Best Lakes Near NYC for Family Outings

family with toddlers at lake
Photo by Halfpoint/Shutterstock

While New York City has seemingly endless activities, it’s not exactly the best place to be when you want to spend time at the lake. Fortunately, you and your family don’t have to go far to discover some beautiful spots. Here are five lakes near the city that are ideal for a weekend trip.

1. Lake Wawayanda

Located in Hewitt, New Jersey, Lake Wawayanda is a beautiful destination only an hour out from Manhattan. It’s set in Wawayanda State Park, so you can also explore various hiking trails, some of which happen to be a part of the Appalachian Trail. Plus, your family can rent canoes and kayaks if you don’t want to swim all day. Keep in mind you’ll have to pay a fee per car.

2. Greenwood Lake

Greenwood Lake stretches across the northern New Jersey border, so you can make it there in about one hour. Though the lake itself boasts excellent spots to swim, lay out and boat, you should also make time for the local town, where you can find many stores and restaurants. It’s the perfect place to spend a sunny Saturday or Sunday away from the city.

3. Canopus Lake

Fahnestock State Park, located about an hour from New York City, offers Canopus Lake. Here, you’ll find an expansive beach area, as well as campgrounds and hiking trails. There are numerous hiking trails in the surrounding state park, too.

4. North-South Lake

If you want to take a trip further out from the city, you can always check out North-South Lake in Haines Falls. It’s a great spot for a weekend camping trip when you also want to beat the heat with some swimming. There are places to boat and fish, as well.

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5. Lake Minnewaska

Here’s another idyllic getaway spot located not too far from Poughkeepsie. It’s located in the Minnewaska State Park Preserve, which has 50 miles of walking trails you and your kids can traverse. There are two areas for swimming — and you can also check out Awosting Falls to take in a scenic waterfall.

6. Bantam Lake

The next time you and your family want to head over to Connecticut, you should check out Bantam Lake. It’s the state’s largest natural lake, so you’ll have access to two expansive beaches, including one with a boathouse. Bantam Lake is only two hours away from the city.

Items to Pack for a Great Trip

These lakes are all perfect day-trip destinations, so you won’t have to pack up your car unless you want to camp. Besides various yummy snacks and drinks to keep everyone happy on the way to and from the lake, you want to take a few more items to ensure a successful trip:

  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Beach towels
  • Bathing suits
  • Beach toys and tools
  • Fishing poles and bait
  • A cooler with water and other drinks
  • Beach chairs
  • A change of clothes

Have these items packed and ready to go for your lake outing.

Enjoy a Day Away at Lake With Your Family

New Yorkers have many wonderful lake destinations at their fingertips when they want to spend some time away from the city. Keep these suggestions in mind this summer. And don’t forget to pack a few essentials to make your trip as enjoyable as possible.


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Cora’s passion is to inspire others to live a happy, healthful, and mindful life through her words on Revivalist – wholeheartedly convincing them that everyday moments are worth celebrating. Cora has spent 5+ years writing for numerous lifestyle sites – hence her sincere love for both life and the beauty of style in all things. Keep up with Cora on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.

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