Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Islip, NY

  • Published 2023/02/26

The town of Islip in Suffolk County is an excellent contrast to New York state’s busy urban areas.

Offering a quieter, more relaxed vibe, Islip is great for anyone looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big-city life and enjoy quaint village vibes.

Whether you’re into sightseeing, going on nature walks, or exploring outdoor areas, Islip has everything you normally wouldn’t see in the state’s bigger cities.

Since the town is much less crowded than the nearby cities, you can enjoy all these activities without worrying about large crowds ruining your experience.

If you’re ready to discover what this hidden gem offers, here are the 15 best things to do in Islip, New York.

Appreciate Local art at Brookwood Hall Park

A building at Brookwood Hall Park

DanTD, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located along the shores of Knapps Lake in downtown Islip, Brookwood Hall Park offers both indoor and outdoor attractions.

It’s a typical outdoor recreation area with amenities like picnic areas, sports facilities, plenty of trees, and walking trails.

There’s also a children’s playground, a senior center, and a plant garden.

The nearby Knapps Lake also adds to the park’s appeal, so you can easily swim or fish in it.

The park also houses Brookwood Hall, a beautiful historic mansion now serving as an art museum.

This museum showcases various artworks from local, regional, and nationally famous artists.

A great spot to start your Islip trip, Brookwood Hall Park is a must-visit for lovers of art and nature.

Enjoy the Great Outdoors at Suffolk County Environmental Center

Opened in 2010, the Suffolk County Environmental Center is a 70-acre nature preserve.

Located within the Scully Estate on South Bay Avenue, Suffolk County Environmental lies close to the Seatuck National Wildlife Refuge and the Islip Town Beach.

With an extensive collection of pathways and boardwalks, visitors can explore the lush variety of habitats encompassing this property, from sprawling salt marshes to verdant freshwater wetlands up to towering mature upland forests.

In addition to opportunities for self-guided exploration and passive recreation, visitors can take advantage of the Environmental Center’s educational programs, where visitors can learn about the local ecology and biodiversity of Long Island.

Public access is available to the property every day from dawn to dusk.

If you’re looking for outdoor activities that are both educational and enjoyable, the Suffolk County Environmental Center is the place to go.

Refine Your Gun Skills at South Shore Shooting Range

If you love a good challenge, then the South Shore Shooting Range is the place for you.

There’s nothing more relaxing and exciting than practicing shooting and improving your accuracy in this range.

With 11 years of being in business, the South Shore Shooting Range is one of the premier and most secure shooting ranges in Islip.

It has earned a reputation as one of the premier gun shops in New York that offers superb services and facilities.

The friendly and knowledgeable staff will happily answer all your questions and assist you with all your needs.

South Shore Shooting Range is devoted to developing and providing a secure atmosphere for all New York customers.

Their shooting range and other facilities are well-lit, inviting, and offer the utmost safety.

If you’re an avid gun enthusiast, check out South Shore Shooting Range on Freeman Avenue.

Spend a Peaceful Afternoon at Beaver Dam Park

Islip’s charm lies in its many outdoor recreational areas that offer locals and visitors a chance to relax and enjoy the great outdoors.

One of these places is Beaver Dam Park, a 67-acre neighborhood park in a peaceful residential area.

This tranquil park is the ideal spot for a family outing.

It features a large playground that’s suitable for children of all ages.

The quiet and peaceful atmosphere of the park is perfect for a picnic or simply lounging around while you watch the kids play and have fun.

Other amenities include a basketball court, baseball field, and open green space where you and the kids can run around or play catch.

Beaver Dam Park is a great place to spend quality time with your family while being close to nature and admiring the great outdoors.

Explore the Trails of Seatuck National Wildlife Refuge

A mansion at Seatuck National Wildlife Refuge

Joe Trentacosti /

Donated in 1968, the Seatuck National Wildlife Refuge lies across an expansive 209-acre land, providing a haven for wildlife and native plants.

Located South of Islip, the refuge is known as a great spot to watch and observe more than 200 bird species, many of which are protected by the U.S. Migratory Bird Act.

As a part of the Long Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is mainly responsible for the care and supervision of the Seatuck National Wildlife Refuge.

While the refuge is not accessible to visitors, citizens and guests can still explore its outskirts via a network of trails and boardwalks.

These nature trails offer beautiful views of wetlands, woods, and grasslands.

At the same time, it lets you enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and bird watching without ever setting foot inside the refuge.

For avid hunters, the refuge opens 100 acres of land every November through January, marking the season for white-tail deer hunting.

However, keep in mind that you’ll need to complete a hunter’s safety course and secure a permit from the Fish and Wildlife Service before you can enter and hunt at this national wildlife refuge.

Let the Kids Play at Commack Road Park

Commack Road Park is a pocket park located along Commack Road near downtown Islip.

Surrounded by thick trees, this park also offers a peaceful setting for family bonding.

It is equipped with a playground and sandbox, making it the perfect spot for young children or toddlers to run around.

The park also has a basketball court, which is great for older kids who want to practice their shooting skills or play friendly games with the locals.

Commack Road Park is an ideal spot for kids to enjoy the great outdoors while adults relax and watch over them under the shade of the trees.

It’s a great place to spend an afternoon or early morning with family and friends.

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at Sugared Up!

Sugared Up! is a popular candy store on Main Street.

It’s a popular spot for people who love sweets, thanks to its wide array of candy selections and other treats such as chocolates, gummies, and taffy.

They also sell fresh truffles, milkshakes, unique gifts, and gift baskets you can bring home as souvenirs.

They even host kids’ parties and special events, making it an excellent place for those who want to celebrate their special occasions in style.

Sugared Up! is the perfect place for those with a sweet tooth to find delicious treats and satisfy their cravings while in Islip.

Make sure to check it out while you’re in town.

Unwind and Read a Good Book at Islip Public Library

Something about villages and hamlets makes you want to appreciate the local library much more.

The Islip Public Library is a small-town library with an inviting atmosphere, perfect for those who want to relax in a quiet and peaceful setting.

It has an extensive collection of books organized according to genre and age group.

They also have a selection of magazines, newspapers, and other materials.

You can sit at one of the lounge areas or occupy an entire table if you want to stay for a more extended period.

There are also WiFi and computers; however, you’ll need a library card to access them.

The library also hosts events such as book clubs and story times, making it the ideal spot to meet new people and engage in meaningful conversations.

If you love to read and enrich your knowledge even during a trip, the Islip Public Library is worth a visit.

Walk around Islip Veterans Memorial Park

Located right beside the Islip Town Hall, the Islip Veterans Memorial Park is a small open space dedicated to the brave men and women who have served in the military.

The park features a small monument with the names of local veterans, a flagpole, a replica of an old canyon, and a few benches.

It is also surrounded by beautiful trees and has a peaceful atmosphere, making it an excellent spot for quiet time.

It’s the perfect place to get some fresh air while honoring those who have sacrificed their lives for the country.

Pets are also allowed as long as they’re on a leash.

Visiting the Islip Veterans Memorial Park is an excellent way to get a full view of Central Islip, particularly its Town Hall.

Watch a Baseball Game at Fairfield Properties Ballpark

The field of Fairfield Properties Ballpark

Jaclyn Vernace /

Baseball fans can have their fill of baseball action at the Fairfield Properties Ballpark in Central Islip.

Fairfield Properties Ballpark is a state-of-the-art 6,002-capacity stadium that serves as the home of the Long Island Ducks.

The Ducks are an independent professional baseball team playing in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.

The ballpark is equipped with a variety of amenities and modern facilities.

There are 20 sky boxes, a grass playing field, high-quality lighting systems for night games, and a television broadcast booth.

There’s also a video scoreboard, quality audio systems, multiple concession areas located in and around the ballpark, and ADA-compliant toilet facilities.

While it’s not the biggest stadium in the state, Fairfield Properties Ballpark is still a great place to watch some baseball with friends and family.

Play Bowling at East Islip Lanes Inc.

Host a bowling night with the family at East Islip Lanes Inc., one of the town’s premier entertainment centers.

It is known for offering a unique bowling experience; you can host leagues, tournaments, parties, and other special events here.

This iconic bowling alley is rich in history, as it has been around since the 1960s.

Even after decades of service, East Islip Lanes Inc. is still one of the best places to go bowling in town.

The owners made sure not to get left behind by the times, as they have been renovating the place and adding more modern attractions.

The bowling alley is open daily and offers various promos such as Lake Night Specials, Unlimited Bowling, Value Bowling, Sunday Early Bird Specials, and more.

Make sure to drop by and enjoy a game or two of bowling with friends, family, or the locals.

Enjoy the Warm Weather at Islip Town Beach

Summer only lasts three months in Islip, that’s why making the most out of this small window of warm, beautiful weather is essential.

Islip Town Beach is the perfect place to do just that.

Located on the south shore of Long Island, this beach is home to many locals who come for a swim and some sunbathing.

The beach is a small, sandy area with a mini boardwalk, a parking lot, and a few benches.

Since it’s the only beach you’ll find in Islip, it’s enough to enjoy a day out with the family beside the sea.

The beach is clean and well-maintained, and the sand is soft and white.

There’s also a pavilion accessible on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The beach is a great spot to soak up some Vitamin D while listening to the sound of the waves crashing against the shore.

Enjoy Nature at South Shore Nature Center

Located in East Islip, the South Shore Nature Center is a vibrant public sanctuary for nature lovers.

From captivating hiking trails to educational exhibits about local wildlife, this idyllic center offers something special for anyone looking to explore or learn more about natural surroundings.

Established in 1977, the 200-acre preserve stretches blissfully to the serene shores of the Great South Bay, offering stunning views of the waterfront.

The Seatuck Environmental Association operates this facility in a joint venture with the Town of Islip, which owns it with Suffolk County and The Nature Conservancy.

South Shore Nature Center is home to a range of wildlife, including numerous endangered species, presenting visitors with the thrilling opportunity to observe nature in its natural habitat.

This remarkable landscape comprises lush upland forests, vast wetlands, and a sprawling salt marsh perfect for bird-watching and wildlife discovery.

Boasting an expansive network of trails and boardwalks, you can enjoy miles of access to the property’s natural beauty and remarkable biodiversity.

The facility’s visitor center lets you explore the interactive exhibits featuring live animals, specimens, and awe-inspiring dioramas.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Islip is also surrounded by some of the best attractions in Suffolk County, such as the following:

Watch a Live Performance at CM Performing Arts Center

The CM Performing Arts Center, located in nearby Oakdale—6.1 miles from downtown Islip—hosts various live performances.

Opened in 1987, the CM Performing Arts Center has been a beacon for the arts and culture in this area.

The main stage venue was later named the Noel S. Ruiz Theatre after the passing of the Arts Center’s founder, Noel S. Ruiz, in 2019.

This theater stages professional performances ranging from musicals to dramas—making it a great place to spend a night in Islip.

CM Performing Arts Center also performs broadway musicals, classic plays, and a variety of entertainment that’ll suit any audience.

If you’re looking for a night off the beaten path, check out CM Performing Arts Center.

Visit the Long Island Maritime Museum

Long Island has a rich maritime history from when Europeans first discovered it.

Located in West Sayville, eight miles from Islip, the Long Island Maritime Museum captures this vibrant history through its vast collection of interactive exhibits, educational programs, and more.

At the museum, visitors can explore a wealth of artifacts, including historical boats, ship models, and photographs.

Marvel at the wonders of nautical culture—from boat building, shipwrecks, shellfish harvesting, and recreational boating.

Whatever fascinates you most, you can find in the different galleries inside the Long Island Maritime Museum.

It’s also filled with unique artifacts that give you a closer look into the maritime lifestyle of Long Island.

The museum also offers educational programs and workshops to promote awareness, appreciation, and conservation of the Long Island saltwater environment.

Whether you’re a local or just visiting Islip, visiting the nearby Long Island Maritime Museum is highly recommended.

Final Thoughts

While Islip may not offer the same nightlife and big city attractions as other cities in New York, there is plenty to explore in this quiet, charming town.

From taking a nature walk at Seatuck Environmental Association to watching a live performance at CM Performing Arts Center and exploring the Long Island Maritime Museum, there are plenty of fun activities in Islip to fill your vacation days.

With these best things to do in Islip, New York, start planning your trip today and explore the wonders of this underrated town.

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