TRAVEL 2023 – What’s better than a cool place to cool off during the hot summer months?
Here are 10 of our favorite swimming holes, pools and water parks, all within a two-hour drive of the immediate Capital Region.
Recreation opportunities abound at Mine Kill State Park in the Schoharie County hamlet of North Blenheim. There’s fishing, disc golf, boating, a trail system that leads to the 80-foot Mine Kill Falls and a terrific swimming area that includes an Olympic-size pool, wading pool and diving pool. You can warm up with a hike or paddle and cool off with a refreshing dip.
Located on a forested plateau, Grafton Lakes State Park in Rensselaer County is home to a large, sandy beach. Swimmers can bask in the sun or retreat to the picnic tables in the shady woods. The 2,500-acre park has six ponds, 25 miles of trails and a welcome center with an outdoor play area, exhibitions and live animals.
Enchanted Forest Water Safari in Herkimer County is the largest water theme park in New York with more than 50 rides and attractions, including 30-plus water rides. The park has the added advantage of being located in the Adirondacks, in the hamlet of Old Forge. When you’ve had your fill of waterslides and tubing, you can explore this charming and vibrant mountain community.
Eight miles from the village of Cooperstown, Glimmerglass State Park overlooks Otsego Lake, the “glimmerglass” of James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking tales. In addition to swimming at the park’s sandy beach, visitors can tour Hyde Hall, a historic, 50-room country house, go boating or fishing, and hike one of the five trails on the property.
Swimming in Great Sacandaga Lake, a pristine reservoir that at 29 miles long ranks as one of the largest lakes in the Adirondack Park, is a real treat.
One of the most popular places to do it is the beach at Northampton Beach Campground and Day Use Area in Mayfield, located on the lake’s northwest corner in Fulton County. Whether you camp overnight or visit for the day, you’ll find the rustic waterfront setting refreshing.
Saratoga Spa State Park has two delightful pools for those looking to beat the heat. The Peerless Pool complex has three different bathing areas: a football-field-sized main pool with zero-depth entry; a children’s wading pool with a mushroom fountain; and a 19-foot double water slide. The first heated pool in the U.S. when it opened in 1935, Victoria Pool is smaller but architecturally impressive, with classic brick structures graced by arched colonnades, a limestone deck and lion water spouts.
The Green Mountain State is home to one of the more impressive swimming holes: the Dorset Quarry. Once a regional secret, the Vermont quarry was named one of 12 top-secret swimming holes by USA Today in 2013, and swimmers from all over plunge into the massive, 60-foot-deep swimming hole every summer. The water is cold, but visitors can sunbathe and relax in a beautiful natural setting, which includes large slabs of marble lining the edges of the quarry.
The village of Sylvan Beach on the eastern shore of Oneida Lake is a lively resort community with a thriving nightlife. There’s a beach, marina, camping facilities, a wide variety of restaurants and shops, and an amusement park with classic rides such as bumper cars and Tilt-A-Whirl.
Moreau Lake State Park in Saratoga County is a woodsy and scenic place to swim. Hardwood forests and rocky ridges surround the large, sandy beach, and there are lots of trails to explore. Rowboats, kayaks and paddle boards are available to rent from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Located within Thacher State Park in Albany County, the beach at Thompson’s Lake Campground is the perfect place to unwind with a swim after hiking along the Helderberg Escarpment, picnicking and playing games with friends or completing the park’s adventure course, WildPlay.
The beach is small but offers some majestic views. Keen-eyed swimmers should keep their eyes open for Bald Eagles and other wildlife. Kayaks, canoes and paddle boards can be rented at the campground.
Travel 2023: Off the beaten path; 16 ideas and more for summer getaways (16 articles)
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Categories: Life and Arts, Life and Arts, Travel 2023