When I was younger and first learning how to ride a bike, my older brother took me out to our driveway to learn. It wasn’t a big driveway so each time I rode down it I’d have to turn left and ride back up the other side. In between, there was a ditch. I never could turn without falling into the ditch. For two hours I’d ride down, fall into the ditch, and ride back up, my older brother laughing the entire time. I was too young to realize he was having tons of fun at my expense, so as you can imagine I didn’t grow up loving to ride. It wasn’t until 35 years later that I learned to love cycling thanks to my family (and no more ditches). We’re not fans of riding in the streets, we’d much rather pack our bikes up and hit the road to our local (and some not-so-local) parks and bike trails.
Here are some of the parks and trails on Long Island that I recommend:
Belmont Lake State Park – There are 7.6 miles of trails throughout the park, available for hiking, walking, biking, nature observation, and cross-country skiing.
Bethpage Bikeway – The 13.4 miles of paved trail runs adjacent to suburban roads, and the trail is broken up by 3 parks along the route: Trail View State Park, Bethpage State Park, and Massapequa Preserve.
Caumsett State Park – This park is situated on a scenic peninsula extending into Long Island Sound, and offers miles of bridle paths, walking, jogging, hiking, biking, cross-country skiing and nature trails over acres of woodland, meadows, rock shoreline and salt marsh.
Eisenhower Park – Located in the heart of Nassau County, here you can enjoy an easy 3.4-mile loop trail that surrounds the lake.
Ellen Farrant Memorial Bikeway – This is a 5.5-mile asphalt trail that is a relatively straight and flat path, curving around trees here and there. This path can get quite windy and there is little shade, so it’s best to check the weather before you go.
Heckscher State Park – 4 miles of paved, multi-use trails attract bicycle riders, walkers, and nature lovers. You’ll be able to enjoy stunning views of the Great South Bay with Fire Island as the backdrop, and quite possibly a variety of wildlife such as whitetail deer and a variety of birds.
Nassau Expressway – This is a great trail for beginners, as it’s nice and flat and just under a mile in length.
Ocean Parkway Coastal Greenway – This paved 13.7-mile path begins where the Ellen Farrant Memorial Bikeway ends. As you ride, the vegetation flattens out in places, opening up views of the marshland beyond.
Setauket-Port Jefferson Station Greenway Trail – This trail stretches just over 3 miles along Long Island’s north shore, and ties together scenic old-growth forest, farmland, meadows, business districts, the Stony Brook University campus, and county parks.
Sunken Meadow State Park – Offering one of the most stunning views of the Long Island Sound with Connecticut in the distance, this 3.7-mile loop trail is open year round.
If you’re looking to branch out and go beyond Long Island, the New York State Department of Transportation has a map showing State Bicycle Routes that extend from New York to the Canadian border and up to the Pennsylvania and Massachusetts state line. Also, don’t forget about the Empire State Trail which is a 750-mile trail that invites you to explore the amazing sites and sounds of New York.
Have you biked any of these trails? Let us know which is your favorite by leaving us a comment below.