Long Island is less than an hour from New York City but feels a world away from the bustling concrete jungle. This long, thin island has a small-town feel to it, offering miles of sandy beaches, great shopping, and a very popular food scene.

Long Island is like that kid at school who is good at everything and wins all the awards. Long Island is home to nationally acclaimed beaches, wineries and shopping. It even has mansions on the Gold Coast that inspired The Great Gatsby. Long Island really does have it all (and more!)

As the name suggests, the destination is a long strip of land. There are lots of little neighborhoods here, each with its own attractions and appeal, so figuring out where to stay in Long Island can be tricky.

Luckily, you have me! Your Long Island expert to help guide you through the decision. In this article, I’ll take you through the best areas to stay in Long Island and the best places to stay in each. And just because I love ya, I’ve also included the best things to do in each!

So, pour yourself a tea (Long Island style) and settle in while I take you through everything I know.

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Where is the Best Place to Stay in Long Island?

There’s a variety of accommodation options in Long Island to pick from. Here are my top picks:

Westhampton Seabreeze Motel | Best Hotel in Long Island

Westhampton Seabreeze Motel Long Island

Like having the conveniences of a hotel? Check out this place in Long Island – each room is beautifully decorated and has a microwave and ensuite bathroom.

If you want to hire a car during your stay, there’s free on-site parking. Shops and restaurants are only a short walk away if you’re on foot too.

The Menhaden Hotel | Best Luxury Hotel in Long Island

The Menhaden Hotel Long Island New York

I love the Menhaden, this is a luxury hotel that feels like you’re living your best Long Island holiday home life. From hot croissants and cookies to in built wardrobes in the rooms, they’ve thought of everything and gladly provide it.

My highlight was the location, in the heart of Greenpoint, you can smell the sea as you enjoy the firepit on the terrace. Shelter Island is super accessible from here.

Modern Adventure | Best Airbnb in Long Island

Modern Adventure Long Island New York

With an easy self-check-in and check-out, a full kitchen, and less than 15 15-minute drive to Jones Beach, this is a joint! Lay back and slip off to dreamland after all the activities on the queen bed with a pillow topper. This concise studio has everything you need and all just about within arms reach.

This cozy modern apartment gives some of the hotels in Long Island a run for their money. Located in Seaford, just five minutes drive from Bellmore, this is a prime spot to be close to it all, but outside the hustle. The train station (LIRR) is just a short walk away and you can reach all of New York’s top attractions in under an hour.

Long Island Neighborhood Guide – Best Places to Stay in Long Island

FIRST TIME IN LONG ISLAND
FIRST TIME IN LONG ISLAND

East Hampton North

East Hampton North is located quite far along the island and close to the shore. This makes it a great choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Long Island for your first time, as you’ll have access to lots of attractions and activities.

ON A BUDGET
Jones Beach Park Long Island
ON A BUDGET

Bellmore

Bellmore is on the South Shore of Long Island and closer to New York City so you could head back there at a moment’s notice. It’s a popular spot for people who want to live on Long Island rather than in New York and offers a friendly, welcoming community surrounded by beautiful, natural landscapes.

NIGHTLIFE
Gold Coast Mansions long island
NIGHTLIFE

Smithtown

Located on Long Island’s north shore, this small town is working hard to bring in the younger crowd, so there are a lot of new bars, shops, and restaurants in the downtown area. This is why it’s one of the best places in Long Island to stay if you like a bit of nightlife.

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
Connetquot River State Park Long Island
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Lake Ronkonkoma

When you’re trying to get away from the busyness of New York City, you want to be out in nature. This area is perfect for that, making it one of the coolest places to stay in Long Island. There are numerous parks around the lake, so you can let all that natural scenery rejuvenate you.

FOR FAMILIES
Greenport long island
FOR FAMILIES

Greenport, North Fork

Located in the north fork of Long Island, Greenport is a small village within a larger town and it’s the best choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Long Island for families for the mix of attractions and the safety of the area.

Long Island is a popular detour destination for travelers visiting New York. It has various small neighborhoods that offer something unique to visitors, so I highly recommend exploring as much of the island as possible. That said, it’s important to base yourself in the area that best suits your travel style and budget.

East Hampton North is one of Long Island’s best neighborhoods for anyone who wants a good mix of the beach, restaurants, and attractions. This area has a little of everything, so it’s perfect for getting a feel for the place.

Budget backpackers will be best off staying in Bellmore. It’s well connected to the city via Penn Station and offers a wide variety of affordable accommodation options.

Greenport is a tiny village with a quaint and local feel to it. The area is laid-back and set away from the hustle and bustle, making it ideal for families with children.

If you’re trying to decide where to stay in Long Island for nightlife, spend some time in Smithtown. Located towards the center of the island, it’s full of vibrant bars and clubs providing entertainment until the early hours.

The Lake Ronkonkoma area is surrounded by parks and natural areas, perfect for a proper retreat in nature. The collection of shops, bars, and restaurants in this part of the island is also well worth checking out.

Long Island’s Five Best Neighborhoods to Stay in

Here’s a little more information on the best places to stay on Long Island. I’ve included my top accommodation and activity picks in each, so you can find the right one for your needs.

1. East Hampton North – Where to Stay in Long Island for Your First Time

  • COOLEST Thing to Do in East Hampton North – Take a guided tour through the sculptures and outdoor art installations at the LongHouse Reserve.
  • BEST Place to Visit in East Hampton North – East Hampton Main Beach for stretches of golden sand and coastline.
hampton beach long island
Long Island Iced beach?

East Hampton North is located quite far along the island and close to the shore. It’s a great choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Long Island for your first time, as you’ll have access to lots of attractions and activities.

The neighborhood also offers a good mix of accommodation options at every price point, suitable for every traveler. You’ll also find some great restaurants in this area so you can try as much of the local food as possible.

Mill House Inn | Best Hotel in East Hampton North

Mill House Inn, Long Island NY

Sometimes, the convenience of a hotel can take some stress out of planning your trip. This inn has a lovely garden and a really homey feel.

It offers private parking and unit accommodation with seating areas and private bathrooms. It also offers a daily continental breakfast, so you’ll be totally ready for the day ahead.

The Baker House | Best Luxury Hotel in East Hampton North

The Baker House Long Island New York

With an on site bar and several swimming pools set in beautiful East Hampton gardens, this Bed and Breakfast offers a luxurious stay. Some rooms have a fireplace to snuggle up to and all rooms come with a bath.

The gardens here are just gorgeous, lush greenery making the perfect setting for relaxing in between whatever activities you get up to in Long Island.

Carriage House | Best Airbnb in East Hampton North

Carriage House, Long Island NY

This cute cottage is the ideal base for your first trip to Long Island, whether you’re traveling solo, as a couple, or in a group. It’s bright throughout and has been recently renovated to provide modern amenities and comfortable furnishings. The surrounding area is safe and picturesque, with shops and town amenities just a short walk away.

Things to See and Do in East Hampton North

hamptons beach new york
Long walks by the beach… Dreamy
  1. Grab your beach essentials and head to Egypt Beach or Indian Wells Beach.
  2. Learn about the history of the area at the East Hampton Historical Farm Museum.
  3. Play a round of golf at the Maidstone Club or the Poxabogue Golf Course.
  4. Immerse yourself in nature at Napeague State Park.
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2. Bellmore – Best Place to Stay in Long Island on a Budget

  • COOLEST Thing to Do in Bellmore – Go hiking or wildlife spotting at the Twin Lakes Preserve.
  • BEST Place to Visit in Bellmore – Jones Beach Park for one of the best beaches on the island as well as concerts and other events.
Jones Beach Park Long Island

Bellmore is on Long Island’s south shore. It’s one of the closest areas to New York City, so you could head back there at a moment’s notice if you needed to. It’s a popular spot for people who want to live on Long Island rather than in New York.

Bellmore offers a friendly, welcoming community surrounded by beautiful, natural landscapes. As a bonus, the cost of living is fairly good, especially compared to prices in New York. Staying here is a great opportunity to be close to the city but still enjoy the beach and good places to eat and drink.

Jones Beach Hotel | Best Hotel in Bellmore

Jones Beach Hotel, Long Island NY

This hotel is a good budget choice close to the Jones Beach State Park. It has a great terrace, garden, and BBQ area as well as comfortable rooms, some of them with a spa bath. The hotel also offers a transfer service to the airport to make the end of your stay as stress-free as possible.

Studio B | Best Airbnb in Bellmore

Studio B, Long Island NY

This Long Island Airbnb is the ideal compromise between convenient city living and a remote retreat. It’s right by the train station as well as shops and restaurants while being surrounded by greenery and nature. Two guests can stay in this studio, which provides wifi, kitchen facilities, and a workspace.

Modern Adventure | Best Apartment in Bellmore

Modern Adventure Long Island New York

With an easy self-check-in and check-out, a full kitchen, and less than 15 15-minute drive to Jones Beach, this is a joint! Lay back and slip off to dreamland after all the activities on the queen bed with a pillow topper. This concise studio has everything you need and all just about within arms reach.

This cozy modern apartment gives some of the hotels in Long Island a run for their money. Located in Seaford, just five minutes drive from Bellmore, this is a prime spot to be close to it all, but outside the hustle. The train station (LIRR) is just a short walk away and you can reach all of New York’s top attractions in under an hour.

Things to See and Do in Bellmore

Bellmore long island
There’s nothing like autumn colours to get you in the mood for a holiday
Photo: Terry Ballard (Flickr)
  1. Hit the stores at the Bellmore Shopping Center.
  2. Enjoy the indoor pools and skating rink at Newbridge Road Park.
  3. Go fishing or let the kids run off some energy at the playground at Wantagh Park.
  4. Trip back to the ’90s and enjoy some junk food at the United Skates of America Roller Skating Center.

3. Smithtown – Best Area to Stay in Long Island For Nightlife

  • COOLEST Thing to Do in Smithtown – Relax and get some sun at Long Beach.
  • BEST Place to Visit in Smithtown – Caleb Smith State Park for hiking trails and historic sites.
Gold Coast Mansions long island
Welcome to my crib

Located on Long Island’s north shore, this small town is working hard to bring in a younger crowd. As a result, you’ll find a lot of new bars, shops, and restaurants in the downtown area. So, if you’re looking for nightlife and want to check out the party scene, Smithtown is the best place to stay in Long Island.

Smithtown is also close to several popular beaches, so you can easily get some sun in on your holiday. It has some great parks as well, so you can hike or explore the historic attractions.

Hyatt Regency Long Island | Best Hotel in Smithtown

Hyatt Regency Long Island New York

Just a ten minute drive to the heart of Smithtown, The Hyatt Regency is your classic luxury hotel. You get all the trimmings here and it’s the perfect place to stay if you want to splash out in Smithtown. Enjoy a complimentary Breakfast during your stay here as well as all of the amenities.

Things you might like are the heated outdoor pool, tennis courts, the fitness center, and daily housekeeping. Luxury I tell you!

Cozy Studio near LIRR | Best Airbnb in Smithtown

Cozy Studio near LIRR, Long Island NY

This suite is suitable for up to two guests. It offers basic food prep facilities like a fridge and microwave, as well as a private bathroom and wifi.

The area itself is pretty quiet and residential, but you’ll be close to bars, restaurants, and shops. As well as being ideal for a night out, the free parking makes this a good overnight stopover for Roadtrippers heading through New York.

Private Basement Apartment in Smithtown | Best Luxury Airbnb in Smithtown

Private Basement Apt in the Heart of Smithtown, Long Island NY

If wine and beaches are your cup of tea, then this is the perfect spot for you. Sitting directly between the wine country and beaches, this Long Island accommodation option is ideal for getting out and exploring. The basement apartment is fully private and well-equipped to comfortably sleep up to three visitors.

Things to See and Do in Smithtown

Smithtown New York
The ideal destination for nature lovers
  1. Enjoy the beach lifestyle at Short Beach, Kings Park Bluff, or Callahan’s Beach.
  2. Go fishing, walking, or rowing at Blydenburgh County Park.
  3. Practice your swing at the Smithtown Landing Golf Course.
  4. Get out into nature at the Sweet Briar Nature Center.
  5. Enjoy the displays and the universe at the Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium.
  6. See how the other half live at the Gold Coast Mansions of Long Island.
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4. Lake Ronkonkoma – Coolest Place to Stay in Long Island

  • COOLEST Thing to Do in Lake Ronkonkoma – Enjoy the sporting grounds, playground, and fishing area at Lake Ronkonkoma County Park.
  • BEST Place to Visit in Lake Ronkonkoma – Connetquot River State Park Preserve for hiking, fishing, and rare birds and animals.
Connetquot River State Park Long Island

No place is more removed from New York City than Lake Ronkonkoma. It’s the ultimate nature retreat, with green spaces and parks aplenty. Ronkonkoma itself is a freshwater lake formed by ancient glaciers and is popular among fishers and swimmers.

The fact that you can explore New York in the morning and be surrounded by unspoiled nature in the evening is just *chef’s kiss*. The area around Lake Ronkonkoma has some awesome hiking trails, as well as a good collection of shops, restaurants, and bars. So, no matter what you enjoy doing on holiday, you’ll find something to entertain you in this area.

Courtyard Long Island | Best Hotel in Lake Ronkonkoma

Courtyard Long Island

Located in the best area in Long Island to stay in for nature experiences, this hotel has its own bar and a swimming pool. Soak all the stress away, baby. There’s also a gym and hot tub in the hotel as well as a great outdoor seating area where you can enjoy the outdoors.

Private Apartment | Best Airbnb in Lake Ronkonkoma

Private Apartment, Long Island NY

This simple apartment is a great choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Long Island on a budget. It sleeps two guests and has a private entrance, a contemporary kitchen, and a pet-friendly backyard. It’s also close to local shops and restaurants.

Private New Apartment | Best Luxury Airbnb in Lake Ronkonkoma

Private New Apartment, Long Island NY

Perks like free parking, a flashy kitchen, and a quiet backyard all make this place a top accommodation option. This open-concept apartment sleeps three guests and sits close to local wineries.

Its proximity to the train station and airport significantly reduces travel time. Meaning you can spend less time on the road and more time in nature (and by nature, I mean vineyards).

Things to See and Do in Lake Ronkonkoma

Lake Ronkonkoma Long Island
  1. Enjoy the displays at the Lake Ronkonkoma Historical Society.
  2. Wander through Walter S. Commerdinger, Jr. County Park.

5. Greenport, North Fork – Best Neighborhood in Long Island for Families to Stay In

  • COOLEST Thing to Do in Greenport – Try some of the local wines at the Kontokosta Winery.
  • BEST Place to Visit in Greenport – The East End Seaport Museum to learn about the history of whaling.
Greenport long island

Located on the north fork of Long Island, Greenport is a small village within a larger town. It’s a safe area and is full of things to see and do. Greenport, North Fork is the best choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Long Island with your family.

North Fork in general has a local feel to it and is more laid back than other neighborhoods. Greenport was originally a whaling village is now a relaxed neighborhood close to the beach. It has lots of historical sites where you can dig deeper into the olden days and great shops and restaurants that serve stunning local produce.

Greenporter Hotel | Best Hotel in Greenport

Greenporter Hotel, Long Island NY

Take it back to the ‘50s at this retro hotel in Long Island. Featuring colorful decor and offering handy extras like in-room fridges and breakfast on the weekends, it’s ideal for families traveling with children. There’s an outdoor swimming pool on-site, and you’ll also be super close to beaches and lakes.

The Menhaden Hotel | Best Luxury Hotel in Greenport

The Menhaden Hotel Long Island New York

I love the Menhaden, this is a luxury hotel that feels like you’re living your best Long Island holiday home life. From hot croissants and cookies to in built wardrobes in the rooms, they’ve thought of everything and gladly provide it.

My highlight was the location, in the heart of Greenpoint, you can smell the sea as you enjoy the firepit on the terrace. Shelter Island is super accessible from here too, with the ferry almost next to the hotel. 

Nofo Bungalow | Best Luxury Airbnb in Greenport

Nofo Bungalow, Long Island NY

This eco-friendly cottage is as gorgeous on the outside as it is on the inside. It may look compact, but the interior is bright and spacious, with open-concept living and enough beds for up to six guests.

The location of this place is also hard to beat. It sits in the heart of the village right by the port, so you’ll have the best of Greenport literally on your doorstep.

Things to See and Do in Greenport

Mitchell marina Long Island
  1. Take the kids to the carousel at Mitchell Park.
  2. Play a round of golf at Island’s End Golf & Country Club.
  3. Head down to the Mitchell Park Marina to watch the boats go in and out.
  4. Try some local brews at the Greenport Harbor Brewing Company.
  5. Enjoy some art at the Nova Constellatio Gallery.
  6. Wander through the Railroad Museum of Long Island.
  7. Visit Shelter Island – stunning serenity, hiking, and wildlife as well as a $13million house. Hop on the North Fork Ferry to get here.
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FAQs About Finding a Place to Stay in Long Island

Here’s what people usually ask me about the areas of Long Island and where to stay.

What To Pack For Long Island

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Product
Description
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

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Monopoly Deal

Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!
Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. The Grayl Geopress acts as a purifier AND temperature regulator. Boom!

Check out my definitive Hotel Packing list for even more top packing tips!

What if I want to Stay Closer to NYC?

You do you boo! I’d reccomend staying at Garden City Hotel, 20 minutes inland from Bellmore in Garden City funnily enough. The LIRR is the train line through Long Island and will be your best friend.

Where to Stay in Long Island on the Beachfront?

The Menhaden Hotel is the spot to be. Enjoy the sights and smells of the wonderful ocean from the terrace. Definitely different to some toes in the sand beach stays we’ve all enjoyed, embrace the Long Island life and light the fire pit.

What’s the Best Bed and Breakfast in Long Island?

Stay at the Baker House, their breakfast is off the chain and you couldn’t eat in a better setting. If yoga’s your jam they’ve been known to host classes in the garden too!

Are there Stranger Things in Long Island?

Look into Camp Hero State Park – this is the area the series was based off and it has beautiful trails for hiking. Epic for those of us who love a bit of classified spooky action! Take the LIRR to Montauk.

Is Montauk Point Lighthouse Worth Visiting?

Absolutely! Climb the 110ft tower for epic 360 degree views from the Mountauk Point Lighthouse buils in 1792 – one of the first five lighthouses in New York.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Long Island

After too many Iced Teas, anything can happen so make sure you sort good travel insurance before your trip.

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

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Final Thoughts on the Best Places to Stay in Long Island

Whether you’re trying to decide where to stay in Long Island for your first time or a return trip, there are lots of great options. No matter where you stay, you’ll have the chance to enjoy the beaches and small-town atmosphere that makes Long Island paradise. It’s the perfect place to destress after spending time in New York City.

If you’re still not sure where to stay in Long Island, I recommend East Hampton North. It’s got a little bit of everything and is full of accommodation options to suit any budget. The Baker House is my number one choice.

Looking for a budget place to base yourself? Stay at Modern Adventure in Bellmore, the perfect base to venture from.

I hope my guide has helped you choose where to stay in Long Island. Let me know if I’ve missed anything in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!

A yellow NYC cab with an American flag in lights behind it in New York, USA United States of America.
‘Murrica!
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short
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