Memorial Day Activities for a Weekend on Long Island in New York
Looking for something fun to do this upcoming memorial long weekend? There are plenty of annual events happening not too far from the New York City area on Long Island, from a day at the beach to watch the Jones Beach Air Show to live outdoor shows on long island. Some of these activities take up a whole day while others can be done in just an afternoon. They're all family friendly as well, even a trip out to the vineyards, surprisingly. You need to be 21 and over to drink ofcourse but many of these vineyards host musical acts and other outdoor activities to entertain those of all ages.
Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park, Oyster Bay
To enjoy a more relaxing day, you can try visiting one of Long Island's many town parks such as Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park of Oyster Bay. This park has plenty to enjoy including a historical Gold Coast Mansion on property. This park is expansive and includes a greenhouse and several gardens. Throughout the year they host educational programs and hands on programs for kids. On Memorial day, however, there will be a weekend concert at Coe Hall West Portico of “Red, White & Blues” with Brass Ensemble, performed by the Chamber Players International. This event is free and there are no parking fees. The show starts at 6:00 pm Memorial Day.
The grounds are well kept and many families will come early to picnic on some of the 409 acres of grass. Be sure to bring your blanket and basket of food. This park includes many shaded areas, as well as a Park Café called Periwinkles. You are also welcome to tour the mansion onsite during your visit.
Jones Beach Air Show
For some action closer to home, take a drive to Jones Beach State Park for their annual Air Show of amazing feats, thrills and skydivers. This year is featuring the CF-18 and other classic jets flying directly over your head or at the shore on the beach with twists and turns. The boardwalk is always full of activities for the entire family, last year featuring space rocket bouncy castles and tons of giveaways. There are plenty of opportunities to give back to our vets at this event, with collections and sponsored tables up and down the boardwalk, and truly show your patriotic stripes.
Bring a beach chair or towel and a cooler, though there is plenty of food from hot dogs to ice cream to the full Jones Beach snack bar. Be sure to come early because the closer spots go rather quickly. The best locations for watching the show is by the speakers in the middle of the beach closer to the snack bar area, and it fills up quickly so arrive early for the best spot. Another reason for arriving early is that the parking lot can fill up, sometimes by noon. Don’t forget the sunscreen or an umbrella too as there are generally no shaded spots. The only fee for this event is parking.
Belmont Lake State Park, North Bablyon
For a park with some more activities available for the whole family, try Belmont Lake State Park. This park is 400 acres large and has designated picnic areas as well as pavilions available for reserving for both large and small groups. They even have grills available for use but be sure to follow all rules for cooking on property here. After you enjoy your lunch, you have the option to explore the walking trail, playground, and bike trail. Paddle boating and row boating are also available here. They're be reservation and can be alot of fun on a hot summer day.
It’s located off of the southern state parkway at Exit 38 in North Babylon, which makes it close for most from all over long island and in New York City. This is a park that gets crowded during the holiday weekends as the sections of the park can be occupied by larger groups. If you plan on being one of those larger groups, definitely arrive early for the best spots but if you're a smaller group, there's plenty of space to find a great area to settle for an afternoon.
North Fork Wine Country, Eastern Long Island
Raphael Vineyard and Winery
Spend the day at Raphael Vineyard and Winery out on the eastern north shore end of Long Island for some wine tasting, live music and pleasant atmosphere this Memorial weekend. They will be hosting live music from Mambo Loco from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm and admission is free. A large array of wine is available for sipping in their tasting room and you can also receive a tour of the grounds, a sprawling acres of vines, through their tank room and into the barrel cellar. Just be sure to call ahead for a reservation during this weekend at it can get packed by the afternoon.
Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard
One of my favorite vineyards out east is Baiting Hollow, which also is home to a number of rescue horses on their farm. You can get very close to these amazing creatures or even take a pony ride for a fee. The tastings range from sample glasses to entire bottles to split with your group. On Memorial Day there will be live music from the resident cover band playing from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. They also have a delectable food buffet with both warm meals and cold cheese platter choices. They can even suggest the best wine to pair with their cheeses on hand. They do have outdoor seating for smaller groups and indoor seating for a more laid back vibe. This winery is a wonderful way to kick-off the summer season outdoors with some music, family and good times.
Brookhaven Fair, Bald Hill
This famous fair opens its doors the weekend of Memorial Day and stays open for the next three weekends. There’s plenty to see and do including flying trapeze artists, a petting zoo, and amusement rides. They also have the classic fair food of sausage and pepper heros, fried oreos, and candy apples, to just name a few. There are also a few stage shows that have a range of different entertainment throughout the night like dancing but the majority of the night is taken up by local cover bands. They stage magic shows throughout the day as well. There are also promotional giveaways throughout the day and well into the night where a small donation will get you a ticket for some big prizes. Note, however, that fireworks are only on Saturday nights and there will not be any on that Monday’s Memorial Day. Admission is always free including all shows but it’s extra for rides. Visit their website for free coupons and discount ride bracelets.
© 2013 Catherine Stolfi