Get the Skinny on New York's Best Dips
Get yourself to any of these locations and come back once the sun has backed off enough to enjoy the cool air of the city’s beautiful summer nights.
We love New York City, but in the summer, its concrete walls don’t exactly help keep you cool. Luckily, there are several strategies for escaping the heat and one of the best is an old-fashioned day trip. If you can rent a car or have access to public transportation, get yourself to any of these locations and come back to our beloved city once the sun has backed off enough to enjoy the cool air of NYC’s beautiful summer nights.
Peekamoose Blue Hole
This is a picturesque swimming hole surrounded by lush forest with plenty of large, sturdy rocks perfect to post up on. The water is typically very cold making this ideal for the hottest of hot summer days. Due to the abundance of people that flock here, you’ll need to get a permit in order to swim on the weekends or holidays. On the weekdays, the scene is much more mellow and you can enjoy Peekamoose’s bright blue water with a little more serenity.
Directions: Peekamoose Blue Hole, Peekamoose Road, Denning, NY 12740. Go NY-17 W. To Heiden-Thompsonville Rd. Take exit 107 towards NY-42 to Peekamoose Rd.
Kaaterskill is typically known for “Kaaterskill Falls,” one of America’s oldest tourist attractions and New York’s tallest two-stage waterfall. You can swim at Kaaterskill Falls but just a few miles away, you’ll find a swimming spot at Kaaterskill Creek which is appropriately accompanied by its own waterfall and offers a well of water complete with natural slides and rock ledges large enough to jump from.
Directions: To access the 26-mile-long creek, find parking along Route 23A and look for a sign leading directly to a swimming hole rather than to the falls themselves.
The beaches surrounding the city can be quite crowded but fortunately, Fort Tilden is a bit more on the mellow side. If you happen to have a fishing permit, you can park close to the beach. Otherwise, you must park on the main road and walk down a long path to the beach, which goes through a large field. The beach is sandy and easy on the toes with water ideal for swimming. Topless sunbathing is common here as the beach is far less populated than Rockaway or Jacob Riis. Fort Tilden is an important nesting site for the piping plover bird so be mindful of the areas fenced off for this threatened species.
Directions: 169 Breezy Point Blvd, Breezy Point, NY 11697. Park on the main road and follow the signs toward the beach, walk through the large fields until you arrive at the beach area.
If you don’t have access to a car, take the 2 or 5 train to Flatbush Avenue-Brooklyn College and get on a Q35 bus at Ave H and Flatbush. Get off at Rockaway Point Boulevard/Beach 169th Street and walk to the beach from there. There are also shuttle options to Fort Tilden via Alexis Van Lines and OvR Ride.
Pine Meadow Lake
Harriman State Park boasts thousands of trails and lakes but Pine Meadow Lake (pictured above) is a standout. The lake is huge and clean with sparkling blue water. Because this lake is fed by a spring, the water is crystal clear. Many large rocks perfect for lounging or cliff-jumping surround the water. And if you’re feeling up for a hike, the trail around the area offers beautiful scenery as well as abandoned houses and an old cemetery.
Directions: From Penn station get the Northeast Corridor train #7837. Transfer in Secaucus. Arrive at Sloatsburg and go to the Reeves Meadow Information Center—the walk is about 45-60 minutes to the Pine Meadow Lake.
On the border of NY and Massachusetts, you’ll find Bash Bish Falls—the highest waterfall in Massachusetts. You can either reach the falls by entering through the NYC side or the Massachusetts side. The NYC side is flatter and easier hiking (if a bit longer) while the Massachusetts side is a bit more strenuous and may be best suited for more experienced hikers. Both hikes offer gorgeous views of the surrounding forest and once you approach the falls, you’ll find a rather beautiful swimming hole at the very bottom. Because of the strength of the falls, you’ll need to exercise some caution when swimming in this watering hole: be sure not to approach from the top and only to swim at the bottom of the waterfall and be extra careful when navigating some of the currents brought on by the falls.
Greenwich Point Park
Known as Tod’s Point to the locals, Greenwich Point Park features a beach known as the region’s best. The beach itself is a long stretch of sand perfect for sunbathing or swimming. But be sure to explore the rest of the beautiful park. At the westernmost edge, you’ll find views of the NYC skyline. And if you choose to go hiking, there is plenty of wildlife including deer, rabbits and squirrels. Opportunities for boating and fishing abound as well as plenty of trails for biking or jogging.
Directions: From I95, take exit 5. After a right on East Putnam Avenue and a right on Sound Beach Avenue, you’ll take a right onto Shore Road which will change into Tod’s Driftway and take you directly to the park.
Special Mention: Oyster Bay
There are 18 villages and 18 hamlets within Oyster Bay, Long Island with many opportunities for swimming. Theodore Roosevelt Beach, Centre Island Beach, Tobay Beach, and Ransom Beach can all be found in Oyster Bay among others. Jones Beach neighbors Tobay Beach and is a great option, as well.
WORDS Hillary Sproul