Beaches and Swimming Holes
One of the Hudson Valley’s best summer activities: going for a swim
Beautiful view: Lake Tiorati at Harriman State Park
Photograph by Bob Gross
Nothing signals that summer has arrived quite like a sandy beach and the opportunity to do some swimming. Luckily, you don’t have to go all the way to the ocean; the Valley is full of lake and river beaches, as well as public pools, where the whole family can have fun in the sun (with sunscreen, of course). It may be worth your while to get a single-year Empire Passport, which provides access to all New York State parks for one year for $65.
This state-run ski resort transforms into a happening hot spot come summertime. In addition to swimming and sunning, pedal boats, rowboats, and kayaks are available for hourly rentals, and there are designated areas for fishing, volleyball, horseshoes, and basketball. Swimming and water safety instruction is available at the Aqua School, and a very small snack bar has ice cream and treats.
Highmount. $8 per car, $2 per person. 845-254-5202; www.belleayre.com/summer/lake.htm
Greenwood Lake Beach
Swim and sunbathe at the Thomas P. Morahan Memorial Beach. Athletes can play a vigorous game of volleyball before ending the day with a relaxing picnic.
Greenwood Lake. Call for fees. 845-986-1124; www.villageofgreenwoodlake.org/beach.html
Taconic State Park
Nestled alongside 16 miles of the Taconic Mountains in northeastern Dutchess County, this state park offers swimming at 64-acre Rudd Pond, where you can also rent canoes and rowboats. Food is available at the snack bar. Wildlife enthusiasts can explore the flora and fauna with the “Take a Walk on the Wild Side” stroll on June 8.
Copake Falls. $7 per car. 518-329-3993; www.nysparks.com
Wilcox Memorial Park
Set sail on one of the two small lakes at Wilcox Park. With paddleboats and rowboats available to rent, swimming areas, a small mini-golf course, and snack bar, guests can spend an action-packed day at the park. Four covered pavilions provide shade from the sun, and camping is also available.
Milan. $5 Dutchess County resident, $10 nonresident. 845-758-6100; www.dutchessny.gov
Clarence Fahnestock State Park
Home to Canopus Lake and many scenic ridges, this park offers a sandy beach and picnic area. Outdoorsy visitors work up a sweat with a hike before boating, fishing, or swimming to cool down. And if hunger strikes, the snack bar is fully stocked.
Carmel. $7. 845-225-7207; www.nysparks.com
Lake Taghkanic State Park
With two beaches to choose from, swimmers at Lake Taghkanic have no trouble finding a spot on the sand. Rent a rowboat, paddleboat, or kayak; a recreation hall, snack bar, and playground are also available.
Ancram. $8. 518-851-3631; www.nysparks.com
Rockland Lake State Park
Larger than an Olympic-sized facility, the pool next to Rockland Lake opens Memorial Day weekend. With a boat launch and fishing available on the lake, a paved 3.2 mile trail, and a concession stand, there’s plenty to amuse your family.
Congers. $8 parking fee, $3 pool admission.
Harriman State Park
With three sand beaches and 31 reservoirs and lakes, visitors of New York State’s second-largest park have plenty to explore. Guests can work up a sweat on the 200 miles of hiking trails, or opt to go boating or fishing. Camping is also available. Swimming is available at Lake Tiorati’s sandy beach.
Bear Mountain. $8. 845-786-2701; www.nysparks.com
Hot Spots to Cool Down on the Hudson
Croton Point Park, Croton-on-Hudson
$5 with parking pass, $10 otherwise
Kingston Point Beach, Kingston
Call for fees
Saugerties Village Beach, Saugerties
Call for fees
Ulster Landing County Park, Saugerties