Blake Walsh

17 Best Things to Do in Suffolk County, NY

  • Published 2023/05/06

If you’re a big fan of the Atlantic Ocean and the State of New York, Suffolk County should be on your bucket list of counties to visit on the East Coast.

Situated in New York’s Long Island, Suffolk County is brimming with tons of beautiful beaches, each having their own culture and unique things to offer.

The county is also huge—it has tons of hamlets and several townships that have all sorts of interesting attractions.

Some things to look forward to here are the numerous state parks, lighthouses, and all kinds of museums.

To get you started, here’s a list of the 17 best things to do in Suffolk County, New York.

See the Montauk Point Lighthouse Museum

Exterior of the Montauk Point Lighthouse Museum

David W. Leindecker /

Easily one of the most popular attractions in Suffolk County is the Montauk Point Lighthouse Museum that’s found at the town of East Hampton.

Montauk Point Lighthouse Museum is known for being the easternmost tip of Long Island, giving you amazing views of the ocean that feels like you’re at the tip of the world.

Beyond that, this is a historic piece of architecture as well, dating back to the late 18th Century when it was commissioned by none other than former U.S. President George Washington.

This makes the place a must-see, as there’s a lot to unpack as you tour the beautiful lighthouse.

To top it all off, it’s close to the other scenic attractions found within Montauk State Park, making this a great day trip.

Far view of the Montauk Point Lighthouse Museum

travelview /

Go Surfing at Ditch Plains Beach

Surfers at Ditch Plains Beach

rj lerich /

Ditch Plains Beach is one of the best surfing spots in Suffolk County, located in Montauk.

It’s a sandy beach that gets a lot of powerful waves, and there’s also an austere appeal to it aesthetic-wise due to it not getting as many tourists compared to others.

Hence, this is a great way to also do photography if you’re into the desolate-looking areas if you’re not into surfing.

Ditch Plains Beach is also filled with tons of unique rocks; it’s a great bonus if you like beaches that aren’t pure powdery sand.

While there’s a lot of beaches in Long Island, Ditch Plains Beach is a must-see for its underrated beauty.

People at Ditch Plains Beach

rj lerich /

See the Wildlife at Holtsville Wildlife and Ecology Center

Holtsville Wildlife and Ecology Center is located in the largest town of Suffolk County: Brookhaven.

This makes the wildlife center a nice addition to your itinerary, as Brookhaven is a great place to set base if you want to explore the county.

Tons of animals can be seen here, highlighted by local animals that are rescued, such as bisons, llamas, and bears.

Holtsville Wildlife and Ecology Center is a great place to bring children, as they can learn tons of information about animal rescue.

There’s even a small pool and playground here, so it’s really geared for the little ones.

Go Camping at Hither Hills State Park

The waters of Hither Hills State Park

Jon Bilous /

Located in the hamlet of Montauk, Hither Hills State Park is one of the best camping grounds in Suffolk County.

It’s right by the Atlantic Ocean, so there’s a lot of nice sandy beaches to do recreational activities with the family.

The campgrounds are stellar as well; you’re sure to get top-notch service with great amenities.

Unlike Ditch Plains Beach, the beach area here is more for the casual goer—there’s a lot of fine sand with minimal rock formations.

So, if you’re traveling with senior citizens or children, Hither Hills State Park is a great spot for them to relax and enjoy Long Island’s waters.

Sand dunes of Hither Hills State Park

Webberalan, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Appreciate Contemporary Artworks at Parrish Art Museum

Exterior of Parrish Art Museum

Americasroof, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Parrish Art Museum may look like a huge barn from afar, but it’s actually a sleek art museum in Water Mill Hamlet.

The space here is huge—you can find all sorts of different mediums of art along with a mix of famous and under-the-radar artists.

Besides the artworks, the interior design is a treat to the eyes as well.

Not to mention, there’s a lot more in store for you here, as there is a gift shop, cafe, and other occasional events.

Lots of exhibits are temporary here, so if you’re a big time art lover, don’t miss out on visiting Parrish Art Museum.

View the Fire Island Lighthouse

Boardwalk leading to the Fire Island Lighthouse

Scott Heaney /

If you’re traveling to Suffolk County, you may want to visit the trendy and quirky Fire Island that makes up a big part of Long Island’s geography.

Fire Island is famous for many things, but tourism-wise, you can’t miss out on the Fire Island Lighthouse.

The lighthouse is absolutely gorgeous—there are boardwalks here that divide its surrounding prairies that’s perfect for photo opportunities.

Top half of the Fire Island Lighthouse

Scott Heaney /

Fire Island Lighthouse’s interiors are just as good—you can take photos of the giant lamps and other fixtures that depict how a lighthouse functions.

There’s even reading material inside, making it a great place to learn something new.

Spiral staircase in the Fire Island Lighthouse

James Parascandola /

Bring Your Pooch to Mud Creek Dog Park

Patchogue is another village in Suffolk County, housing the Mud Creek Dog Park.

This is a great spot to catch a break and spend some down time in the county, particularly if you have a big furry friend with you.

Situated by the ocean, the dog park is a perfect place for larger breeds, most especially retrievers.

There’s also a bit of prairies found here, giving them plenty of stimulation.

Overall, Mud Creek Dog Park is a crowd favorite even among locals—treat your pooch by bringing them here.

Traverse the Fire Island National Seashore

The waters of Fire Island National Seashore

Joe Trentacosti /

There are a lot of attractions to be seen in Fire Island National Seashore because of the vibrant and trendy culture in the island.

Ranging from restaurants, beaches, to urban entertainment areas, Fire Island National Seashore is a great way to burn some gas.

The stretch is long, and it’ll take you to some of the best-looking beaches to appreciate the waters of Suffolk County.

Sand dunes of Fire Island National Seashore

Jon Bilous /

Beyond that, there are a lot of interesting villages here like Cherry Grove as well.

So, whether you’re here for its gorgeous waters or its trendy seaside neighborhoods, try allotting a day trip for Fire Island National Seashore.

Signage of Fire Island National Seashore

Malgosia S /

Spend a Day at Sunken Meadow State Park

The beach of Sunken Meadow State Park

Joe Trentacosti /

If someone told you that Sunken Meadow State Park is their favorite beach in Suffolk County, you shouldn’t be surprised.

While there are a ton of beaches here, Sunken Meadow State Park’s shoreline is as close as you can get to top beaches like in Miami.

The views are some of the best, and it’s a perfect place to do sunbathing and relaxation.

Wooden boat at Sunken Meadow State Park

WoodysPhotos /

Besides that, the state park also has other activities to do such as golfing.

Found in the hamlet of Kings Park, try stopping by this state park if you want a straightforward beach experience in Long Island.

Boardwalk at Sunken Meadow State Park

Jay Gao /

Tour the Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium

Exterior of the Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium

littlenySTOCK /

Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium is one of the most exciting museums and learning centers in Suffolk County.

There’s a lot going on here, starting from its mansion’s vintage architecture, to its science exhibits that are perfect for children.

The science exhibits are particularly focused on space, as they have an awesome planetarium that really immerses you in this field of study.

Planetarium building of Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium

Dmadeo, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

However, where Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium truly shines is in its aesthetic.

It’s not often you’ll see a Spanish Revival mansion complete with huge gardens, so take the time to tour every nook and cranny of this place.

You can find this estate and museum in the hamlet of Centerport.

Mansion of the Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium

Itasca, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hike the William Floyd Estate

The William Floyd Estate is owned by its namesake owner who was part of the founding fathers of the United States.

Dating back well over centuries ago, William Floyd Estate today can be seen up close; you can even trek its hilly areas.

There’s a lot to see at this huge estate, and because it’s not a popular destination, it feels like going to a place untouched for centuries.

So if you’re looking for a quiet time to learn a bit of history, this is a great addition to the itinerary.

William Floyd Estate can be found at Mastic Beach, another hamlet in Suffolk County.

Watch a Performance at The Paramount

Performers in The Paramount

Debby Wong /

Located in the town of Huntington, The Paramount is a great way to diversify your itinerary through music.

Whether it’s a band concert, a performance act, or a live show, The Paramount is home to many amazing performances that take place in the county.

The seating here is also great—its two-level concert hall lets you intimately experience the vibes of the place without being too cramped.

A singer in The Paramount

Debby Wong /

The Paramount is also conveniently located within the town’s main street, so it’s surrounded with all sorts of shops and cafes for you to explore.

Overall, this is a great starting point to understand the culture of Huntington Township.

Musicians in The Paramount

Debby Wong /

Do Recreational Activities at Heckscher State Park

The grounds of Heckscher State Park

Joe Trentacosti /

Heckscher State Park is one of the most visited recreational areas in Suffolk County.

It’s located in the township of Islip, along the eastern side—this gives the state park sweeping access to the Atlantic Ocean and the Nicoll Bay that forms through it.

Spanning well beyond 1,500 acres, Heckscher State Park is a great place to do lots of biking as they have plenty of trails.

Geese along Heckscher State Park's trail

Joe Trentacosti /

If you’re not into that, the park also has a disc golf course, basketball courts, and other sports amenities.

Simply relaxing here via picnic is also a great activity to do.

A basketball hoop at Heckscher State Park

Joe Trentacosti /

Have Family Fun at Children’s Museum of the East End

Children’s Museum of the East End is an interactive and well-rounded museum dedicated for children’s learning.

There’s a lot of various exhibits and play areas here that will stimulate your child’s brain, whether it’s sports or science.

It’s also a great way to meet new friends for the little ones, as plenty of games can be done together.

What’s great about the Children’s Museum of the East End is that it’s right across from the South Fork Natural History Museum.

A two-in-one destination, this is a great stopover if you’re passing by the hamlet of Bridgehampton.

Marvel at the Planes at the American Airpower Museum

Exterior of the American Airpower Museum

Leonard Zhukovsky /

The area near Farmingdale, situated on the border of Nassau and Suffolk Counties, hosts one of the most thrilling World War II museums on Long Island: the American Airpower Museum.

Located at Republic Airport in East Farmingdale, within Suffolk County, this museum is a treasure trove of aviation history, showcasing an impressive collection of WWII fighter jets and exhibits.

Filled with tons of WWII fighter jets, this is a great addition to your itinerary if you love to see the remnants of past wars.

Besides the actual planes, the American Airpower Museum also has a lot of exhibits inside, many of which are in the form of dioramas.

An aircraft at the American Airpower Museum

Leonard Zhukovsky /

The place is passionately managed by volunteers, so do talk to them for some guidance and information.

To cap things off, there’s also a flight simulator here along with a gift shop; it’s truly a haven for fighter plane enthusiasts!

Missile displayed at the American Airpower Museum

Leonard Zhukovsky /

Go Sightseeing at Robert Moses State Park

Daytime view of Robert Moses State Park

James Kirkikis /

Robert Moses State Park may very well be the most visited attraction in Suffolk County, and that’s because of the abundance of things to see here.

Located in Fire Island’s westernmost section, Robert Moses State Park has amazing beaches, cafes, sports areas, and other entertainment amenities.

This is a great place to look for nearby accommodation, as going sightseeing here may take a whole day.

Robert Moses State Park also has plenty of wildlife, and you can explore the area on a 4×4 vehicle.

So if you’re already on Fire Island, don’t miss out on this amazing destination.

An ice cream vendor at Robert Moses State Park

Malgosia S /

Take the Kids to Animal Farm Petting Zoo

Signage of Animal Farm Petting Zoo

DanTD, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the most underrated destinations for families in Suffolk County is Animal Farm Petting Zoo found in the hamlet of Manorville.

Known for their friendly and cute barnyard animals, children can pet and make friends with them to grow their bond with animals.

You can spot donkeys, horses, pigs, and rabbits in their petting zoo.

However, Animal Farm Petting Zoo is more than just a cutesy destination—it’s actually a rescue shelter as well for other wild animals.

You’ll be able to see llamas, various wild birds, tortoises, and antelopes in the area, adding a lot of excitement to the trip.

Final Thoughts

Suffolk County is a huge place to explore, as it’s a big part of Long Island’s geography and population.

Through this list, however, you can see that the county specializes in beachfront activities, tons of museum hopping, and an abundance of nature preserves and state parks.

It’s a great destination if you’re all about the outdoors, but there’s also plenty of history awaiting for you here.

While it can get overwhelming, this list of the best things to do in Suffolk County, New York will help you greatly in planning your adventure.

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