Winter Fun on Long Island, New York

Skiing, Skating, and Seal-Watching Await

Weekend escapes from New York City to Long Island, New York, aren't just for the summertime. Yes, it's most renowned for its stunning stretches of powder-fine sand and places like the ritzy Hamptons and cool Montauk, but it's also a winter wonderland come December and January. From cross-country skiing to outdoor ice skating and seal cruises, there's much to see and do on Long Island in the winter, a vacation land right on the doorstep of the city.

  • 01 of 08
    Parc Jean-Drapeau winter attractions and activities incldue cross country skiing.
    ••• Above: a cross country skier spotted at Mont Orford, a two-hour drive southeast of Montreal. Ryan Cleary / Getty Images

    You don't need to travel far to enjoy skiing. If you've tried cross-country skiing or it's always been on your bucket list, then get out your gear and go to Muttontown Preserve in Nassau County on Long Island when the weather cooperates. The preserve covers 550 acres, and when enough snow is on the ground, you can cross-country ski across the preserve's ski trails. While you're there, check out the Chelsea Mansion at the northern end of the preserve. Built in 1924, this elegant mansion is on the National Register of Historic Places.

  • 02 of 08
    Ice skates in Montreal can be bought either new or used at these stores.
    ••• LindaRaymondPhotography / Getty Images

    Ice skating on an outdoor rink is the most authentic way to enjoy this sport. It's just not the same without feeling that nip in the air. You have several outdoor rinks to choose from on Long Island. Check out rinks in Deer Park, Roslyn, Lynbrook, Greenport, Port Jefferson, and Woodbury. 

  • 03 of 08
    Dormant Grasses
    ••• For cosmetic reasons, this golf course kept its brown, dormant grass around bunkers while overseeding other parts of the course, during winter months. Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

    If you're a golfer who can brave the cold, Nassau and Suffolk counties both have countless public golf courses. No matter your location, you'll find 18 holes and stunning views close by. Playing golf against the minimalist canvas of winter on a cool day makes for a memorable golfing experience just because it stands out in relief from warm-weather rounds.

  • 04 of 08
    ••• New York Islanders Hockey Game. Google Images

    Watch Long Island's professional hockey team, the New York Islanders, as they compete with other teams at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. (Yes, these games happen in Brooklyn and not on Long Island, but if you're Long Island fan, what's a little traveling to see your favorite team?)

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08
    Save the Bay Seal Cruises
    ••• Save the Bay Exploration Center and Aquarium

    Go on a seal cruise on the Captain Lou Fleet. You'll start out in Freeport and cruise through Hempstead Bay in search of harbor seals and other winter visitors to the waters around Long Island.

  • 06 of 08
    Winter swimming in Baltic sea in Gdansk, Poland
    ••• Corbis News Getty Images

    Watch people jump into the cold Atlantic Ocean every Super Bowl Sunday as the Long Beach Polar Bears Super Bowl Splash raises money for charity. Or maybe you'd like to join this group for an icy dip.

  • 07 of 08
    Denmark restuarant
    ••• Holger Leue / Getty Images

    At various times each year, Hamptons Restaurant Week offers upscale dining at (relatively) bargain prices. You'll find prix-fixe menus at participating restaurants throughout the Hamptons, places that might usually be a bit too rich for your blood. Go ahead, live it up.

  • 08 of 08
    Couple holiday shopping wearing jeans
    ••• Shop for jeans during holiday sales. Michael Goldman/Getty Images

    When the weather is frightful, indoor malls are a center for shopping, dining, and other fun activities. Long Island has a wealth of shopping malls, like the Americana Manhasset and the sprawling Tanger Outlets. If it's not too cold, spend an afternoon wandering around Long Island's small-town main streets, where you'll find one-of-a-kind local shops and unique places to eat.