Heckscher State Park was once the 19th century estates of George C. Taylor and J. Neal Plum. William Nicoll, founder of the Town of Islip, originally built his estate on this property. The park was bought by the State of New York using a donation by the affluent August Heckscher with strong opposition from wealthy local residents. It was one of Robert Moses’ most difficult fights to obtain land for public recreation on Long Island. Only with assistance and support from then Governor Alfred E. Smith was Moses able to close the deal on this beautiful property fronting the Great South Bay.
The 1,600 acres of Heckscher State Park on the south shore of Long Island is used by park visitors for a number of outdoor activities; primarily, the park’s shady picnic groves provide the idyllic spots for family and group picnic outings. Large open fields are used for soccer, cricket, lacrosse, and other field sports. Four miles of paved, multi-use trails attract bicycle riders, walkers, and nature lovers. In addition to stunning views of the Great South Bay with Fire Island as the backdrop, visitors see whitetail deer, a variety of birds and other wildlife.