New York State is famous for New York City. Locals and outdoorsy travelers know that Upstate New York, too, holds plenty of things to do and see. However, don’t forget about Long Island, the huge island that protrudes from the state’s southeastern corner. Home to over three million people (and over seven million if you count Brooklyn and Queens), Long Island is a population center in its own right — and a cultural center, too. There’s a ton to do on Long Island, and everyone from New York City residents to out-of-state visitors should make a point of paying Long Island a visit.
Long Island includes the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. However, when New Yorkers talk about Long Island, they’re almost always going to be talking about Nassau County and Suffolk County, the two westernmost counties on the island. These counties have a different feel to them than Queens and Brooklyn do, locals aren’t always willing to lump all four counties together under the “Long Island” moniker. Nassau County borders Queens, and Long Island’s rise as a population center had a lot to do with the thriving city to its west. Long Island is considered by many historians to be the birthplace of the modern American suburb.
However, Long Island is much more than just a network of suburbs. Its towns have histories of their own, and the dense patchwork of diverse towns that spread out toward the island’s tip have cultures and economies all their own. When you visit Long Island, make a point of visiting different towns and taking in their different sights and experiences. Quiet beach towns like Long Beach feel very different from the tony beachfront areas of the Hamptons, while inland towns like Garden City and Ronkonkoma will feel different from the beach towns — and from each other!
Eating, Drinking, and Nightlife
You may run into Long Islanders in New York City clubs, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have enough to do back home. Long Island is home to historic bars like Publicans, upscale eateries like Crabtree’s, and more than its fair share of legendary local joints. Don’t miss Salvatore’s and their coal-fired pizza!
Long Island has a thriving economy all its own. Head to Roosevelt Field Mall to experience what a big-time mall feels like in a large population center, or get a quainter experience by strolling the walkable streets of a small Long Island town. Many towns on Long Island have their own historic main streets, which make the perfect places to find small mom-and-pop shops and window shopping opportunities.
Life’s a Beach
Long Island is a lot of things, but you should never forget that it’s an island! The long, thin shape of Long Island ensures that you’re never far from a beach, and visitors should be sure to add at least one beach visit to their travel itinerary. Long Island’s famous Jones Beach is home to an outdoor amphitheater that hosts popular musical acts, and its sunny beaches often become crowded with visitors. Nearby Robert Moses beach may offer a quieter option, though any beach is sure to have its share of visitors on a hot day.
Travel further out to enjoy Suffolk County’s gorgeous beaches. Long Island splits into a North Fork and a South Fork at its eastern end, allowing beachgoers even more real estate on the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound. At the tip of the South Fork, Montauk looks out at the vast Atlantic. Visit the lighthouse there and spend some time at the very edge of New York State!
Long Island offers great dining, shopping and beaches. An up-to-date mobile phone will help you get the most out of your experience say experts who run AT&T stores in New York. You can use your smartphone to find new locations, check out the latest online reviews and take pictures of your visit. You will definitely get Insta-worthy photos on Long Island to share on Facebook and Instagram.