Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Riverhead, NY

  • Published 2022/10/04

Serving as the Seat of Suffolk County since 1727, the historic town of Riverhead, New York, has a lot to offer to its visitors.

You can find this area right at the mouth of the Peconic River.

When you come here, you will find many activities to do with your family and friends.

Many of its attractions can offer a lot of fun and excitement while being laid back.

There’s a lot to discover about this charming New York town, from outdoor spaces to interactive museums.

Here are the 20 best things to do in Riverhead, New York:

Visit Railroad Museum of Long Island

View of Railroad Museum of Long Island

DanTD, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Railroads and locomotives have played a massive part in the development and growth of many places in the U.S.

This includes Long Island.

When you come to Riverhead, you may find the Railroad Museum of Long Island interesting.

This place aims to preserve and restore the history and artifacts that would educate people about the importance of the railroad system in the area.

View of Railroad Museum of Long Island

DanTD, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can find this exciting museum at Greenport, particularly within a freight house of the Long Island Rail Road, which was constructed in 1892.

The railroad offers several exhibits and showcases that give you a glimpse of how these railroad systems operated back in the day.

Consider adding this place to your must-visit list in Riverhead.

View of Railroad Museum of Long Island

DanTD, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Learn About Marine Life atTravis182 /

Front view of Long Island Aquarium

Liaquarium, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

When tourists come to Riverhead, one of the first places they go to is Long Island Aquarium.

This place features one of the most extensive all-living coral reef exhibits on this side of the world.

It also has a shark tank that measures 120,000 gallons, multiple touch tanks, and over a hundred regular and interactive exhibits.

Sea horse at Long Island Aquarium

Travis182 /

When you visit this place, you can also check out the sea lion shows they offer.

Some of the interactive experiences they offer include Shark Dive, a tour boat, a snorkeling experience, and an encounter with the sea lions.

You can also stroll through this aquarium’s stunning butterfly garden.

Spend time here with your companions, and see the wonders of marine life right at Riverhead.

Exterior view of Long Island Aquarium

quiggyt4 /

Catch a Live Show at Suffolk Theater

The beautiful Suffolk Theater first opened in 1933.

Since then, it has welcomed many theatergoers both from in and outside Riverhead.

The place has undergone multiple renovations, but its original interior, designed in an art-deco style, has remained intact.

Exterior view of Suffolk Theater

quiggyt4 /

Apart from the gorgeous interior, you can also catch many shows and live performances here.

Before heading to a show, you can stop by its on-site restaurant that offers meals and cocktails.

If you love performing and like watching shows in a cozy and beautiful setting, then check out Suffolk Theater.

Watch a Thrilling Race at Riverhead Raceway

The first race to be staged in this exciting attraction happened back in 1944.

This makes Riverhead Raceway one of the oldest race tracks in the United States.

As of writing, this raceway in Riverhead is the only NASCAR track in New York.

It also attracts many racing enthusiasts to its stands.

When you come here, you can witness many different forms of vehicle-related entertainment.

Of course, these include NASCAR races, go-kart racing, and school-bus racing.

However, you can also watch demolition derbies and monster trucks here.

Experience the thrill of super fast car racing by visiting Riverhead Raceway with your family.

Discover the Area’s Farming Past at the Hallockville Museum Farm

The community on the North Fold of Long Island has seen farming as a way of life since the mid-1700s.

At Riverhead, there is a place that preserves the history of this aspect in the community.

At Hallockville Museum Farm, the people aim to preserve and showcase how the early pioneer farmers lived in the 18th century.

Here, you will find the Hallockville homestead built in 1765.

The place remained occupied until 1985.

When you come here, you can go on a guided tour of the homestead.

You can learn about what life was like for the pioneer farmers in Riverhead.

Meanwhile, you can freely explore the farm itself.

Lectures and craft demonstrations are also hosted by the museum regularly, so consider attending one to have a productive time.

Vibe With the Music at Vail-Leavitt Music Hall

Front View of Vail-Leavitt Music Hall

Americasroof, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This historic music hall has been standing in Riverhead since 1881.

If you are interested in jazz music and its role in Riverhead’s history, check out the Vail Leavitt Music Hall.

Beautiful music has always rung within the walls of this place, and you can experience it yourself.

When you come here, you can take part in the many musical events the venue hosts.

If you want to experience a bit of live music hall entertainment, similar to how they do so back in the day, consider visiting the Vail-Leavitt Music Hall.

Have a Delicious Meal at Tweeds Restaurant and Buffalo Bar

One of the most famous historic landmarks in Riverhead is also a fantastic restaurant.

When you’re in Riverhead, make sure to check out Tweeds Restaurant and Buffalo Bar.

This place has stood in this town since 1896.

Many locals and tourists flock to this place to try one of their many delicious meals.

Here, you can enjoy some tasty food while relaxing with your companions right by its elegant bar made of mahogany and marble.

Some of their signature dishes on the menu are those made with bison meat sourced from the establishment’s bison herd.

If you’re looking for a great place to eat or hang out with your buddies in Riverhead, then don’t hesitate to check this place out.

Stroll Through Cranberry Bog

Pond at Cranberry Bog

Bad Birch /

For lovers of the outdoors, don’t miss out on visiting Cranberry Bog Nature Preserve.

You can find this hidden gem set among Riverheads wetlands.

The park is essentially what’s left of an abandoned cranberry-growing operation.

The nature preserve measures 165 acres, and it forms a part of the Peconic River’s drainage system.

Additionally, it serves as a natural reservoir for the freshwater supply of long island.

Narrow pedestrian bridge at Cranberry Bog

Bad Birch /

When you come here, you can find numerous hiking trails that you can follow.

These will lead you to places where you can witness stunning sights overlooking the Little Peconic River.

You can also find a myriad of plant life, bird species, and local wildlife when you follow these trails.

The sights and smells coming from flora and other various plants found here vary from season to season, and they’re all enjoyable for every type of outdoor lover.

Find this hidden gem in Riverhead, and make sure to explore the best that it can offer.

Learn and Play With Your Kids at Long Island Science Center

Discovering the wonders of science can be exciting for the entire family.

Here in Riverhead, you can find Long Island Science Center, which is an incredible learning museum.

This place aims to prepare children for the future that’s mainly built on technology and innovation.

This living museum wants to promote curiosity and creativity among young people through its STEAM-focused curricula, interactive exhibits, and various programs.

However, the kids won’t be the only ones having fun here as this place offers an exciting time to visitors of all ages.

When you’re in Riverhead, bring your entire family to the Long Island Science Center.

Hang Out at the Peconic Riverfront Park

View of Peconic Riverfront Park

Chumash11, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the most popular recreational areas in Riverhead is the Peconic Riverfront Park.

It features numerous amenities you can use for a lovely time.

Here, you can find a large playground and a vast grassy area where your kids can run about and play.

Peconic Riverfront Park during sunset

Jay Gao /

For those who want to relax, you can hand out at the park’s pavilion right next to a quiet river.

You can also discover the unique plants and trees found here through the several walking trails in the park.

If you get hungry, there is a restaurant nearby where you can get delicious food to eat at the park.

Sit back, relax, and spend some time at the Peconic Riverfront Park.

Have Fun With the Family at Safari Adventure

Another incredible place to take your family while in Riverhead is Safari Adventure.

It is the only entertainment center for kids in Suffolk County that utilizes a combination of activities that children love the most.

Here, you can find a sizeable soft playground measuring 18 feet tall and several fantastic inflatables.

There is also an arcade here, where you and your kids can have countless hours playing fantastic video games.

Additionally, there is a hands-on play section where your kids can have the opportunity to learn while having fun.

If you or your kids get hungry, you can head on to the establishment’s in-house cafe, featuring organic and gluten-free dishes.

You can spend countless hours here with your family, so consider heading here during your holiday in Riverhead.

Play a Game at the Sandy Pond Golf Course

Playing golf can be both thrilling and relaxing at the same time.

Here at Riverhead, you can visit Sandy Pond Golf Course.

It features a 9-hole course that’s challenging enough for people to have a fun and exciting time.

It’s a great place to play for both beginners and experts of the game.

Apart from the ease or difficulty of the course, Sandy Pond Golf Course also features gorgeous views of the surrounding area.

It has fairways and greens that are well-kept, adding to your experience.

Additionally, beginners can also seek the help of the friendly staff members here, as they can assist you and give you tips on how to play the sport.

When you’re in Riverhead, make sure to try a round of golf at Sandy Pond.

Have a Picnic at Stotzky Memorial Park

Are you looking for a place to spend a lovely afternoon with your travel companions?

Make sure to check out Stotzky Memorial Park when you visit Riverhead.

This exciting park spans 12 acres and features many amenities you and your friends or family can use.

If you want to stay active, then do check out the many sports amenities here.

It has several softball and baseball fields and courts for playing tennis, handball, bocce, and basketball.

Apart from this, it also features a playground, horseshoe pits, and a street hockey rink.

For people who simply want to hang out, you can head over to the picnic area and get some snacks at the concession stand.

It’s a great place to spend a relaxing afternoon while in Riverhead.

Go Camping at the Indian Island County Park

View of Indian Island County Park

Joe Trentacosti /

Another amazing attraction that showcases the beauty of the outdoors is the Indian Island County Park.

You can find this at the estuarine mouth of the Peconic River that runs through the town, and it spans 275 acres.

This park is open all year round to the public, and it has amenities for a myriad of activities.

Swan at Indian Island County Park

Joe Trentacosti /

Here, you can go camping at one of the trailer sites or tent sites at the park.

For your convenience, restrooms and showers are available.

Discover what’s great about the outdoors in Riverhead by spending a night at this amazing nature park.

Kayaks at Indian Island County Park

Joe Trentacosti /

Stroll through Downtown Riverhead Historic Trail

Take a stroll through time on the Downtown Historic Trail and learn about the fascinating past of Riverhead.

The Downtown Riverhead Historic Trail is a street route that visitors may follow with their smartphones and QR codes.

Starting at Main Street and Roanoke Avenue, the trail concludes at the Suffolk County Historical Society.

See archival photographs and first-person narratives from historical figures at each site.

Merchants and bankers, as well as their spouses and offspring, as well as employees, provide the narrative voices.

You may visit the candy store of “Judge” Taft, the hotel of Tammany Hall member J.J. Sullivan, or the office of Republican county leader Harry Lee.

Also, meet Syrena Stackpole, the city’s first elected female official.

Meet the men who created some of the town’s most notable structures, such as the First Congregational Church and the Suffolk County Historical Society.

You’ll also discover the life of Tzanos Moustaka, from Greece, the owner of Riverhead Grill.

In addition to the Riverhead Town Board members, local actors and actresses play these and other colorful personalities connected to the downtown area.

Visit the Exhibits of East End Arts

East End Arts is a non-profit organization that has won multiple awards for art school, gallery, and year-round events and programming.

Since its founding in 1972, East End Arts & Humanities Council has worked to foster a thriving art scene on Long Island’s eastern end.

East End Arts hosts approximately 150 art, music, and theater classes annually and 22 gallery shows

that highlight local talent. In addition to public concerts, it features private music lessons, workshops, and networking opportunities for aspiring and experienced musicians.

E. Main St. and W. Main St. are home to East End Arts’ two galleries in Riverhead’s vibrant Arts District.

Go check out some of the best local artwork in the world at these spots.

Taste Apple Treats at Woodside Orchards

In 1982, Woodside Orchards began as a modest apple farm run by a single family.

The Gammons’ apple orchard and the company it spawned flourished as the family did.

Guests may choose from a wide selection of delicious, homemade apple treats.

Midway through September to Columbus Day weekend is the best time to visit for U-Pick apple harvesting.

You may check out its tasting room at any time of the year to sample a flight of four different varieties of their excellent hard cider.

Once you’ve settled on a favorite, you may take some of it home in a growler. In the autumn, tasty baked delicacies are abundant.

Sample the Spirits of Twin Stills Moonshine

Following their forefathers’ footsteps, the distillers at Twin Stills Moonshine use locally produced New York corn to make authentic old-fashioned whiskies and delectable flavored spirits, much as before the prohibition.

It began its operation in 1926.

Visit the distillery’s tasting room and sample its offerings.

Join the Shine Club if you want to receive exclusive invitations to monthly members-only tastings.

Its cocktails recipes should get your creative juices flowing if you’re at a loss for how to recreate the company’s line of flavored spirits.

Visit Jamesport Farm Brewery and Taste Its Beer

Craft breweries are popping up in almost every town and suburb these days.

The Jamesport Farm Brewery is distinguished from others because it produces high-quality beers with fresh ingredients and on-site brewing.

The brewery boasts of producing genuine “Farm to Pint” beer.

It’s because almost all of the fresh hops, barley, and wheat needed in the brewing process come straight from the Jamesport Farm, a modern functioning farm.

The tasting room, located in the renovated potato barn, welcomes curious guests to discover the unique flavor for themselves.

After your taste, you may also stock up on an assortment of locally grown goods.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Take a Picture Right by the Big Duck

View of The  Big Duck

Ray Larsen /

You can find a quirky-yet-iconic roadside attraction near Riverhead in the shape of a duck.

Appropriately named The Big Duck, this attraction is located in Flanders, 6 minutes away from Riverhead.

The attraction’s design was created by the Collin Brothers, who are set designers on Broadway.

However, the structure itself was crafted by locals in 1931.

View of The  Big Duck

Jon Bilous /

This attraction initially sat in Riverhead, and it has moved locations thrice until it settled on its location today.

The Big Duck can now be found in an aptly named area called the Big Duck Ranch.

Thanks to its cuteness, the Big Duck is an amazing place for a photo-op with your travel buddies.

When you’re in the area, make a short stop at this peculiar roadside attraction.

Front view of the Big Duck

anaglic /

Final Thoughts

You can find many activities to try out when coming to Riverhead.

Given the myriad of attractions it offers, everyone will find something that they will genuinely like.

Blessed with a historic charm and natural beauty, make Riverhead your next holiday destination.

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