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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.

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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