The Best Things to Do on Long Island in the Fall

Montauk Point Lighthouse

Michael Orso / Getty Images 

When visiting Long Island, New York, in the fall, you'll encounter mild temperatures ideal for getting outside to pick out a pumpkin or a bushel of apples at a local farm, enjoy the fall colors, and have a little Halloween fun.

With cooler weather, you'll want to dress in layers and bring suitable walking shoes when going for a hike or visiting a botanical garden. After a long day of autumnal sightseeing, consider dining at one of Long Island's farm-to-table or sea-to-table restaurants for a relaxing meal of seasonal fare.

01 of 12

Enjoy Pumpkin Art at The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze

A lighthouse constructed with pumpkins and lights at Blaze Long Island

Blaze Long Island

Address
1303 Round Swamp Rd, Old Bethpage, NY 11804, USA
Phone +1 914-366-6900

Pumpkin-carving enthusiasts, rejoice! Each year from late-September to early November, Old Bethpage Village Restoration hosts The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze Long Island, an event where you can see thousands of carved pumpkins arranged in artfully lighted displays. There's no limit to the imagination, with creations like lighthouses, fields of spooky sunflowers, and other artistic Halloween-themed designs brilliantly illuminated and constructed with pumpkins.

02 of 12

Watch the Surfers Hit the Waves

A young surfer on the beach in Long Beach, New York

Nora Gomez / Getty Images

Address
Long Beach, NY, USA

With warmer-than-winter weather and fewer crowds, fall is actually a fantastic time for surfing in Long Island, whether you're into hitting the waves yourself or prefer to watch the pros from the shore.

While summertime is recommended for beginners, you can still learn to surf in autumn by taking lessons through companies like Skudin Surf or Surf2Life Surf School in Long Beach, which teach classes all year long.

To watch the surfers do their thing, head to Ditch Plains in Montauk, Robert Moses State Park in Fire Island, Gilgo Beach in Babylon, or Lido Beach in Long Beach.

03 of 12

Pick Your Own Apples

Apple Picking

Roderick Chen / Getty Images

Address
201-709 Fresh Pond Ave, Calverton, NY 11933, USA
Phone +1 631-929-4327

Long Island is a great place to go apple picking in the fall. A glorious day in the orchard can yield a bounty of apples right at their peak, great for eating raw or using in homemade apple pie, apple crisp, applesauce, muffins, or fritters.

Long Island is home to a variety of farms perfect for pumpkin and apple picking. Lewin Farms, the first pick-your-own farm on Long Island, offers apples, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches, tomatoes, corn, pumpkins, and Christmas trees, depending on the season. The apple-picking season usually goes from late-August to October. If you don't have time to pick your own, stop by the farm stand instead.

Over at the Milk Pail in Water Mill, you can enjoy apple cider, fresh apples, and apple pie at the farm stand or pick your own fruit in the orchards.

04 of 12

Choose the Perfect Pumpkin

Pumpkins on pumpkin patch
Natalia Ganelin / Getty Images
Address
1624 Manatuck Blvd, Bay Shore, NY 11706-2449, USA
Phone +1 631-665-5411

Many Long Island pumpkin farms also offer fall fun such as corn mazes and Halloween events. Some sell already-picked pumpkins. In fact, there are so many Long Island farms where you can pick your own pumpkins that you'll have a hard time choosing just one.

Farms like Brightwater's in Bayshore offer a full-blown harvest festival, while Fairview Farm in Bridgehampton has a large corn maze to entertain adventurous children that changes every year. 

For those seeking an organic pumpkin and a quieter experience, the three-acre Organics Today Farm in Islip is open from April 1 through November 1​ and allows you to pick your own pesticide-free pumpkins right off the vine. There are also tractor-pulled hayrides available for a small fee per person.

Each year's harvest is different so call ahead or visit your preferred farm's websites to double-check the dates and times they are open to the public.

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05 of 12

Hike Through Beautiful Autumn Landscapes

Around the Bend in Fall at Southard's Pond, Babylon, Long Island
Vicki Jauron, Babylon and Beyond Photography / Getty Images
Address
Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Oyster Bay, NY, USA

Long Island is home to several hiking trails (such as the ones in Garvies Point Preserve that lead down to a quiet beach) and is home to wonderful wildlife preservation areas including the Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge, where you can discover a large variety of waterfowl who gather there starting in September and October.

At the Nature Conservancy’s Uplands Farm Sanctuary, which retains the look and feel of the old farm, you can hike a double-loop trail surrounded by red cedar, oak, hickory, and other tall trees that put on a colorful display in the fall.

06 of 12

Visit Haunted Places for Halloween, If You Dare!

Fire Island Lighthouse from the Bay

Vicki Jauron / Getty Images 

Address
799 St Johnland Rd, Kings Park, NY 11754, USA

To celebrate Halloween, visit one of Long Island's most haunted places. The Kings Park Psychiatric Center (The Psych Center) is one of the most talked-about haunted places on Long Island. People have reported hearing screams and other ghostly noises emanating from the long-abandoned building in Suffolk County. While you can't go in, walking by it may be enough for a scary experience.

Fire Island Lighthouse, on the other hand, is open to the public and you can walk up the 157 steps and two small ladders for a view from the top. Be warned: this is where people have encountered mysterious shadows and heard ghostly laughs and doors mysteriously open and close.

07 of 12

Walk Along Beautiful Beaches

Birds Against the Fishing Pier at Jones Beach

Vicki Jauron / Getty Images

Address
1 Ocean Pkwy, Wantagh, NY 11793, USA
Phone +1 516-785-1600

Fall is a great time to stroll the sands of Long Island's beaches, and unlike in summertime, you won't have to pay a daily fee or buy a season pass to do so. The high temperatures are gone, summertime crowds have dwindled, and you can breathe in the salty air and listen to the soothing sounds of the surf. Long Island sports a variety of beautiful beaches on both its north and south shores.

Just 33 miles from Manhattan, Jones Beach State Park is home to 6.5 miles of expansive sand, a two-mile-long boardwalk, and an amphitheater. At the park's west end, you can go fishing and enjoy a little solitude in the park's untouched areas, which are great for bird-watching.

Fire Island is a scenic barrier island parallel to the South Shore. No cars are allowed and you have to arrive and leave via ferry. You'll find a range of scenic beaches on the island, as well as the infamous lighthouse (mentioned above), which was built in 1857.

08 of 12

Stroll Through Gorgeous Gardens

Clark Botanic Garden, Albertson, NY

TripSavvy / Linda Tagliaferro

Address
193 I U Willets Rd, Albertson, NY 11507, USA
Phone +1 516-484-2208

Long Island in the fall is a great place and time to take a leisurely walk through some of the area's beautiful public gardens. Explore arboretums, woodlands, greenhouses, and formal gardens on the grounds of historic homes.

If you enjoy Japanese gardens, visit LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton or the Humes Japanese Stroll Garden, a seven-acre Japanese garden in Mill Neck. Nearby, don't miss the Clark Botanic Garden in Albertson, a 12-acre living museum and educational facility that holds special events and classes throughout the year.

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09 of 12

Peruse an Outdoor Sculpture Garden

Nassau County Art Museum

Pamela V. White / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Address
One Museum Dr, Roslyn, NY 11576, USA
Phone +1 516-484-9338

The Nassau County Museum of Art in Roslyn Harbor features exhibits of major artists in its Gold Coast Georgian mansion. Outside, wander through 145 acres of fields, woods, ponds, and formal gardens where sculptures by Niki de Saint Phalle, Fernando Botero, Tom Otterness, Alexander Calder, and other luminaries adorn the outdoor setting.

10 of 12

Take Your Dog on an Outing

Bailey Arboretum

Terry Ballard / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Address
194 Bayville Rd, Locust Valley, NY 11560-2017, USA
Phone +1 516-801-1458

While the fall is a great time to jog or take long walks with your dog on Long Island, be aware that some places in Nassau and Suffolk Counties won't allow your canine friend to come along.

Thankfully, designated dog runs on Long Island welcome your furry friend with open arms. Some are fenced off-leash parks while others are dog-friendly trails where you just need to keep your dog with you on a leash.

Surprisingly, many beautiful parks welcome on-leash dogs, including Bailey Arboretum, which houses 42 acres of gardens. Sagamore Hill National Historic Site also allows leashed dogs on the 83-acre property surrounding the home of former U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt, who was a dog lover.

11 of 12

Glam Out in a Gatsby-Style Mansion

Long Island Gold Coast Mansions - Glen Cove Mansion

TripSavvy / Linda Tagliaferro

Address
200 Dosoris Ln, Glen Cove, NY 11542-1217, USA
Phone +1 646-518-8775

Plan yourself a Long Island getaway in grand style at places such as the award-winning Mansion at Glen Cove, which was built in 1910, or historic Oheka Castle in Huntington, which is reminiscent of a French chateau.

Treat yourself to a fancy fall getaway in the Hamptons (now that the summer crowds have left) or in Long Island's Wine Country, where you can enjoy wine tastings and leisurely bike rides to small villages or pay a visit to the Whaling Museum in Sag Harbor.

12 of 12

Enjoy Great Restaurants

The Crow's Nest, Montauk, NY
The Crow's Nest
Address
2025 Montauk Hwy, Amagansett, NY 11930, USA
Phone +1 631-267-6348

From seafood restaurants and vegetarian restaurants to outdoor dining and everything in between, Long Island offers a wealth of great places to eat. You'll find casual and upscale restaurants offering South Indian favorites, fresh catches of the day, and beautiful waterfront views.

At The Clam Bar at Napeague, order at the window and sit outside. This restaurant is known for serving up fresh locally-sourced fish that makes menu items like lobster macaroni and cheese, grilled swordfish, and “Montauk Pearl” oysters especially tasty. If you're looking for something a bit more upscale, try the fresh fish at Crow's Nest in Montauk. 

Taking a drive and stopping for a meal can make for a fun outing. Visit a brewery or go wine tasting on Long Island's North Fork and end your day with a relaxing dinner.

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The Best Things to Do on Long Island in the Fall