Long Island offers plenty of fun activities for those on a budget. With beautiful beaches, historic sites, parks, trails, and museums, there are many ways to explore this picturesque region without spending a lot of money.
If you’re looking for cheap things to do on Long Island, here’s a quick answer: head to the beach, go hiking, visit a museum or historic site, enjoy a picnic in the park, or check out a street fair or festival.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover over 15 cheap activities across Long Island that cost $20 or less per person. From North Shore gems to Hamptons hot spots, we’ve got budget-friendly recommendations for Nassau County and Suffolk County.
Read on for the inside scoop on making the most of Long Island without emptying your wallet.
Located on the picturesque North Shore of Long Island, there are plenty of affordable and enjoyable activities to explore. Whether you’re a nature lover or an art enthusiast, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful region.
Visit the Sands Point Preserve
One of the top attractions on the North Shore is the Sands Point Preserve. With its stunning landscapes, historic mansions, and scenic trails, it offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens, explore the hiking trails, or simply relax on the beach. Admission to the preserve is just $15 for adults and $10 for seniors and students.
Hike in Caumsett State Park
For those who love outdoor adventure, Caumsett State Park is a must-visit destination. With over 1,500 acres of woodlands, meadows, and waterfront views, this park offers a variety of hiking trails for all skill levels.
From scenic overlooks to wildlife sightings, there’s always something new to discover. Plus, admission to the park is only $8 per vehicle, making it an affordable option for a day of outdoor fun.
Tour Planting Fields Arboretum
Planting Fields Arboretum is a botanical garden and historic site that showcases the beauty of nature and architecture. Explore the formal gardens, take a guided tour of the Coe Hall mansion, or simply enjoy a picnic on the grounds.
Admission to the arboretum is just $10 for adults and $5 for children, making it an affordable option for a day of exploration.
Walk the Paths at Target Rock National Wildlife Refuge
If you’re a nature lover, don’t miss the opportunity to visit Target Rock National Wildlife Refuge. This refuge offers breathtaking views of the Long Island Sound and is home to a variety of bird species and other wildlife.
Take a leisurely walk along the paths, enjoy the peaceful surroundings, and don’t forget to bring your binoculars for birdwatching. Best of all, admission to the refuge is free for all visitors.
Go Fishing at Morgan Park & Beach
Fishing enthusiasts will appreciate the affordable fishing opportunities at Morgan Park & Beach. This family-friendly park offers a fishing pier and a beautiful beach where you can cast your line and relax by the water.
Whether you’re an experienced angler or just starting out, this is a great spot to spend a day enjoying the outdoors. Plus, access to the park is free, so you can have a memorable fishing experience without breaking the bank.
Explore the Nassau County Museum of Art
Art lovers will find a hidden gem at the Nassau County Museum of Art. This museum features a diverse collection of contemporary and historic art, as well as beautiful sculpture gardens. With admission prices starting at just $12, it’s an affordable way to immerse yourself in the world of art and culture.
Check Out a Street Fair or Local Market
For a fun and budget-friendly day out, why not visit one of the many street fairs or local markets in the North Shore area? These events offer a variety of food vendors, artisans, and live entertainment.
You can sample delicious treats, browse unique crafts, and enjoy the lively atmosphere without spending a fortune. Keep an eye out for upcoming events on local community websites and social media.
Sunbathe at Jones Beach
One of the most popular and affordable activities on the South Shore of Long Island is sunbathing at Jones Beach. With its pristine sandy shores and stunning ocean views, Jones Beach offers the perfect setting to relax and soak up the sun. And the best part? It’s absolutely free!
Pack a picnic, bring your favorite beach read, and enjoy a day of blissful relaxation.
Swim at Robert Moses State Park
If you’re looking to cool off on a hot summer day, head over to Robert Moses State Park. With its beautiful beach and clear blue waters, it’s the perfect spot for a refreshing swim. And the best part? Admission to the park is only $8 per car, making it an affordable option for a fun-filled day by the water.
Bike the Boardwalk at Long Beach
For a fun and budget-friendly activity on the South Shore, grab your bike and head to Long Beach. The boardwalk stretches for miles, offering a scenic route for cyclists of all levels. Enjoy the ocean breeze as you pedal along, taking in the beautiful views of the beach and the charming beach town.
It’s a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors without breaking the bank.
Kayak in the Great South Bay
If you’re up for an adventure, why not try kayaking in the Great South Bay? Rent a kayak from one of the many rental shops in the area and explore the calm waters of the bay. Paddle along and discover hidden coves, observe wildlife, and enjoy the serenity of nature.
It’s a unique and affordable way to experience the beauty of Long Island’s South Shore.
Surf at Gilgo and Tobay Beaches
Long Island’s South Shore is known for its great surfing spots, and Gilgo and Tobay Beaches are no exception. Grab your surfboard and catch some waves at these popular surf spots. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, you’ll find the perfect waves to ride.
And with free parking at both beaches, it’s a cost-effective way to enjoy the thrill of surfing.
Go Wine Tasting on the North Fork
While technically not on the South Shore, the North Fork is just a short drive away and offers a unique and affordable activity for wine enthusiasts. The region is known for its vineyards and wineries, where you can sample a variety of locally produced wines.
Many wineries offer affordable tasting options, allowing you to indulge in the flavors of the North Fork without breaking the bank.
Visit the Fire Island Lighthouse
For a historical and budget-friendly adventure, visit the Fire Island Lighthouse. Located on Fire Island, this iconic landmark offers breathtaking views of the surrounding area. Climb up the 182 steps to the top of the lighthouse and enjoy panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and beyond.
And with admission priced at just $10 for adults, it’s an affordable way to learn about the history of the area and appreciate its natural beauty.
The Hamptons, located on the eastern end of Long Island, is a popular destination known for its beautiful beaches, luxurious estates, and vibrant social scene. While it may have a reputation for being an expensive getaway, there are actually plenty of affordable activities to enjoy in this exclusive area.
Relax at Cooper’s Beach
Cooper’s Beach is consistently ranked as one of the best beaches in the United States, and luckily, it doesn’t cost a fortune to enjoy its sandy shores. For just a small parking fee, visitors can spend the day soaking up the sun, swimming in the crystal-clear waters, and even having a picnic on the beach.
With its pristine beauty and stunning views, it’s no wonder why Cooper’s Beach is a favorite spot for locals and tourists alike.
Hike at Montauk Point State Park
If you’re in the mood for some outdoor adventure, head to Montauk Point State Park. This 862-acre park offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, rugged cliffs, and scenic trails for hikers of all levels.
Explore the iconic Montauk Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse in New York State, or take a leisurely stroll along the beach. With its picturesque landscapes and diverse wildlife, Montauk Point State Park is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts.
See the Ponquogue Lighthouse
The Ponquogue Lighthouse, located in Hampton Bays, is a historic landmark that offers visitors a glimpse into Long Island’s maritime history. Built in 1874, this lighthouse has guided ships safely through the treacherous waters of Shinnecock Bay for over a century.
Visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse for panoramic views of the surrounding area or simply enjoy a leisurely walk along the nearby beach. Best of all, admission to the lighthouse is free, making it a great budget-friendly activity.
Check out Southampton’s Agawam Park
Agawam Park, located in the heart of Southampton Village, is a peaceful oasis where visitors can unwind and enjoy the natural beauty of the area. This picturesque park features lush green lawns, beautiful flower gardens, and a tranquil pond.
Take a leisurely stroll, have a picnic, or simply relax under the shade of a tree. Throughout the year, Agawam Park also hosts various events, such as concerts, art shows, and festivals, many of which are free to attend.
Walk Around Sag Harbor Village
Sag Harbor Village, with its charming streets lined with historic buildings and boutique shops, is a delightful place to explore on foot. Take a leisurely walk along Main Street and browse through the unique shops, art galleries, and antique stores.
Stop by the Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum to learn about the village’s rich maritime history. Don’t forget to indulge in some delicious seafood at one of the many waterfront restaurants. With its small-town charm and vibrant atmosphere, Sag Harbor Village is a must-visit destination on Long Island.
Visit LongHouse Reserve Gardens
LongHouse Reserve Gardens, located in East Hampton, is a hidden gem that offers visitors a unique and immersive experience in art and nature. This 16-acre sculpture garden features works by renowned artists from around the world, set amidst beautifully landscaped gardens.
Take a leisurely stroll through the winding pathways and admire the stunning sculptures and vibrant flowers. LongHouse Reserve Gardens also hosts various events and exhibitions throughout the year, making it a dynamic and ever-changing destination.
Go to a Free Concert at SYS
The Southampton Youth Services (SYS) Recreation Center hosts free concerts during the summer months, providing a fun and entertaining experience for the whole family. Bring a chair or a blanket and enjoy live performances by local bands and musicians.
From jazz to rock to pop, the concert series offers a diverse range of musical genres. Pack a picnic and spend a memorable evening under the stars, dancing and singing along to your favorite tunes. The SYS concert series is a fantastic way to enjoy the Hamptons’ vibrant music scene without breaking the bank.
With its stunning scenery and abundance of free and low-cost recreational opportunities, Long Island offers plenty of affordable fun for those looking to explore on a budget. From beaches and parks to historic sites and cute villages, there are so many cheap things to do across Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Use this guide to experience the best of Long Island without spending a fortune. Pack a picnic, fill up your gas tank, and get ready for adventure! With a little planning, you can have an unforgettable Long Island vacation even on the tightest budget.