Connecting with nature is so healing and grounding. In fact, being in nature has even been shown to reduce stress and improve mood. Soooo a lil dose o’ nature may be just what you need today if you’re feeling out of it. I have found seeking out different nature views to be a vital part of my quarantine experience. Finding new places to spend time with my family has given us fun experiences to break up our everyday norm and appreciate the beauty around us right where we live.
I highly encourage you to get outside and aim to get a daily dose of nature every day to have these same benefits! And if you’re on Long Island, I’ve got a list of 4 amazing places to start that we’ve visited in the past month. So grab yo fam, grab a friend and get your adventure shoes on! I’ve got you covered with 4 incredible spots to explore on the North and South Shore and allll across the island. I have a feeling that there will be a part 2 with some more beautiful places for you to explore…
1. Sands Point Preserve (Port Washington)
If you are a fan of both trees/greenery and the beach, then this is your spot! A 20th Century Estate on the Gold Coast (which is where Great Gatsby is set), these grounds are breathtaking with an old mansion and castle, a huge open grass elevated above the Long Island Sound, where some sailboats may be floating around (perfect for a lil picnic date), and a trail down to the beach. This is the best place I’ve explored so far and I will definitely be back, as I did not have enough time to explore the massive grounds. The only downside was that it closes at 5pm. & Be aware that it costs $15 per car to enter.
2. Sunrise at Jones Beach State Park (Wantagh) or Robert Moses State Park (Babylon)
If you know me, you know I am a beach gal through and through, but I am not always an early morning gal. However, last week I wanted to shake up my routine by going for sunrise at Jones Beach. Jones is the closest beach to me, so I was able to sleep in as late as possible before getting up before the sun. (Pro tip: aim to get to the beach at least 15 minutes before the sunrise time on the Weather app, because the sky is super beautiful before sunrise technically happens.)
I found sunrise to be extremely relaxing because on top of the beauty of the beach itself, between the tie-dye sky and the crashing waves, dawn was so quiet, peaceful, and still. I felt like I could really hear myself think, be one with my own thoughts, and be grateful for where I am at. I went with one of my friends and it was super easy to maintain some distance and catch up. I went on to have a super productive day, journaling my gratitude for the day at the beach, picking up a bagel on my way home, studying for the GRE in the morning, and then relaxing by my pool in the afternoon. I’d love to do this more often and get in a habit of waking up earlier (even if not for sunrise), but the one mistake I made was going to bed too late, so I felt myself crashing a lil mid afternoon.
3. Cold Spring Harbor State Park Trail (Cold Spring Harbor)
This is another awesome best-of-both-worlds spot where you get some ocean views and a forest feel. The hike was honestly pretty rigorous at some points with a steep incline, but I loved that at some points you could snag a view of the water between the trees. The cool part is that on the other side of the street from the entrance, there are a lot of grassy patches overlooking the water and some docks, perfect for a picnic pre or post-hike. I did notice that a restaurant right near the entrance was open for take-out too, but I did not catch the name!
4. Cranberry Bog Nature Preserve (Riverhead)
Cranberry Bog was the OG hike that started my family’s quest to find the best nature spots on the island so it holds a special place in my heart. <3 There is a trail that is a little over a mile long looping around a pond that beautifully reflects the trees around it. It’s a pretty easy walk, perfect for some self-reflection and grounding underneath the tall tall trees.
If you make your way to any of these spots, let me know! And if there are any hidden treasures on Long Island I should be checking out next, please send your recommendations my way! Lets be friends on Instagram!