Long Island might not be home to towering cliffs flocked by climbers, but there are hundreds of climbing routes to be found all over the island—you just have to take a trip indoors.
As climbing gyms proliferate across the country, communities on Long Island have not been left behind. And as the offerings have expanded, so too has the appeal. Climbers of all stripes now realize gyms are not just for hardcore experts who need keep up finger strength in the off-season. They open up an engaging fitness activity surrounded by a fun-loving community. Gyms also act as a regular hub for meetups, providing an active place to find an outdoor group for hiking, paddling, and, of course, trips to heralded rock destinations upstate.
So, whether you’re learning the sport or just looking to have fun and meet like-minded groups, look to these standby climbing spaces colored in a palette of physically exerting puzzles. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Nassau or Suffolk County, Brooklyn or Queens; you’re within reach of the quality indoor crags on par with the finest anywhere. Here are five particular favorites where you can stay fit and social all winter.
Island Rock — Plainview
Opened in 1996, Island Rock is the original climbing gym serving central Long Island, making use of a former warehouse to provide 14,000 square feet of climbing options. Rope climbers will find over 100 top-roping routes, as well as 40 lead-climbing routes. There are even a couple of crack climbs up the 30-foot-high walls, plus a rappel wall. Those looking to take a simpler approach can find over 100 bouldering problems in their own space away from the rope climbs. Island Rock offers rentals and first-time belay lessons, as well as advanced instructional offerings for those who would like to learn lead climbing.
60 Skyline Dr. Plainview, NY 11803. Hours: Monday/Friday noon - 10 p.m, Tuesday/Thursday 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., Wednesday noon - 11 p.m., weekends 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Day passes: $22 adults, $19 students. Monthly membership: $80 adults, $75 students. Rentals: $5 shoes and harnesses, each. A beginner lesson with rental and day-pass cost $48.