Heckscher State Park was once the 19th century estates of George C. Taylor and J. Neal Plum. William Nicoll, founder of the Town of Islip, originally built his estate on this property. The park was bought by the State of New York using a donation by the affluent August Heckscher with strong opposition from wealthy local residents. It was one of Robert Moses’ most difficult fights to obtain land for public recreation on Long Island. Only with assistance and support from then Governor Alfred E. Smith was Moses able to close the deal on this beautiful property fronting the Great South Bay.
The 1,600 acres of Heckscher State Park on the south shore of Long Island are used by park visitors for a number of outdoor activities; primarily, the park’s shady picnic groves provide the idyllic spots for family and group picnic outings. Large open fields are used for soccer, cricket, lacrosse, and other field sports. Four miles of paved, multi-use trails attract bicycle riders, walkers, and nature lovers. In addition to stunning views of the Great South Bay with Fire Island as the backdrop, visitors see whitetail deer, a variety of birds and other wildlife.
The Great South Bay is a great park resource, providing opportunities for bay swimming, boat launching, sail boarding, kayaking, and canoeing. NEW Cottages! Checkout the newly built waterfront cottages offering 3-season accommodations. Cottages can accommodate 2-6 people and include; living room, bedroom(s), full kitchen, bathroom, screened porch and spectacular views! Other popular activities in the park include: picnicking, biking, sports fields, walking, jogging, scenic viewing, nature observation.
Heckscher has three pavilions. Prices range from $200 to $375 and can accommodate 400 to 500 people. Check availability at ReserveAmerica.com. Find out more information on picnic pavilion reservations and view the options available (see bottom of page under Documents for photos).
For information on educational opportunities & programs in Long Island State Parks, please visit Long Island Environmental Interpretive Center.
Pet Policy: Dogs are only permitted on nature trails located in the undeveloped areas of the park. Patrons may park vehicles in Field 5 during the off-peak season (September – May) and Field 4 during the peak season (Memorial Day to Labor Day). Trail is accessible in the Western section of the Field 5 parking lot. Dogs must not be on a leash greater than 6 feet. Dogs are not permitted on bike path, beach, and playgrounds or in picnic areas, campground, and buildings including the cottages. Proof of vaccination must be produced if requested by staff.