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Car Rental in Long Island

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Long Island

Car Rental on Long Island: Driving a Splendid New York City Neighborhood

Geographically, Long Island stretches from the New York City boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn 115 miles northeastward into the Atlantic Ocean, but politically, Long Island begins were New York City ends. Speckled by towns such as Babylon, Riverhead, and Montauk, Long Island is perhaps most widely known for the residences of the rich and famous in the Hamptons. Ultimately, Long Island is a long stretch of suburban communities and stellar beaches. Make the most of your visit by doing as the locals do and driving! Book your rental car today.

Long Island offers its visitors adventure year round, though winters are traditionally very harsh. Beachgoers flock to Long Island to cool down in the heat of the summer, but the most comfortable and exciting times to visit Long Island are during spring and autumn, from April to May and September to October.

The de facto national language of the United States is English and the currency is the US dollar. Currency exchange is highly available at airports and popular tourist destinations, and credit cards are accepted at the vast majority of businesses.

For travelers arriving by air, the most convenient place to land to skip over the traffic congesting highways in and out of New York City is at MacArthur Airport in Islip. Located almost equidistantly between Brooklyn at the western end of geographical Long Island and Montauk at the northeastern end, MacArthur Airport is served by the fairly inexpensive Southwest Airlines and is an excellent place to pick up a rental car.

Other travelers are likely to fly into LaGuardia Airport just outside of New Jersey on Long Island, John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City, or Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark just outside of NYC. These major airports are each great locations from which to pick up rental cars, but note that you will have to pay a series of road tolls to reach Long Island, particularly if you are driving from Newark. Further rental car agencies form a convenient network throughout the Island. You are guaranteed to never be very far away from your next automobile hire.

Visa Regulations

38 nationalities can enter the United States as tourists without applying for a visa, though if you are among these nationalities, you are still required to fill out the ESTA in advance. Visit for more information. Visitors to the United States will be fingerprinted and biometrically photographed upon entry. If your nationality is not included on the visa-waiver program list, you will be required to apply for a B-1 or B-2 visa in advance of your arrival.

Driving on Long Island

Long Island features a surprisingly diverse collection of cultures, from Hempstead at the south end just outside of Queens to the forks of the north and speckles of Spanish-, Italian-, Russian-, and Polish-heritage communities in-between. Northern Long Island is well worth exploring by car, from the homes of the wealthy in the Hamptons on the South Fork to Long Island Wine Country on the North Fork. As the roads are in fairly good condition throughout the island, driving is the most independent and comfortable way to explore this diversity and make the most of your visit – particularly if you make a point to avoid the busiest hours on the road.

Right-Hand Driving

  • Traffic drives on the right-hand side of the road throughout the United States.

Typical Speed Limits

  • In towns and residential areas: 25 miles per hour
  • On the Long Island Expressway: between 55 and 65 miles per hour
  • Expect traffic jams throughout the island during morning and evening rush hours, and significant traffic congestion to and from the beaches in the summer, especially on Friday and Sunday afternoons and evenings. Plan your travels throughout Long Island around these peak hours, as traffic jams can easily add hours to your travel time!

Other Regulations

  1. The farther away you get from Queens the easier parking becomes, though there are parking garages conveniently located throughout most of the packed urban areas on the island should street parking prove itself impossible.
  2. You can drive on your domestic driver’s license as a tourist throughout New York State.
  3. Particularly between NYC and Long Island, plan on having plenty of cash in the car to pay a significant number of tolls on the expressway, bridges, and tunnels.
  4. While the minimum driving age throughout New York State is 16, you will have to be at least 18 years of age to rent a car. Nevertheless, drivers under 25 are likely to be charged a young driver’s surcharge.

Other Tips

If you’re interested in visiting New England and don’t want to take the long, bumpy, and congested drive through New York City, take a car ferry from Orient or Port Jefferson to Bridgeport or New London, Connecticut. Plan accordingly, however, as the ferries do not operate at night!

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