a riding license can be purchased to enjoy the bridle paths of the park. The park also includes a picnic area and 104 general campsites available for tents and trailers. Parking is free after Labor Day.
INFO: Avenue de la Victoire, Brookhaven; 631-854-1414, suffolkcountyny.gov
Avalon Park and Nature Reserve: Stony Brook
Stroll the winding promenade and be surrounded by foliage at this hidden gem in the village of Stony Brook.
Avalon offers approximately five miles of trails and 140 acres that are open to the public at no cost. Stroll through a forest sanctuary or along the hilltop meadow, explore nature and birdwatching, sign up for a yoga or meditation program, or go fishing in the duck pond with the appropriate license. At the center of the ensemble is a labyrinth of slate, offering a quiet and shaded resting place.
Take a short stroll down Main Street and spend some time on the water by visiting Stony Brook Harbor Kayak & Paddleboard Rentals. End the day by visiting the shops and boutiques across the street.
INFO: 200 Harbor Road, Stony Brook; 631-689-0619, avalonnaturepreserve.org