5 Standout Outdoor Destinations in Westchester County

Embrace the great outdoors in Westchester by taking a trip to Hammond Museum & Japanese Stroll Garden or Five Islands Park.

Hammond Museum & Japanese Stroll Garden

Founded in 1957 by author and artist Natalie Hays Hammond, this North Salem–based museum and garden offers a peaceful destination to experience a fusion of Eastern and Western cultures. Indulge in a bounty of sensory pleasures as you ramble down the tranquil paths. Centered around a pond, the lovely garden is filled with numerous rare Japanese plants and trees, and species native to Westchester. The art museum, which presents a changing roster of exhibitions, also provides innovative educational programs and classes. The site includes a traditional Japanese tearoom, which was imported from Kyoto and is used for tea ceremony events. The Hammond is open from April to November. 28 Deveau Rd, North Salem; hammondmuseum.org

Pruyn Sanctuary

Pruyn Sanctuary

This sanctuary, established through the generosity of Dr. F. Morgan and Agnes Pruyn, protects 92 acres of open space and offers over two miles of hiking trails. Journey through diverse habitats including a series of boardwalks that meander through Gedney Swamp, a state-designated wetland. Be sure to visit the butterfly and hummingbird garden and demonstration meadow garden, which features a bounty of plants that attract birds and other wildlife. With advanced notice, Pruyn Sanctuary may be able to provide groups with guided walks. 275 Millwood Rd, Chappaqua; sawmillriveraudubon.org/pruyn.html

Five Islands Park
Photo by Halina Weker

Five Islands Park

Engage in a game of Frisbee or let the sound of water lapping lull you into relaxation at this beachside park. An idyllic spot to take a nature walk, let the little ones run around in the play area, and have a picnic, Five Islands Park offers a host of amenities. Among them are barbecue pits, an outdoor amphitheater, fishing dock, and walking track. Stroll the pedestrian bridge, which links Little Harrison Island and Big Harrison Island with Oakwood Island. Celebrating a milestone? Open-air pavilions are available for rent. 99 Le Fevres Ln, New Rochelle; newrochelleny.com/Facilities/Facility/Details/10

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Croton Sailing School

Croton Sailing School

Beyond providing lessons for sailors of all ages and skill sets, Croton Sailing School offers rentals. When sailing out of Haverstraw Bay, take in the expansive views as you cruise past the scenic, soaring cliffs of the Palisades Parklands and part of the Hudson Highlands. Private lessons and navigation courses are available. Hooked? Enroll in the Croton Sailing Club to indulge in the sailor’s lifestyle without the hassle of boat ownership. Adventures also abound for non-sailors. Captained charter cruises welcome a maximum of six people on board. 2 Elliott Way, Croton-on-Hudson; crotonsailing.com

The Cuomo Bridge Path

The Cuomo Bridge Path

Offering a three-mile, twin-span crossway, the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge connects Rockland and Westchester counties. Runners, bikers, and walkers are invited to enjoy the 12-foot-wide, shared-use path. Located on the northern side of the westbound span, the 3.6-mile path has six scenic overlooks, public art installations, and interpretive displays. The bridge path also offers panoramic views of Westchester, Rockland, and the mighty Hudson River. Rte 9 (Broadway) & I-87/287; mariomcuomobridge.ny.gov

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