Heckscher State Park
GOOD FOR: All Ages
RATING:


Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:Heckscher State Parkway, East Islip, NY
Hours:7 A.M. to sunset daily
Fee: $10 per car June to September; $8 per car October to May; free with an Empire Passport
Contact:

nysparks.com; 631-581-2100

Bathrooms: Comfort stations throughout the park
Water/Snacks: Refreshment stand at the bathhouse comfort station near the West Bathing Area
Map:

USGS Bay Shore East


This enormous park features a tranquil beach on the Great South Bay and 20 miles of paths for biking, hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.

Young swimmers can learn how to ride the surf in Heckscher State Park’s shallow waters.
Photo by: Jerry and Marcy Monkman

Heckscher State Park is the southern endpoint of the Long Island Greenbelt Trail (Trip 78) and a multifaceted outdoor recreation area. It boasts a tranquil bay beach with a view of Fire Island in the distance, a range of hiking trails, boat launches, and paved paths for cyclists and pedestrians. In winter, this largely flat park is good for snowshoeing and beginning cross-country skiing.

Start your visit by following signs to the park office police station, where you can pick up a map to orient yourself. There are 4.5 miles of paved pedestrian paths to choose from, as well as dirt trails throughout the park. You can also connect to the Long Island Greenbelt Trail on the east edge of parking field 7 for more hiking.

The south end of the park features the West Bathing Area on Great South Bay. The bay surf is relatively mild, with small waves that are exciting for young children. Just north of the bathing area is a large, shady picnic area with dozens of benches and tables. The boat ramp, where you can launch a canoe or kayak if you’ve brought one, is northwest of this. Remember: Dogs are allowed in undeveloped areas only and must be leashed. As of 2011, the pool and campground were closed indefinitely. Check with park officials for updates.

Plan B:

Governor Alfred E. Smith/Sunken Meadow State Park (Trip 78) is due north on Long Island Sound.

Where to Eat Nearby:

It is best to bring a picnic.



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