by Leslie Lippai, Scarsdale10583.com, link to original post
If you forgot to buy a summer house in Westhampton Beach this year or aren’t going to Martha’s Vineyard for vacation, you might think your only option is to drive out east to Long Island for some beach and paddling fun before the season’s over. Well, although no one will ever confuse Easthampton’s Main Beach with Rye Playland — and kayaking on Georgica Pond is not exactly the same as paddling on the Hudson, it is possible to have a really good time in and on the water around Westchester.
The basics: Westchester County offers a variety of park passes for access to all county-owned parks, pools and beaches where one is required. Visit www.westchestergov.org to learn about your options. Always call ahead before leaving home to make sure a beach has not been closed temporarily after a storm and heavy rain fall. Also, make sure you read the parking signs about where and when you can park. And while it’s not advisable to fall into the Hudson, the river is getting cleaner each year and you should be fine if you overturn, just try not to swallow the water. Visit riverkeeper.org to get up-to-date information on all things Hudson River. Keep in mind that once late September rolls around, parking fees are slashed dramatically, the water is still warm and the crowds for the most part are gone, so it is a great time to jump in or paddle on. And what’s better after a nice day at the beach than ice cream or paletas. We’ve included some of the best shops in the area. Need a kayak or canoe? If you don’t want to buy a new one, check out craigslist for used kayaks, canoes, or paddleboards of all price levels. Don’t want to go it alone? kayakhudson.com offers tours all over our area and provides the equipment without the hassle of loading it in your car. For the truly brave, check out www.manhattankayak.com or www.nykayak.com, which will have you kayaking or doing standup paddle boarding on the water in lovely New York City in no time. How cool.
Wampus Pond, Route 128. The pond is named after the Indian tribe who sold the land to New York in 1696. There are rowboat rentals on the weekend and holidays, a kayak launch and fishing for all to enjoy in addition to picnic facilities. Call (914) 273-3230 for more information or visit www.westchestergov.com/wampus-pond
The beach at Croton Point Park is part of a 508-acre park located on a peninsula on the east shore of the Hudson River. The park has camping spots, walking paths, playgrounds, a kayak launch and spectacular views of the Hudson River: (914) 862-5290. Here are some reviews on the park from contributors at Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/croton-point-park-croton-on-hudson-2. For ice cream afterward, locals rave about The Blue Pig (121 Maple St, Croton-on-Hudson; 914-271-3850; thebluepigicecream.com). Popular this season are Pig M&M (vanilla ice cream with M&Ms), honey vanilla with lavender, garden mint chip, and olive oil. New this summer is an outdoor brick courtyard complete with twinkly lights.
Kinnally Cove is directly across the river from the Palisades Cliffs with ample parking. It is a great place to launch a kayak or canoe. There is permit parking (Monday-Friday) across from the lot but you can park after 6pm and on weekends without a permit. For more information, call Hasting’s rec department at (914) 478-2380. While there is no great local ice cream shop to be had in Hastings, the town has a hopping restaurant scene, including Juniper (juniperhastings.com)
Scenic Hudson Park is on the Hudson River. The park is accessed via Bridge Street parallel to the Hudson River and the Metro-North tracks. This 4.5-acre park includes a kayak launch. For more information contact Irvington Recreation & Parks (914) 591-7736.
The most popular put-in site for kayakers is at the end of Beach Ave, often called “Dog Beach,” where a public road leads along the Long Island Sound. There is no parking near the launch and you have to leave your car several hundred yards away. If you have the strength to lift your craft over a five-foot retaining wall, try launching from where Ocean Ave curves to meet Magnolia. There is a turn-around loop and parking is allowed nearby. Also, off Lindsley Drive, at the edge of Flint Park, there are rocks that lead down to the water. Some people put in kayaks in here, although we are told it is muddy at low tide.
At nearby Harbor Island Park, at the intersection of Mamaroneck Avenue South and East Boston Post Road, you can launch a kayak or canoe year-round. At times the park is overrun by Canadian geese and their droppings, so watch where you step. Call (914) 777-7784 or visit www.village.mamaroneck.ny.us. Skip the ice cream and try a paleta. Paletas are Mexican frozen pops that are either water-based (made with fresh fruit and/or fruit juices) or milk/cream-based, and offered in a rainbow of colors and flavors. We like Paleteria Fernandez, 350 Mamaroneck Ave, Mamaroneck 914-315-1598. Hibiscus flower, cantaloupe, kiwi, and mango are just some of the fun and funky flavors to sample.
Not a beach or a place to launch a kayak, but definitely worthy of a mention is Willson’s Woods, on East Lincoln Avenue. The facility is one of the oldest in the Westchester county parks system and was acquired in 1924. The park is well-known for its waterpark, Willson’s Waves, complete with a wave pool where you can body surf on three-foot wave, splash downward on an 18-foot high water slide, wander through cascades and fountains in the water playground, or just cool off on the spray deck. The park also has areas for picnicking and fishing. Call (914) 813-6990 for more information.
Glen Island Beach on Pelham Road offers picnic tables, miniature golf, playgrounds, fishing and more. There is also a kayak launch. Call (914) 813-6720 for information or visit http://parks.westchestergov.com/glen-island-park.
Rye Playland offers up sand, surf and walks along the boardwalk. There is also self-launch access to Long Island Sound for kayakers and canoers. Call (914) 813-7010 or visit www.ryeplayland.org. Ice cream for everyone at the charming Longford’s Own-Made Ice Cream (4 Elm Pl, Rye 914-967-3797; longfordsicecream.com). The “own-made” ice cream, crafted in Port Chester, boasts 36 flavors and 20 flavors of sorbet, gelato and LoYo.
lighthouse Sleepy Hollow
In this historic town, Horan’s Landing Park, at 9 River Street, offers direct and perfectly legal public access to the Hudson River. The park has a riverside path, sandy beach at mid-to-low tide (no swimming), and picnic tables. The kayak/canoe/boat launch is restricted to car-top vessels (sorry, no trailers). Launch your canoe or kayak here to explore the Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow waterfronts and the Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse (sleepyhollowlighthouse.com). More experienced kayakers can cross the Hudson to wander through the meandering channels of Piermont Marsh or paddle upriver to Croton Point Park. Pick up a copy of the Hudson River Water Trail Guide to help you plan your river adventure. Parking: limited parking on site, additional metered parking on Beekman Avenue. Call (914) 366-5109 for more information. Afterward, try the Lighthouse Ice Cream and Coffee Kompanies (27 W Main St, at the Tarrytown Harbor, Tarrytown 914-502-0339; lighthouseicecreamkompany.com) for high-quality, locally sourced ingredients, such as milk and cream from Salem, New York-based Battenkill Valley Creamery.
While not exactly a beach, The Brook at Tibbetts Brook Park offers lots of water fun for the kids. The park’s former 81-year-old pool has been replaced with a new aquatic complex complete with a spray playground for kids of all ages, in-pool basketball and volleyball, lap lanes for getting in a daily swim workout, and the signature lazy river that inspired the renaming of this water wonderland “The Brook.” (914) 231-2865