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Everyone and their grandma has been to NYC; it’s a concrete jungle and it’s a city that never sleeps and yada yada yada. But if you go a bit more east, you’ll find yourself on Long Island – the best place for New Yorkers to be, in my very humble opinion. As a Native islander myself, having grown up around the thick and iconic New Yawker accents, I like to think I know a thing or two about Long Island. 

With so much to do on the island, you’ll never find yourself bored. Regardless if you want to live like a tourist or a local for the day, planning your vacation has never been easier. Here are some of the best recommendations to start planning your dream vacation.

Jones Beach

As a blindingly pale individual who cannot swim, I absolutely hate beaches. It’s a literal death trap that I have to dodge every summer when my friends begin to badger me with invites. When I was a kid, however, I did not have much of a say in plans and so beach trips were inevitable. Jones Beach, roughly 30 minutes from my childhood home, was a fun family activity that brings back nostalgic memories of sand castles that were doomed to crumble, sun burns that tinted my skin a warm shade of red, and salty ocean water covering my feet and sinking them into the sand as the tide rolls in and out.

As much as I am not a beach person, Jones Beach is one of the most memorable places from my childhood. Along with the typical boardwalk and swimming, Jones Beach offers an adventure park where you can go ziplining along the beach, as well as concerts. From the Beach Boys to Lana Del Rey, to even having hosted Warped Tour before it was canceled, the beach had a variety of shows to keep you entertained. 

Regardless of if you plan to spend an entire day there or a few hours, Jones Beach is a place you want to visit if you want to live like a local while still seeing all the sights and events Long Island has to offer. For more information about events happening at Jones Beach, click here. What else could be better than waking up to the ocean at your door? 

Hamptons

Everyone always has this stereotypical image in their heads of the Hamptons being a ritzy and overly expensive place full of celebrities like Paris Hilton or Paul McCartney. While it definitely does attract a lot of A-listers, the Hamptons offers a ton of fun and luxurious things to do that you wouldn’t want to miss. 

One of the ways to really live in luxury is to visit Wolffer Estate, a vineyard offering a wide selection of perfectly crafted wines for your taste buds to explode with flavor. If wine isn’t your thing, then the Parrish Art Museum is another must see place. Focusing on artists from the North and South Shores, you can view more than 3,000 pieces of art including pieces done by none other than Jackson Pollock and Roy Lichtenstein. 

If you want to experience life like a celebrity, the Hamptons will make you feel more than abundant with their taste for the finer things in life. Click here for more information!

20th Century Cycles

Billy Joel is kind of a big deal on the Island – like a biiiig deal. To be honest, I don’t know a single Long Islander who hasn’t met the Piano Man at some point in time. The cool thing about Billy is that he’s not only a famous musician, but a long time motorcyclist. He opened his store, 20th Century Cycles located in Oyster Bay, in 2010 and has been displaying and selling motorcycles since then. 

I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to meet Mr. Joel at his motorcycle shop when I was around 10 years old. I don’t remember much from the meeting except that he had a very firm and hard handshake that kind of hurt my small, child hands, and that he had an adorable pug named Sabrina, who I was more focused on throughout the day. Regardless, Billy is a friendly guy and is loved by everyone on Long Island. If you can’t manage to spot him while you’re out and about, visiting his store might be the next best thing.

To see his motorcycles or for a chance to meet him when he’s in town, check out his store here.

The Cradle of Aviation

While you might have the National Air and Space Museum in DC, The Cradle of Aviation in Garden City is another must-see museum. As a child, field trips to the Cradle of Aviation were one of the most exciting times of the year. If you have kids coming with you on vacation, this museum offers them an abundance of activities. With tons of immersive exhibits and 150,000 square feet to explore, you can spend hours here learning all about different planes and other various aircrafts as you travel through time and walk through an aerospace evolution as you progress through the museum. 

For tickets and other important information, check out their website here

Branchinelli’s

Let’s get one thing straight before we start – it is not called a “pizza,” it’s called a “pie.” Don’t get it mixed up.

Branchinelli’s is one of the highest rated Italian restaurants in the area, offering a wide selection of pizza. Sicilian pie is one of the most well loved Long Island styles, and the majority of people order it. However, if you order a pizza pie, you cannot forget the sides: garlic knots are your best friends, and the garlic bread here will taste like no other. While clearly this night out sounds very anti-vampire, you will be more than glad at the end of the night to have tasted a true New York pizza.

Check out their menu and locations here

Montauk

You know those really dreamy beach shots in the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? Those aesthetic sequences were all filmed in Montauk, a huge destination spot located at the east end of Long Island! Home to the Montauk Point Lighthouse, the most prominent feature, this hamlet has a list of adventures and opportunities for you. 

From riding a charter boat and fishing to attending the Montauk Film Festival, there’s something to peak everyone’s interests. If you find yourself feeling hungry, Montauk offers some of the best seafood options available, with places like Gosman’s providing you with the luxury of experiencing fresh food from the coast. 

With tons of options offered, you might never feel the need to leave Montauk! 

Long Island Bagel Cafe


You didn’t think I would forget the most important part of Long Island, right? The only good bagels are bagels from New York, and I know numerous people who would attest to that fact and die on that hill. While there are dozens of bagel shops on the Island, Bagel Cafe is one of the few chains that you can find throughout, giving you the opportunity to order a bagel wherever you are and wherever you’re going.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a sesame or cinnamon raisin bagel type of person – Bagel Cafe has it. But beware: if you eat a bagel from any store on Long Island, you will never ever find a bagel that can even compare once you leave the Island. Proceed with caution. 

Time to Plan Your Destination Vacation!

With so many options and places to visit, Long Island offers you a wide variety of things to keep you entertained! The gorgeous views and abundant coastal scenes are a dream for any beach bum wanting to visit. There are so many sights all over the island for you to explore! So what are you waiting for? Book your trip to Long Island now!

The Her Campus National Editors write about products we love and think you’ll love too. Her Campus has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase. All products are in stock and all prices are accurate as of publication.

Katherine Crawford is currently a senior at the University of Delaware. She is majoring in English with a minor in Women and Gender Studies. Katherine enjoys reading, writing, wandering museums, and discussing conspiracy theories.
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