The first Wednesday of April marks the American Heart Association’s National Walking Day, the beginning of a month-long celebration and a kick start to a healthier and more active lifestyle.
Luckily for us, we happen to live on the East End of Long Island, home to some of the most scenic and historical locales in the country that are perfect for a nice walk on a sunny day like today.
Here are some places you can take a walk to celebrate National Walking Day. You can, and should, return to them tomorrow, the next day, and the day after that—and, if you’re really up to it, the day after that!
Morton Wildlife Refuge in Noyac is a wonderful place for a stroll. The refuge is located on a 187-acre peninsula with trails scattered throughout the diverse habitats. The refuge hosts a beach, a lagoon, upland forests, salt marches, fields and ponds. Best of all, the birds that reside there are quite friendly and will eat right out of your hand if you offer them some food, which is provided at the refuge.
For the more adventurous, Camp Hero at the tip of Montauk is another great place for a walk. Camp Hero was originally used as an army base to protect against potential foreign invaders during wartime. Now, it’s a state park, but the barracks are still there, as is the looming radar tower. Camp Hero has been the subject of various conspiracy theories, involving psychological warfare and time travel, which have transformed the abandoned camp into a spooky destination. If you’re aiming for a scenic panorama of Montauk Point, climb the radar tower to catch a glimpse of the crashing waves on the coat and the lighthouse in the distance.
Possibly for the even more adventurous, or just dedicated, the Paumanok Path in East Hampton is the perfect place for a nature walk. The 125-mile trail runs from Rocky Point all the way to Montauk State Park. Named after the Native American word for Long Island, the trail was inspired by Stephen Talkhouse, a Montaukett who walked the trail from Montauk to East Hampton and Sag Harbor every day—around 25–50 miles daily. You can follow in his footsteps too, especially on a beautiful day.
How about something as simple as walking the beach? We’re surrounded by miles and miles of beaches, each one a perfect spot for a calming, meditative stroll. This time of year, there are numerous beaches that are the destination for migrating seals, such as Cupsogue Beach. There is bound to be one in the vicinity to your house or office. Just remember to bundle up—the spring weather has yet to fully arrive!
Looking for a place for a walk with the whole family? The East Hampton Nature Trail and Duck Pond is another scenic and serene locale for adults and children. With trails suitable for strollers, the walk begins at the end of David’s Lane off Main Street in East Hampton, spanning 24 acres and including 25 bridges which cross over the homes of the local ducks, geese and swans. Here’s another chance to befriend some of our winged neighbors! Just leave the bread at home.
Before you embark on your new walking regimen—just a reminder from the American Heart Association: Make sure to wear comfortable clothes, drink plenty of water, stretch your muscles, swing your arms and most importantly, have fun! A holiday like this only comes once a year, but walking is a lifetime adventure.