Long Island's neighborhoods have much to offer. Whether you're a new or long-time resident of a Nassau or Suffolk County neighborhood, there's plenty to see and do in these areas.
Before we dive into the neighborhoods, it's important to understand a few things about Long Island. It is not alone on the island as the New York City boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn take up the western part. Long Island—as in the counties of Nassau and Suffolk counties—is not part of New York City. Also, not all of Long Island is filled with lavish homes, there are some affordable areas to live there.
The South Fork of fish-shaped Long Island is divided into two large towns: East Hampton and Southampton. These towns are made up of many villages and hamlets including Bridgehampton, Wainscott, Water Mill, Sag Harbor, and much more.
Just the mention of the name "The Hamptons" conjures up visions of sprawling beaches, celebrity sightings, and a vibrant nightlife. It is a popular spot for summer vacation homes and there's always something going on.
Located in the middle of Nassau County, Garden City is an upscale community. This village boasts fine dining, the elegant Garden City Hotel, and a number of things to do with the family.
Elmont is located next to Queens and is landlocked on the western edge of Nassau County. Many people consider it a bedroom community for New York City commuters.
It is best known for its famed Belmont Park Race Track. This is the home of the Belmont Stakes, the third and final "jewel" in horseracing's famed Triple Crown each June.
Huntington is located on Long Island's North Shore in Suffolk County. The greater Town of Huntington encompasses a number of hamlets and villages. These include the hamlets of Huntington and Melville, as well as the villages of Northport and Lloyd Harbor.
There are many historical attractions in Huntington. This is where you will find the Walt Whitman Birthplace, the Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum, the Huntington Lighthouse, and the Henry Lloyd Manor House.
The waterfront of the North Shore is home to the village of Northport. It is in Suffolk County and part of the Town of Huntington.
Northport is famous for its Main Street. It is the highlight of this quiet village and home to antique shops, small boutiques, and cozy restaurants. It hosts a number of events throughout the year, including the annual September festival of Cow Harbor Day.
The former home of President Theodore Roosevelt, Oyster Bay features historic sites and homes. It is on the North Shore of Nassau County and overlooks Oyster Bay Harbor.
Roosevelt's home of Sagamore Hill hosts a grand (and free) Fourth of July celebration and tours are available year-round. You will also find a number of free summer concerts and the beach of Oyster Bay has many water activities for the entire family.
Located in the Town of Brookhaven in Suffolk County, Port Jefferson graces the North Shore of Long Island. A ferry goes from this port to Bridgeport, Connecticut.
With quaint boutiques and excellent restaurants, the area hosts an annual Charles Dickens Festival in December. It has many other events, including the Port Jefferson Documentary Series each spring and fall.
The incorporated village of Rockville Centre in Nassau County lies 25 miles east of midtown Manhattan. It is just a 15-minute drive from Kennedy Airport and a 35-minute ride to Penn Station on the Long Island Rail Road.
The village boasts a wealth of restaurants that are a destination on their own. It is also home to Molloy College and the stunning Roman Catholic cathedral of St. Agnes.
Located in Nassau County, the village of Roslyn is known for its historic clock tower, its quaint streets, tranquil ponds, and a number of excellent restaurants. Greater Roslyn includes several villages like Searingtown and the hamlet of Roslyn Heights.
Roslyn is home to the Nassau County Museum of Art, which is an early 20th century Gold Coast Georgian mansion. The 145 acres that make up the estate includes a sculpture garden that is a must-see and a popular wedding venue.
Located on the North Shore of Suffolk County, Stony Brook is home to the State University of New York's (SUNY) Stony Brook University. You will also find Stony Brook Village Center, Discovery Wetlands Cruises, and The Long Island Museum of Art.
Stony Brook Harbor is a fantastic place for outdoor recreation. The wetlands are one of the best spots on Long Island for bird watching. It also offers opportunities for boating or walking along the picturesque shoreline.
At the very beginning of Nassau County and adjacent to Queens, you will find Great Neck. It has many points of interest, including the home of F. Scott Fitzgerald. In his novel "The Great Gatsby," the writer used "West Egg" to refer to King's Point, which is part of Great Neck.
This village offers upscale shopping and a dazzling array of restaurants, many of which offer outdoor seating. It certainly has an affluent, sophisticated vibe.
Located within the Town of Oyster Bay, Hicksville was Billy Joel's boyhood home. Lorraine Bracco of "Sopranos" fame was a graduate of Hicksville High School as well.
In Hicksville, you will find Trinity Lutheran Church, which is noted for its doors. They are exact replicas of the "Doors of Paradise" bronze relief panels famously found in Florence, Italy. The Hicksville Gregory Museum is another highlight and is a great destination to learn about earth science and natural history.
A beautiful barrier island in southwest Nassau County, Long Beach is known for its 3.5 miles of sandy beach. To go along with that, the boardwalk stretches over two miles and dated back to 1914 before it was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. It has since been rebuilt.
Long Beach hosts many events and is one of the more popular beaches in the New York City area. In summer, it is host to a number of free concerts as well as NY Surf Week in July.
Located on the North Shore of Nassau County, Manhasset is noted for its "Miracle Mile" of shopping. This includes the world-class Americana Manhasset shopping center.
Part of the Town of North Hempstead, the greater Manhasset area includes upscale neighborhoods like Plandome and Plandome Heights. You will also find the villages of Flower Hill, Munsey Park, North Hills, and Plandome Manor here.
The village of New Hyde Park is located in Nassau County near Floral Park, Garden City, and Glen Oaks. It is primarily a commuter area for people who work in New York City.
The highlight of New Hyde Park from a visitor's standpoint is The American Guitar Museum. This farmhouse turned quaint music museum is filled with interesting instruments and admission is free.
On a peninsula of the North Shore of Nassau County, Port Washington has much to offer. You will find a lovely waterfront on Manhasset Bay, a park featuring outdoor concerts in the summer, a variety of restaurants, and much more.
One of the historical highlights of Port Washington is Sandminers Memorial Park. It is where laborers moved sand from Long Island to Manhattan to build the city's well-known skyscrapers. Without it, the New York City skyline would not be what it is today.
In Suffolk County, where fish-shaped Long Island's "tail" turns into a fork, you will find Riverhead. It is bordered on the north by Long Island Sound and on the south by Great Peconic Bay.
This North Shore town offers a world-class aquarium at Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center (formerly Atlantis Marine World) and the Long Island Science Center. You can also enjoy a cruise up the Peconic River or take in the superb shopping at Tanger Outlets.
On the North Shore of Nassau County, you will find Sea Cliff. It's a charming village that is part of the Town of Oyster Bay.
This neighborhood gets its name because it is on a cliff that overlooks Hempstead Harbor and Long Island Sound. Here, you will find many Victorian houses, great antique shops, and two nice little beaches.
Smithtown is located on the North Shore in Suffolk County and has a small amount of waterfront, most of which is taken up by Arthur H. Kunz County Park and a golf course. It is home to a number of villages and hamlets, including the Town of Smithtown.
This is where you will find Caleb Smith State Park Preserve through which the Nissequogue River flows. It boasts a nature museum with a number of children's events. Another popular park in Smithtown is Blydenburgh County Park, where you can fish, row, ride a horse, or enjoy a casual stroll.