Welcome to East Islip, a family-friendly neighborhood located on the south shore of Long Island in Suffolk County. Nestled next to 1600 acres that comprises Heckscher State Park (not to be confused with Heckscher Park in Huntington) and Montauk Highway (or Main Street, as the locals call it), East Islip boasts small mom and pop shops and lots of fun activities for families. Our local expert provides an insider’s guide for things to do in East Islip with kids.
Places to Eat
For the freshest produce, visit Organics Today Farm on Washington Avenue. They offer a wide variety of delicious organic produce, fresh baked pies, soaps, and honey. In the fall stop by and pick your own pumpkins. For food shopping and fresh meat, stop by the East Islip Village Market on Carleton Ave.
Cool off in the summer with delicious ice from Rita’s Ice on Main Street. The staff is always friendly and the franchise is generous to local schools and organizations, allowing car washes in their parking lot and donating to fundraisers on a regular basis. The best Chinese food around is found in tiny Yan Min Kitchen. For yummy pizza and great weeknight deals, dine at Francesco’s Trattoria. Their Facebook page frequently shares coupons!
Facing a rainy afternoon in East Islip? There’s no better place to spend a day indoors than at the East Islip Public Library. Their children’s section is separated from the rest of the library by two heavy doors, so feel free to have some fun in there without being shushed. They host a huge selection of books and magazines for all ages, an amazing graphic novel section, a bank of computers, a section for child’s play chock full of toys, blocks, and puzzles, and two child sized tables with special toddler computers upon them. In addition, children can use iPads within the library (they are not for taking home), and there is a large assortment of child friendly movies and documentaries to borrow on DVD or Blu-Ray. The librarians are super friendly and helpful.
In the mood for some art and culture? Nearby Bayway Arts Center always has something new for families to enjoy at reasonable prices. For the more athletically inclined, pop in to East Islip Lanes for an afternoon of bowling.
East Islip is home to one of the most beautiful parks in New York, Heckscher State Park. Boasting an almost endless assortment of ways to spend your day in the outdoors, Heckscher State Park offers, amongst other things, paved walking and riding trails, beaches, shaded picnic areas, refreshment stands and playgrounds. Enjoy swimming, canoeing or wind-surfing on the Great South Bay. On clear days people can see all the way to Fire Island!
For a more quiet outdoor experience, visit the Bayard Cutting Arboretum. Walk beneath centuries old trees and beside gorgeous flowers in a rainbow of colors. Take a tour of the stately Manor House and then grab a bite to eat at the Hidden Oak Cafe or pick up some fresh produce at the cooperative farm.
East Islip is a fun Long Island town in which to hang out with family and friends so make sure to stop by!
By Allison Profeta