HECKSCHER STATE PARK
Entrance Fee: $5 per car from May 25-Sept., weekends/holidays Sept. 7-Oct. 14. On Great South Bay, this 1,657-acre park draws boaters as well as landlubbers to its beaches.
Heckscher Parkway Field 1
Phone: (631) 581-2100
Overview: The 1,469 acres State Park offers a beach, picnic tables with pavilions, a playground and playing fields, recreation programs, hiking and biking, fishing, a campground with tent and trailer sites, cross-country skiing, a boat launch, and a food concession. Hechscher State Park is known as the “Home of the White-tailed Deer” because deer are famous throughout the park. The Heckscher State Park management has been moderate enough to even allow Pavilions on occasion, though nights in a regular and small tent can be more fun. Campers have a choice of 69 locations where they can pitch their tents-small wonder that the Heckscher State Park has made it to the chart of the top Camping Grounds in the United States. New Yorkers have an obvious advantage, but the Heckscher State Park also attracts quite a few people who reside rather far from Long Island.
History: Hecksher State Park was once the 19th century estates of George C. Taylor and J. Neal Plum. William Nicoll, founder of Islip, was originally built his estate on this property. The park was bought by the State of New York using a donation by the affluent August Heckscher with strong opposition from wealthy local residents. Today, Heckscher State Park is a great place for a visit when you need to spend some time in nature.
Facilities: Twenty miles of trails attract hikers, bicycle and cross-country skiers. Swimmers can use the Great South Bay or the swimming pool complex. Swimming facilities are provided at Overlook and West beaches and in the Overlookpool. There are picnic areas, a boat launch ramp, play fields, playground and 69 campsites. Only vehicles below eleven feet high can come into the campgrounds. In addition, the 32-mile Long Island Greenbelt Trail passes through the park.
Seasons/Hours: Open year round, seven days a week, 7:00 a.m. to sunset.
Pets: Dogs only. An access in undeveloped areas is only allowed, on a leash not more than 6 feet. Not allowed in camping, bathing and picnic areas. Not allowed in buildings or on walkways.
Temperature: It is commonly wet place with much rainfall; throughout November this area sees the most rain while February is the month with least amount of precipitation. The area experiences average January temperatures above 22 degrees Fahrenheit (above -6 degrees Celsius). Summer temperatures average above 72 degrees Fahrenheit (above 22 degrees Celsius). Typically Long Island has more than 200 days of frost-free growing season.
Events: Carl Hart Fall Duathlon; 1.8-mile run, 10.5-mile bike, 1.8-mile run, and Carl Hart Mother’s Day Spring Duathlon; 1.8-mile run, 10.5-mile bike, 1.8-mile run (dates not set).