Long Island has long been synonymous with the Hamptons--that place where the rich folks of New York head to spend their summer vacation. Gaping at their mansions, however, is a poor reason to go to Long Island. Beaches, museums and wineries are just some of the many more worthwhile attractions waiting for travelers. But vacationing, like living, in Long Island is not cheap, so be prepared to spend the way the people in the Hamptons do (well, almost).
The South Shore and ocean beaches like Jones, Montauk, Hamptons, Robert Moses and Smith's Point are great for strolling and swimming. There are also great swimming spots along the beaches of Long Island Sound on the North Shore. The North Fork is home to the Long Island wine country, while the village of Roslyn in Hempstead Harbor has homes that date back to the 17th century. The kids will enjoy petting stingrays and sharks at the Atlantis Marine World Aquarium or exploring the Sands Point Preserve. Other kid-friendly attractions include Adventureland and the Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium. Get a taste of relaxing afternoon tea at historic Stony Brook Village. If you want to feel the goosebumps, head to the Amityville Horror House. Horse-racing enthusiasts shouldn't miss Belmont Racetrack, home to the Belmont Stakes.
Specialties in Long Island are clams and mussels and there are numerous restaurants serving them on the North Shore, especially in the towns of Port Jefferson, Huntington, Stony Brook and Northport. Twenty-four-hour diners are numerous along the Jericho Turnpike or the Sunrise Highway. Bars can be found in Smithtown and Huntington on the North Shore and in Montauk and Fire Island.
If you have money to burn, Long Island has the shopping places for you. The Roosevelt Field Mall, the Broadway Mall, Green Acres and the Mall at the Source offer hundreds of retailers to cater to your retail tastes. You can save, however, if you also try the Tanger Outlets or the Prime Outlets at Bellport. If you really want to rub elbows with the rich, your shopping destination has to be the Americana Mall located at the Northern Boulevard in Manhasset. Manhasset is also home to the Miracle Mile shopping resort.