16 Free Things to Do in Huntington, NY

Free Things to Do in Huntington, NY

Welcome to Huntington, a cherished town nestled in the heart of New York.

This location is renowned for its vibrant blend of history, culture, and natural beauty.

Exploring Huntington reveals that some of the most rewarding experiences don't necessarily require a monetary investment.

The allure of this town extends beyond its excellent restaurants, boutiques, and galleries.

It's in the free activities and destinations where the town's unique character and community spirit truly shine.

So, prepare for an enlightening journey through some of the cost-free attractions in Huntington, New York.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals for their invaluable contributions to this article: David Miller, Amanda White, Livia Hooper, Bessie Marino, Richard Reyes, Michele McGlynn and Justin Seay.

Marvel at Huntington Harbor Lighthouse

Aerial view of Huntington Harbor Lighthouse
Audley C Bullock / Shutterstock.com

Anchors aweigh!

There's nothing quite like spending a sunny afternoon at the historic Huntington Harbor Lighthouse.

First established in 1857, this still-operational lighthouse, boasting a castlelike Beaux-Arts exterior, is a sight to behold!

I remember attending the annual Musicfest concert, one of the best local events that is hosted right here.

The atmosphere is electric, with the music bouncing off the harbor waters and the lighthouse standing tall and majestic.

For those attending, be warned it's only accessible by boat - a quaint detail that adds to the whole experience.

Keep an eye out for rocks at low tide, though!

Exterior of Huntington Harbor Lighthouse
Audley C Bullock / Shutterstock.com

In my time here, I've seen quite a few film crews come and go.

The most memorable was The Donna Drake Show on CBS, which was one of the sponsors.

Let's just say the lighthouse is no stranger to the limelight.

Getting up close to the Huntington Harbor Lighthouse is a little tricky, with no parking available and only a few minutes to stand and take in the sight.

But trust me, it's worth it.

There's something quite charming about this little lighthouse on Long Island.

Join the Celebration at the Long Island Fall Festival

Every year, I eagerly look forward to the Long Island Fall Festival and this year was no different.

It’s the one place where the community comes together to celebrate the arrival of autumn.

The festival hit the ground running early, so to avoid the crowd, I made sure to get there first thing. It was a day brimming with fun, laughter, and joy.

The sight of the vibrant autumn colors blending perfectly with the crisp air set the tone for a memorable day.

It was a delightful mix of activities, from pumpkin picking to corn mazes.

The food was another highlight.

The aroma of freshly baked apple pies and cider wafted through the air, tantalizing my taste buds.

I couldn’t resist buying from the numerous food trucks peppered around the venue.

The live music was the perfect backdrop for the entire day, pumping up the energy and vibrancy of the festival.

I was particularly impressed with the pumpkin-carving contest that invited participants to showcase their creativity.

The artisan stalls were a treasure trove of handcrafted items, offering a unique shopping experience.

The children had their share of fun, too, with a petting zoo and hayrides that kept them entertained.

As the sun started to set, the bonfire was lit, bringing everyone together.

We all sat around it, toasting marshmallows, sharing stories, and basking in the warmth of togetherness.

The Long Island Fall Festival is not just an event; it's a celebration of community spirit in the heart of autumn - an experience that makes us anticipate the next festival with even more eagerness.

Jog through Heckscher Park

A pond at Heckscher Park
Joe Trentacosti / Shutterstock.com

A frequent haunt of mine, tucked away in the heart of Huntington, is the delightful Heckscher Park.

As a nature enthusiast, this local park never ceases to impress me with its leafy paths, vast playground, and tranquil pond.

My days at the park often start with a brisk jog around the pristine, large pond. The paved pathway that encircles it makes for a fantastic running route.

What's more, the stunning view of the pond, frequented by geese, ducks, turtles, and various bird species, is like a moving picture - a treat to the eyes!

Heckscher Park is the epitome of serenity and simplicity and even offers a grassy area where I regularly enjoy sitting to read or simply revel in the calm.

A swan at Heckscher Park
Joe Trentacosti / Shutterstock.com

The park also houses a small music amphitheater and an art exhibit museum, ensuring there is always a cultural delight awaiting visitors.

During summer, the park is abuzz with music events that take place almost every day.

However, the highlight for families would undoubtedly be the vast playground that is a hit among the little ones. I often see children gleefully playing and parents appreciating the well-maintained facilities.

I must add the charm of Heckscher Park doesn't diminish with changing seasons.

During the transition from April to May, the park is adorned with beautiful tulips, painting a picture so perfect it's hard to look away.

Soak Up the Sun at Gold Star Beach Park

Ah, Gold Star Beach Park, my little slice of heaven right here in Huntington.

A place where I can escape the hustle and bustle of daily life and just breathe.

The soft, warm sand under my feet, the gentle lapping of waves against the shore, and the laughter of children playing in the background.

It's all just so peaceful.

I normally go during the week, when the park is less crowded.

Last Friday, for instance, was particularly relaxing.

The peace and quiet was exactly what I needed to recharge.

I did wish they had wifi though, for those times when you want to finish some work or just browse a bit while relaxing under the sun.

One of the things that makes this Gold Star Beach Park stand out, especially for families, is its convenience.

You can park your car close to the beach so you don't have to lug your stuff around.

The public restroom and shower are always clean, a feature that's often overlooked but greatly appreciated.

The playground is a hit amongst the kids. It was recently renovated and has become a major attraction.

The swimming area is also perfect for young ones since it's shallow and safe.

The park isn't just a hit amongst the kids, though.

The view of the harbor is simply beautiful, especially during sunset.

The park attendants do a great job keeping the place clean and well-maintained, which does not go unnoticed.

If I'm lucky, maybe one of these days I might even recover that high school ring I lost in the water back in 1982.

Indulge in Artistic Bliss at The Heckscher Museum of Art

Exterior of the Heckscher museum with pink flowers
Joe Trentacosti / Shutterstock.com

Every time I feel a need to escape into a world of mesmerizing art and inspiring beauty, I head towards my cherished sanctuary, The Heckscher Museum of Art.

Housed in an enchanting Beaux-Arts building, the museum is a hidden gem that boasts an impressive collection of 2,500 artworks.

The exhibits are primarily focused on landscape and modernist pieces, making the museum the perfect destination for anyone interested in these genres.

I can't help but be fascinated by the variety of art displayed in the four rooms.

From the awe-inspiring to the peculiar, there's something about immersing myself in this space for a leisurely hour that stirs my soul.

It's refreshing to see the world through the eyes of the artists, and every visit leaves me with something to ponder.

One of the highlights is the dedicated room brimming with art inspired by Asian influences.

Name of the heckscher museum of art near the roof the of the building.
DanTD, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

From the moment I step in, I feel as if I've voyaged to another continent without ever leaving Huntington.

Such exhibits make me excited to bring my kids here, especially when their school curriculum aligns with the themes – it's a win-win for education and enjoyment.

Despite its grandeur, The Heckscher Museum of Art is not an overwhelming day-long excursion but rather a perfect slice of culture that fits easily into a busy schedule.

The team members are always welcoming, contributing to the museum's vibrant yet serene ambiance.

While there's no set entrance fee, I make it a point to donate a few dollars each visit, a small price to pay for the enriching experience I receive.

Placing a reservation ahead of time is a practice I've come to appreciate, ensuring a tranquil and unrushed visit.

The surrounding park is another feature that adds to the beauty of the experience, although parking can sometimes be a bit of a challenge.

Front exterior view of the heckscher museum on a sunny day.
Station1, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Other Things to Do Nearby

Break a Sweat at Cold Spring Harbor State Park

Bench overlooking the waters of Cold Spring Harbor State Park
Hakan Ozturk / Shutterstock.com

There are times when my schedule gets too tight, and it seems like there's no space for physical activity.

During those hectic days, I find my solace in Cold Spring Harbor State Park, my private corner of paradise tucked away in my town.

A quick visit to this verdant haven provides me with a day's worth of exercise and rejuvenates me for the tasks ahead.

A mere stroll in this 40-acre park feels like a full-blown workout, thanks to its hilly terrain.

Whenever I manage to conquer those rolling elevations, I feel a sense of accomplishment that rivals the satisfaction from a productive workday.

But what I love most about the park is its proximity to my home.

The comfort of having a place to retreat and recharge just around the corner is a luxury I cherish.

The Cold Spring Harbor State Park, though, has become a popular destination over time.

It's not uncommon to see enthusiastic hikers armed with their cameras and smartphones making their way through the park.

The trail has become a bit of a social media hotspot, and though it can get crowded, the charm of the place is undiminished.

The trail is about 5 miles long, with distinct markers to guide you through, and some parts offer quite a challenge with significant inclines that will test your endurance.

The picturesque harbor vistas, the hardwood forest, the glorious mountain laurel, and the music of seasonal songbirds all come together to create an experience that is nothing short of magical.

Go Birdwatching at Heron Park

Have you ever had one of those moments where you're enveloped in a sense of pure joy and thrill, sweeping you off your feet and taking you to new heights?

That’s exactly how I felt when I watched the majestic Eagles at Heron Park.

Their flight is a sight to behold, and it's undeniably one of the highlights of my life.

Despite its size, Heron Park carries a charm unique to its own.

The view is incredible, and on many occasions, I have found myself lost in thought while gazing out over the water.

However, the delight that the park offers comes with its share of cons as well.

The parking can be a bit of a hassle, especially on the weekends.

The lot is indeed small and the roads narrow, but the beauty of the park makes the parking woes worth it.

The park is a haven for bird enthusiasts like me.

Armed with binoculars or a big camera lens, one can easily spot a variety of birds fluttering about.

Hawks are a common sight, and of course, the Heron, from which the park gets its namesake, can frequently be seen gracing the skies.

The park hosts a decent amount of bench seating, perfect to unwind and simply enjoy the serenity.

I often find myself sharing the space with fellow locals, photographers capturing the beauty of nature, and others who seek peace in the midst of nature's beauty.

I'd like to add that the sight of the Eagles of Centerport never fails to amaze the people who frequent this serene little park.

No wonder it's a beloved spot in our town.

Take a Dip at Fleets Cove Beach Park

I've got to tell you the charm of Fleets Cove Beach Park, is incomparable.

Nestled amidst the bustle of Huntington, New York, this idyllic spot is my go-to place for taking a quick break from the everyday hustle.

The picturesque views of the sun setting over the water are nothing short of breathtaking.

It's like having a piece of artwork constantly transforming right before your eyes.

The park's strict no-dog policy does restrict furry friends from joining, and it's a bit of a bummer.

However, if you're willing to hang out in the parking lot, your four-legged pal can still enjoy some of the outdoors.

For families with children, Fleets Cove Beach Park is nothing less than a sanctuary.

The water is clean and calm, perfect for little swimmers to splash around.

The playground area is well-maintained and provides a safe space for kids to burn off their energy.

My kids absolutely love it.

A clean restroom is also available, contrary to some reports you might hear, and as a parent, that's a huge relief.

One of my favorite things about Fleets Cove Beach Park is its thriving wildlife.

There's this sense of serenity that comes from watching the birds fly overhead or the squirrels scurrying up and down the trees.

Catch the Sunset at Hobart Beach Park

Sunset at Hobart Beach Park
Joe Trentacosti / Shutterstock.com

The memories of my childhood are painted with the hues of brown playground sand from Hobart Beach Park, and not unlike what you'd find bagged up in the garden section of Home Depot.

If you're from around here, you'll know it.

The sand that lines the shore might not be pristine white, but it has a charm of its own.

Waking up on a cold winter morning and taking a short walk down to the park, you're given the promise of serenity.

Despite it being winter, the park should be open for visitors, as per the city authorities.

However, don't be surprised if you come across summer signs still on display, prohibiting access to certain areas, including the much-loved Sarah Ruppert Bird Park Preserve.

It seems like a way to deter visitors and make the beach private, but rest assured, the beach is for everyone.

Sands at Hobart Beach Park
Joe Trentacosti / Shutterstock.com

The view is simply breathtaking.

As the sun sets, painting the sky with a myriad of hues, the water reflects this spectacle, transforming the brown into a canvas of colors.

With friends living nearby, visits to Hobart Beach Park are always a joyous occasion.

The people around here are wonderful, always ready to strike up a conversation or lend a helping hand. It feels like one big family.

Sure, I may sometimes go to Hobart Beach Park simply because it's a tradition from my childhood.

However, with each visit, I find something new to appreciate about this place.

It's a small piece of tranquillity amidst the hustle and bustle, a place where you can reconnect with nature and your own thoughts.

Go Fishing at Caleb Smith State Park

I find myself drawn to the tranquility of Caleb Smith State Park, a beautiful, sprawling 543-acre preserve nestled in the heart of Smithtown, New York.

My weekends usually begin with a quiet saunter through the park's nature trails.

The park is so much more than just a pretty picture - it's a place that breathes history.

One of the highlights during my walks is the Wyandanch Club, a charming relic from a bygone era.

The park has preserved its memory well with plaques and information boards scattered about.

It's like stepping back in time!

The park transforms into a magical wonderland during the fall - a spectacle that never fails to enchant me.

Families flock here to capture the breathtaking hues of red, orange, and yellow, creating beautiful memories amid the falling leaves.

But what I love the most about the park is its serene lake.

It's my favorite spot to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature.

Benches are scattered throughout the park where I sit to read a book or simply soak in the calm and peace around me.

And how can I forget the thrill of fly fishing?

Or the adrenaline rush of cross-country skiing in winter!

Caleb Smith State Park is not just a haven for history buffs but also a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts like me.

Hike through Trail View State Park

One of the best-kept secrets for nature lovers in our area is the Trail View State Park.

With over 400 acres and more than seven miles of trails, there's always a new path to explore or a favorite spot to revisit.

I spend a lot of my weekends biking along the trails that snake through a variety of beautiful habitats.

There's just something so refreshing about cycling through these winding paths, surrounded by the lush greenery of the park.

The park is relatively new, having been established just in 2002, but already it's become one of the greenest and most serene spots in the area.

Trail View State Park is also conveniently located between two other state parks, Bethpage and Cold Spring Harbor, creating a sort of natural oasis amidst the urban sprawl.

I usually park my car at the Woodbury Road lot and embark on my adventure from there, although I should note the lot doesn't seem to have a bathroom.

It's also a great place for a picnic, with a few tables scattered here and there but no grills. Just remember to bring your own food and drink!

And for those of you with canine companions, it's a perfect place for a walk.

Just remember to keep them on a leash and clean up after them.

For cyclists, there's a station to lock up your bike, which is a really handy feature.

Immerse Yourself in Nature at Planting Fields Arboretum

Mansion at Planting Fields Arboretum
Joe Trentacosti / Shutterstock.com

Ah, the Planting Fields Arboretum, my favorite local sanctuary.

One step onto the 409-acre estate, and you'll find yourself marveling at the endless stretches of greenhouses and gardens.

The smell of damp earth and blooming flowers hits you instantly, and you can almost hear the soft melody of nature if you listen closely.

The main attraction of the Arboretum, the Tudor Revival Mansion, is a sight to behold.

I can't count the number of times I've walked through those grand doors, yet each time I discover something new.

The fine details, the craftsmanship, it's like traveling back in time.

It's not just me who loves it; the docents, too, are so passionate and knowledgeable.

They tell the most incredible stories, making each visit an adventure.

Water fountain at Planting Fields Arboretum
Joe Trentacosti / Shutterstock.com

On a sunny day, there's nothing better than exploring the grounds.

Every corner of the garden holds a surprise.

From the secret garden that makes me feel like a child exploring a hidden world to the quaint playhouse, there's always something to discover.

Trust me, you'll want to have your camera handy.

And if you're lucky, you might stumble upon one of the summer concerts.

There's something surreal about listening to live music amidst such stunning surroundings.

I remember one time, I was caught off guard by the sound of music, and to my delight, it was a band called Peat Moss & The Fertilizers.

Their music blended so well with the ambiance it felt like nature was singing along.

Trees at Planting Fields Arboretum
Felix Lipov / Shutterstock.com

Go Boating at Cow Harbor Park

The green expanse of Cow Harbor Park, nestled right on the bay, has always been my personal sanctuary.

This picturesque park in Northport, NY, is nothing short of a bucolic haven where the day can be savored in all its tiny moments.

My routine at the park is a sweet ritual embedded in the rhythm of my day.

I find peace while I take long walks with my furry friend, the gentle bay breeze as my constant companion.

The beautiful playground is not just a favorite spot for my grandkids but also a treasure trove of their joyous memories.

The evenings at Cow Harbor Park hold a special charm.

The sunset paints the sky with hues of orange and pink, creating a perfect backdrop for the concerts that are occasionally held there.

The melody, the ambiance, and the alluring surroundings create a magical experience that words can barely describe.

A short walk up Main Street from Cow Harbor Park, you'll find a delightful array of eateries that have become a part of my lifestyle.

The Copenhagen Bakery is a favorite haunt, with its freshly baked bread and delightful pastries that are just too hard to resist.

Besides, there are numerous restaurants where my wife and I enjoy our weekly lunch or dinner outings.

The cozy atmosphere, delightful dishes, and courteous service make our dining experience truly pleasurable.

The town dock, easily accessible from the park, is a boon for boaters like me.

The breathtaking view of the vast expanse of water is a sight to behold.

Explore the Great Outdoors at Muttontown Preserve

Trust me when I say Muttontown Preserve has its own unique charm that's hard to resist.

Nestled in a lovely area, it boasts a magnificent view, well-maintained paths, and a variety of interesting spots.

You might stumble upon the graffiti-adorned ruins along your walk, a testament to the preserve's extraordinary history.

One of the most striking things about this preserve is the versatility of its landscape.

Different areas within the preserve flaunt distinct characteristics, giving you a taste of diverse experiences.

Beware though! With numerous marked and unmarked trails, it's easy to lose your way if you're new.

Don't forget to bring a drink along; you'll need it.

My personal favorite? The King Zog ruins!

With its pockmarked paved areas, it's like stepping into a post-apocalyptic movie set.

Contrasting this is the serenity of the well-kept trails that offer a calm and refreshing walk.

On a fortunate day, you might even spot some of the local wildlife.

There's a sense of tranquility that comes from being so close to nature.

The preserve is beautiful at any time of the year, but there's something particularly captivating about a sunny January afternoon.

And did I mention you can also visit the Mansion & Garden, which is a part of the preserve?

You'll also come across a horse ranch and a quaint little cabin that houses the bathrooms and an info area - though be forewarned, it tends to close early.

The trails begin from the cabin, and you have your pick from a multitude of paths.

A guidepost marked with numbers will let you know you're on the right track.

From swampy areas to grassy hills, every trail has a charm of its own.

Ready for an adventure in the woods? Muttontown Preserve awaits!

Spot the Turtles at Eisenhower Park

Veterans memorial at Eisenhower Park
littlenySTOCK / Shutterstock.com

There's something indescribably calming about the gentle rustling of leaves overhead as I enjoy a leisurely stroll through Eisenhower Park.

This 930-acre county park, nestled right in the heart of Nassau County, has become my sanctuary throughout the years.

From the lush greenery that's always a sight for sore eyes, the tranquil waters of the lake, to the welcoming paths that invite one for a peaceful walk, there's never a dull moment here.

Honestly, it's pretty easy to lose track of time, especially when engrossed in spotting the stealthy turtles in the lake.

It's like a fun, impromptu game that the lake has with its visitors.

But the real treat is when the sun starts to set, painting the sky and the lake with hues so beautiful that they leave me speechless every time.

You can feel the magic in the air during these moments, an inexplicable tranquillity that the park imbues onto its visitors.

The park truly comes alive during the summer, hosting concerts and movie nights that are a blast.

It's these events that bring the community together, creating a lively, energetic atmosphere that's infectious.

And let's not forget about the joy that the park brings during the winter holidays with its stunning Christmas light displays, transforming the park into a winter wonderland.

But perhaps what I love most about the park is its dedication to paying homage to our heroes and history.

The serene 9/11 memorial overlooking the lake and the Veterans Memorial are constant reminders of the courage and sacrifice of many.

They're humbling spots that add a deep sense of reverence to the overall park experience.

Whether you're a sports enthusiast looking to enjoy a game of baseball, golf, dodgeball, or even handball, or someone just wanting to soak up some sun and enjoy a picnic, Eisenhower Park has something to offer everyone.

Final Thoughts

Huntington, New York, is a treasure trove of wonderful, free activities for locals and visitors alike.

From the tranquil settings of Planting Fields Arboretum and Muttontown Preserve to the picturesque sights of Huntington Harbor Light, there is always something new to discover and enjoy.

On every visit to these places, I'm reminded of the beauty and diversity of our community.

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