Summertime is the ultimate time to go on vacation, but families don’t need to travel far to have a wonderful time together. Long Island is the perfect place for a day trip, otherwise known as a “stay-cation.” In particular, Riverhead, on the east end, is chock full of adventures for the kids, has many family friendly restaurants, and lots of relaxing activities for parents too.
The beauty of a vacation is having new adventures and exploring new places. Riverhead easily lends to those requirements, for it has many exciting places for children to explore. The Long Island Aquarium has indoor exhibits, such as fish and sea life, outdoor exhibits, such as sea lions and seals, as well as a plethora of interactive experiences, like interaction with penguins! The aquarium is open year round from 10AM-5PM, and they even have a cafe and ice cream shop on the premises, so you could spend all day playing with sea creatures.
Safari Adventure is a four level safari themed playground perfect for children ages 1-10. They also offer bouncers, an arcade, and motion sensored floor games which children can play with their feet: the only one of it’s kind in Suffolk Country! Safari Adventure is ideal for a stay-cation because it does not adhere to any schedules, you can simply drop in any day between 10AM-7PM. Infants and adults are free, and there’s even a small cafe for those hungry little explorers.
If your older children are more interested in watching adventure rather than playing, Riverhead Raceway is the perfect stay-cation activity for them; built in 1949, the raceway is one of the oldest stock car racing tracks in the country, it is the only NASCAR stock car track in the metropolitan area. Every Saturday night there are roughly five to six races to watch. This would definitely be a new, fun, and exciting experience for any family to witness!
Another aspect of summer is having fun in the water. Riverhead is home to Splish Splash Long Island’s only major waterpark. Splish Splash has 96 different areas of water based fun, four different eating establishments, and a family can even rent a cabana for the day, to have that ultimate vacation feel!
If Splish Splash feels a little too large, check out Out East Family Fun, home of the world’s largest inflatable slide. They are open 10AM to 10PM Memorial Day through Labor Day, and also offer batting cages, mini golf, and water wars.
For a fun family adventure on a beautiful day, check out Peconic Paddler, which offers sea kayaking and canoeing on the Peconic Bay, no experience necessary! Their most popular trip is a four hour, 8 mile canoe trip, but you can also rent kayaks and stand up paddleboards. Of course, since Riverhead is near the shore of Long Island, there are many beaches to spend the day at and explore.
Part of the fun of vacations is shopping, so don’t forget to check out Tanger Outlets, which are chock full of discount and outlet stores, as well as a food court. Though children can’t imbibe in the wine, wineries are often a perfect mix of entertainment for families as they offer a relaxing atmosphere for the parents, and music, hayrides, and fields for children to play in. Riverhead has an assortment of vineyards to visit, eat lunch, listen to music, and pretend you’re miles from home.
Finish up your stay-cation with a delicious meal at a local Riverhead family friendly restaurant. Dine while overlooking the Peconic Bay at Farm Country Kitchen, a rustic eatery built in a 1880s era colonial house. For another view of the water while eating, check out Jerry and the Mermaid; located conveniently near Splish Splash, the vineyards, and Tanger Outlets, this seaside clam bar and grill is the perfect place for a family to end their busy day in Riverhead. If you’re craving some Mexican food or a fish taco, Funcho’s Riverhead is a delicious option! Featuring a casual setting, perfect for families of all ages, this family owned restaurant is a delicious and fun way to refuel for your busy day shopping, adventuring, and exploring in Riverhead.
If you have the urge to go on a vacation, but not the time, Riverhead is the perfect place to spend the day for the family. Explore the aquarium, get wet in the waterpark, refresh at a vineyard, and fill up on local food before heading home.