Unless you plan to stay in one town or resort for the duration of your visit, a car is necessary for exploring and getting from place to place on Long Island. If you're coming from more than 200 mi away, consider flying into one of the airports and renting a car. Although train and bus service is regular, you may have to wait around for connections, depending on your destination. Taxi and car services can get you from place to place, but this is an expensive way to go if you're using them as your only mode of transportation.
The Queens Midtown Tunnel (leading to the Long Island Expressway), Queensboro Bridge (Northern Boulevard, Route 25A), and Triborough Bridge (Interstate 278) connect Long Island with Manhattan. The Throgs Neck Bridge (Interstate 295) and Bronx Whitestone Bridge (Interstate 678) provide access from the Bronx and New England. From points south, take the Verrazano Narrows Bridge (Interstate 278). Traffic in and around the metropolitan area is always heavy; the 7-9:30 morning rush and the 4-6:30 evening peak are the most harrowing times. The heavily traveled Long Island Expressway (aka the LIE or Interstate 495), and the Northern State and Southern State parkways are the most-utilized east-west thoroughfares, whereas the Meadowbrook and Wantagh state parkways are major north-south connectors.
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