Beachy Keen: Soaking Up Sun

Scene of Sodus Point Beach. Photo by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Scene of Sodus Point Beach. Photo by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Upstate New York has many sandy beaches ready open to the public

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Pack up your beachball, blanket, sunscreen, pail and shovel for a day at one of New York’s sandy beaches.

In Clayton, Cedar Point State Park ( and Grindstone Island Preserves’ Potters Beach offer sandy beaches. Cedar Point is a good choice for families that want to do a lot of different things, including fishing, picnicking, boating, swimming and camping. At Grindstone, the public beach is one of Thousand Islands’ only sandy beaches. The area is managed by the Thousand Islands Land Trust.

Hugging Lake Ontario, Pulaski’s Sandy Island Beach State Park ( is the largest freshwater dune in the Northeast. Relax on the shore, take a swim or fish. Shelters are available to rent.

In Fineview, Wellesley Island State Park ( has a pavilion to rent by the day, making it a great venue to reserve for an event. In addition to the beach, the park offers grills, picnicking facilities, hiking trails, camping, fishing and a nature center.

Plattsburgh offers Plattsburgh City Beach ( provides restrooms and the Cabana Beach Bar. Grills and picnic tables are also available.

In Romulus, Sampson State Park ( offers copious activities on the edge of Seneca Lake, including camping, boating, tennis, horseshoes, basketball, volleyball, playgrounds, fishing and hiking/biking trail. Bring food to grill. Or, if you want a break from cooking, pick up a meal in Ovid, about a 10-minute drive away.

Rome’s Delta Lake State Park ( provides picnic areas, hiking trails, boat launches, fishing, campsites and small playground. The picnic pavilions and tents are available to rent by reservation. An all-terrain wheelchair is available for use on the trails and beach.

In Sackets Harbor, play the day away at Westcott Beach State Park ( The park includes a playground and facilities for fishing, picnicking, hiking, and camping, and fishing, all with a great view from the bluff. Pavilions are available by reservation.

Redwood’s Kring Point State Park ( forms a peninsula overlooking Goose Gay and the St. Lawrence River. The park includes campsites, boating, playground, and picnic sites with grills. A pavilion is available to rent.

Sodus Point Beach Park (, on Lake Ontario offers a bathhouse, concession stand, outdoor shower, playground and picnic pavilion. Take time to stroll down the pier to see the lighthouse. Just down the street, take time to explore the Sodus Lighthouse Museum (, which permits guests to take in the view from the top of its lighthouse-turned-museum.

Fair Haven State Park ( lies tucked under huge shoreline bluffs. The popular beach spot provides 1,500 feet of beach area, tree shaded picnic tables and several pavilions/tents to rent.

In Pulaski


Use these beach tips for a great day:

  • Only swim when a lifeguard is on duty.
  • Pay attention to signs stating trails or the beach is closed.
  • Check the venue’s social media page or website to ensure it is open and to verify policies such as parking and use fees, campfires, and pet admission.
  • Keep an eye on your children, even if they are good swimmers.
  • Do not leave trash or belongings behind.
  • Bring along plenty to drink and snacks.
  • Protect yourself from the sun with a shade, large hat, sunscreen and SPF rated swimwear.
  • Consider purchasing an Empire Pass ( for unlimited, season-long access to all New York State Parks. Your local library may also lend an Empire Pass for a week’s use.

Photo: Scene of Sodus Point Beach. Photo by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant