There are many exciting things to do in Islip and on the South Shore. The Empire State Carousel in East Islip is a hand-carved, operating merry-go-round designed with the history, traditions and environment of New York State in mind. Also in East Islip is Heckscher State Park, which has 20 miles of trails on which to hike, picnic or bike. Within minutes of Islip is the Hamlet Golf and Country Club in Commack, a luxurious golf community in a superb country club setting. Less than an hour away are all the exciting destinations of New York City, such as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Niagara Falls, the Baseball Hall of Fame, the United Nations, and exquisite museums, dining, theatre and shopping.
The South Shore also offers the excitement of seeing a NHL hockey game at the Nassau Coliseum, Triple Crown thoroughbred racing at Belmont Park, star-studded concerts at the Westbury Music Fair and Jones Beach open-air theater. In fact, the South Shore is Long Island's spectator sports and entertainment hub. Two of the most popular and well-known destinations are the world-famous Jones Beach state Park, a six-mile beach and 2,4000-acre playground and Fire Island, a barrier beach island designated as a National Seashore replete with a wildlife preserve and a restored 138-year-old lighthouse. Only 32 miles long, Fire Island is accessible only by passenger ferry and is home to 17 small summer communities.
Few can resist Islip's abundant geographic beauty and moderate year-round climate. A diverse array of attractions, festivals, fairs, cultural events, opulent mansions, tranquil beaches, fresh seafood and romantic settings beckon people from all over the world to Islip - paradise on Long Island's South Shore.
The first people to settle in Islip more than 1,000 years ago were the Secatogue Indians. The area changed hands numerous times from the Dutch influence in the early 1600s to English rule in 1664 until Thomas and William Willetts made an agreement to purchase the land with the Secatogue Indians in 1692. Early settlers found fertile farming, hunting and an abundance of fish and shellfish in the waterways. During the 1800s, the community became a popular haven of wealthy estate owners, such as the Magoun, Udall, Gerek and Smith families. Farming, charcoal production, lumbering and fishing were the economic backbone of the area until the Long Island Railroad was completed and began to bring visitors to swim and sunbathe on white, sandy beaches.
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