Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Brookhaven, NY

  • Published 2023/04/15

Brookhaven, New York, is a coastal town in central Long Island, inside the greater New York City area.

The design-savvy tourist may enjoy both urban and natural pursuits in Brookhaven.

The only town in Suffolk County to extend from north to south, with harbors on Great South Bay and Long Island Sound, is a unique and essential location.

It has a larger land area than New York’s other 932 towns (when considering the water area).

Those in the Big Apple who need a break often travel to Brookhaven.

In keeping with its rural setting, this town features charming streets lined with buildings from the turn of the century.

It’s also a great place to visit because it has several parks, wildlife refuges, and beaches.

Discover the best things to do in Brookhaven, New York.

Drive around Fire Island National Seashore

A lighthouse at Fire Island National Seashore

Scott Heaney /

The individuals who have lived, worked, or visited Fire Island National Seashore will never forget this fantastic area.

The barrier island is home to seasonal, mid-island locations you can only reach using a private boat or passenger ferry.

Year-round vehicular access is available to Fire Island’s iconic landmarks, such as the William Floyd Estate, Wilderness, and Lighthouse.

The waters of Fire Island National Seashore

Scott Heaney /

Great South Bay and the salt marshes of Fire Island National Seashore between Watch Hill and Smith Point are great places to go boating, canoeing, and fishing in the summer.

It also features lifeguarded beaches and ranger-led activities, which change with the seasons.

Boardwalk at Fire Island National Seashore

Timothy S. Allen /

Feast Your Eyes on the Lush Greenery of Longwood Estate

Longwood Estate is a national landmark and a town gem in Brookhaven.

Farmland, grassland, ponds, forests, and the source of the Peconic River are all part of the estate.

The prominent Smith family held title to the estate until 1968.

Commercial and industrial property developers bought the site in 1973.

Developers donated the land to the Town of Brookhaven in 1974 against opposition from town authorities and citizens.

Town officials also organize special events at Longwood Estate.

Take a Stroll at the Post-Morrow Foundation

The mission of the Post-Morrow Foundation is to protect and maintain the Suffolk County hamlet of Brookhaven and its surrounding rural, cultural, and historical heritage.

Land preserved in its natural condition as a sanctuary, open space, or natural garden, as well as property upgraded and developed to maintain and care for such assets and maybe display and exhibit relevant collections, fall under this category.

Here, you’ll find Native American tools, books, maps, antiques, relics, donations, bequests, and other items from the deceased.

The landscaping of the Post-Morrow Foundation is very stunning.

If you need some tranquility in the wetlands of Beaver Dam Creek, stop by and support their efforts.

You may get away from the hustle and bustle of eastern Long Island and relax among the grass, trees, and boardwalk.

Discover the Town’s Past at the Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society

Exterior of Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society

DanTD, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Founded in 1958, the Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society is a non-profit organization with over 300 members committed to preserving and sharing the town’s rich history.

Almost 80 homes in Bellport Village were recognized as historically significant by the National Register in 1980.

In 2001, the Historic Protection Commission declared four districts in Bellport Village historic.

The Museum Complex of the Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society lies at the center of these neighborhoods.

The Barn Museum is home to relics documenting Bellport’s past and collections of pictures, furniture, and seasonal films.

Cruise the Bay with Long Island Jet Ski Rentals

Long Island Jet Ski Rentals has the newest and most advanced fleet when renting a jet ski in New York.

Forget the water park and try this thrilling Long Island water activity instead.

Take a ride on one of the new and swift Yamaha VX waverunner PWC (Personal Water Craft) jet skis.

Feel free to go as fast as you can see with your jet ski.

Before venturing into the bay, their professional Jet Ski operators will give all drivers and passengers a quick safety briefing and instruction on handling the personal watercraft.

Just note that drivers must be at least 18 years old, and passengers must be 42″ or taller.

Buy Organic Produce from H.O.G. Farm

Established in 1996, H.O.G Farms began as the Hamlet Organic Garden.

Throughout its 24th year of business, it has expanded to a 20-acre farm.

Through the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, weekend farm stands, and increasing local restaurants, the farm serves the community with over 300 kinds of vegetables, herbs, flowers, and fruits.

Its goal is to raise the healthiest, tastiest crops possible while protecting the land, giving farm employees a voice, and improving the neighborhood.

Even though H.O.G. Farm isn’t an official organic farm, it only uses organic fertilizers and insecticides on its crops and livestock feed.

Learn about Animal Preservation at Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge

A dock at Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge

Andrea DiSavino /

The Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge began in 1947.

Since then, it has preserved 2,550 acres of land on the southern coast of Long Island.

The Carmans River is one of Long Island’s greatest rivers and a recognized scenic river by the state of New York.

It runs right through the middle of the refuge.

Carmans river at Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge

IlyaSukhanov, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Oak-pine forests, grasslands, and fresh, salty, and saltwater wetlands are only some of the ecosystems in Wertheim.

Various animals live here, including white-tailed deer, muskrats, foxes, osprey, turtles, frogs, and fish.

Waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors, and songbirds all find safety in the refuge.

The refuge complex’s administrative offices and visitor center lie within Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge.

Sip Beer at Blue Point Brewing Company

The village of Patchogue in Brookhaven is home to Long Island’s first craft brewery, Blue Point Brewing Company, which opened in 1998.

You may find this Long Island offshoot of Anheuser-Busch InBev in Patchogue, New York.

Blue Point Brewery was founded in 1993 and has since expanded to become one of New York’s largest breweries, with distribution over the entire East Coast.

The brewery has both year-round and seasonal beer options.

Toasted Lager, Blue Point’s flagship beer, has won multiple medals, including a gold at the World Beer Cup.

There is also a public tasting room available for patrons.

Blue Point Brewing Company hosts several events, including the yearly Cask Ale Festival and concerts.

Hit the Bullseye at Smith Point Archery

For more than 35 years, Smith Point Archery has served as Long Island’s premier archery range and pro shop.

Smith Point Archery is a family business that has served the archery community for many years.

Its Pro Shop and Archery Range are among the largest in the region.

It features a complete selection of crossbows and anything else an archer might need.

It has more advanced-level instructors than any other company and the most highly-trained staff in the industry.

Smith Point Archery is the go-to place for bows and accessories in the archery community, regardless of whether you’re just starting or a top-tier professional.

Go Skiing at Southaven County Park

A swan at Southaven County Park

Joe Trentacosti /

Picnickers love Southaven County Park because it has facilities to host up to 1,000 people in its designated group picnic sites.

It’s a stunning pine-oak woodland park with the meandering Carmans River.

Fishing, rowing boats, horseback riding paths, tent and trailer camping, and picnic sites for up to a thousand people are all available in Southaven County Park.

Cross-country skiing is also possible there, weather permitting.

Welcome sign of Southaven County Park

DanTD, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The park also has the Long Island live steamers, a miniature train ride attraction.

It also features space for 104 tents or trailers, bridle paths, footpaths, and fishing spots among its 1,323 acres.

Although you may bring your pets, keep them on a leash.

See Unique Plants at Brookhaven State Park

Formerly known as Camp Upton, Brookhaven State Park was a property of Brookhaven National Laboratory.

It is a large Long Island Pine Barrens section covering 1638 acres.

This park is in Ridge.

The park is home to the Brookhaven Trail, a popular hiking route that loops south and connects with the white-blazed Paumanok Path.

This park is home to many oak-pine forests and a few isolated marshes.

Flowering dogwood, Christmas fern, pitch pine, and wild geranium are just a few of the plants that make up the park’s flora in Brookhaven State Park.

The Brookhaven State Park also protects ponds typical of the coastal plain.

Admire the Area from the Skies with Long Island Skydiving Center

Long Island Skydiving Center‘s dropzone is about 50 miles from the city and offers unparalleled vistas.

View the beautiful Twin Forks, Smith Point County Park, Westhampton Beach, Fire Island National Seashore, and the Atlantic Ocean from above Long Island Sound.

You can even see as far as Montauk and New York City on a clear day.

Tandem skydiving is Long Island Skydiving Center’s specialty, and they make flying fantasies come true all summer long.

Its well-trained and experienced ground staff and sky crew will assist you in making your first jump or creating new, unforgettable tandem moments.

Go Surfing at Smith Point County Park

The beach of Smith Point County Park

Joe Trentacosti /

Smith Point County Park on Fire Island’s barrier beach is a popular destination for surfers, swimmers, and other outdoor enthusiasts.

The park’s white beaches, Atlantic surf, and adjacent camping area make it a hotspot for locals and visitors every summer.

Every camping spot at this campsite requires a reservation.

Camping is possible on the outer beach on a first-come, first-served basis if the beach is suitable for camping.

Trail leading to Smith Point County Park's beach

Joe Trentacosti /

Several of them also have electrical and sewage connections.

Smith Point County Park is home to a group of well-known lifeguards across the country, adding an extra layer of protection to the ocean for park guests.

You will need permission to drive off-road vehicles on the outer beach’s eastern half.

Remember to stay clear of the indicated protective fence surrounding the nest places of endangered shorebirds.

Feed the Animals at Long Island Game Farm

Stanley and Diane Novak started Long Island Game Farm in 1969 at 489 Chapman Boulevard in Manorville, New York, 14 minutes from Brookhaven.

The zoo spans a total of 29 acres and features almost 200 animals.

It provides a fun and educational experience for families interested in learning more about wildlife and animals at the biggest children’s zoo and wildlife park on Long Island.

The best part is you can feed the goats and deer here.

Long Island Game Farm also features a snack bar on site; however, visitors are welcome to bring their food.

Try Retail Therapy at Stony Brook Village Center

Shops at Stony Brook Village Center

Iracaz at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Stony Brook Village Center is the brainchild of philanthropist and industrialist Ward Melville.

This planned colonial-style town square perfectly synthesizes retail, dining, culture, and the outdoors.

There are now 35 establishments, ranging from mom-and-pop shops to national chains like Chico’s and LOFT, plus seven restaurants.

A post office at Stony Brook Village Center

Iracaz at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Stony Brook Village Center is a portal to the past and a gateway to the future of lifestyle communities, as it is among historic sites and national and state treasures.

Only a minute’s stroll away is the historic Stony Brook Grist Mill (built in c. 1751) and the Hercules Pavilion, which holds the Hercules figurehead from the U.S.S. Ohio.

Also nearby is the Polaris Whaleboat, the only surviving item from Charles Hall’s 1870 trip to the Arctic.

Final Thoughts

Because of its proximity to beautiful beaches and quaint small-town vibe, Brookhaven is a terrific vacation spot for beachgoers and nature lovers alike.

Visitors and residents may enjoy the city’s world-class restaurants, retail establishments, and art galleries.

Use this guide to the best things to do in Brookhaven, New York, for a pleasant time.

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