The middle of summer is the time to enjoy our island to its fullest. The sun is shining, days are longer, the temperature rises – it’s the ultimate feel-good season. And when you live on an amazing island like this one, you need to take advantage of what the surrounding beaches, bays and ocean have to offer to bring your summer fun to the next level. We are fortunate enough to never be more than 15 minutes or so from water, so whether you take to the shore on the ocean, bays or sound, there are so many great options for letting loose in the sand, surf and sun.
Long Island acts as the perfect platform to enjoy a plethora of water based activities for the hyper-energized athlete to the adrenaline junky and, of course, to those just looking to enjoy a day of leisure on the water. From fishing to fly-boarding to the Zen, but challenging, stand up paddle boarding (SUP) to kayaking, there's something for everyone.
This is not necessarily for the faint of heart or for those with a fear of heights. This is an unparalleled, exhilarating experience that gives you the essence of flying without having to jump out of an airplane. For the adventure junky or just someone looking for a burst of adrenaline, this is definitely the activity to try.
It looks more difficult than it is and with and directions in a guided lesson you will be flying high in no time. While beginners generally start out soaring at around 5-8 feet above the water, the more experienced flyers can reach heights more than 20 feet above the water. It's a surreal experience. Unfortunately for the youngins this is reserved for flyers 16 and up, and anyone under the age of 18 needs have a waiver signed by an adult and be accompanied for the duration of their flight.
While nobody is doing this on the Great South Bay yet, take a short jaunt east to FlyBoard LI in Riverhead where you’ll find your choice of 15, 30 and 60 minute individual sessions. Prices range from $99-$380. Group sessions can be booked in 2-8 hour windows with prices from $579 for 2 hours and up to 4 people, to $1500 for 8 hours and up to 12 people.
FlyBoard LI, 469 E. Main Street, Riverhead. (631)-901-2661, flyboardli.com.
The long shoreline along the bay, not to mention all the rivers, streams and the like to choose from, make it no surprise that kayaking is one of the most enjoyed recreational activities on the waters of Long Island. There are a number of shops on the south shore of Long Island that offer kayak rentals. It is good to inquire about skill level required for the numerous trails you can follow, with skill level ranging from beginner to advanced.
A great one for renting kayaks with family, Captain Kayak in Sayville allows for kids 16 and under to rent kayaks, so long as they are accompanied by an adult. In close proximity to the bay and the Connetquot River, this shop is centrally located in the perfect south shore spot.
Farther west, The Dingy Shop in Amityville offers kayak rentals from June to October, for paddlers 16 and up. Kayaks are rented single ($28) and tandem ($55). Twilight Tours are also offered, all summer long on Wednesday evenings from 6-8pm, $46 for singles, $54 for tandem. For the moon chasers, The Dingy Shop also offers Full Moon tours, where you can enjoy unbeatable sunset views and watch the moon come up over the Great South Bay.
Captain Kayak, 23 River Rd. Sayville. (631)-750-3587, captainkayak.com. The Dinghy Shop, 334 S. Bayview Ave, Amityville. (631)-264-0005, dinghyshop.com.
Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP)
Picking up in popularity over the past few summers, stand up paddle boarding is a great activity for kids and adults alike. Long Island SUP is located in East Patchogue and has access to a river that leads to the Great South Bay. This area is a great spot for first timers as the flat water makes for an easier start and a smooth transition into the bay.
An “Intro to SUP” is the beginner level course with a SUP instructor ($55, 75min). Reservations are required for full day rentals from 9am-5pm and start at $150, while weekend rentals require a 24 hour advance reservation and are rented for a full 48 hours. Long Island SUP also offers SUP Yoga, SUP Core-fit, group tours and sunset tours.
For the yogi looking to switch up the usual practice, try a challenging, but enjoyable, SUP Yoga class. This is an interesting alternative from a standard yoga practice and invites you to test your balance off the mat and on the water. With water views all around you'll be feeling Zen before you even get onto the board.
SUP Yoga is offered at Long Island SUP at their East Patchogue location for 75min Tuesday, Thursday, and Sat at 10am, and Sundays starting at 11am in Ocean Bay Park (Flynn's, Fire Island).
Long Island SUP, East Patchogue, based out of Sunset Harbor Yacht Club. (631)-326-7926, longisland-sup.com.
A hot summer day undoubtedly calls for the wind in your hair and a day on the water. Jet Ski Renting, located in Brookhaven, allow you to enjoy a day of whipping through the waves in the Great South Bay off the Bellport shore. No boating license required, but there are some rules involved. While anyone over the age of 18 can drive a jet ski, if you are 14-17 and have a boating license you can drive one as well. Younger kids can enjoy a ride with a renter as long as they are over 3.5 feet tall.
Total rental time is 1 hour, for $150 and includes a lesson, lifejackets and fuel. This rental site offers a 10% discount for 3 or more jet ski rentals, so the more the merrier. Reservations are recommended, but not required, you can make your reservation 24 hours before your rental date by texting (631)-559-5151.
Jet Ski Renting, 320 South Country Rd. Brookhaven. (516)-286-7816, jetskirenting.com.
Sometimes we all just crave a lazier summer day, one where enjoying the weather and the sunshine is enough. If you're looking for a less rigorous day on the water, spend a day fishing at Captree State Park in Babylon. Fish off the long pier or hop on a charter boat. Boasting the largest shipping fleet on Long Island, Captree is a must for fishing lovers, hook, line and sinker.
For the open boat, with no reservation required, check the sailing schedule to see times and species. They sail 7 days a week, with varying times and species. Rates start at $25 for children 12 & under, $39 for senior citizens and $42 for adults. These rates include use of a rod, reel, bait and tackle. Captree is also the home port of the Moon Chaser, a sightseeing/moonlit sail that is a non-fishing trip.
Location: Captree State Park 3500 E. Ocean Parkway, Babylon. (631)-669-6464, captreefleet.com.
Photo: Melissa McMahon