During the summer in New York City, it's almost always a struggle to find a beach that suits my tastes. As a Northeast Floridian, I'm very picky about my beaches: I like them to be free access, with very few people, and be able to walk in the sand barefoot without the fear of stepping on a syringe (ahem, Coney Island, I'm looking at you). Generally I travel out to Rockaway - mainly for the infamous Rockaway Taco stand - but also because it's fairly accessible to me from the Brooklyn trains. This time around, I wanted to try something different to see if I could find a beach a bit more secluded, and a bit more barefoot-friendly.
I discovered Croton Point Park from a fashion roundup for weekend getaways from the city (can you see why I was reading it?). As I clicked through and read more, as inquisitive as I am about day travel to and from Manhattan, I was pleased to find out that this park, which is situated on 508 acres across a peninsula on the east shore of the Hudson River, is actually only an hour out of the city and within walking distance of the train. Eliminating the need for upstate taxi services (which I hate), I was instantly on-board when I read that they not only have swimming in the river, but also kayaking, hiking around the point, and an abundance of picnic areas. So many wondrous options!
The park is gorgeous, with a lovely little beachy bay cove that has sand, while a bit rough, was clean enough to walk on with summertime bare feet without any worries. The river was a great swim (a bit chilly, but not too chilly), and then we walked along the rockier side of the bay out to the point. The green, rolling hills that surround the park are reminiscent of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina (where I left my heart so many years ago), so I inherently felt at home. The bay also hosted a number of speed boats, sailboats, motor boats, jet skis, and kayaks, which - of course - made me nostalgic about our recent Maine trip. Overall? Well worth the hour voyage from Grand Central, and a definite win for the day-trip warriors.
Read more about the park here - they also have wine cellars!