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Beaches -- There are lots of beaches out here, but be sure to check for signs, as many are permit-only. With more than 8 miles of sandy shore, Orient Beach State Park, Orient Point (tel. 631/323-2440) offers plenty of breathing room and a maritime forest of red cedar and prickly-pear cactus. Two permit-only beaches worth checking out are Norman Klipp Marine Park in Greenport and Town Beach in Southold, which is a popular family beach. Pick up your permit from the attendant at either beach (after 10am): It's $10 for a daily nonresident pass.

Biking -- With its serene country roads, bucolic surroundings, and flat terrain, the North Fork is great for biking, especially the region around Orient. Rent a bike for $5 an hour at Orient Beach State Park (tel. 631/323-2440), and explore the thick forests, marshes, and beautiful beaches of this quiet area on the tip of the North Fork.

Birding -- All the way out at the end of Rte. 25, Orient Point County Park (tel. 631/854-4949) offers 48 acres and a mile of beach, and is home to ospreys, piping plovers, and more. It's also a great place for an early-morning or late afternoon hike.

Boating -- A fun way to check out Greenport is aboard the Glory, a 30-foot fantail launch decked out in varnished mahogany and brass. (Ever proud of its environmental friendliness, in 2009 this silent, electric-powered boat became the first Coast Guard-inspected tour boat operating by solar.) It sails all afternoon in the summer; $15 for adults, $5 for kids. Go to Preston's Dock at the foot of Main Street in Greenport, or call tel. 631/477-2515 for details. You can also be your own captain: Canoeing or kayaking on the inlets, creeks, and marshes is a great way to see herons, osprey, hawks, fish, and turtles. Rent from Eagle's Neck Paddling Company, 49295 Main Rd., Southold (tel. 631/765-3502; www.eaglesneck.com). Rentals start at $30 for 2 hours.

Fishing -- There is fantastic fishing out here, with many boats geared toward the novice caster. Fluke, bluefish, and enormous sea bass abound, along with flounder, tuna, and shark. The season generally runs from April or May to October, and local captains will set you up with bait and tackle. Good bets are Captain Bob's fleet in Mattituck (tel. 631/298-5522), or the Peconic Star II with Capt. Dave Brennan in Greenport (tel. 631/289-6899); expect to pay around $70 to $75 for a full day. If you want to go it alone, contact the Southold Town Clerk's office (tel. 631/765-1800), Warren's Bait & Tackle in Aquebogue (tel. 631/722-4898), or Jamesport Bait & Tackle in Mattituck (tel. 631/298-5450) for beach-fishing permits.

Golf -- While there are a handful of private courses in the North Fork, public links are another story -- choices are limited. Try Cherry Creek Golf Links, 900 Reeves Ave., Riverhead (tel. 631/369-6500), which has 18 holes and a driving range. To work on your chipping and putting, head to Cedars Golf Club, Cases Lane, Cutchogue (tel. 631/734-6363).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.