Winter in the Long Island Pine Barrens

Tree branches covered in snow

As the temperatures drop and the sun sets earlier, we may feel inclined to stay indoors. And honestly, who wouldn’t want to cozy up with a blanket on a cold day? But, in one of the most mentally and physically staining years, setting aside outdoor time can crucially benefit our health when we need it most. Spending time outside can boost your immune system, enhance creativity, restore focus, and improve your mood. Follow along to start planning your trip to the Pine Barrens.

Photo by: Katie Muether Brown


The Pine Barrens consists of parks that the whole family can enjoy. From grandparents to the little ones our parks provide hikes suitable for anyone. If your family can’t make it, plan a hike with your dog! You can find a list of dog friendly parks here



Recreational activities in the Pine Barrens include; hiking, bird watching, mountain biking, landscape photography or hunting! Some parks even offer educational workshops or nature centers that feature native animals.


Note: Hunting season falls between October 1st – January 31st with waterfowl season extending into April 15th in some areas. Be sure to research hunting regulations and areas before going to a park and always check for signage posted.



Some parks we recommend for Winter exploration include:

  • Prosser Pines Nature Preserve in Middle Island
  • Cathedral Pines County Park in Middle Island
  • Indian Island County Park in Riverhead
  • Quogue Wildlife Refuge in Quoge


*These parks are hunt-free locations.



Ideally, you may want to plan your day outside on a warm or sunny Winter day, especially because Pine Barrens tend to be colder than the surrounding areas. If the cold doesn’t bother you, then bundle up in layers, but be sure to plan out the timing to make it out of the park before dark!


Check out the full 2020 Winter Recreation guide for more details!


By Miranda Gonzales, Long Island Pine Barrens Society