There are so many ways to enjoy the pleasures of summer in the Valley — it all depends on your mood. Looking for something relaxing? Take a stroll through a formal garden or a cruise down the Hudson. Need more excitement? Watch a stock car race, rock out at a summer concert, or hurtle down a 600-foot water slide. The choices are endless. So gas up the car, and get going!
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Photograph by Netfalls/Shutterstock
Become a Beach Bum
Okay, let’s just get it out of the way and state the obvious: For all of the Hudson Valley’s many and considerable charms, there is no ocean here. And our editorial staff truly believes that, if possible, everybody should stick their feet in one of the planet’s great bodies of water (or just gaze out at the rollicking waves) at least once a year. That said, there are a handful of beautiful sandy beaches, both on the Hudson River and on several area lakes, where you and your family can swim, boat, and sunbathe — and sometimes take part in such extras as ice cream and burgers, hiking trails, and even mini-golf, all at the same time. So beach bums, check out the following list. All of the beaches are staffed by lifeguards; many are open only on weekends from Memorial Day through the end of June (and daily after that); call or check the Web sites for more information.
Lake Taghkanic State Park
Ancram, Columbia County
Two sandy lake beaches; picnic areas; rowboat, paddleboat, and kayak rentals; playgrounds; sports playing fields, and a rentable pavilion
518-851-3631 or www.nysparks.com
Wilcox Memorial Park
Milan, Dutchess County
A sandy beach, two small lakes, hiking trails, paddleboat rentals, concession stand, mini-golf — and even a resident heron to look out for! The swimming lake, boat rentals, and mini-golf will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays this summer. Free for Dutchess County residents
845-758-6100 or www.dutchessny.gov
Clarence Fahnestock State Park
Western Putnam/Dutchess counties
Large sandy beach on Canopus Lake with nearby picnic area and concession stand; hiking trails and rowboat rentals
845-225-7207 or www.nysparks.com
Harriman State Park
Northern Rockland County
The second largest state park in New York has three sandy beaches for summer fun: Lake Sebago Beach (845-351-2583); Lake Tiorati Beach (845-351-2568); and Lake Welch Beach, the largest in the park (845-947-2444).
Hudson River Beaches
Ulster Landing County Park
Saugerties, Ulster County
845-336-8484 or www.co.ulster.ny.us/downloads/UlsterLandingPark.pdf
Want to skip ahead? Click on one of these links to:
Become a Beach Bum! Play a Round of Miniature Golf! Get Creative Outdoors! Go to the Zoo! Go Fruit-picking! See some Al Fresco Art! Get Fast and Furious! Visit a Formal Garden! Take in a Horse Show! Rent a Bike on the Walkway! Take a River Cruise! Go to a Water Park! Go to the Drive-in! Enjoy an Outdoor Concert! Picnic at Vanderbilt Mansion! Ride the Rails! Indulge in Dining Delights!