Living on the Island sure isn't cheap. Sometimes you want to have a nice day out, take in the beautiful scenery the island has to offer, but not spend a lot of money doing it. It may shock you, but there are ways to enjoy yourself on the island for cheap, or even for free. Here are some of our favorite destinations for frugal individuals.
1. Jones Beach
Jones Beach regularly offers free concerts and events for the public. Take advantage of one of these free events or visit the beach after 4 pm weekdays, 6 pm weekends, for free parking admission. Before this, expect to pay $8 per car.
2. Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park
Experience, as the website describes it, "400 acres of rolling lawns, gardens, woodlands, and nature walks." Explore the park or take a tour of Coe Hall, a historic 1920's house full of vintage furniture, art, and stained glass. The park charges $8 per car but stops collecting after 5 pm. Guided tours of Coe Hall are $6.50 adults; $5.00 for NYS seniors and students with I.D, and free for children under 12.
3. Avalon Park & Preserve
Avalon Park is a privately owned nature preserve created by the Paul Simons Foundation to celebrate the life and memory of avid hiker Paul Simmons. The park is open all year round for free, but the foundation does offer yoga classes for a price.
4. Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge
A perfect place to see wildlife, this 3,209-acre refuge is home to black ducks, greater scaup, bufflehead, canvasback and long-tailed duck, and a wide variety of waterfowl. You also have a chance to see harbor seals, sea turtles, finfish and shellfish. The Refuge is free to the public.
5. The Big Duck in Flanders
Designed by Broadway set designers, the Collins Brothers, and crafted by locals George Reeve, John Smith, and Merlin Yeager in 1931, this iconic attraction was first built for duck farmer Martin Maurer to sell his products. The duck now serves as one of the Island's most unique landmarks. The duck is free to visit, but knick-knacks are sold inside the Big Duck so bring some pocket change.
6. Nassau County Museum of Art's Sculpture Park
The museum may not be free, but the Sculpture Park is. Explore the beautiful architecture and ground of the museum, as well as the extensive sculpture garden. If you want to see more, the fee for the museum for adults is $10.00, seniors (62+) $8.00, students $4.00, children (4-12) $4.00 as well as a parking fee of $2.00 on weekends only.
7. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
For those of you interested in expanding your mind, the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory offers several free learning opportunities and public lectures. View the site's calendar to plan your trip to the Lab. For additional costs, the DNA learning center offers interactive experiences like Ötzi the Iceman exhibition. Events like the Ötzi experience will cost you $7.25 per person.
8. Hempstead Lake State Park
Hempstead Lake Park offers many amenities from biking to boating, to equestrian trails and fishing. The park also provides grills for cooking and picnics, as well as tennis courts. Explore the three different lakes, or walk one of the many hiking trails. The park has an $8 parking fee that is not collected after 4 pm.
9. Sands Point Preserve
For fans of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, Explore the original Guggenheim Estate that was the inspiration for the "East Egg" within the story. Explore the 216-acre park which includes elegant mansions, grand castles, museums, gardens, playgrounds, hiking trails, picnic areas, and dog runs. The grounds are free to enter but guided tours are available at $10 per person.
10. Hecksher Museum of Art
The Hecksher Museum is home to a wide array of painters, sculptures, and talented artists from all across the island. This museum is free for Huntington residents after 2 pm on Wednesday or 1 pm on Saturday, and always free for children. The other days and times the fee is $6 for adults, $4 for seniors and students over 10. For non-Huntington residents, the price is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $5 for students over 10.
To save even more money on your travels, rather than eating out, pack your food. The 344 series packaging bags from QQ Studio are the ideal travel companion as it has a zip-lock closure that will keep your food secure. These stand up zip-lock bags are perfect for packing snacks for hiking trails, or storing food for picnics. Dog treats too can be packed into the 344 series and carried along the dog runs to give your furry friend a little snack. Anywhere you go on the Island, bring your food along and packed in a QQ Studio bag to save money. Long Island is a big and beautiful place, so take the time to explore all of it.