What’s top of your list of things to do this summer when you’re away with the kids on vacation? Well, if you’re looking to spend a few days at places to stay in Rochester, NY (like the Rochester Riverside Hotel) then it may be basking in the sun and having fun in the sand on the Great Lake Ontario. This fabulous natural water feature of our region boasts 712 miles of shoreline – yep, it’s the fourth largest lake in the world. Moreover, there are four swimming-focused beaches with facilities that are family-friendly… and then some. And that’s to say nothing of the water parks in the area. So, what’s your pleasure…?
- Fairhaven Beach State Park – (Route 104A, Fair Haven, NY 13064) perhaps the finest ‘undiscovered’ beach in the area, this one’s to be found along the Seaway Trail, lying halfway between Rochester and Syracuse; offering towering bluffs in addition to its sandy beach, it’s a picturesque natural locale, all right, while canoes and paddleboats can be hired and snacks bought at the nearby Fly By Night Coffee Company joint
- Sodus Point Beach Park – (7985 Wickham Boulevard, Sodus Point, NY 14555) serving up sumptuous, sweeping views of Sodus Bay, this beach is one that’s particularly well-suited for young families, as it’s not too large, has a playground and all swimming by visitors is supervised; it also boasts a bathhouse, restrooms and a well-stocked snack bar and, it’s worth mentioning, you’ll find in the Sodus Point vicinity attractions like the interesting Lighthouse Museum and, in the summer months the Lighthouse Concert series of outdoors musical performances (Sunday afternoons)
- Ontario Beach Park – (4800 Lake Avenue Rochester, NY 14613) as much a family-friendly park attraction as a beach, this expansive space of attractions is packed full of not just a pristine, fine ‘swimming beach’ but also an excellent playground, large pavilions for group hire and the charming and historic Denzel carousel; all that said, because the quality of the water here varies, it’s best to contact the park to check whether the beach’ll be definitely open when you’re in town and plan to visit, but there’s often something going on (for instance, from every Wednesday evening from June right through to September, the place hosts a Concert by the Shore series – and you must try out one of the frozen custard treats across from the park at Abbot’s eatery)
- Hamlin Beach State Park – (1 Camp Road Hamlin, NY 14464) translucent water and wonderfully sandy beaches, as well as a playground and a plethora of picnic areas and camping spots is what Hamlin Beach State Park’s all about; in fact, it boasts more than 260 campsite spots (for tent and trailer), in addition to an environmental education center and biking/ hiking trails (a full 10 miles of them!).
But what if your young ones are that bit older – or if you’re a young one yourself, visiting the Rochester area with likeminded other young ’uns – what water-based attractions, more of the thrills and spills variety, can you pursue? Well, how about ‘wild water’ experiences courtesy of water parks. Don’t doubt it; Rochester has them in abundance.
For instance, Roseland Canandaigua’s Water Park (on Routes 5 & 20) serves up the likes of the ‘Mammoth Raft Ride’ and the surfing-a-tornado-like ‘Twister’, a pair of highlights that’ll do more than just get the heart racing!
Meanwhile, the Seabreeze water park features a wave pool, body slides, and inner-tube slides for the most daring. And wave pools are the order of the day – as well as rides as exotically and daringly named as the ‘Raging Seas’ and the ‘Grizzly Run’ – at Darien Lake, which you’ll find is sited a little to the south of the New York State Thruway that runs between Rochester and Buffalo.