North of Oceanside and East of Valley Stream sits Rockville Centre, a little city in New York with a prevalent history and big northern charms. The town is quiet and peaceful, and most of the activities and attractions are outdoorsy, like the state parks and historic memorials. Guests to the area are often encouraged to bring a great pair of comfortable sneakers and a refillable water bottle, as everything here is within walking distance of everything else. There is hardly a need for public transportation, but they have that too in the forms of cabs, shuttles, and bus services.
Tanglewood Preserve, located on Tanglewood Road, is a must-see for nature lovers. The park sits on 11 acres of lush greeneries, much of which blooms beautifully in the springtime. There is a man-made lake here, perfect for fishing and swimming, but you can also find an on-site Center for Science Teaching and Learning with educational information about the wildlife and preservation/conservation efforts.
Much of the staff of Tanglewood Preserve are volunteers, but they are well-informed of the area—so, if you have any questions, feel free to ask away. For children, there is a small petting zoo and playgrounds at the heart of the park, with picnic benches for lunchtime treats. During October, the community bands together to host a spooky walk in the park, where you and your family can go to stroll and listen to local ghost stories.
Check out the old-fashioned wooden carousel
Another Rockville Centre park favorite, and probably the most popular in this area of New York, is Hempstead Lake State Park. Sitting waterside, the park is geared more towards fitness fanatics. There are hiking trails and nature paths, as well as biking and horse trails. The playgrounds are perfect for both older children and toddlers, and plenty of shaded picnic areas offer reprieve from the hot New York summers.
One of the big draws for kids is the old-fashioned wooden carousel at the center of the park. It still goes round and round! For families with teens, bring a basketball to shoot some hoops on the on-site courts.
Or, if you want more of a sports and play area, head to Shell Creek Park. Waterfront and gorgeous, the area is comprised of ball fields, basketball and tennis courts, splash zones for kids, spritz zones for adults, and (of course) playgrounds.
If you feel like listening to great music while you watch a sunset and dip your toes in the lake water, get a guest pass for Masone Beach. On the weekends, local bands use the stage for their live performances, with music that ranges from slow jams to Caribbean reggae. In the summertime, the beach hosts movies on a huge screen, so you can relax on a blanket by the seashore to watch some great, family-friendly, new releases. Plan to stay an average of 2 hours, and bring plenty of sunscreen.
Rockville Centre is, overall, a tranquil and relaxing city, where nothing too chaotic occurs. If you want to stay for a few days and lounge around the city, look into the following top-ranked hotels in Rockville Centre—Ramada, Best Western Mill River Manor, Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton, and Rockville Centre Inn.
Ramada Rockville Centre
Nestled alongside Sunrise Highway, the Ramada Rockville Centre is a high-ranked hotel that offers specials for budget-minded vacationers of all types and business travelers. There are 98 rooms, each offering homey basics with simple essentials to meet your daily, and nightly, needs. You have a comfortable bed, clean linens, fresh and fluffy towels, and an in-room coffee maker.
Other amenities include an outdoor swimming pool, a well-equipped fitness center, free grab-and-go breakfasts, free basic cable, and free high-speed internet.
La Parma III Italian Restaurant on Merrick Road, closer to Oceanside, is the go-to restaurant around Rockville Centre. The dishes here are authentically Italian and a bit upscale, so you get huge portions with a flourish and lots of bubbly, delicious cheese. Their most famed meals include baked clams and linguine in red sauce, veal parmesan, and homemade, fresh-baked Italian bread with seasoned olive oil.
Best Western Mill River Manor
Another favorite off of Sunrise Highway, the Best Western Mill River Manor is an ideal stay option for budget-minded travelers seeking excellent customer service and clean, comfortable accommodations. Towels, toiletries, and linens are plentiful, and the staff strives to help meet any reasonable requests you may have, such as late check-ins, later check-outs, or extra pillows, blankets, cots, and cribs. Breakfast is a big deal around here, and the free daily breakfast includes a DIY waffle stations, made-to-order eggs and sausages, and an assortment of muffins, bagels, yogurts, cereals, and juices.
Care for a pedicure, manicure, or massage? Ask the lobby manager about their spa services for guests.
The Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton
Seated on Merrick Road, the Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton is a luxurious Rockville Centre hotel with a slew of basic, simple accommodations and several luxury indulgences. Basics-wise, there are comfortable queen-sized or king-sized beds, spacious rooms with well-furnished sitting areas, free high-speed wireless internet, and a fitness center with modern workout equipment. Luxuries-wise, a hot breakfast, a business center, and basic cable and rentable movies are must-haves.
Hungry for good food and better entertainment? Check out Cabo, for a taste of Mexico, where chefs prepare appetizers tableside with flair. Don’t miss the chance to sip cocktails at the bar and dance on their neon-lit dance floor.
The Rockville Center Inn
The Rockville Centre Inn on Ocean Avenue is an old-fashioned boutique hotel, closer to the accommodations of a bed and breakfast on a larger scale. There are 68 antique rooms, with retro Old English décor, super-comfy beds, and all of the toiletries you need throughout your stay. Other accommodations include free, private parking for guests, free hot breakfasts, a fitness center with up-to-date workout equipment, and free high-speed internet. You can also book a shuttle bus service from the lobby for an extra fee towards a round-trip ride to wherever you want to go in Rockville Centre.
Go all out retro with your entertainment too when you visit Hot Skates Roller Skating Rink. Rent a pair of skates and disco down on the rink floor.
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