Local Lakes, Beaches, and Swimming Holes: Where to Swim on a Hot Summer Day in the Hudson Valley

Tired of hanging out in front of the AC on hot summer days? Here’s a list of our favorite lakes, beaches, and swimming holes



This weekend was hot with a capital H. We asked for it, right? Yesterday Coraline and I went for a swim in Sepasco Lake, which is right outside Rhinebeck. After doing an indecisive dance on the dock  for 10 minutes I finally dove in, only to quickly scramble for a float so as not to make contact with any seaweed and also to avoid being eaten by any sea creatures (which I irrationally suspect dwell in the center of the lake). Coraline watched all of this from her perch on the dock’s seaweed-covered ladder, her legs practically hanging underneath the dock where smaller sea creatures may or may not live. “Mama, what’s a sea creature?” she asked. “It’s a creature that lives in the sea, like an octopus or a squid or a whale.” She looked at me quizzically and then dropped some knowledge: “But Mama, this is a lake.” Translation: Mama, you’re a giant wuss. She’s smart.

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Last year we joined a town pool, but this year finances are more than a little tight, so I’m going to have to figure out another way to get in our summer swimming. At the lake, I was reminded of how many amazing non-chlorinated places there are to swim in the Valley, and my persistent distrust of bodies of water where you can’t see the bottom inspires me to get Coraline in as many of them as possible (so that she doesn’t grow up to be a wuss like me). If you’re looking for a cheaper way to swim this summer, or just prefer lakes to pools, here’s a list of various places across the Valley with (legal) public access. 

Dutchess County
Wilcox Memorial State Park
, Milan
Town of Washington Town Park
, Millbrook
Beacon River Pool
, Beacon 

Columbia County
Lake Taghkanic State Park
, Ancram 

Orange County
Lake Welch, Lake Sebago, and Lake Tiorati at Harriman State Park

Bear Mountain State Park

Ulster County
Belleayre Beach at Pine Hill Lake
, Belleayre
Kingston Point Beach, Kingston
Lake Minnewaska and Lake Awosting
, New Paltz

Happy swimming!

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One mom's plan to raise a kid — without raising greenhouse gases

About This Blog

Shannon Gallagher

Shannon Gallagher
Rhinebeck, NY


Dutchess County native Shannon Gallagher is a contributing editor for Hudson Valley Magazine. An erstwhile thrill-seeker, these days she courts disaster of a different variety wrangling a spirited toddler, honing her vegan baking skills, and chasing the ever-elusive work-family balance. She teaches Pilates and does fascial bodywork, and lives in Rhinebeck with Coraline, a cat named Otie, and Sushi the Fish (named, of course, by the toddler).

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