If you’re on Long Island looking for a fun and educational day trip for the whole family, or you simply want to enjoy the outdoors with some friends, head out to Montauk Point State Park for a seal hike this weekend.
Presented by The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the seal hikes run from November to May, when thousands of seals can be spotted sunning themselves on rocks or swimming along the frigid coast.
The seal hikes are led by outdoor educator, environmental consultant, and founder of the Long Island Nature Organization, Mike Bottini. He’ll guide you through a scenic two and a half mile adventure where you’ll be able to view seals and learn about their behavior, population trends in the Long Island region, and various interesting facts. Seals may not be the only wildlife you’ll come across, since Long Island is the home to many species of birds. You’ll be exploring a diverse ecosystem, thriving with an abundance of wildlife. Binoculars are recommended but not necessary, as there will be a spotting scope that everyone will get a chance to use. The hikes are scheduled to coincide with low tide, when the seals are most likely to be basking in the sun. It’s important to wear the right footwear for rocks and sand and to dress appropriately for cold weather, because you’ll be outdoors for about two and a half hours. Though there is a food concession and rest area before you head down the seal trail, it’s recommended that you bring along water and snacks.
Most seals spotted on Long Island are harbor seals, but it’s possible to come across a few other kinds, such as harp seals, hooded seals, grey seals, and ringed seals. The seal population on Long Island has been increasing, due to the changing location of their food sources, like crustaceans, fish, mussels, clams, and squid, the changing temperatures of their habitats, and the elimination of seal hunting in the continental U.S. and Canada. You can only find seals on Long Island during the cooler months, starting in mid November, because they return to Northern New England and Canada in May, so don’t miss your chance to observe these magnificent, adventurous creatures this season.
The hikes are an inexpensive way for anyone to enjoy a sunny winter day on Long Island. The cost for each adult is only $5, children ages seven through 18 are $3, and there is no charge for children under six. No matter your age, the seal hike will be a wild and memorable experience. Due to the popularity of the seal hikes, there is limited space. Reservations are required, and are accepted starting two weeks prior to the program. Special accommodations can be made for groups larger than 15. To make reservations and for more information, call the Montauk Point State Park at (631)668-5000.
Location & Contact Info:
Montauk Point State Pkwy
50 South Fairview Ave
Montauk, Long Island, NY, 11954