Written by Charlene Cooper
Bundle up and hit the road. These local winter wonderlands are full of adventure—and are less than a tank of gas away.
Quogue Wildlife Refuge
3 Old Country Rd.
Why Go? Boasting more than 300 acres of nature, this gem features trails where you can see several different habitats, including deciduous forests and freshwater ponds.
Insider Tip: Bring comfortable boots that are good for walking and have good grips.
Must Do: The preserve is home to injured, non-releasable wildlife, like bald eagles, red fox and bobcat, so be sure to keep an eye out for these animals and say hello when you see them!
The Fine Print: Open daily from sunrise to sunset; no admission charge.
Girl Scouts of Suffolk County Holiday Light Show
600 Lakeview Ave.
Why Go? It's Long Island's biggest and brightest drive-through light show. Bring your friends and family and be blown away by a mile-long trail lit up with more than 10 miles of holiday shine. "It's the best way to start your holiday celebration," said Karin Jensen-Mirabile, a big fan of the exhibit.
Insider Tip: Head to the show early to avoid traffic. It can get heavy on the way to the attraction.
Must Do: Don't forget to visit the holiday village, where children can meet Santa and take holiday photos with him. It's also a great spot to listen to your favorite holiday tunes while sipping hot chocolate or strolling through the Hall of Trees to see more than 50 trees adorned in holiday trimmings.
The Fine Print: The light show will go on through Dec. 30 (closed Dec. 24 and 25) from 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday there's a $12 per car fee; Friday through Sunday the fee is $15 per car.
Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center
431 East Main St.
Why Go? The mythical lost city of Atlantis comes to life at the Long Island Aquarium and exhibition center.
Insider Tip: Before you start exploring the aquarium, be sure to check the daily events schedule on the website.
Must Do: Get an in-depth look by taking a behind-the-scenes Tour.
The Fine Print: Entrance to aquarium is $32.50 for ages 13 through 61. Children 3 through 12 years and seniors are $27.50. Children 2 and under are free.
Sweetbriar Nature Center
62 Eckernkamp Dr.
Why Go? Perfect for kids and and adults alike, this is one destination that will engage everyone through interactive education and teaches of Long Island wildlife and ecosystems.
Insider Tip: Come equipped with a good pair of walking shoes and socks you can roll up—you'll do tons of exploring in the center's lush greenery.
Must Do: Don't miss the nature center's rainforest room to experience all of the sights, sounds and animals of the forest.
The Fine Print: Open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.