Wine country? Near New York City?!

New York City has a very well deserved reputation for being manic. Sure, there are beautiful and relaxing neighborhoods, but cramming ten million people into a tiny island makes relaxation slightly challenging. If you’re in search of endless beach, micro breweries, vineyards or one of the coolest concert venues in North America, you’ll need to head to Long Island. Or as the locals call it, Luouaaanguuuyland. Say it with me. Here are the best things to see.

Jones Beach Amphitheater

From May 30th to September 12th you can experience top notch summer concerts from the likes of Foo Fighters, Kendrick Lamar, Jeff Beck, Dave Matthews, G-Eazy and everything in between. The amphitheatre is set on the water, using sunlight as a natural backdrop. In fact, the stage is on the water. You can take the train from NYC to Wantagh, and then taxis are cheap from there!

Montauk Beach

Forget the Hamptons. It’s for people with faces made out of wax. Montauk is the buzzing beach town of your wildest dreams. From burger bars to craft breweries, it’s got everything. If you’re in search of adventure, there’s no shortage of deep sea fishing charters (shark, anyone?) surfing or other adventure activities.

Wine Country

If you like crisp rose, a smooth white or even a (decent) red wine you might be surprised to know that Long Island’s North Fork offers a blossoming wine country, just two hours out of the city. And when you get there, the surrounding area is worth staying a night or two. There are amazing bike tours which can take you vineyard to vineyard, and incredible resorts and beachfront surf towns are just a short drive away. Good details here.

Oyster Bay

In the summer, Oyster Bay is a great spot to rent a boat, kayak, sailboat or stand up paddle board and hit the calm water. And yes – you can really have oysters from Oyster Bay. You’ll find great food and wine at spots like Wild Honey, 2Spring, Nikkei and Musu in nearby Sea Cliff, each offering fresh catches right from the bay. If you do rent a boat, you can jet over to Greenwich, Connecticut for a beautiful ride in just about half an hour, or harbor hop to check out Long Island’s Gold Coast ports.

Brooklyn & Queens

If you check out a map, you’ll see Brooklyn and Queens are actually on Long Island – and so is JFK by the way. If you’ve done the standard touristy stuff and are looking to discover some “Zone 2” neighborhoods, each with a unique vibe, art, food and lifestyle, hit the subway and make the trip. Astoria, Queens is incredible for Greek food, Williamsburg, Brooklyn for all things hipster, underground, art and “upcoming” and Flushing for Chinese food, Mets Baseball, US Open Tennis and great parks. You can’t go wrong.

Americana

London, Paris, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Manhasset. If you’ve ever seen that last city and wondered where on earth it may be, it’s here. If you are a shopping addict with a large budget – or a love of window browsing, there’s no better place to shop designer in New York than on Long Island. The Americana in Manhasset is home to every high end designer you’ve ever heard of, all next door to each other – just like in Beverly Hills. You’ll even get to see the Long Island version of desperate housewives walking buy. Great food from Cippolini and Toku and easy trains make this a winner.

Long Beach

Perhaps the easiest ride from NYC by train or Uber, Long Beach is one cool surf town, with amazing bars. You can watch planes land at nearby JFK or catch some legitimately good surf, all whilst washing down burgers and beers. You pick the order! For a summer trip to NYC, this is one of the best and easy places to escape and cool off. Just avoid the weekends, like all great beaches things get crazy when it’s hot.

Featured image courtesy of NYC Walking Tours