NEW YORK CITY — Face it: The city can be unbearable during the summer.
Crowded subway cars. Busy streets. And apartments without air conditioning.
It's during these summer months that our next-door neighbors in Long Island can save us from ourselves. But while places like the Hamptons and Fire Island are nice, they can also be cost- and travel-time prohibitive.
Luckily, there are some parts of Long Island that only cost you the price of a less-than-two-hour trip on the Long Island Rail Road. Here are some hot tips on where to go in Long Island this summer.
Take a Day Trip to Long Beach...
This Long Island beach town, hard hit by Hurricane Sandy, is returning slowly but surely.
The beaches are open for tourists to swim or catch a tan, and starting July 23, a quarter-mile of the Sandy-damaged boardwalk will reopen, according to reports.
But this year, there are new reasons to visit.
The new I.FLY Trapeze is a recreational trapeze where adults and kids can take workshops to learn the timing and technique of real trapeze artists, including back-flip dismounts and two-person catches.
If all that adrenaline builds up your appetite, stop at the Shoregasboard, a new food truck market located nearby. Enjoy fish tacos and jerk chicken from Long Beach restaurant Sugo Cafe, grab a pastrami sandwich from the Lido Kosher Deli truck, or visit one of the other six trucks available all week until 9 p.m.
Head to the MTA's website, where the agency has put together special packages for summer travelers.
...or Go Camping
If you're in the mood for a longer getaway, pack your tent and sleeping bag and head to one of 13 campgrounds at Nickerson Beach Park, also in Long Beach. These campgrounds are located just off the Atlantic Ocean, so you can relax on the sand or go swimming after setting up your campsite.
Concerts at Jones Beach
Every summer the Jones Beach Theater puts on some of the most popular concerts in the tri-state area.
This year's highlights include Lil' Wayne's America's Most Wanted tour, Wiz Khalifa's Under the Influence of Music tour and the AmericanaramA Festival, featuring Bob Dylan, Wilco and Beck. Check out the full schedule here.
Take the LIRR to the Freeport Station, then walk downstairs to the N88 NICE Bus, which will take you directly to the theater. The MTA has special packages available throughout the summer.
Cruise the South Shore
The Freeport Water Taxi offers scenic cruises of Long Island's South Shore. Reservation options include a standard one-hour day cruise, a sunset cruise, a 90-minute happy hour cruise, a moonlight cruise with cocktails and music, a bourbon and cigar night, and a tequila tasting.
Play Sports at Eisenhower Park
Eisenhower Park sits near the Westbury LIRR train station, and features three 18-hole golf courses: the Red, White and Blue courses.
If you fancy yourself a golf pro in the making, be sure to book a tee time at the popular Red course, which hosted the 1926 PGA Championship and today hosts the PGA Champions Tour.
For family members who don't like to golf, Eisenhower also features a full sports facility with basketball courts, soccer fields, batting cages and swimming pools. There's also mini-golf, for those who like their courses with a little more windmill.