Every year, state parks throughout the United States encourage people to start their year off right by going on a ‘First Day Hike,’ where they can both get some fresh air and also see the beautiful nature right outside their doors. Last year, nearly 55,000 people rang in the New Year this way, collectively hiking over 133,000 miles throughout the country!

If you spent your New Years Day like many of us, though – hanging out on your Alston couch! – you can still get a First Day Hike in your own way by going on a hike this month. Strap up your sneakers and check out these trails in the Ronkonkoma area!

Connetquot Preserve, located at Vet’s Hwy Trail, Ronkonkoma which is nine minutes from your Alston apartment, maintains 3,473 acres of land and water for the protection of birds, fish and animals.

The preserve also has 50 miles of hiking, bridle, cross-country ski and nature trails, as well as freshwater fly fishing on the Connetquot River. Here, you’ll see deer and waterfowl; rare nesting birds, including the osprey; and rare plants and other interesting flora, such as trailing arbutus and pink lady’s slipper, all in their natural habitats.

Blydenburgh County Park, located at Veteran’s Memorial Highway, Smithtown which is 12 minutes from your Alston apartment, is a forested park offering hiking trails, a playground, picnic areas and a pond for rowboats and fishing.

This 627 acre park is open year-round to Suffolk County residents and their guests. Hikes through Blydenburgh are led on a regular basis by the Long Island Greenbelt Trail Conference, whose headquarters are located in one of the historic district houses. For a hike schedule, contact the Greenbelt office at (631)-360-0753.

Connetquot Preserve

Vet’s Hwy Trail, Ronkonkoma, NY 11779

(631) 581-1005

Blydenburgh County Park

Veteran’s Memorial Highway, Smithtown, NY 11788

(631) 854-3712