Best Historic Day Trips in the Suffolk County Area

Four fun and affordable day trip destinations right in your backyard.

Credit: Vanderbilt Museum, Mansion and Planetarium
Credit: Vanderbilt Museum, Mansion and Planetarium
Written by Charlene Cooper

If you're looking for day trip ideas, these destinations are both fun and educational. Visit a three-in-one museum, mansion and planetarium or choose a farm or firehouse as your playground. The four trips below are full of history. An added bonus? You can get to all these destinations on one tank of gas—or less.

Vanderbilt Museum, Mansion and Planetarium
180 Little Neck Rd.
(631) 854-5555

Why Go? Take a tour of the Spanish Revival estate, watch high-definition videos produced with NASA imagery in the planetarium and explore other exciting areas on the property like the marine museum, natural history habitats and boathouse. 

Must Do:
Be sure to check out the Living History Tours for a trip back to the 1930s. Actors in costume guide visitors through 24 rooms in the mansion and share tales about the Vanderbilt family and their lives at the residence.

Insider Tip:
 Get to the museum early in order to get tickets for the Living History Tour—they usually sell out by early afternoon.

Fine Print:
Visit the mansion on Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout the winter from noon to 4pm. Admission is $3 for children 12 and under, $7 for adults and $6 for students (with ID) and seniors 62 and over.

Hallockville Museum Farm
6038 Sound Ave.
(631) 298-5292

Why Go? Established in 1765, Hallockville Museum Farm is home to 18 historic homes, barns and buildings from the 18th century and the Depression era. Whether you opt to guide yourself through spots like the Cichanowicz Farmhouse or join a guided tour on a walk through the Hallock Homestead, you're sure to end the day knowing tons more about Long Island's extensive agricultural heritage. "As a descendant, this place holds a special place in my heart," said Ellen Benedetto. "It's a great opportunity to participate in the living history of Long Island."

Must Do:
Check out the cows, sheep and chickens on the farm.

Insider Tip:
Sign in at the Hudson-Sydlowski House upon arrival. Visitors are only allowed to enter certain Hallockville buildings by guided tour and will not be able to enter on their own.

Fine Print:
Guided tours are held Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. However, visitors may embark on self-guided tours on weekdays throughout the year from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and at the same time on weekends between May and December. Admission for guided tours are $5 for children and seniors and $7 for adults.

Long Island Museum of American Art, History & Carriages
1200 Route 25A
Stony Brook, NY
(631) 751-0066

Why Go? American art, history and horse-drawn carriages come together for an exciting experience for both kids and adults. The museum features a collection of 40,000 everyday items and art and close to 200 carriages.

Must Do:
Don't miss the carriage museum's 19th-century carriage making shop that's filled with working machines. "The carriage museum is interesting and the rotating shows are always good," said Judith Gluck, a frequent museum visitor.

Insider Tip:
 Visit on Thursdays to take advantage of the museum's 2 for 1 admission discount.

Fine Print:
Visit Thursday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is free for children 6 and under and $4 for students 7 through 17 years, as well as college students with ID. Adults may enter for $9 and seniors 62 and older enter for $7.

Cold Spring Harbor Fire House Museum
84 Main St.
Cold Spring Harbor  
(631) 367-0400

Why Go? Experience Cold Spring Harbor's first fire house, filled with antique fire trucks, artifacts, photos and memorabilia dating back to the 1800's.

Must Do:
Check out the department's fire-fighting equipment that dates back to 1852. The museum houses one of only two hundred Ford Model Chemical Trucks built in the 1920's. 

Insider Tip:
 While the museum is only open the general public on Saturday and Sunday, you can arrange for a group tour any day of the week. 

Fine Print:
The museum is open Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Children get in free and adult admission is $2.


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