A pilgrimage to Rye Playland is a rite of passage for Westchesterites, but for a change of pace, there are a handful of drive-worthy rides and attractions just a stone’s throw away.
North America’s oldest continuously operating amusement park is celebrating 175 years this summer with all its scream-inducing thrill rides (attempt the wooden Boulder Dash coaster or the Storm Surge lighthouse slide, if you dare), classic kiddie rides, and heat-quenching water slides and rides.
On days when the UV index is too much for even the beach or pool, or when rain is in the forecast, this vast indoor water park (open year-round) is your best bet for one-upping Mother Nature and raising the mood. Twisty pool slides, an indoor river, a ropes course, zipline, and laser tag will wear out the kiddos for the ride home. An outdoor hot tub may put the grown-ups into nap mode, too, so think about a suite in the 324-room lodge.
“Everything is awesome” (mainly for kids 2 to 12) at this park, open for its first full season with a bounty of brick-themed kiddie rides, kid-powered vehicles, LEGO-centric movies, and endless opportunities to create, build, learn, and play. The seven themed areas — Brick Street, Bricktopia, Lego City, Lego Castle, Lego Ninjago World, Miniland, and Pirateland — are surefire imagination starters.
The county’s pride and joy, Playland has been delighting families since 1928 with rides and carnival games galore. Famous for its riproarin’ Dragon Coaster, towering Ferris wheel, old-timey kiddie rides, and sweet Sound Shore breezes, the iconic park is also home to the newly restored carousel and derby racer — both on the National Register of Historic Places. New management, planned upgrades, and new rides (hush-hush at press time) augur an unprecedented experience at this county touchstone.
You’d have to be living under a rock to be unaware of all that the beaches of Playland and Glen Island have to offer, but depending on where you live, they may not be your go-to spot for cooling down and soaking up some rays. Consider these geographically diverse beaches for your next sandy-toe day.
Lower Westchester sun worshippers who long to dip their toes in the cool waters of the Hudson should check out this oasis-like 508-acre park, where the sandy beach is complete with watchful lifeguards and tranquil river scenes.
New Rochelle; newrochelleny.com
North-county beachgoers curious about the shores of Long Island Sound ought to consider this lesser known sandy spot for swimming, sunbathing, or unleashing their inner child on the grassy recreation area and playground.