By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
You do not have to travel far to enjoy a relaxing beach day of swimming, sunning (with sunscreen) and enjoying the company of friends and family. Dig your toes in to the sand at these Upstate beaches and the dozens more dotting the state.
It offers eight beach fronts to entice beach bums. The Million Dollar Beach offers picnicking, grills, swimming, volleyball court, bathhouse and a small boat launch. Shepard Park Beach neighbors restaurants and shops in town and provides a small playground and amphitheater. Usher park is a small beach park with a shallow swimming area and a playground — perfect for families with smaller children. The park also offers basketball and tennis courts and picnic area with grills.
A fun little beach town, Sylvan Beach, on Oneida Lake, offers an amusement park, small shops and restaurants, and nearby attractions like Rickey Discovery Zoo in Rome.
Sandy Island Beach State Park.
It offers 17 miles of lakefront sand for lounging, playing and swimming. A community room and a pavilion are available for rent with a reservation.
Selkirk Shores State Park.
It provides not only lakeshore, but cabins and campsites in the nearby woods for a tranquil getaway. Though swimming is not permitted, it is at the nearby Sandy Island Beach State Park.
It features plenty to do beyond lying on Oneida Lake’s beach, with volleyball courts, fishing, boat launches, camping, playground and picnic shelters (reservations recommended).
Green Lakes State Park.
It boasts sandy beaches, beach/all-terrain wheelchair for the beach and hiking trails (first come, first served), bird conservation area, playground, pavilions for rent and an 18-hole golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones.
Sodus Point Beach Park, Sodus Point.
Enjoy the roll of Lake Ontario’s waves with plenty of sandy lakefront, along with a walk on the lighthouse pier (many use this as a fishing spot), playground, views of Chimney Bluffs, snack shop and bathhouse. While in the area, stop at Chimney Bluffs for a hike along the lake and visit the Sodus Bay Lighthouse Museum
Woodlawn Beach State Park, Hamburg.
It provides a mile of sandy beach and natural sand dunes along Lake Erie, along with natural sand dunes. Enjoy a picnic, beach volleyball, hiking the nature trails and the playground right on the beach. The park also offers a nature center and bathhouse.
Southwick Beach State Park, Henderson.
In addition to offering camping, playing fields and hiking and trails in the Lakeview Wildlife Management area, Southwick provides a long stretch of sandy beach along Lake Ontario.
Wellesley Island State Park.
It represents a great beach vacation spot. With its 432 campsites and cabins, picnicking, grills, fishing, arcade, marina, playgrounds, playing fields, nine-hole golf course and Minna Anthony Common Nature Center, visitors have plenty to do in addition to beach lounging and swimming.
Hungry for More?
For information on more New York state beaches, visit www.iloveny.com/things-to-do/outdoor-adventures/beaches. Before you head out, visit the website or social media page of a location you plan to visit to ensure the amenities you want are available. Water condition may close the beach area, for example. Capacity may be limited to ensure social distancing. Some parks provide lifeguards only during certain hours and close for swimming when lifeguards are not present. A nominal fee is charged for parking and for some activities at most beaches.
To save on parking/admission at New York state parks, consider purchasing an Empire Pass, which offers yearlong admission to all the state’s parks for $80 (one year), $205 (two years), $320 (five years) or $750 (lifetime). The pass is transferrable among household members and because it is not a vehicle tag, it may be used with any vehicle. Cards are renewable, so previous card holders should keep their cards. Some libraries offer free use of an Empire Pass by library patrons. Some amenities at parks are not part of the Empire Pass.
Photo: Sodus Point Beach Park in Sodus Point features a sandy lakefront, along with a walk on the lighthouse pier.