In the swim of things: Get your fill of sun and sand at local beaches

Swimming is one of the quintessential pleasures of summer. And while it’s true that we don’t have an ocean, we do have plenty of one-of-a-kind lake and river beaches. There are four sandy beaches — all with public access, lifeguards, and a host of other amenities — on the Hudson River: two in Saugerties (one is actually on the Esopus Creek), and one each in Kingston and Croton-on-Hudson. Our favorite lake beaches include:

The Beach at Belleayre Mountain 
Highmount; 845-254-5600

Opening Memorial Day weekend, this sandy-shored beach on Pine Hill Lake offers a bevy of recreational activities besides swimming, including horseshoe pits, boat rentals (rowboats, pedal boats, and kayaks), and volleyball and basketball courts. Walk-ins $2, $10 per car for the day; $65 per car for a season’s pass.

Clarence Fahnestock State Park 
Carmel; 845-225-7207

Surrounded by picnic tables and an extensive snack shop, the wide, sandy beach at Canopus Lake remains a favorite for families with young children. Fishing and rowboat rentals are available, and the park has several miles of hiking trails. $7 per car.

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Thomas P. Morahan Waterfront Park 
Greenwood Lake; 845-986-1124

Picnic areas, volleyball nets, a play area for children, a sandy beach and, of course, swimming in the seven-mile-long lake that straddles the New Jersey/New York border — are all available at this park. $10; $4 for residents and their guests.

Lake Welch Beach at Harriman State Park 
Stony Point; 845-947-2444

Harriman has two public beaches — plus more than 30 lakes and reservoirs, two camping areas, and 200 miles of scenic hiking trails. Birdwatchers take note: The park is home to a bird conservation area with frequent sightings of rare species like the Cerulean Warbler, the Osprey, and the Bald Eagle. $8 per car.

  • For more Hudson Valley beaches and swimming holes, click here

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