Take a Hike!
Long Island had a pretty mild winter this year. There were no snowstorms, and hardly even any flurries. While we certainly had our fair share of cold days, the arrival of spring felt like it came at an appropriate time — and with the sun sticking around a little bit longer into the evening, people are gearing up to get back outside. Now that spring is officially here, it’s time to slab on the sunscreen and enjoy some time in nature.
Just remember to pack your water bottle and bug spray, too. And always check for ticks when you get home!
Here are six hiking trails in the Hamptons that you can complete by yourself or with a friend to enjoy the great outdoors.
Quogue Wildlife Refuge
Located on Old Country Road in Quogue, the wildlife refuge is open from sunrise to sunset every day, while the Nature Center is open four days a week from 11am to 4pm.
Anyone can go to the facility to walk the trails either by themselves or with a group, and it’s totally free to the public. The QWR recommends that anyone interested in walking the trails call ahead just in case there are programs going on that would interfere with availability.
In addition to spending time outdoors, there are programs available, such as yoga and children’s camps.
Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge
Not only is Elizabeth A. Morton a wildlife refuge and hiking trail, but it’s sited right on the beach on Noyac Bay in North Sea. Hikers will have the opportunity to see the animals in the refuge such as turkeys and ospreys. People can also go fishing on the coastline if they have a NYS saltwater fishing license. And if you’re planning on bringing your kids along, there are plenty of family-friendly activities throughout the summer.
Entrance fees are $4 per vehicle or $2 for pedestrians and bikers. Annual passes are available for purchase as well.
Located in the Northwest Harbor section of East Hampton, Cedar Point spans over 600 acres and is located right on Gardiner’s Bay. There are camping areas, nature trails, and a lighthouse that was originally built in 1860 to serve as a guide for whaling ships. Visitors have also enjoyed bird watching and scuba diving at Cedar Point.
Located on Shelter Island, Mashomack Preserve spans a whopping 2,039 acres and has 11 miles of coastline. “Mashomack” means “where they go by water” in the Native American language of the Manhassets, who were the original settlers of the land.
The hiking trails and visitor center are open from 9am to 5pm daily in July and August. In April, May, and June, the center is open for the same hours, but is closed on Tuesday. There is a suggested donation of $3 per adult and $2 per child.
Montauk’s Hither Hills has long been one of the East End’s favorite camping and hiking locations. Located on the ocean, the State Park offers picnic areas, sport fishing, a 189-site campground, and access to the famous Walking Dunes on Napeague Harbor. Visitors enjoy hiking, biking, camping, and water sports like surfing and paddle boarding.
Car passes are $10 for daily access, and camping will cost $35 per night ($70 for non-New York State residents). Plenty of other licenses are available depending on what you plan to do while staying at Hither Hills, such as sport fishing or star gazing.
Camp Hero has certainly garnered some attention since Stranger Things became popular (the TV show was based on some experiments that were allegedly performed on the former Air Force Station). Encompassing over 750 acres, the park offers cliffside ocean views, beach access, and trails that can be used for hiking, biking, or horse-back riding.
Daily fees are $8 per vehicle. Permits are available for purchase as well.
Please be aware that during the state lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, some of these facilities might be closed. Please go to each facility’s website link or call ahead for updated availability. While New York State is on pause, please remember to maintain your 6-foot social distance from others.