Since moving to Long Island I have tried to make a conscious effort to explore a decent portion of the area. While exploring I have found five places I love to photograph more than anywhere else. One thing all of these locations have in common is that they are great places to find wildlife. Full disclosure: This list is purely my opinion. I’m sure there are other places that are just as amazing.
5) Caumsett State Historic Park & Preserve:
Caumsett is a state park on the North Shore. It has a paved bike trail as well several other hiking trails. Several of the trails lead to the beach and there is also an equine facility onsite. One downside of this particular park is that it can get very crowded quickly. I would recommend going on weekdays or early in the morning if possible. Like all state parks there is a vehicle use fee during some parts of the year.
4) Jones Beach State Park:
Jones Beach is a state park on the south shore. It is a very large park that has several different options for activities. You can go to one of their several beaches to swim (when life guards are on duty), go the the new nature and energy center, check out the ropes course at WildPlay or even go to a concert at the amphitheater. For pictures I prefer to go to West End 2. As stated above for Caumsett there is a vehicle use fee sometimes during the year and it can also get crowded at times.
3) Robert Moses State Park/Fire Island National Seashore:
Robert Moses is slightly farther east on the south shore. It is also very close to Fire Island National Seashore (there is a short boardwalk that connects the two). The National Seashore has a lighthouse and a small museum. For a small donation to the park you can go up the lighthouse and get an amazing view of the park. Again there is a vehicle use fee but this park seems to be less crowded than Caumsett or Jones Beach.
2) Sunken Meadow State Park:
Sunken Meadow is a state park on the north shore. It has great waterfronts and some steeper sections as well. The vehicle use fee is also applicable to this park at times and there is some crowding on the weekends.
1) Oceanside Marine Nature Study Area:
The nature study area is a small preserve on the south shore. It is probably my favorite spot to take pictures. There is no entrance fee and it is a very easy walk. All of the trails are flat which makes this entry highly accessible (there are also several benches you can sit at). I have never had an unsuccessful trip here. The only downside to really mention is that the parking lot is a bit small and fills up fast at times. There is street parking just outside the preserve that you can use.
Eisenhower Park in East Meadow is very close to me and I go there for pictures quite frequently. It is free to visit and is very accessible. While it may not get the most interesting wildlife it always has birds, squirrels and turtles. There is also a dahlia garden that is great for pictures while they are in bloom.