The Magic of Lights at Jones Beach is a perfect way to spend a crisp winter evening! Everyone in the family can enjoy the leisurely pace of the display as they sit warm and snuggly in the car. Don’t forget some hot cocoa in a thermos as you enjoy the light displays and animations of multiple holiday themes. If you’re up for a little bit more festive interaction, stop by Toyota’s Holiday Village at the end of the display. You can meet Santa, grab some hot cocoa, and more.
General Admission: (cars/suv with three row seats or less) carload price
In Advance $25*
Weekday $30 Mon-Thurs (price at gate-same)
Weekend $35 Fri-Sun (price at gate-same)
*plus fees $5 service fee per ticket, print at home is free, delivery charges if mailed to home
tickets purchased online are good for any show date
Address: Bay Pkwy, Point Lookout, NY 11569
Things to Note
Sign up for their email for discounts and promotions
The drive through is a little over one mile at a very slow pace (5mph average) with some brief stopping. Plan on spending at least 30 minutes here with some additional time at Toyota’s Holiday Village and/or wait time on the entry (if any)
Be prepared for some extra wait time to enter as you get closer to Christmas weekend
Family Rating ❤️
Cost– This is a great adventure for a budget. It’s one price for a carload of friends and/or family members. You can opt to save some money by buying in advance, visiting on a weekday, and signing up for their email discounts. A family of five can ride in the car together with hot cocoa from home and only spend $25 plus gas for the entire group.
Parking&Transportation– You will need to have a vehicle for this activity or plan a group outing with a friend that has one. This event is directly off the parkways so its easy to get to. There’s no need to park unless you want to visit the Holiday Village (plenty of parking).
Location– This is a great location for this event. It’s centrally located for the bulk of Long Island. It’s also perfect for a light show since it’s alongside the ocean at Jones Beach- no pesky building or street lights to spoil the view.
DayTriporOvernight– This is neither. This is a quick evening adventure.
Experience– We really enjoyed our adventure through the Magic of Lights. If you like holiday themes and lighted decor, you will love this show. Our family enjoyed hanging out in the car comfortably while we were entertained. This is a wholesome experience that allows for some group bonding.
Combination– This is a great treat after a day of holiday festivities- trimming the tree, holiday shopping, baking cookies, etc. Combined with another holiday task, this really puts you in the holiday spirit!
The outstanding plunge of Taughannock Falls is one of the Northeast’s most exceptional natural attractions. At 215 feet (66 meters) tall, this fall is the highest single drop waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains. To put things in perspective, it is about 33 feet higher than Niagara Falls; it only fails to compare in volume.
About Taughannock Falls
Tauhannock Falls includes a history of geology; Devonian Era rocks accumulating in a shallow sea 360 million years ago, massive ice sheets shaping the landscape up to 2 million years ago, and the movement of glaciers between 2 million and 10 thousand years ago. Now add in the natural erosion process of the past 10,000 years, and the “hanging valley” you see today is picture perfect.
Taughannock is a Native American name believed to be derived from a combination of the Algonquin and Iroquois languages meaning “in the trees” or “great fall in the woods”. It is also possible to have been named after a Lenape chieftain, Taghkanic, that was killed in a battle near the falls. You can decide which sounds more interesting to you.
Hiking to See Taughannock’s Plunge
Taughannock Falls State Park offers a gorge and rim trail which both have unforgettable views of the waterfall and its creek that empties into Cayuga Lake. Each of these marked trails offers something different. Trail distances are one way and do not include round trip. You will need to double the Gorge Trail or combine the North and South Rim Trails for an accurate hiking distance.
Gorge Trail: 0.75mi. Easy (if you stay out of the creek)
South Rim Trail: 1.125mi. Moderate
North Rim Trail: 1.5mi. Moderate
Gorge Trail of Taughannock Falls
The Gorge Trail is a flat, wide-open trail through the forest that starts at the parking lot and ends at the bottom of Taughannock Falls. This trail is very accessible for all. There is a small foot bridge in front of the falls, but you can easily lift a stroller or receive similar help to go up and down its few steps.
On the Gorge Trail you have direct access to Lower Falls (pictured above), Taughannock Creek, and Taughannock Falls. It is a great reward if you have limited time, energy or ability.
We were fortunate to visit during the summer at a time when the creek was at a low water level. Exploring the creek is loads of fun. When the water level is low, you can actually walk the creek bed up to the falls. Swimming is at your own risk since there are no lifeguards here, but that doesn’t stop anyone.
Walking on the creek bed makes your hike a lot more challenging, but interesting. The bed is made of limestone which is smooth with pits and ripples. (This is due to the chemical erosion of acid rain reacting with the rock.) There are areas where the water collects into swimming holes, but watch out for the true residents of the creek. We viewed a water snake which is considered harmless (non-venomous), but eerily similar looking to the venomous water moccasin which isn’t native to New York (Thank goodness!).
Rim Trail of Taughannock Falls
The outstanding plunge of Taughannock Falls becomes a monumental view from the distance and height of the Rim Trail. This trail is a bigger endeavor that rewards you with seven scenic overlooks and the 100 foot tall Upper Falls that can’t be viewed from the gorge.
New York State Parks offers you some cheats if you want to skip the Rim Trail, but still enjoy the view. There are parking areas next to the Upper Falls near the end of the South Rim Trail and the Visitor Center Overlook along the North Rim Trail.
Visit Taughannock Falls State Park
Taughannock Falls State Park sits right at the tip of Cayuga Lake, the longest of the Finger Lakes. You can walk across the street and enjoy the beach and amenities before or after your hike to the falls.
Things to Know When Visiting Taughannock Falls State Park
Swimming is prohibited in the gorge
Lifeguarded swimming in Cayuga Lake is available seasonally
The rock bed of the creek can be slippery. If you choose to walk through shallow areas, it is at your own risk. Water shoes with grip bottoms are strongly recommended. Use caution.
Dogs are allowed supervised and on a leash no longer than 6 feet in length. Proof of rabies inoculation should be readily available. Pets are not permitted in buildings, playgrounds, and guarded beaches unless they are service animals.
Campsites and cabins overlook Cayuga Lake.
Other amenities: picnic area, concessions, playground, boat launch, fishing, stand-up paddle boarding, sledding slopes, cross country skiing, and natural skating ponds
Vehicle entrance fee $8, collected April 27th- October 20th
Empire Pass Card Holders- Free entry
New York State Park entrance fees are transferable throughout the day; valid all day at all NYS Parks. (You can visit multiple parks in the same day with the same entrance ticket which is very helpful in this region with multiple parks close together.)
The Gorge Trail and Overlook are open year round. Other (unmarked) trails are only open April-October due to dangerous snow and ice conditions.
Campsites, Cabins and Marina transient slips are available per night
Pavilions are available mid April through mid October via reservation application
Family Adventure Rating for Taughannock Falls State Park ❤️❤️
Cost– State Parks are always a low cost adventure. If you’re within driving distance you only have minor travel expenses and the entry fee for your vehicle. A family of five can enjoy this park with the cost of some gas (possible tolls), entry fee, and a picnic lunch; creating as low cost a trip as allows for a full day adventure. To keep overnight expenses down, consider camping at the state park or avoiding hotel stays during peak college times (ie; graduation weekend, move-in weekends, etc.).
Parking & Transportation– There are parking lots at the beginning of the Gorge Trail and across the street at Cayuga Lake. There is also parking at two of the overlooks. You are twenty minutes north of Ithaca, a popular area and college town (most notable Cornell University and Ithaca College). If you don’t have your own transportation, Ithaca has it covered. There’s an international airport and coach bus transportation to and from major cities. Once you’ve arrived you have the option for car rentals, bike rentals, and taxi or ride share services. Parking is abundant throughout the area, but areas can fill up fast during peak visiting times.
Location- This location is top notch if you love nature and waterfalls. If you search, you will find several along your route. Ithaca alone boasts more than 100 waterfalls within ten miles of its downtown! You are also at the tip of the longest finger lake, Cayuga Lake. If you’re yearning for a little civilization, you can find some fun neighborhoods surrounding the colleges.
Day Trip or Overnight– There is so much to do and see in this area, I would suggest making it an overnight adventure. We stayed two days and only made a dent in the long list of places to explore. If you only have time for a day trip, then Taughannock Falls State Park is a great choice if you combine Cayuga Lake. If you’re pressed for time and just want more waterfalls, you can combine this park, the Lower Falls at Robert H Treman and Buttermilk Falls. These two falls are located next to their parking lots and allow you to transfer your entry ticket from Taughannock so you don’t pay for parking again.
Experience– It is always a good experience to get out and savor nature, especially with people you enjoy. Being able to explore nature with the five senses grounds us emotionally and improves our well being. Everyone in the family is always happiest wandering freely, getting dirty and/or wet, and discovering new things. These marvelous state parks supply us with an abundance of natural “toys” and activities to keep us busy in a healthy way.
Combination– There is an endless collection of waterfalls and outdoor adventure to explore in this area. If you have the time here are some other areas of interest: Robert H Treman State Park, Buttermilk Falls State Park, Ithaca Children’s Garden, Businessman’s Lunch Falls, Fall Creek Gorge Natural Area, Ithaca Commons and Cornell University Campus. For more ideas check out: www.visitithaca.com
The winding trails and waterfalls of Robert H. Treman State Park treat visitors to the wild beauty of New York. This park includes twelve scenic waterfalls, six trails with scenic views, and so much more. The scenic highlight of the park is Enfield Glen, but swimming in the stream-fed pool beneath Lower Falls is a very cool option. The social media posts alone will make you want to plan a trip; but let me warn you, they don’t capture the gravitas of this park’s beauty.
The Winding Trails of Robert H. Treman State Park
There are nine miles of winding trails in this 1,110 acre state park that go through woods and rocky gorges. The Rim Trail will offer you views into Enfield Glen’s narrow gorge, sometimes 500 feet below. The spectacular Lucifer Falls can be viewed from the gorge trail and the scenic vistas on the rim trail. There are numerous waterfalls along the trails which can best be seen after heavy rains or in the spring.
What to expect on the trail
The trails are well marked with several areas to relax and enjoy nature. The entire hike changes elevation with several sections of stairs. Check out the photo of the Rim Trail sign below to see the elevations you’ll encounter. (The total elevation change of the Gorge Trail is 1035 feet!) All of the trails can be described as moderately difficult to strenuous; however, we did encounter several young children along the way that made it look like a “walk in the park,”
Finger Lakes Trail & North Country Trail: 5.15 miles
The Waterfalls of Robert H. Treman State Park
The two most notable waterfalls of the park are Lower Falls and Lucifer Falls. Other than Devil’s Kitchen, we cannot find a name for the other falls (anywhere!). With over 2,000 waterfalls in New York State, I guess it becomes difficult to name and catalog each one. Check out: The World of Waterfalls in New York
Lucifer Falls is a 155 foot tall, multi-tiered, cascading waterfall. You can view it on the Gorge Trail and from the Rim Trail at scenic vistas (pictured). The elevated section of trail by Lucifer Falls gives visitors an opportunity to glimpse down the wooded gorge for about a mile and a half. The views across the wide open vista on top of the falls are breathtaking.
The cliff staircase by the falls has 222 beautiful stone steps. This staircase is a real work of art and one of the reasons we had to visit this park. If you have the energy, it’s worth the hike!
The Lower Falls are popular for their lifeguarded swimming area. This waterfall is also the most accessible if you’re in a crunch for time. It’s located right by the lower parking lot and it’s an easy walk. This is a popular spot to cool off and have some fun. The stream-fed pool at the base of the falls is dammed off to create the perfect place to jump off and swim.
The pool was closed when we visited. It was receiving some much needed repairs after a major storm created quite a bit of flood damage. Our visit was towards the end of the repairs and things were getting ready to re-open. We’ll definitely have to plan another trip to enjoy this adventure. As you can see from the photo, they did a stellar job!
The gorge rock is about 380 million years old. “The rocks in Enfield Glen (the Treman gorge) are shale and sandstone formed in the Late Devonian era. The alternating layers represent repeated shifts in sea level, and make for excellent fossil-hunting.”
“The straight lines in the gorge are cracks that geologists refer to as joint lines. Many of the joint lines were formed from natural gas that vented up and out of the rocks many millions of years ago. They overlap throughout the region at near right angles giving the rocks a ‘quarried’ look.”
Do the Dragon Flies bite? “No! Gray petaltail dragonflies are common in the park between May and July, but rare throughout New York State. These dragonflies are harmless and unwary of humans and they will sometimes land on hikers who become startled and squat them away in alarm. If a dragonfly lands on you, stay calm and enjoy the interaction with a rare and beautiful specimen of New York wildlife.”
“The gorges, waterfalls, and pools at Robert H. Treman State Park and in the surrounding Finger Lakes Region were formed by retreating glaciers 10,000 years ago.”
“Most of Robert H. Treman State Park is Hemlock-northern hardwood forest, a mixed forest in which hemlock is codominant with other tree species including sugar and red maple, yellow and black birch, red oak, white pine, black cherry and basswood. This type of forest can be home to wild turkeys, pileated woodpeckers, and black-throated green warblers.”
Shelter & Pavilion rentals available May 1- October 31st, 10am-9pm
Additional Amenities: Playing Fields, Fishing, Grills, Hiking, Hunting, Showers
Most of the park’s trails are inaccessible in the winter due to dangerous conditions created by snow and ice. Visitors can view Lower Falls year-round.
Swimming is allowed in the lifeguarded area only
Pet Policy: “A maximum of two pets are allowed in campsites and day use areas unless prohibited by sign or directive. Pets are to be supervised at all times and either be crated or on a leash not more than 6-feet in length. Proof of rabies inoculation shall be produced if requested by staff. Pets are not permitted in playgrounds, buildings, golf courses, boardwalks, pools and spray-grounds or guarded beaches (this does not apply to service animals).”
Family Adventure Rating for Robert H Treman State Park ❤️❤️
Cost– State Parks are always a low cost adventure. If you’re within driving distance you only have minor travel expenses and the entry fee for your vehicle. A family of five can enjoy this park with the cost of some gas (possible tolls), entry fee, and a picnic lunch; creating as low cost a trip as allows for a full day adventure.
Parking & Transportation– Ithaca is a popular area and college town (most notable Cornell University and Ithaca College). If you don’t have your own transportation, Ithaca has it covered. There’s an international airport and coach bus transportation to and from major cities. Once you’ve arrived you have the option for car rentals, bike rentals, and taxi or ride share services. Parking is abundant throughout the area, but areas can fill up fast during peak visiting times.
Location– This location is top notch if you love nature and waterfalls. Ithaca boasts more than 100 waterfalls within ten miles of its downtown! You are also at the tip of the longest finger lake, Cayuga Lake. If you’re yearning for a little civilization, you can find some fun neighborhoods surrounding the colleges.
Day Trip or Overnight– There is so much to do and see in this area, I would suggest making it an overnight adventure. We stayed two days and only made a dent in the long list of places to explore. If you only have time for a day trip, then Robert H Treman State Park is a great choice.
Experience– It is always a good experience to get out and savor nature, especially with people you enjoy. Trips that include the types of scenery, history, and exertion that this state park offers are always memorable. The long trails lead to great conversations and the epic views inspire and motivate everyone to take more of an interest in the outdoors.
Combination– There is an endless collection of waterfalls and outdoor adventure to explore in this area. If you have the time here are some other areas of interest: Taughannock Falls State Park, Buttermilk Falls State Park, Ithaca Children’s Garden, Businessman’s Lunch Falls, Fall Creek Gorge Natural Area, Ithaca Commons and Cornell University Campus. For more ideas check out: www.visitithaca.com
The mysterious Walking Dunes of Montauk, New York are a unique ecosystem with a mind of their own. Naturalists from all over the world come to this unique site to view and study these four parabolic sand dunes that move 3.5 inches every year. Since their origin approximately 100 years ago, these dunes have migrated over a mile with the help of daily winds and seasonal hurricanes. These fascinating land forms are something to see and will make you feel like you traveled to a different world.
These coastal dunes offer a beautiful, yet fragile, look into a rare landscape overlooking Montauk. There is a wide variety of plant communities and animal life that call these mounds of sand home. The area is open to the public with a well-marked .75 mile trail which traverses a beach, natural scrub, a freshwater bog, and lots of sand.
The Mystery of the Walking Dunes Unraveled
These naturally shifting dunes are geologically very young at only around 100 years of age. Their daily movement is caused by the predominant northwest winds that are pushing the beach sand inland. In 1938 they received a tremendous boost from a vicious hurricane that also destroyed a fishing village on Fort Pond Bay (right next door to Napeague Bay).
The “walking” dunes move directly through the land swallowing anything in their path. Walking along the trail you will find trees becoming newly engulfed with only their tops sticking out of the mounds. You will also find the Phantom Forest; dead trees that were once buried in the sand and have been uncovered by the dunes’ movement.
Hold onto your hats as you reach the Wind Funnel. This excellent example of the dunes’ parabolic shape also strengthens the winds that funnel through the mounds. The northwest winds funnel in from between the Springs and Gardiner’s Island. It’s here that you can imagine why they chose this location for the desert scenes in the 1920’s silent film “The Sheik” with Rudolph Valentino.
The landscape of Long Island is always changing, especially on the east end. Tremendous storms continually re-sculpt the natural settings of the coastline. It is possible that the water level from Napeague Bay will rise and fill in the Walking Dunes within the next century. Don’t waste an opportunity to see this rare ecosystem while it remains.
Tips When Visiting the Walking Dunes
The Trail Guide at the entrance offers educational information and will help you navigate through to each area.
This adventure is best done off season to avoid crowds and intense summer heat in the dunes. The bulk of your hike will be in the sun.
This trail is considered easy, but it is walking in sand with inclines. I found it easiest to walk barefoot through the sandy trail, but the rest of my group kept their sneakers on. (Honestly, a visit to Montauk should always be barefoot!)
This is a natural area and there are no restrooms, benches, or water stations. Come prepared. A water bottle is highly suggested.
Stay on the trail and do not leave any trace of yourself behind. Exploring past the trail increases erosion. Human foot traffic ruins the plants needed to keep the sand in place. Stick to the trail and let nature take its own course.
Napeague Beach by Lazy Point Rd. may be closed during the summer to protect the Piping Plover habitat.
Parking is scarce along a beach road. Do not block the beach access and be sure to pull all the way over (you will be parking partially on sand). This is a dead end and it is not easy to turn around if the parking is crowded.
Located at the end of Napeague Harbor Road off of Montauk Highway (Route 27). You will find Napeague Harbor Rd East of the Clam Bar and Goldberg’s Bagels on the north side.
You can extend your hike at the completion of the trail loop (tide permitting) with a 2.5 mile walk along Napeague Harbor.
Family Adventure Rating
Cost– This adventure will cost you nothing if you are in the area. There is no parking fee or admission cost.
Parking & Transportation– Parking is scarce as noted above. If you don’t have your own vehicle, mass transportation is available to Montauk and the surrounding towns. The Long Island Railroad and several bus companies (Hampton Jitney is the most famous) deliver from Manhattan to Montauk and towns along the way. You may not find ride share options in the township of East Hampton, but they do have local taxis. You can also find scooter and bike rentals in Montauk.
Location– Montauk is one of the most beautiful areas you will experience. It’s location at the very tip of Long Island has thankfully spared it of over development. If you enjoy beach communities, the ocean, and a relaxing adventure this is a perfect place to visit.
Day Trip or Overnight– Not everyone is fortunate to afford or find overnight accommodations in Montauk. You will increase your chances if you go off season or book several months to a year in advance for a summer stay. Hither Hills offers camping, but it is very difficult to get a site due to its picturesque location on the ocean. If you are already on Long Island, you can make a nice day trip. Maximize your adventure by going off season and/or during the week to avoid traffic.
Experience– The Walking Dunes is a beautiful experience in nature and an opportunity to see something rare and different. Our family really enjoyed seeing this otherworldly landscape.
Combination– There are days worth of adventures to explore in Montauk. Some suggestions: The Montauk Lighthouse, Camp Hero, Ditch Plains, strolling through the village, or any number of beaches and restaurants to enjoy here.