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10 Of The Most Unique Places To Visit On Long Island

Long Island, New York, is often associated with picturesque beaches, charming villages, and proximity to the bustling metropolis of New York City. However, it also boasts a wealth of unique and lesser-known attractions that offer visitors a diverse array of experiences. From historic sites and natural wonders to cultural hotspots and quirky landmarks, Long Island is a treasure trove waiting to be explored. In this blog, we’ll delve into ten of the most unique places to visit on Long Island, each offering a distinct glimpse into the island’s rich tapestry of history, nature, and creativity.

1. Montauk Point Lighthouse

Perched at the easternmost tip of Long Island, the Montauk Point Lighthouse is not only a historic beacon but also a breathtaking destination. Commissioned by President George Washington in 1796, it is the oldest lighthouse in New York State. Visitors can climb the 137 iron steps to the top for a panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean and Block Island Sound. The museum at the base of the lighthouse offers a fascinating look into maritime history, with exhibits on shipwrecks, lighthouse technology, and the life of lighthouse keepers. The surrounding Montauk Point State Park provides trails, picnic areas, and prime spots for fishing and whale watching, making it a perfect day trip destination.

2. The Big Duck

A quirky landmark, the Big Duck in Flanders is a prime example of roadside Americana. Built in 1931, this duck-shaped building was originally a poultry store and has become an iconic symbol of Long Island’s duck farming industry. Today, it serves as a visitor center, offering information about the area’s history and attractions. The Big Duck is a fun and whimsical stop, perfect for photos and a quick history lesson. Its unique architecture, known as “duck architecture,” has even influenced other novelty buildings across the United States. A visit here provides a delightful slice of Long Island’s agricultural heritage.

3. Planting Fields Arboretum

Located in Oyster Bay, the Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park is a horticultural paradise. Once the estate of insurance magnate William Robertson Coe, this 409-acre park features meticulously landscaped gardens, greenhouses, and historic buildings. The Coe Hall mansion, a Tudor Revival marvel, offers guided tours that provide insight into the opulent lifestyle of its former inhabitants. The arboretum boasts a diverse collection of plants, from exotic orchids in the Camellia House to rare tree species scattered throughout the grounds. Seasonal events, such as flower shows and concerts, enhance the visitor experience, making it a must-visit for garden enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

4. Sagamore Hill

Sagamore Hill, the former home of President Theodore Roosevelt, is a significant historical site located in Oyster Bay. Known as the “Summer White House,” this 23-room Victorian mansion served as Roosevelt’s residence from 1885 until his death in 1919. The house is preserved as a museum, filled with original furnishings, artifacts, and personal memorabilia that offer a glimpse into Roosevelt’s life and legacy. The surrounding 83-acre grounds feature trails, meadows, and woodlands that reflect Roosevelt’s deep connection to nature and conservation. Guided tours provide an in-depth look at the life of one of America’s most dynamic presidents, making Sagamore Hill a fascinating destination for history enthusiasts.

5. Fire Island National Seashore

Fire Island National Seashore, a pristine barrier island off the south shore of Long Island, offers a tranquil escape from urban life. Accessible by ferry, this car-free destination boasts 26 miles of protected coastline, diverse wildlife, and historic landmarks. Visitors can explore the Sunken Forest, a rare maritime holly forest, or climb the 182 steps of the Fire Island Lighthouse for stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. The island is also home to charming communities like Ocean Beach and Cherry Grove, each with its unique character and amenities. Whether you’re interested in hiking, bird-watching, or simply relaxing on the beach, Fire Island offers a perfect blend of nature and recreation.

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6. Old Westbury Gardens

Old Westbury Gardens, located in Old Westbury, is a historic estate and botanical garden that offers a glimpse into the grandeur of the Gilded Age. The estate, built in 1906, was the home of John S. Phipps and his family. The mansion, designed in the Charles II style, is filled with antique furnishings and fine art. The 200-acre gardens are a horticultural masterpiece, featuring formal gardens, ponds, and woodland paths. Seasonal events, such as garden tours, outdoor concerts, and holiday festivities, make Old Westbury Gardens a year-round attraction. Its combination of architectural beauty and lush landscapes makes it a standout destination on Long Island.

7. Long Island Maritime Museum

Situated on the waterfront in West Sayville, the Long Island Maritime Museum offers a comprehensive look at the region’s rich maritime history. The museum’s exhibits cover everything from shipbuilding and whaling to recreational boating and marine ecology. Highlights include the historic oyster sloop Priscilla, one of the last remaining examples of its kind, and the Bayman’s Cottage, which provides insight into the lives of early 20th-century baymen. The museum also hosts educational programs, boat-building workshops, and annual events like the Seafood Festival. With its engaging exhibits and scenic location, the Long Island Maritime Museum is a must-visit for maritime enthusiasts and families alike.

8. Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium

The Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium in Centerport offers a fascinating blend of history, science, and astronomy. The estate, once owned by William K. Vanderbilt II, features a Spanish Revival mansion filled with eclectic collections of natural history specimens, cultural artifacts, and maritime treasures. The planetarium, with its state-of-the-art projection system, offers immersive shows that explore the wonders of the universe. The estate’s grounds include beautifully landscaped gardens, a marine museum, and scenic views of Northport Bay. Special events, such as nighttime star shows and educational programs, make the Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium a dynamic and engaging destination for all ages.

9. The Cradle of Aviation Museum

Located in Garden City, the Cradle of Aviation Museum celebrates Long Island’s pivotal role in the history of aviation and space exploration. The museum’s extensive collection includes over 75 air and spacecraft, from early biplanes to lunar modules. Interactive exhibits and flight simulators allow visitors to experience the thrill of flying and learn about the technological advancements that have shaped aviation history. The museum also features a giant-screen theater and a planetarium, offering educational films and astronomy shows. With its rich exhibits and hands-on experiences, the Cradle of Aviation Museum is an inspiring destination for anyone interested in the story of flight.

10. LongHouse Reserve

LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton is a unique fusion of art and nature, created by textile designer Jack Lenor Larsen. This 16-acre sculpture garden and arboretum features an eclectic collection of contemporary art, outdoor sculptures, and landscaped gardens. The reserve’s mission is to inspire a creative dialogue between art and the environment, and its diverse installations achieve just that. Highlights include works by artists such as Dale Chihuly, Yoko Ono, and Willem de Kooning. Seasonal exhibitions, educational programs, and cultural events further enrich the visitor experience. LongHouse Reserve offers a tranquil and inspiring retreat, blending art, nature, and design in a harmonious setting.


Long Island is a destination that offers far more than its beautiful beaches and proximity to New York City. Its unique attractions, ranging from historic landmarks and natural wonders to artistic havens and quirky roadside stops, provide a rich and varied tapestry of experiences. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, art enthusiast, or simply looking for something out of the ordinary, Long Island’s hidden gems promise to captivate and inspire. So, next time you find yourself on this diverse and dynamic island, be sure to explore these ten unique places that showcase the best of what Long Island has to offer.

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