The 15 Best Places to Live on Long Island

Long Island has two Native American reservations, four counties, numerous towns and villages, and two airports. It’s a diverse ecosystem for nature, entertainment, arts, and culture.

If you’re in the market for a place to live, there are a variety of diverse options. Some say Long Island is the more sophisticated, quieter New York City. 

It’s a lifestyle that gives everyone fast access to hiking, beaching, sailing, swimming, horseback riding, and more. In cold months, you can cross-country ski, ice skate, seal watch, or attend events like the annual Long Beach Polar Beach Splash.

And should you need a taste of a larger metropolitan world, you can always drive into nearby New York City. Living in Long Island is the best of both the urban and suburban lifestyles.

What follows is a review of the 15 best places to live in Long Island and why.

Takeaways 

  • Some of the safest places to live in the United States are on Long Island.
  • Long Island offers easy access to New York City. Commutes can range from as little as 15 minutes to over an hour.
  • The island has excellent options for real estate. You can find the perfect situation whether you’re single, a couple, or a family. The real estate can start with reasonably-priced apartments and go up to seven-figure mansions.
  • The further you are from New York, the more affordable housing may be.
  • Long Island neighborhoods have some of the lowest crime rates in the country.
  • Most regions of Long Island provide quick access to beaches, skiing, fishing, boating, hiking, and more outdoor adventures.
  • Long Island has reliable public transportation, including the LIRR, a quick way to reach New York City.
  • The island is a popular vacation spot.

1. Oyster Bay

A photo of a couple eating Oysters at a ocean side restaurant

Crime Rate: In Huntington, your chances of victimization are 1 in 1,818.

Walkability: Like most of Long Island, Huntington is expansive and open, with plenty of room to stretch your legs.

Percentage of Expats: 3%

The Town of Oyster Bay consists of 36 hamlets and villages bordered by Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. Its famous residents have included former President Theodore Roosevelt, tennis ace John McEnroe, actress Heather Matarazzo, and musician Billy Joel.

Oyster Bay boasts Theodore Roosevelt’s Sagamore Hill, his summer White House. It’s currently a museum. It’s a village and, according to Alarm Systems, is one of the country’s safest places to live in New York.

When traveling along Adams or Florence parks or across St. Dominic’s, you’ll find a world of huge Colonials and Victorians. Living here, you have access to many of Long Island’s beaches. You can enjoy your life in Oyster Bay and quickly reach the commercial areas of Huntington.

2. Ronkonkoma

Crime Rate: Ronkonkoma has a crime rate of 14 per 1,000 residents.

Walkability: Ronkonkoma is not necessarily walker-friendly, but miles upon miles of hiking trails and downtown Ronkonkoma for walking.

Percentage of Expats: 2%

Ronkonkoma is a relaxing hamlet in the Town of Islip. It’s home to Long Island’s MacArthur Airport. Next to Lake Ronkonkoma, the community has one junior high school and three elementary schools.

Living here, you have access to lighthouses, basketball courts, vineyards, museums, trails, and more. Ronkonkoma offers its residents a range of events. This year includes Zumba Step at Retro Fitness, the Labor Day Weekend Street Fair, and The Ballet Center’s Tumbling & Tricks Workshop. 

Ronkonkoma real estate is not as pricey as other parts of Long Island. You won’t find many large estates, but the town has great smaller homes for families ready to grow in quiet suburbia.

3. Huntington

A photo of Oheka Castle Grounds near Huntington Long Island. It shows a large creme colored classical mansion behind a large pond

Crime Rate: In Huntington, the chances of being a victim is 1 in 1,818.

Walkability: Like most of Long Island, Huntington is expansive and open, with plenty of room to stretch your legs.

Percentage of Expats: 12%

Covering 93 square miles, Huntington comprises four incorporated villages: Lloyd Harbor, Northport, Asharoken, and Huntington Bay. There is also a range of unincorporated villages, like Cold Spring Harbor, Huntington Station, Melville, and Fort Salonga.

Huntington is home to the Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve, The Heckscher Museum of Art, and the Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium. Golf Beach is a wonderland of wave crashes, sea mist, and flying seagulls. 

Huntington boasts five bordering harbors along its north shore. There are nine beaches with coves and bays. Most residents are boaters and have access to three operating marinas. The town hosts a range of boat ramps, municipal parks, and golf courses.

4. Kensington

Crime Rate: Crime rates are 90% below the national average.

Walkability: Kensington has room for walking, hiking, and jogging.

Percentage of Expats: 3%

Kensington is home to a low crime rate, access to jobs, an affordable cost of living, and quality schools. 

Kensington’s gates were inspired by the Kensington Gardens in London. The waterfront park is home to a boat dock, 500-foot beach, miniature lakes, tennis courts, and one of the country’s largest freshwater swimming pools.

It’s a planned community where no power wires or poles are visible. It’s a quiet covenant where industry and business are not allowed. An internal corporation manages maintenance and policing. 

Thanks to its initiatives, Kensington is often noted as one of the safest places to live in the country.

5. Syosset

A photograph of the Long Island sign in New York. It shows a huge brightly colored sign for Long Island with several large sky screapers in the background

Crime Rate: Six in 1,000 residents are crime victims.

Walkability: If you enjoy walking, there’s the state park, Makamah Nature Preserve, St. John’s Pond, and all the picturesque neighborhoods.

Percentage of Expats: 6%

When a home goes up for sale in Syosset, it’s known to sell inside of a day. The demand for homes in Syosset is one of Long Island’s highest. The hamlet also has one of the country’s lowest crime rates. 

Everyone you go, there’s traditional and fantastic architecture. Much of it looks German with its pointed roofs. There’s nothing fancy to see here, but residents are loyal to local businesses, restaurants, shopping centers, and more.

With median pricing for housing, residents here share some of the primmest real estate in the surrounding communities. You’re minutes away from Oyster Bay Harbor. There’s close access to public transportation and main roads. Syosset is perfect for the busy family, school-aged children, and the commuter.

6. Cold Spring Harbor

Crime Rate: Six in 1,000 residents are crime victims.

Walkability: If you enjoy walking, there’s the state park, Makamah Nature Preserve, St. John’s Pond, and all the picturesque neighborhoods.

Percentage of Expats: 9%

Many people find Cold Spring Harbor charming. It’s a popular walking spot for both residents and visitors, especially on the town’s main street. It’s a nice set-up of shops as well as a setting for formal and casual dining. Further along is the whaling museum.

The hamlet is famous for education and science resources alongside beaches and historic architecture. Located on the North Shore, it’s an unincorporated region of Huntington. The area has the feel and looks of seaside New England.

Cold Spring Harbor is where you want to have access to the Big Apple but desire parks, excellent schools, beaches, and a sparse suburban ambiance. It’s a coastal lifestyle with all the benefits of reaching out to an urban setting.

7. Smithtown

Crime Rate: Smithtown is safer than 77% of U.S. cities.

Walkability: Smithtown is a quaint town with plenty of room for walking.

Percentage of Expats: 4%

Smithtown rests along the north shore of Long Island. Set midway on the island, Smithtown is a tree-lined, family-friendly little town. It’s one of the more affluent neighborhoods on Long Island and is home to Blydenburgh County Park, Stump Pond, and the Wellness Nook.

If you’re looking for peace and quiet, that’s the day to not go to Main Street. It’s usually packed. Smithtown is otherwise all winding roads and tree-lined streets. It’s larger than many areas of Long Island, and the residents are quite friendly.

You have a world of eateries, parks, hiking trails, and highly-rated schools. You can get to Manhattan in 90 minutes or take the LIRR. The Hamptons and the North Fork vineyards are also short drives away.

8. Rockville Centre

Montauk Point Light, Lighthouse, Long Island, New York, Suffolk

Crime Rate: The crime rate is 72% lower than the average among American communities.

Walkability: Rockville Centre is very walkable, with most errands accomplished on foot.

Percentage of Expats: 2%

Rockville Centre is a short trip from New York but still a world away from the extensive metropolitan landscape. The Centre’s flush with gorgeous Victorians, storybook Tudors, and neat colonials. Retirees and empty nesters fill the co-ops, condos, and ranch houses while young families find comfort in the village. There, they take advantage of the quick Manhattan commute and top-tier school district.

The village is close to self-sustainable. It has a power plant and its own underground wiring. There are wells, a water tower, and more. Power can go out all around the village without affecting its residents.

The Avalon Rockville Centre is only a few years old, built as a transit-oriented rental facility, and offers serious luxury. There are over 500 storefronts and offices. Likely, you’ll never have to travel far (like some more isolated parts of Long Island) to find what you want.

9. University Gardens

Crime Rate: University Gardens’ crime rate is 80% below the national average.

Walkability: Besides the many safe roadways and streets, University Gardens has plenty of walkways and trails for your enjoyment.

Percentage of Expats: 2%

University Gardens is a world of calm. You will find amenities within walking distance, so there’ll be no trouble getting to a store, restaurant, or coffee shop. It’s not hard to find parking, and you’re never far from a highway that can get you to more retail or entertainment.

University Gardens has many large apartment complexes, and 60% of properties are single, detached housing. Only about 10% of houses are rentals. And it’s an easy commute for people who work in New York City.

University Gardens gives every family access to cool venues like the Jam Dance & Fitness Center, the Ken James Orchestra, and Oppah Entertainment. You can grab a bite at Peter Luger Steak House or Island Gyro. The family can spend the day at Village Park or Castle Williams.

10. Great Neck Estates

A picture taken at Old Westbury Gardens Mansion in Long Island. It shows a large green pond and pavillion

Crime Rate: Great Neck has more significant nonviolent crimes than other parts of Long Island. In 2019, burglaries, thefts, and stolen cars crept into the hundreds. In the same year, violent crimes were nonexistent.

Walkability: There’s plenty of room for walking, jogging, and hiking here. If you like getting out and stretching, the Estates will be pleasurable.

Percentage of Expats: 2%

Great Neck Estates is famous for magnificent, expansive estates and incredible homes. The price of the average home has been trending up year-over-year by close to 11%. 

Many roads in the community are English-inspired, with gentle curves lined with gnarled trees. The entire area can feel like a garden, creating a maze of endless relaxing streets. The village preserves the look by barring the removal of trees without a permit.

Shopping is relegated to a border along Middle Neck Road, where 70 stores are available. The Great Neck Union Free School District serves 12 communities and parts of New Hyde Park. Over at Waterfront Park, residents enjoy a stone promenade with a view of the Big Apple skyline.

11. Stony Brook

Crime Rate: At 12 per 1,000, Stony Brook’s crime rate is near the city average for the U.S.

Walkability: Heavy traffic in Stony Brook won’t be an issue and makes for plenty of room to take a safe and fresh-air walk daily.

Percentage of Expats: 5%

Homes here can be a little pricey but are offset by reasonable property taxes as Stony Brook is a popular college town. Stony Brook hosts SUNY University, one of the country’s leading science universities. 

Stony Brook is an excellent place for the walker. The area is flush with walkways and hiking trails. There are specialty Asian grocery stores and restaurants to accommodate the university’s expanding Asian student body. Robinson’s Tea House has delightful scones to go with a fresh cup of tea.

Residents love Stony Brook. They embrace the beaches, the public schools, the harbor. This is the home to generations of family and a great place to rest your lineage.

12. Wantagh

Crime Rate: In Wantagh, eight in 1,000 residents may become victims of crime.

Walkability: Wantage is a decent place to go walking, but to get around, you’ll need a car or public transportation.

Percentage of Expats: 1%

Formerly called Jericho, Wantagh has a lovely suburban ambiance. There are plenty of amenities for parks, beaches, coffee shops, dining, and entertainment. If you need a quick getaway, there’s easy access to Merrick Road, the Sunrise Highway, the Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway, and Wantagh State Parkway.

Wantagh is a community noted for cultural innovation, refined tastes, and living well. It’s urban sophistication without the stress of the urban landscape. The town is a smorgasbord of neighborhoods with unique characteristics. Combined, they make Wantagh one of Long Island’s most interesting locales.

Wantagh is one of the pricier places to live. It can boast of being among the country’s highest-income neighborhoods.

13. Garden City 

Crime Rate: The crime rate is 12 per 1,000 residents.

Walkability: While there’s plenty of ways to move around, Garden City is a great place for getting about on foot.

Percentage of Expats: 4%

Garden City is an incorporated village in Hempstead. It’s a world of shrubs and trees, spacious, elegant homes, and wide avenues. It’s home to a children’s museum, shopping hub Roosevelt Field, Nunley’s Carousel, and Leo’s Midway, a beloved bar and restaurant.

Garden City is a small community with less than 70 homes across its expanse. Like many parts of Long Island, Garden City is quiet, quaint, and known as a great place to get away from the urban landscape on weekends.

Garden City is as kid- and family-friendly as communities get, with its highly regarded education system, broad green spaces, and stroll-able neighborhoods. And if you do ever get the urge for the city life, take the one-hour drive or LIRR into Manhattan for a show or dinner.

14. Patchogue

Crime Rate: As it has a denser population, Patchogue’s crime is slightly higher than other parts of Long Island. For 1,000 residents, there are likely to be 16 victims of criminality.

Walkability: Patchogue is a reasonably big town with plenty of walkways for getting around.

Percentage of Expats: 1%

Located off the water, Patchogue has massive, classic houses. It’s a summer vacation retreat with individuals using bungalows sprinkled throughout the more popular areas. You can stroll the waterfront or stroll through town. Patchogue has the Bluepoint Brewery, noted for having one of the finest brews on the island.

In 2019, the American Planning Association named the village one of the country’s “Great Neighborhoods.” The organization noted the successful downtown revitalization propelled by the community. The village’s approach to transforming Patchogue has become a model for neighboring regions of Long Island.

Corey Beach has a playground, swimming, and a concession stand. Canaan Lake is a reservoir of peace and natural beauty. The Toast Coffeehouse on Main Street serves a great Belgian waffle. From That Meetball Place and its schools to Bobbique, you’ll find Patchogue a great place to live and thrive.

15. Bellmorea

Crime Rate: Your chances of being a victim of property crime is 1 in 131. The possibility of being a victim of a violent crime is 1 in 1,175.

Walkability: Walkability is good. Whether you want to get fresh air or run an errand, you won’t have any problem getting around.

Percentage of Expats: 3%

Bellmore is a peaceful, quiet hamlet nestled on Long Island’s south shore. It’s an idyllic waterfront landscape. The hamlet’s not far from Jones Beach State Park, the home of popular concert events at the Jones Beach Theater. The John F. Kennedy International Airport is less than 20 minutes away.

You will see a lot of tourists in the summer. Thanks to Jones Beach and other attractions, Bellmore is an in-demand summer destination. Bellmore has several small shopping centers and strip bars. It’s close to Roosevelt Field.

Schools include the JFK High School, easily recognized as one of the state’s top institutions. Many of its graduates find their way to some of the world’s most respected Ivy League colleges.

Conclusion

Long Island is a rare place. It’s a coastal community where boaters and sunbathing sit next to natural parks and concerts. You’re close to the city but not too close. 

From Bellmore to Garden City and Ronkonkoma, Long Island is thriving, friendly, and charming. A world of bustling, quaint, and unique environments.