With gas prices continuing to surge, another roadblock for the hard-hit tourism industry as well as eager, pent-up travelers, Discover Long Island, the region’s official destination marketing organization has announced a new campaign to highlight the many unique car-free, walkable destinations across Long Island – easily accessible by the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) and other mass-transit. To launch the campaign, the tourism organization has unveiled 10 top picks for tire-less travel experiences that should be on everyone’s 2022 bucket list – from the famous car-free beach haven Fire Island to a fairy-tale colonial village and more. Long Island’s car-free destinations are featured on www.DiscoverLongIsland.com/LIRR – a one-stop-shop for tire-less travel information.
With New York currently the most booked U.S. destination for Summer 2022 travel, the campaign aims at inspiring the region’s expected tidal wave of visitors to explore the wide range of attractions across Long Island– Manhattan’s easily accessible beachfront backyard. Additionally, the campaign encourages locals and all visitors alike to take advantage of these affordable travel opportunities without the worry of car-rental shortages or skyrocketing gas prices and discover hidden gems, open space oases, and iconic landmarks, right off an LIRR stop.
“The LIRR serves as a crucial transportation artery for Long Island and remains key to our economy and recovering tourism industry – underscored by our nation’s growing gas crisis. Thanks to the LIRR and a network of ferries filled with nostalgia, no car is needed to have a bucket-list Long Island getaway featuring an award-winning wine country, historic waterfront downtowns and much more,” said Kristen Jarnagin Reynolds, President & CEO of DiscoverLong Island. “With a 600% increase in domestic travel bookings since January, we’re seeing a hunger for new experiences and no hassle travel and LongIsland provides ideal opportunities for both. Visitors and locals alike can seamlessly explore the many wonders and hidden gems right outside New York City that will make you feel a world away.”
“With spring around the corner, and summer not too far behind, why not plan to ditch the car and the traffic and ride the LIRR,” said Catherine Rinaldi, LIRR Interim President. “The LIRR is safe, reliable, and ready to take you to all the many great outdoor activities, beaches, parks and wineries that LongIsland has to offer.”
The campaign will include robust promotion of attractions and destinations accessible by mass transit across Discover Long Island’s 10 prolific social media accounts, consumer newsletters, Insider’s Blog, The Long Island Tea podcast and more. As part of their longstanding partnership, the MTA will cross promote Discover Long Island’s car-free experiences and continue to work closely with the tourism organization to develop and promote Long Islandgetaway packages. See the MTA’s current deals on daytrip destinations, outdoor activities and events, HERE.
Additionally, the campaign will highlight Long Island hoteliers that offer their guests free shuttle services to ensure a seamless transportation experience, recently featured in the MTA Away article 8 Carefree (and Car-Free) Overnight Escapes on Long Island.
For access to exclusive deals at the small businesses and attractions throughout the downtown communities highlighted, including Fire Island, Long Beach, Huntington, Port Washington, Greenport, and Riverhead, visitors and residents can download the Discover Long Island’s free Downtown Deals Travel Pass.
- Fire Island: A World-Famous Car-Free Haven
The barrier island of Fire Island sits just off the coast of Long Island’s southern shoreline and is accessible only by ferry, which visitors can catch with a quick shuttle from the Sayville or Patchogue LIRR stop. Locals and visitors travel around by foot, bike, wagon, and golf cart at this car-free beach haven. The 32-mile long island is known for its pristine beaches, a relaxing ambiance, vibrant restaurants and nightlife and for being one of the world’s most popular LGBTQ+ destinations. Fire Island consists of 17 unique resort communities including private homes and overnight accommodations. Climb 182 steps to the top of the historic Fire Island Lighthouse, take a guided canoe tour through the Salt Marsh, enjoy public marinas for boating and fishing, camp at Watch Hill, or spend the day at one of the lifeguarded beaches. Find unique gifts and keepsakes at Hanalei and Kula’s boutique in Ocean Beach. Be sure to stop by CJ’s, home of the rocket fuel for a sip of Fire Island’s famed specialty drink.
- Gold Coast: Bring a Bike for a Gilded Age Excursion
Long Island’s historic Gold Coast is home to stunning grand estates set against pristine gardens and shimmering coastlines. Tour the mansions of the Roaring Twenties where industry tycoons (including the Vanderbilts and Guggenheims) reigned supreme and served as the inspiration behind The Great Gatsby. Stay overnight at the luxurious Oheka Castle, often serving as a set for major Hollywood productions. Take the LIRR to Port Washington, Oyster Bay, and Port Jefferson to easily access eight Long Island estates for a Gilded Age experience, some of which include Sands Point Preserve, Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium, Planting Fields, Old Westbury Gardens and more. Note that some locations require a short walk, bike ride (bring yours on the train), or rideshare from the station. More details are available HERE.
- Experience the Seaside Charm of Port Jefferson
Throughout this walkable village right off the LIRR, the salty sea breeze fills boutiques, wine glasses chime from open-air bistros and the marina sunset greets families as they stroll by Ralph’s Famous Italian ices. Stay overnight at Danford’s Hotel & Marina – the nautical New England style retreat has waterfront views of the Long Island Sound and dockside dinning. There is much to explore in this coastal gem. Take a photo with Long Island’s angel wings and take a serene outdoor instagrammable walk at the McAllister Park Pirate’s Cove. Dinner options are as diverse as Long Island’s landscape and include traditional East Coast eats at PJ’s Lobster House, SaGhar for Indian cuisine with a Western twist, Prohibition Kitchen for a New American menu in a trendy atmosphere and more. Don’t miss Roots Kava Bar for a custom tea blend and ancient rituals.
- Discover the New England Style Stony Brook Village – The Epicenter of the Culper Spy Ring
Visitors will be transported back in time as they take a ride share from the LIRR station to Stony Brook Village, a waterfront shopping district in a Colonial New England setting complete with white clapboard buildings. Fun fact: Stony Brook was the epicenter of The Culper Spy Ring during the American Revolution, made famous by AMC’s hit drama TURN. President George Washington traveled to the area in 1790 by horse-drawn carriage to thank Long Island supporters and the spy ring for their help in winning the war. Stay overnight at the historic Three Village Inn built in 1907 which has six cottages named after Revolutionary War spies that overlook the harbor. While here, visitors can tour the Stony Brook Grist Mill used by farmers throughout the 18th – 20th centuries. Grab a kayak from Stony Brook Harbor Kayak and Paddle Board rentals for a unique water tour of the historic mills. For a hands-on activity, Stony Brook Chocolate offers workshops for customers to make seasonal artisanal chocolate creations. Check out the The Jazz Loft for some after dinner entertainment. To explore what’s beyond the village car-free, Stony Brookside Bed & Bike Inn offers complimentary bikes to all their guests.
- Explore the ‘City by the Sea’: Long Beach
With mile after mile of inviting sands, Long Beach certainly lives up to its name. This barrier island community is just 45-minutes from midtown Manhattan. Long Beach is an upbeat coastal retreat with LGBTQ+ pride, a vibrant surfing community, regular beach volleyball, free summer concerts, food trucks, fishing piers and more. This bustling beach town is best known for its iconic 4.5-mile boardwalk rebuilt after Superstorm Sandy in 2012, which is once again teeming with quirky shops, unique and classic eateries, cyclists, runners, and more. Head to Skudin’ Surf School & Shop for surf lessons, board rentals, and other cool gear or snap a picture in front of the Instagrammable Long Beach Osprey Wings. Don’t worry about toting heavy beach gear either, Beach Comfort will deliver rental equipment right on the beach. Stay overnight at the Allegria Hotel, a chic boutique delivering a dose of Miami style that boasts a rooftop pool with breathtaking views of the Atlantic as well as the NYC skyline.|
- Port Washington: Easily Accessible by Train or Boat
Step off the LIRR platform into a restaurant-ladden, historic, waterfront destination where history, luxury and serenity intertwine. Reserve a party yacht with Long Island Boat Rentals and take a private tour of Long Island’s North Shore and iconic Manhattan landmarks like the Statue of Liberty. Stop by the Port Salt Cave for a little R&R before heading to a live performance at Landmark on Main Street Theatre. The intimate six-room boutique hotel, Fathoms Hotel & Marina, is conveniently located at the end of the Main Street strip.
- Experience the Nautical Mile then Head to the World-famous Jones Beach
Take the train to Freeport and hop on the N.I.C.E Bus to the Nautical Mile. The combination of restaurants and workboats, open-air bars and fish markets, live music and foghorns on the Nautical Mile provides a unique blend of nautical charm and street fair revelry. Visitors can also take the N.I.C.E Bus to the Jones Beach Boardwalk from the Freeport LIRR stop – one of NY State’s greatest escapes. In addition to swimming, surfing, sunbathing, mini golf, fishing piers and more, the boardwalk provides access to WildPlay Adventure Park where visitors can test their limits. Be sure to catch a live a-list performance in the region’s only outdoor amphitheater, Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater.
- Explore Huntington Village, a little microcosm of Manhattan
The area where British troops camped following the Battle of Long Island during the American Revolutionary War is today one of the most popular cultural meccas on Long Island. Named by USA Today as one of the best places to view fall foliage, Huntington also boasts a chic downtown with harbor front dining at Prime, local brews from Six Harbor Brewing Co., live entertainment at the nationally acclaimed venue The Paramount, and cultural exhibitions inside the Heckscher Museum of Art which showcases more than 2,500 pieces of American and European artwork dating back to 1534. Revive Health Studio is the place to go for boutique skincare and holistic services like TuneBed sessions or Red-Light Therapy. The Hilton Inn & Suites Downtown Huntington opening this spring is located directly on Main St. and walking distance from beloved attractions.
- Head to Riverhead for Family Fun & Local Brews
This bustling downtown not far from the North Fork wine region, is walking distance from the Riverhead LIRR station. Visitors will find an array of amenities inclusive of family-friendly activities, watersports, craft brewery experiences, and even something fascinating for history buffs. Stop by the Long Island Aquarium for hands-on learning about local and world marine life. The fully operational distillery Montauk Distilling Co. is just one of nearly a dozen breweries located on the Riverhead Ale Trail where visitors can take tours, enjoy tasting rooms, and shop for locally made products. The Hotel Indigo East End provides guests with free shuttle services, on-site dinner & drinks, as well as posh rooms and décor.
- Greenport: Named by Forbes as One of the 11 Prettiest Towns in America
Located at the tip of Long Island’s North Fork and right off the last stop of the LIRR’s Greenport Branch, is the walkable harbor front village of Greenport, an adorable historic district and marina filled with live music, charming, vintage boutiques, and restaurants with outdoor terraces. Its close proximity to Long Island Wine Country and farmland makes Greenport a visitor favorite. Grab a lobster roll at Claudio’s, a staple of Long Islandsummers and relax with a fresh brew at Greenport Harbor Brewing housed in the town’s original firehouse before a walk around Mitchell Park, where kids can take a spin on a 100-year-old carousel (there’s also ice skating in the park in winter) or learn about the rich maritime heritage of Long Island’s East End at the East End Seaport Museum. Chic boutique hotel, The Menhaden, offers complimentary bicycles and shuttle services for its guests with its exclusive Moke. Guests must arrange for rides in the Moke and can do so by speaking with the hotel’s concierge.
ABOUT DISCOVER LONG ISLAND:
Discover Long Island is the region’s official destination marketing and leadership organization charged with furthering the region’s tourism economy, which saw record-breaking highs in 2019 generating $6.3 billion in visitor spending. The organization ensures Long Island’s coveted quality of life, thriving industries, and dynamic destination offerings are promoted on a global level, furthering economic development, and benefiting residents and businesses throughout the region. Awarded “Best Social Media” in the nation by the U.S. Travel Association, the organization produces engaging content featuring local businesses and attractions for their 10 social media channels which garnered upwards of 10 million views in 2021. Additionally, Discover Long Island hosts a popular YouTube series, Long Island TV, as well as the Long Island Tea podcast. To learn more, please call 631-951-3900 or visit www.DiscoverLongIsland.com.