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5 of Westchester’s Best Places for Outdoor Recreation

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Rendering courtesy of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office

Cuomo Bridge Bike-Walk Path

The new bridge is accompanied by an even newer 12’ wide, 3.6-mile bike-and-walking path that offers an utterly unique perspective on Westchester, Rockland, and the majestic Hudson River itself. There are six themed overlooks and two landings planned, with free parking available. The Westchester Landing, located at 333 S Broadway in Tarrytown, will have a side path along Route 9 that provides direct off-street access not only to historic Lyndhurst but also the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail and connectivity to the Empire State Trail. When all is said and done, the governor’s office says the shared path will be one of the longest of its kind in the nation (and certainly among the most beautiful!).
Rte 9 (Broadway) & I-287; www.newnybridge.com

Photo courtesy of Westchester County Parks

Kensico Dam

Three hundred feet high and 1,843 feet long, the dam was completed in 1915 and now sits proudly on the National Register of Historic Places. Kensico Dam also serves as the home of The Rising, a 80’ stainless-steel memorial to the victims of 9/11. The dam forms a magnificent backdrop for the park at its base, which includes paths and picnic areas, and is a favorite venue for individual and family health-and-exercise outings. It is also one of the most in-demand spots for the county’s most popular events of the year, including Winter Wonderland in December and Westchester Magazine’s Wine & Food Festival in June — to say nothing of numerous concerts, heritage celebrations, and other events that the dam draws every year.
1 Bronx River Pkwy; parks.westchestergov.com/kensico-dam-plaza

Photo courtesy of Spins Hudson

Spins Hudson

A joint venture between the Hudson Valley Hospitality Group and Spins Bowl, Spins Hudson brings an incredible 40,000 square feet of fun to the Charles Point Marina in Peekskill. In addition to a dizzying myriad of attractions — including a multilevel rope course, ziplines, balance beams, laser tag, bocce court, shuffleboard, and arcade games galore — there is also The Hudson Room performance venue, River Outpost eatery, Fin & Brew restaurant, and a Captain Lawrence Brewery satellite location. Those seeking more privacy can explore the 14,000 sq. ft. Factoria, directly above Spins Hudson. Factoria is an event space that can be booked for activities ranging from private parties to corporate team-building events.
5 John Walsh Blvd, Peekskill; www.spinshudson.com

Photo by Halina Weker

Playland

On the shores of the Long Island Sound sits a 280-acre Art Deco masterpiece launched in 1928. Rightly known as “America’s Premier Playground,” Playland is considered America’s first planned amusement park and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987. It boasts an exhilarating variety of attractions, from full-scale thrill rides — including the iconic Dragon Coaster and the ever-popular Kiddyland — to its timeless Ferris wheel. Playland also has a very famous boardwalk (made even more famous by the Tom Hanks’ film Big), ice rink, beach, pool and a recently upgraded adjacent children’s museum and wildlife sanctuary. Once again under county control, Playland added the first new ride in 11 years, the Dragonator, in 2019. The park is open from May to September; check out the calendar of events for fireworks, concerts, and more.
1 Playland Pkwy; www.ryeplayland.org

Photo by Jessica Norman

Untermyer Park & Gardens

Recently named the Number One tourist attraction in Westchester County by TripAdvisor, Untermyer Gardens offers so many reasons to spend time there. One of the top draws of these former gardens of lawyer/investor Samuel Untermyer remains the recently restored Temple of Love gazebo, with its wrought-iron dome and multiple waterfalls. Thanks to the Untermyer Gardens Conservancy and the City of Yonkers, the 43-acre park continues each year to near the apex of its original grandeur. Visitors can stroll through the Walled Garden (the annual Grand Holiday Illumination Opening Ceremony, in December, is a wintertime must-see), walk along the Carriage Trail and past the Rock Garden, en route to any of the park’s striking Hudson River vistas.
945 N Broadway; www.untermyergardens.org