The Hudson—it’s an automatic draw for visitors to most of these parks. Whether you’re down in Yonkers or up in Peekskill, the Hudson’s status as the ultimate scenic backdrop for recreation is a countywide truth that can’t be (and isn’t) ignored.
*Unless otherwise noted, parks websites are accessible via parks.westchestergov.com
Atlantic Kayak Tours
The Annsville Creek Paddlesport Center is situated on a three-acre section of Hudson Highlands State Park, just south of the Bear Mountain Bridge. Rent kayaks or canoes by the hour or for a full day for a self-propelled excursion on Annsville Creek (a small body of water between Route 6 and the Metro-North Railroad tracks), or, if you’re feeling adventurous, out onto the Hudson River.
1 Annsville Cir, Cortlandt Manor (914) 739-2588; www.atlantickayaktours.com
Croton Gorge Park
Enjoy Croton Gorge from below, where you can picnic, fish, or sled, and marvel at the New Croton Dam’s majestic, 200-foot-tall spillway. Or, enjoy it from atop the dam itself, where 34 billion gallons of water sit to your north, with the park to your south. Either way, it’s a sight you shouldn’t miss.
Rte 129, Cortlandt Manor (914) 827-9568
Croton Point Park
Surrounded by water on three sides, Croton Point juts out into the Hudson’s widest span, making it an ideal spot for riverside picnicking, camping, soccer playing, and dog walking. There’s a beach for swimming, plus a nature center, two playgrounds, and great fishing spots.
1A Croton Point Ave, Croton-on-Hudson (914) 862-5290
The Croton Sailing School teaches adults and kids (9-15) alike.
Croton Sailing School
With our miles and miles of riverfront, why not learn to sail? Croton Sailing offers lessons for all skill levels. Adults can register for lessons, while kids ages 9 to 15 can do the same or enroll in EAST Sailing Academy, the school’s summer camp.
2 Elliot Way, Croton-on-Hudson (914) 271-6868; www.crotonsailing.com
George’s Island Park
Nestled in Montrose-on-the-Hudson, George’s Island comprises 208 acres of pristine waterfront grass and woodlands, dotted with covered pavilions for out-of-the-sun picnicking and group events, plus grills, picnic tables galore, and trails. Also popular for boat launching and bald-eagle watching (in winter).
199 Dutch St, Montrose (914) 737-7530
Hillside Park and Hillside Woods
Predominantly a wooded area, Hillside sits west of the Saw Mill River Parkway and slopes toward the Hudson, offering a pool, tennis courts, a children’s village, a baseball field, and a number of walking and hiking trails.
Farlane Dr and Hillside Ave, Hastings-on-Hudson (914) 478-2380
Kingsland Point Park
Just north of the Tappan Zee Bridge, and home of the historic Tarrytown Lighthouse, Kingsland is one of Westchester’s oldest (established in 1926) and most scenic parks. There’s a waterside walkway to soak in the views, picnic tables and benches to do the same, and plenty of open space (plus a baseball field) for whatever activity happens to be on your (or your kids’) agenda.
299 Palmer Ave, Sleepy Hollow (914) 366-5109
Butterfly and hummingbird gardens are just two draws at the Yonkers’ Lenoir Preserve.
This nature preserve situated between Route 9 and the Hudson River in Yonkers, offers 40 acres of biodiversity. It is home to a number of tree species imported from around the world, including copper beeches from Europe, ginkgo trees from Asia, and Douglas firs from the Pacific Northwest. A butterfly and hummingbird garden is popular in summer, while birdwatching is the main draw in fall and spring for the hawk migration.
19 Dudley St, Yonkers (914) 968-5851
Riverfront Green Park
A covered pavilion, small dock, boat launch, and large playground make up this popular-with-kids Peekskill hangout, which sits a stone’s throw from the Peekskill Metro-North station and walking distance from restaurants. It’s also a go-to spot for city events: The park’s calendar (worth a peek) features events like the annual Fourth of July Concert and Fireworks Display.
50 Hudson Ave, Peekskill (914) 734-7275; www.cityofpeekskill.com
More than 30 miles of the planned 50+-mile walk are open, but, once complete, you’ll be able to make your way up the county’s entire riverfront along one quasi-unified path. The Croton-on-Hudson and Tarrytown portions in particular are teeming with bikers and walkers, and we expect no less from the coming Dobbs Ferry portion, currently under construction.
Multiple locations (914) 231-4500
Teatown Lake Reservation
Teatown is known in Northern Westchester and beyond for its environmental education program, 15 miles of all-season trails, and 1,000-acre reserve spanning three towns. Plus, there’s the Hudson River Eagle Fest and Wildflower Island, a two-acre wildflower sanctuary.
1600 Spring Valley Rd, Ossining (914) 762-2912; www.teatown.org
Tibbetts Brook Park
Tibbetts Brook resembles a bona fide water park more than it does something built and operated by the county. Westchester’s first large-scale recreational development, it features a spray playground, a lazy river, water slides, in-pool basketball and volleyball, and lap lanes. Perfect for families and kids during summertime.
355 Midland Ave, Yonkers (914) 231-2865
The former gardens of lawyer and investor Samuel Untermeyer are being restored by a nonprofit, the Untermeyer Gardens Conservancy, along with the City of Yonkers, to reflect their early 20th-century glory. Stroll through the Walled Garden, an exercise in symmetry, or head to one of the parks’ striking Hudson River vistas.
945 N Broadway, Yonkers (914) 512-4818; www.untermyergardens.org