Leaves are falling and there’s a chill in the air — there’s no denying it, the holiday season is upon us! From Merrick to Montauk there are a flurry of holiday activities and events all across Long Island for the whole family. We’ve gathered ideas for you, and many open before Thanksgiving, so be sure to check out our list of 20 holiday things to do on Long Island.
- Bayville Winter Wonderland
This family spot in Bayville is a true Winter Wonderland experience that includes a holiday light show, Santa’s Toy Factory Fun House, The Holiday Express Train Ride, and even visits with Santa.
- Breakfast with Santa
Across Long Island there are many places where parents can take their little ones to have “Breakfast with the Big Guy!” Try The Garden City Hotel in Garden City, The Watermill Caterers in Smithtown and Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead.
- Charles Dickens Festival
This lively festival features Dickens characters such as Scrooge, Father Christmas and Chimney Sweeps. Kids will also love the reindeer viewing, Dickens Trolley, and an old fashioned radio show with all the sounds and performers of the era.
- Christmas at Westbury House
With decorated period rooms, Santa cookies and cider, it’s a holiday celebration for the entire family!
- Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery & Aquarium Santa Saturdays
Learn about freshwater reptiles, fish and amphibians, and don’t forget to spend some time with Jolly ‘Ole St. Nick!
- East Hampton Santa Parade
Celebrate the holidays with locals on Main Street in iconic East Hampton. See Santa, Mrs. Claus and their merry elves.
- Girl Scouts of Suffolk County Holiday Light Show
Experience an annual holiday tradition and drive through the Girl Scouts of Suffolk County Holiday Light Show. Enjoy a mile-long trail filled with lights and holiday scenes.
- Gingerbread Competition
Come on over to the West Islip Library to view this year’s most creative and unique Gingerbread designs!
- Hicks Nurseries Holiday Events
Hicks Nurseries is a great place to mail your little one’s letters to Santa, take them on a walk-through story featuring child-sized animated Christmas characters and listen to the sounds of the holiday.
- Holiday Tours of Vanderbilt Mansion
Take a tour though the historic halls of the Vanderbilt Mansion which are festively set for the holidays by local decorators and garden clubs.
- Huntington Harbor Parade of Lights
Locals love this annual holiday lighted boat parade of sailboats, power boats, commercial and recreational vessels. Make sure to get there early to find the best viewing spot!
- Long Island Festival of Trees at the Cradle of Aviation Museum
Located on “Museum Row” in Garden City, this is a unique holiday event that includes designer decorated trees and lots of activities and entertainment for the kids.
- Outdoor Ice Skating
Across Long Island there are many great outdoor rinks. Visit on of these rinks for some traditional outdoor winter fun: Tanger Outlets in Deer Park, Mitchell Park Rink in Greenport, Christopher Morley Park, The Rinx at Harborfront, Town of Oyster Bay at Marjorie R. Post Community Park Ice Rink and Syosset-Woodbury Community Park Ice Rink.
- Photos with Santa
While doing your holiday shopping at one of the local malls, stop to take pictures with Santa, too, at one of these places: Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove and Walt Whitman Mall, Huntington Station.
- Port Jefferson Santa Parade
This North Shore classic holiday parade is filled with floats, Dickens characters and even Santa being brought in by horse and carriage.
- Raynor Beach Park on Ronkonkoma Menorah & Christmas Lighting
Celebrate the holiday season with the annual lighting of the Menorah and Christmas Tree at Raynor Beach Park.
- Shamrock Christmas Tree Farm
Start a family tradition with a visit to Shamrock Christmas Tree Farm; it’s a great place to cut your own tree or buy a pre-cut one.
- St. James Model Railroad Club Holiday Train Display
Come see model steam engines puff smoke and chug about during this holiday train display for the kid in all of us.
- The Montauk Lighthouse
Located on the very east end of Long Island, visit the Montauk Lighthouse to see it all decked out in its holiday best adorned with thousands of white lights.
- White Post Farms Holiday Extravaganza
This farm is popular all year round, and it’s extra festive during the holidays. Take a ride on the holiday train complete with snow, and meet Santa and Herbie the Hanukkah Bear!
By Kim Como