Nothing signals that summer has arrived quite like a sandy beach and the opportunity to do some swimming. Luckily, you don’t have to go all the way to the ocean; the Valley is full of lake and river beaches, as well as public pools, where the whole family can have fun in the sun (with sunscreen, of course). It may be worth your while to get a single-year Empire Pass, which provides access to all New York State parks for one year for $80.
This state-run ski resort transforms into a happening hot spot come summertime. In addition to swimming and sunning, pedal boats, rowboats, and kayaks are available for hourly rentals, and there are designated areas for fishing, volleyball, horseshoes, and basketball. Swimmers can make use of the diving dock and deep water lap lane, while adventurers will love the climbing wall and stand up paddle board rentals.
Swim and sunbathe at the Thomas P. Morahan Waterfront Park. Athletes can play a vigorous game of volleyball before ending the day with a relaxing picnic.
Greenwood Lake. 845.986.1124
Nestled alongside 16 miles of the Taconic Mountains in northeastern Dutchess County, this state park offers swimming at 64-acre Rudd Pond, where you can also rent canoes and rowboats. The pond has 15 tent sites and 26 tent platform sites for visitors who want to make a weekend of it.
Copake Falls. 518.329.3993
Set sail on one of the two small lakes at Wilcox Park. With paddleboats and rowboats available to rent, swimming areas, four covered pavilions, and a 27-site family campground, guests can spend an action-packed day at the park.
Home to Canopus Lake and many scenic ridges, this park offers a sandy beach and picnic area. Outdoorsy visitors work up a sweat with a hike before boating, fishing, or swimming to cool down. And if hunger strikes, the snack bar is fully stocked.
With two beaches to choose from, swimmers at Lake Taghkanic have no trouble finding a spot on the sand. Rent a rowboat, paddleboat, or kayak; a newly renovated recreation hall, snack bar, and playground are also available.
Larger than an Olympic-sized facility, the pool next to Rockland Lake opens Memorial Day weekend. With a boat launch and fishing available on the lake, a paved 3.2 mile trail, six tennis courts, two 18-hole golf courses, and a concession stand, there’s plenty to amuse your family.
Valley Cottage. 845-268-3020
With two sand beaches and 31 reservoirs and lakes, visitors of New York State’s second-largest park have plenty to explore. Guests can work up a sweat on the 200 miles of hiking trails, or opt to go boating or fishing. Camping is also available. Swimming is available at Lake Tiorati’s sandy beach.