Suffolk County, New York

Suffolk County (/ˈsʌfək/) is the easternmost county in the U.S. state of New York. It is mainly located on the eastern end of Long Island, however, there are several islands that are also part of Suffolk County. According to the 2020 United States Census, the county’s population was 1,525,920 making it the fourth-most populous county in New York State, after New York City’s Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan. Its county seat is Riverhead, though most county offices are in Hauppauge The county was named after the county of Suffolk in England, from where its earliest European settlers came.

Suffolk County incorporates the easternmost extreme of the New York City metropolitan area. The geographically largest of Long Island’s four counties and the second-largest of 62 counties in New York State, Suffolk measures 86 miles (138 km) in length and 26 miles (42 km) in width at its widest (including water). Most of the island is near sea level, with over 1,000 miles of coastline.

Like other parts of Long Island, the high population density and relative closeness to New York City means that the economy has a mix of industry and science satellite to the city alongside more rural activities like agriculture, a fishery, and tourism. Major scientific research facilities in Suffolk County include Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Huntington, and Plum Island Animal Disease Center on Plum Island. The county is also home to several major universities such as Stony Brook University and Farmingdale State College.


Suffolk County was part of the Connecticut Colony before becoming an original county of the Province of New York, one of twelve created in 1683. From 1664 until 1683 it had been the East Riding of Yorkshire. Its boundaries were essentially the same as at present, with only minor changes in the boundary with its western neighbor, which was originally Queens County but has been Nassau County since the separation of Nassau from Queens in 1899.

According to the Suffolk County website, the county is the leading agricultural county in the state of New York, saying that: “The weather is temperate, clean water is abundant, and the soil is so good that Suffolk is the leading agricultural county in New York State. That Suffolk is still number one in farming, even with the development that has taken place, is a tribute to thoughtful planning, along with the excellent soil, favorable weather conditions, and the work of the dedicated farmers in this region.”

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Oheka Castle- On the top of the list of best things to do in Suffolk, NY, is a tour of Oheka Castle. Also referred to as Long Island’s castle, this sprawling estate was built in the middle of a 443-acre plot of land situated on the highest point on Long Island in Cold Spring Harbor.

The estimated cost to build at the time was $11 million or $158 million in today’s currency. When this French-style Chateau was constructed, it was the second-largest private residence built in the USA and still is to this day. During the roaring twenties, the owner Otto Kahn used the 109,000-square-foot, 127- room estate as a summer house for lavish parties that hosted royal guests, heads of state, and Hollywood movie stars.

Unfortunately, after Mr. Kahn’s death, ownership of the estate changed hands several times, each time taking its toll on the estate’s condition. Lucky, in 1984 a developer, Gary Melius, purchased the castle and the remaining 23-acres and began restoring the beautiful estate with help from architects, historians, and researchers. Years later, after completing the $40 million renovation project, the Oheka Castle is listed on the National Register of historic places and is a member of several historical groups.

The Oheka Castle is now a hotel and estate and features guided mansion tours and a restaurant. The guided tour takes you through public areas of the estate and gardens, followed by refreshments of coffee or tea and a variety of Castle-made cookies from the pastry kitchen. Or if you prefer to get lunch after your tour, you can always visit the OHK bar and restaurant. Website: Oheka Castle

Montauk Point Lighthouse- Up next on the list of 15 best things to do in Suffolk County, NY, is Montauk Point Lighthouse. Located at the farthest point east of Long Island is the historic Montauk Point Lighthouse. This historic lighthouse was commissioned by George Washington himself and was completed in 1797. Besides being the oldest lighthouse in New York, it also became a symbol of hope for millions of immigrants of the free world beyond. During WWII, the lighthouse became a strategic fire control station for armed forces. Today, the lighthouse is an attraction for sightseers looking for amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean and to see the seals that gather on the shore below. The grounds are dog friendly and offer walking trails around the building and to the rocky beach. There is a museum located in the Keepers house built in 1860, and you can climb to the top of the lighthouse for panoramic views. Website: Montauk Lighthouse

Long Island Aquarium – The next best thing to do in Suffolk County, NY, is something for the whole family to participate in. Plan a visit to the Atlantis-themed Long Island Aquarium, home to one of the largest living coral displays in the Western Hemisphere. Besides clownfish, sea horses, electric eels, and octopus, they also have butterflies, bugs, reptiles, and marmosets in their indoor exhibits. In the outdoor displays, you can find otters, penguins, sea lions, and gators, and so much more! Visiting the Long Island Aquarium is a great way for kids to learn more about wildlife. The aquarium also has other unique experiences like staying the night and sleeping with the fishes, or if you’re feeling really adventurous, they offer shark dives. Website: Long Island Aquarium

Fire Island- Visit these enchanting beaches and tiny villages along this narrow barrier island that parallels Long Island on the South Shore and the westernmost tip starting at the popular Robert Moses State Park and separated by the Great South Bay. If you begin at the Robert Moses Beach, you can take a nature trail to Smith Point Visitor Center and the Fire Island Lighthouse. To really get the full experience, you can stay overnight either by renting a beach house or staying at the campground at Watch Hill; just make sure to book early. While you’re there, explore the Sunken Forest and take a relaxing walk on the elevated boardwalk under the canopy of a maritime holly forest. Remember this is a car-free island and the Fire Island National Seashore’s 26 miles can be accessed by ferry or boat from Sayville, Patchogue, and Bay Shore. Website: Fire Island

Del Vino Vineyard- To round off this list of best things to do in Suffolk County, NY, plan a visit to Del Vino Vineyard. This beautiful vineyard is located on the rolling hills of Northport, Long Island’s Gold Coast and is family-owned and operated. Reservations are required but are worth booking a visit. Enjoy tasting the wine while you’re there or one of the four craft beers from New York they offer. Their tapas menu pairs perfectly with their fine wine selection too. And while you’re there, enjoy the live music and events that Del Vino offers its guests. It is a great place to go for a date night or to meet up with friends. Website: Del Vino Vineyard

Parrish Art Museum- The Parrish Art Museum is an art museum designed by Herzog & de Meuron Architects and located in Water Mill, New York, where it moved in 2012 from Southampton Village. The museum focuses extensively on work by artists from the artist colony of the South Shore and North Shore. The Parrish Art Museum was founded in 1897. It has grown into a major art museum with a permanent collection of more than 3,000 works of art from the nineteenth century to the present, including works by such contemporary painters and sculptors such as John Chamberlain, Chuck Close, Eric Fischl, April Gornik, Donald Sultan, Elizabeth Peyton, as well as by masters Dan Flavin, Roy Lichtenstein, Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, and Willem de Kooning. The Parrish houses among the world’s most important collections of works by the preeminent American Impressionist William Merritt Chase and by the groundbreaking post-war American realist painter Fairfield Porter.

Splish Splash Water Park– Splish Splash is a 96-acre water park in Calverton, New York. It features 30 rides and runs from May through September. Travel Channel ranked Splish Splash the third best water park in the United States in the year 2009.

Wölffer Estate Vineyard– 139 Sagg Road, Sagaponack, NY 11962. Since 1988, Wölffer Estate Vineyard has been committed to producing premium, distinctive wines, ciders, and spirits through our dedication to quality, penchant for style, and celebration of place.

Sunken Meadow State Park- Sunken Meadow State Park, also known as Governor Alfred E. Smith State Park, is a 1,287-acre state park located in the Town of Smithtown in Suffolk County, NY on the north shore of Long Island. The park, accessible via the Sunken Meadow State Parkway, contains the 27-hole Sunken Meadow State Park Golf Course.

Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve- Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve is a state park on Lloyd Neck, a peninsula extending into the Long Island Sound, in the Village of Lloyd Harbor, New York. It is operated by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. The 1,520-acre park covers the former Marshall Field III estate that was developed in the 1920s and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. Much of the park is today managed as a nature preserve, with a focus on protecting high-quality bird habitat