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As crowded as Long Island is, the residents have carved out pockets of wilderness and green belts to preserve nature and provide wild animals with habitats on the island. Bethpage State Park was established in 1931 when the state of New York purchased the land from a private owner, who had already created a golf course on it. Taking a page from his book, New York proceeded to create four additional golf courses on this parcel of land. Today, Bethpage State Park is well-known for its world-class fairways. What’s not as well known is it maintains several acres of hiking trails and other opportunities for recreational fun.
The closest town is Farmingdale, about two miles south. The town is the site of one of the earliest settlements on Long Island. The first settler, who arrived in 1695, built a home in 1736, and that home is still standing today, as are several other homes from the 1700s and 1800s. Plan the perfect RV camping adventure when you book an RV in Nassau County, NY.
Though the golf courses take up a portion of Bethpage State Park’s 1,500 acres, the remainder has been carefully guarded to maintain its natural wild state. The results are around 25 miles of hiking trails that wind and weave through hilly groves of woodlands. A majority of these trails are paved to make it inclusive for wheelchair users. These trails are popular with local residents, and out-of-town visitors will often find themselves sharing the paths with joggers, bikers, and other people seeking outdoor recreational fun. In wintertime, these trails, though not groomed, are open to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing as soon as there is sufficient snow. Children - and some adults - enjoy hitting the hills for sledding and tobogganing fun, too.
Outdoor adventures and opportunities for quiet and solitude can seem next to impossible on the crowded suburban-dense island. However, such a goal can be achieved with a visit to the Fire Island National Seashore. The national park, found on Fire Island, stretches across 30 miles of ocean. Though it’s a popular destination in summers, the number of visitors drops sharply in autumns and winters. On an early chilly morning, it’s not uncommon to find utter peace and quiet along this stretch of shore. The only sounds are waves crashing on the shore and cries of seagulls and other seabirds that populate the island. Bird lovers, photographers, and nature lovers will appreciate visiting this park. The park is a protected habitat of wildlife, a few of which are endangered or threatened. The piping plovers, which are endangered, and rarely seen anywhere else in the United States, make their nests in the dunes on the Fire Island. Roseate terns likewise are federally endangered, and this stretch of shoreline is the site of one of the few colonies still remaining in the United States.
Finding places to camp in an RV on Long Island can be a challenge due to the dense suburban neighborhoods. There are a handful of privately-run campgrounds that may tick off a few boxes. Battle Row Campground in Old Bethpage, NY, is a county-run park that allows RVs to set up camps inside its boundaries. Out of 64 RV sites, 52 have electric and water hookups. There is a restroom with showers available for the guests to use.
Alternatively, RV camp at Smith Point County Park Campground near Mastic Beach, NY. The only campground on Fire Island, this campground can fill up very quickly in the summer months and does not take walk-ins. All sites have water hookups, most also have electric, and a few have sewer. There is a bathroom with showers, also.
Another option to consider is RV camping in New Jersey, which is a short drive away in a motorhome rental. In Jersey City, NJ is Liberty Harbor RV Park, which is one of the closest RV parks to New York City. The facility claims to deliver an“urban camping experience.” Liberty Harbor RV Park has several amenities like WiFi, electric and water hookups, and an onsite restaurant/bar.
Though the dazzling lights of the Big Apple (also known as New York City) are hard to ignore, Long Island has several attractions that will entertain, delight, and amuse visitors. It might surprise people to learn that whaling was a major part of the local industry for many years. The Whaling Museum and Education Center in Cold Spring Harbor, NY, has over 6,000 artifacts, documents, maps, photographs, tools, and other artifacts on display. Learn what life was like as a whaler in the interactive exhibit. Hoist the sails, swab the decks, and chart your journey.
Hop into a rental Airstream and continue the journey into the maritime world. Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead, has one of the largest coral displays in the United States. Its other exhibits are equally interesting and vibrant. In addition to several fish tanks, there are penguin enclosures, interactive touch tanks, sharks, and seals.