The Bristal Assisted Living Blog

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5 Fun Day Trip Destinations for Seniors in Suffolk County

There’s so much to see and do in the idyllic landscape of Suffolk County, located on the eastern half of Long Island. Accessible within a few hours’ drive or an even shorter train ride from New York City, this place of wide-open spaces and pristine seashores can seem a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Learn the history of Suffolk County and get tips for fun day trips for seniors in this blog curated by The Bristal Assisted Living.

History of Suffolk County, New York

Suffolk County, founded in the mid-1600s, was one of the original counties of New York State. At that time, thick forests covered the island, and it was populated by the Montauk Native American people. 

Early European settlers farmed, fished, and depended on lumber from the abundant trees. During the Revolutionary War, the island was occupied by the British.

Whaling was a primary source of industry on the island until the mid-1800s. Then, in 1844, a railroad to Greenport enabled Long Island to grow and develop economically. 

In the early 1900s, the island gained popularity as a retreat for the rich and famous, spawning the mansions that inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.”

Today, the island is an eclectic mix of old and new. Tourism is still highly popular, and while agriculture is no longer the main industry, it’s making a comeback with the East End’s vineyards and farmers’ markets.

From the more urban areas of Queens, Brooklyn, and Nassau County on the western half of the island to the more spread-out spaces of Suffolk County to the east, Long Island offers something for everyone.

Top Attractions for Seniors to Visit in Suffolk County

Seniors will enjoy a plethora of activities and attractions to choose from in Suffolk County. From museums to vineyards and castles, there’s a wide variety of places to visit. Each destination in our top five list can be modified based on your loved one’s mobility and accessibility needs.

For example, if walking long distances is challenging, you can choose shorter tours, add short breaks, or make a dining reservation to appreciate the ambiance from a different perspective. 

Older adults who are more comfortable with a relaxed pace will find the following attractions worthwhile and enjoyable. Each attraction also provides a lifelong learning experience and opportunities to connect with others. 

Consider the following places to visit for the day, then pick the one that’s right for you!

1. For the Poet: The Walt Whitman Birthplace State Historic Site and Interpretive Center

The Walt Whitman Birthplace State Historic Site and Interpretive Center features the home and grounds of America’s famous poet, Walt Whitman. Inside you’ll discover intricate exhibits of nineteenth-century furnishings, portraits of Whitman, original letters, artifacts, manuscripts, and more. 

The center hosts ongoing community events, special programs, and weekly online readings and discussions to keep Whitman’s love of poetry alive. All of the facilities are accessible except the second floor of the Birthplace. 

Seniors receive discounted admission, and members earn museum shop discounts and free entry into the center. Activate your mind and soak in this unique historical site.

2. For the Wine Connoisseur: Sannino Vineyard

The Sannino Vineyard offers a retreat in the midst of Suffolk County vineyards, the heart of Long Island wine country. The vineyard is owned and operated by Anthony and Lisa Sannino, who purchased the five-acre vineyard and homestead in 2006.

Seniors will find the vineyard the ideal setting to sit back, sip your favorite drink, and enjoy the company of new and old friends. In addition, guided outdoor tours of the property are available if you feel up to exploring the wine-making process from grape to bottle.  

During your visit, be sure to sample the made-on-site syrah, rosè, Merlot, and more in the Tasting House, with indoor and outdoor seating options. You can even stay overnight in their small bed & breakfast if you’d like to extend your immersive experience.

3. For the Roaring ’20s Romantic: Oheka Castle

Experience a little of the Gilded Age for yourself at the Oheka Castle Hotel & Estate. A AAA Four Diamond-rated property, the castle has been featured in a host of movies, television shows, and ad shoots — most notably in the opening scenes of the 1941 film, “Citizen Kane.” 

There’s no need to reserve a guest room to experience the prestigious treasures and ambiance of OHEKA fully — but you certainly can! Day visitors can enjoy the estate and grounds through a guided, accessible tour with discounted senior admission. Prepare to feel like royalty as you learn about the rich and vibrant history of OHEKA.

You’ll also want to make a reservation to dine indoors or al fresco at the OHK Bar & Restaurant for an authentic European meal, complete with chef-prepared delicacies. 

The Oheka team is committed to ensuring accessibility for all guests. Detailed guidance on accessibility throughout the castle is available on this webpage, including descriptions of elevators, accessible restrooms, and staff assistance for the visually impaired. 

Related: 5 Fun Day Trip Destinations: Nassau County >>

4. For the Artist: Parrish Art Museum

Parrish Art Museum is filled with paintings, sculptures, and photographs of artists from Long Island, past and present. View over 3,000 works inside, purchase an original piece to take home, or look to join a class.

The museum also hosts a full calendar of public programs, including in-person, live-streamed, pre-recorded, and outdoor events. The museum’s ongoing online educational programming is a great way for seniors to stay engaged with Parrish Art Museum long after your visit.  

Seniors receive discounted admission, while museum members get in for free. The Parrish Art Museum is wheelchair accessible and offers accessible parking spaces near the main entrance. The lobby and theater are also equipped with induction loop assistive listening systems. Headsets and neck loops are available for guests.  

5. For the Ultimate Escape From City Life: Fire Island National Seashore

Visit the Fire Island National Seashore, a popular summertime destination that’s easily accessible — some parts by car, others by ferry. If you travel to one of the car-free areas by ferry, you can head to some of the most popular restaurants and hangouts. 

The Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness is New York State’s only federally designated wilderness area. Additional must-do activities on Fire Island include enjoying a stroll on the scenic boardwalk, taking in the Fire Island Lighthouse's beauty, and viewing historical museum artifacts.

Set your own pace as you explore Fire Island. The sights and sounds of this barrier island are likely to boost your mood and engage your senses, leaving you feeling refreshed and uplifted. 

Feel free to stop at any visitor center for information on boardwalks, nature trails, and other excursions that you feel comfortable doing.  There is no entrance fee; however, there may be parking or transportation fees at various locations on the island.

Read More of Our Travel Blogs 

If you’d like to view more of our travel blogs, with tips on discovering Long Island’s hidden gems in the fall or taking a trip to the East Coast National Parks, click the link below.


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