Archive for the ‘Swimming’ Category

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

Croton-on-Hudson BluePig

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.

Mount Vernon

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.

New Rochelle

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

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The dog days of summer are here and many of us are begging for relief from the sticky midsummer heat. While it is tempting to follow the rest of the flock to the closest public swimming pool, nothing beats wading into the clear waters of a natural swimming hole. This summer, leave those frying pan pool decks behind and head to secluded natural swimming holes complete with waterfalls, rope swings, and deep, cool pools.
Peekamoose Blue Hole, Sundown

Peekamoose Blue Hole

Peekamoose Blue Hole

When you hear the term “swimming hole,” this is what comes to mind. Sun leaks through a canopy of leaves and spills into shockingly cold water along Rondout Creek in the Catskills. This area would undoubtedly be more crowded if it weren’t for a healthy 3.5-mile hike from the Peekamoose Mountain Trailhead to the Blue Hole area, but as is, there’s usually plenty of space to splash around. If a 7-mile hike (3.5 in, 3.5 out) is too strenuous for you and your group, there are also numerous spots to swim along Roundout Creek which runs parallel to Peekamoose Road.
Robert H. Treman State Park – Enfield Falls

200 Waterfalls in Central & Western NY available at www.footprintpress.com

200 Waterfalls in Central & Western NY available at http://www.footprintpress.com

Enfield Falls – often called the Lower Falls – at Robert Treman State Park in Ithaca, can get a bit crowded, especially on holiday weekends, but it’s only because it’s such an idyllic, and easily accessible place. The swimming area is at the bottom of a gorge, fed by a waterfall, and flanked by a flat grass beach with slate steps leading to the water. Also, unlike many swimming holes, the Lower Falls are handicap accessible – a real blessing to families with special needs. The swimming area is also surrounded by 9-miles of hiking trails.
Split Rock Hole
Split Rock Hole on the Mohonk Preserve in New Paltz doesn’t have a spacious pool like Blue Hole or Enfield Falls, but it has its own great feature: a cliff to jump from. Well, technically it’s a gorge, but either way, the height of the drop is enough to take your breath away. It’s high enough that a belly flop would be ill-advised, but not high enough to be very dangerous. But if cliff-jumping isn’t your style, the creek empties into a slightly larger pool further downstream where swimming is allowed. Parking is $10 for the day.
Minnewaska State Park Preserve – Lake Minnewaska and Lake Awosting
Minnewaska State Park Preserve is located just west of I-87, halfway between Albany and New York City, and features two peaceful lakes perfect for a summer’s day dip. Both lakes have pristine swimming beaches, though it’s noteworthy that swimming is only allowed “in-season”; that’s when lifeguards are on duty. Most of the preserve offers fantastic vistas of the surrounding mountains and the Minnewaska beach faces high stone bluffs covered by evergreens on the opposite shore. Lake Awosting is the more secluded of the two, reached either by carriageway or hiking trail. Swimming in non-approved locations has been cracked down since a recent change in ownership, but the beaches are more than adequate for a day of fun and refreshment.
Stony Kill Falls – Hole 32

Stony Kill Falls - Hole 32

Stony Kill Falls – Hole 32

Hole 32 is the name given to the spot beneath the 87-foot water fall in Kerhonkson, approximately 30 miles northwest of Newburgh. It’s no surprise that the spot is a local secret because it is gorgeous and naturally well hidden – enough so that a pool above the falls has been playfully dubbed “nudist pool.” The area below the cascade is popular as well and visitors commonly cool themselves in the falling waters and lounge in the mist on the rocks. You can also hike upstream along the river for several miles and explore numerous other falls and pools.
Hole lot of fun.
Swimming holes are great, and not just for their novelty. You have to really work to get to many of these places, and after your hike you have a nice cold pool to dive into. There’s also the fact that in New York, many natural swimming areas are surrounded by scenery that is among the most beautiful in the country. If you’ve never experienced a good old-fashioned swimming hole, do yourself a favor and try one of these. If you have, you’re probably already halfway out the door.
Jeffrey Ferraro is a travel enthusiast and expert. He is the Director of Marketing of Diamond Tours, the leading provider of charter group bus trips in the US and Canada, including bus tours in New York City. Jeffrey loves uncovering lesser known travel destinations and sharing them with his customers.

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Adirondack Summer 101: Pond swimming!

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NY State Parks has begun offering a longer-term camping option at Max V Shaul State Park in Schoharie County.

In the 179 NY State Park system, this is only the third Park that offers this opportunity.  This is the first park in the Saratoga / Capital / Hudson Valley and Taconic regions that this is being offered.

For campers interested in spending several weeks – or more – at a time, a number of campsites are being made available for this special option. This will save campers time and reservation fees because they only need to make a single reservation for their extended stays.  (Typically at most state park campgrounds, campers are limited to a maximum of 14 continuous nights.)

Seasonal camping reservations must be made with the park directly at 518.827.4711.

The only other state park locations in the state that offer longer term camping are in our Central Region – Bowman Lake and Oquaga Lake.

If you are unfamiliar – Max V. Shaul is a quiet setting with wooded sites. Highlights at the park include fishing in the Schoharie Creek, hiking the park’s nature trails, enjoying shady picnic grounds, open playing fields and a playground.  Additionally, campers have free vehicle access to nearby Mine Kill State Park which offers an Olympic size swimming pool, multi-use trails, boating by permit and views of the scenic 80-foot Mine Kill Falls.

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by Meg Vanek, Auburn Citizen, link to original post

With the weather getting warmer, there is no better place to enjoy water activities than in Cayuga County. Our surveys tell us that one of the top two reasons visitors come to Cayuga County is to enjoy our amazing lakes, and with Owasco Lake in the center, Lake Ontario to the north, Skaneateles and Cross lakes to the east, and Cayuga Lake to the west plus several smaller lakes and the Erie Canal, people in Cayuga County have abundant opportunities to spend time in, on and around the water. In fact, Cayuga County has 170 square miles of water, making almost 20 percent of the county water and giving us more freshwater coastline than any other county in New York state. Whether you simply want to lounge around a lake or you prefer the excitement of water-skiing and windsurfing, Cayuga County is a definitely the place to be for water-filled fun!

200 Waterfalls in Central & Western NY

200 Waterfalls in Central & Western NY

Most of us remember a favorite swimming spot from our youth, whether it was a pond, lake or stream, it was a great way to cool off on a hot summer day. There are plenty of wonderful places to splash around and swim in Cayuga County. Emerson Park, along with our three state parks — Fillmore Glen, Long Point and Fair Haven Beach — are all great places to take a dip in a safe environment. Smaller parks, like Frontenac Park in Union Springs and John Harris Park in Cayuga, also offer swimming on uncrowded, pristine beaches. Most parks not only offer swimming but also picnic areas, boat launches, hiking and fishing.

You might not think of the Finger Lakes as a place for a scuba diving, but it certainly is! You don’t have to go to the ocean to find sunken treasures and interesting aquatic life; the waters of the Finger Lakes can yield plenty of surprises. Finger Lakes Scuba provides local dive opportunities on the Dive Deck, a 24-foot dive charter pontoon from May through October. If you don’t already have your scuba certification, sign up for a class at the Auburn YMCA, then gather your gear and get ready for a diving adventure.

Take A Paddle - Finger Lakes

Take A Paddle – Finger Lakes

If you would rather be on the water than in the water, you can canoe, kayak, sail, powerboat or take a cruise on our waterways. Boat launches are located at most public parks, and boat rentals are available at many private marinas. Silver Waters Sailing on Lake Ontario offers sailing excursions and day trips as well as several learn-to-sail programs, so you can master the sailing basics. New this year, Owasco Paddles at Emerson Park offers canoes, kayaks and standup paddleboards for rent. And if you don’t know how to use a standup paddleboard, Finger Lakes Paddleboard offers lessons with certified PaddleFit instructors on Owasco Lake. This ancient Hawaiian sport is an ideal way to experience the beauty of the Finger Lakes.

Take A Hike - Finger Lakes

Take A Hike – Finger Lakes

A unique opportunity to experience our waterways and another one of our most popular attractions, wineries, is to jump on board Water to Wine Tours, offering tours of award-winning Finger Lakes wineries by boat along beautiful Cayuga Lake. Scenic wine-tasting boat tours, dinner cruises, happy hour cruises and private charter cruises are all available from Water to Wine Tours, with scheduled cruises departing from the Aurora Inn.

For more information on great things to see and do in, on and around the waterways of Cayuga County, stop in the Cayuga County Office of Tourism and pick up our on-the-water map and guide, or visit www.tourcayuga.com. To purchase guidebooks to the area, including @00 Waterfalls & Take A paddle – Finger Lakes, visit Footprint Press.com.

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by David Figura | Syracuse.com, link to original post

Central New York is an outdoors wonderland. The diversity of eye-opening and mind-clearing settings a little more than an hour’s ride from Syracuse is incredible.

There’s picturesque waterfalls; lush, green hiking trails; multi-facted nature centers; the breath-taking scenery around the Finger Lakes; Adirondack-like woods; nationally recognized birding areas – ocean shore-like settings on Lake Ontario.

There’s 15 weekends, beginning with this weekend and extending through Labor Day. With that in mind, here are 15, great Central New York outdoors destinations that will reveal how generous Mother Nature has been to us.

Take the Figura Challenge. Visit them all this summer.

Take your family, your significant other or just check out the spots yourself. Pack a lunch or dinner. Make a morning, an afternoon or a day of it. Take pictures.

Send your experiences and photos to me at dfigura@syracuse.com. Briefly note what you liked, what you didn’t like and recommendations for others who are planning to visit there. I’ll compile your impressions each week on my outdoors page on Syracuse.com.

Have I left out any of your favorites? Drop me a line. The guidebooks from Footprint Press can provide maps & all the details you’ll need to explore these and other places. Meanwhile, here’s my list:

Birding in Central & Western NY

Birding in Central & Western NY

1). Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge: A mecca for bird lovers. Enough said. The refuge headquarters and visitor’s center is off Route 20, west of Auburn. For more, see fws.gov/refuge/montezuma or call 568-5987.

2). Fair Haven State Park: Features high bluffs above sandy beaches and hilly woodlands. Inland, there is Sterling Pond. Fishing is excellent and very accessible. Rowboats, paddleboats and canoes are for rent. The park is located off Route 104A in Fair Haven. For more, see nysparks.com/12 or call 947-5205.

3). Sterling Nature Center: This 1,400-acre nature center located in the northeastern corner of Cayuga County in the town of Sterling on Jensvold Road boasts more than 10 miles of hiking trails and two miles of lake shore. The center is open dawn to dusk. One particular highlight is its huge great blue heron rookery (nesting area). For more, see cayugacounty.us/web/Departments/Parks/Sterling or call 947-6143.

200 Waterfalls in Central & Western NY

200 Waterfalls in Central & Western NY

4).Taughannock Falls: The hiking trails at this state park offer spectacular views and unique geological formations, including the 215-foot falls, which is 33 feet taller than Niagara and is the highest vertical single-drop waterfall in the Northeast. It’s located on the western side of Cayuga Lake off Route 89.For more, see nysparks.com/parks/62 or call 607-387-6739.

5). Fillmore Glen State Park: This park is an oasis of cool, dense woods crowding into a long, narrow gorge. Its hiking trails offer great views and unique geological formations, including five waterfalls and a botanically rich glen. Located off Route 38 in Moravia. For more, see nysparks.com/parks/157 or call 497-0130.

Take Your Bike - Finger Lakes

Take Your Bike – Finger Lakes

6). Bear Swamp: A picturesque state reforestation area in Sempronius, in southeastern Cayuga County off Route 41A, with several vantage points overlooking Skaneateles Lake. It contains about 15 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Enter by the Colonial Lodge restaurant/tavern in Sempronius. (It’s also a good place for a meal or drink afterward).

7). Baltimore Woods Nature Center: This outdoors gem, located off Bishop Road in Marcellus, features more than six miles of hiking trails, numerous outdoors-related programs and an interpretative center. A great place to check out woodland wildlflowers along hiking trails and also at the center’s Faust Garden. A heads up: no dogs allowed. For more, see baltimorewoods.org or call 673-1350.

Take A Hike - Finger Lakes

Take A Hike – Finger Lakes

8). Beaver Lake Nature Center: The popular, county-run facility offers nine miles of hiking trails and more than 400 annual nature/outdoors-related programs. It offers a rich mix of habitats, that create the possibility of seeing more than 200 species of birds and more than 800 varieties of plants. It also features a small lake, which visitors can enjoy with rented kayaks and canoes. For more, see onondagacountyparks.com/beaver-lake-nature center or call 638-2519.

9). Labrador Hollow Unique Area: Nestled in a valley on the Onondaga/Cortland county line on Route 91 east of Tully, this area offers an Adirondack-like, forestry feel and picturesque Tinker Falls in one part — and an expansive, bio-diverse wetland and pond made accessible by a raised boardwalk in another. The area’s 1,474 acres is a favorite spot for hikers, birders, nature lovers and other outdoor sports enthusiasts.

10) Highland Forest: This county run park, which is tagged the “Adirondacks of Central New York,” is located in southeastern Onondaga Couny in Fabius. It features more than 20 miles of year-old trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. It also overs group camping sites for youth and a huge lodge with an eye-opening view of a valley below. A self-guided nature trail is the perfect introductory hike. For more, see onondagacountyparks.com/highland-forest or call 683-5550..

11). Pratt’s Falls: Scenic trails leading to a 137-foot waterfall beacon visitors to bring a well-stocked picnic basket and a sense of adventure at this county park, located on Pratt’s Falls Road in Manlius. In addition to hiking, Pratt’s Falls offers an archery range. This park has been used for national, state and local orienteering events that allow participants to navigate through a marked course using only a map and compass. For more, see onondagacountyparks.com/pratt-s-falls-park or call 435-5252.

12). Chittenango Falls State Park: An eye-opening, 167-foot waterfall is the main attraction. Glacial sculpting of 400-million-year-old bedrock is responsible for this scenic feature. An interesting variety of both plants and wildlife may be found along the trails. Located off Rathbun Road in Cazenovia. For more, see nysparks.com/parks/130 or call 655-5205.

13). Green Lakes State Park: The highlights of this popular park in Fayetteville include two glacial lakes surrounded by upland forest. The lakes offer opportunities for swimming, fishing and boat rentals. Hikers, joggers and mountain bikers can take advantage of more than 10 miles of trails. Camping facilities are available. And yes, there’s also an 18-hole golf course. For more, see nysparks.com/parks/172 or call 637-6111.

14). Clark Reservation State Park: This park is a geologic wonder of the last ice age and a botanist’s paradise. The park’s natural features include rugged cliffs and rocky outcrops, woodland meadow, a wetland and glacial plunge basin lake in which surface waters and bottom waters do not mix. Features include five hiking trails. Fishermen and birders are frequently visitors here. For more see, nysparks.com/126 or call 492-1590.

15). Selkirk Shores State Park: This state park’s campsites overlook a bluff on Lake Ontario. In addition to Great Lakes swimming, visitors can expect outstanding fishing and sunsets, plus hiking and biking trails. Birders take note: It’s on the direct migration route for a wide variety of bird species. It’s located off Route 3 in Pulaski. For more, see nysparks.com/84 or call 298-5737.

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Ellicottville, N.Y., not just for skiers

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Best Water Activities in and around New York City

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Get Fit for Free in NYC

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The Wild Swim Map from the Outdoor Swimming Society is a crowd-sourced Google Map of great places to swim outdoors. It obviously was started in England – most of the swim spots are currently located there.

Here’s a call to action New York State swimmers – add our great outdoor swim locations to this Google map.  Swimming locations is the “most searched on” term for New York Outdoors blog so there’s lots of interest in it. Help build this resource for the benefit of all.

The markers on the map are color-coded to indicate whether the location is an outdoor pool, a river, a lake etc. It is also possible to filter the results shown on the map by other activities, such as if there are opportunities for jumping / diving, skinny dipping or endurance swimming. Each location listed on the map includes a description and comments and many also include photographs of the outdoor swimming spot.

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