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5 Standout Outdoor Destinations in Westchester County


Ready to explore the great outdoors? Head to these parks, gardens, and preserves in Westchester for a breath of fresh air.

Some of the destinations on this list may have been temporarily closed, completely or partially, to the public as a result of the pandemic, which may have also affected days and/or hours of operation. Check with venue directly for the most up-to-date information.

Croton Gorge Park

Located at the base of the Croton Dam is 97 acres of green space, which is ideal for picnicking, hiking, fishing, and other outdoor pursuits. During the wintertime, the park is a top spot for sports such as cross-country skiing and sledding. Every season ensures stunning vistas of the dam and its dramatic 200-foot spillway of cascading waters. The Croton Reservoir has a capacity of approximately 34 billion gallons of water and has a watershed that spans 177 square miles. Croton Gorge Park also offers direct trail access to New York State’s Old Croton Aqueduct, which was completed in 1842 and initially built to meet the water needs of New York City’s growing population.
Rte. 129, 35 Yorktown Rd, Cortlandt; www.parks.westchestergov.com/croton-gorge-park

Photo by Andre Baranowki

Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Gardens at PepsiCo Headquarters

The artistically inspired grounds at PepsiCo Headquarters were envisioned by Donald M. Kendall, the former chairman of the board and CEO of PepsiCo. Landscape architect Russell Page transformed the corporate grounds into a botanical paradise in which the artwork and gardens coexist harmoniously within the landscape. The sculpture collection, which was established in 1965, contains works by acclaimed 20th-century artists.
700 Anderson Hill Rd, Purchase; www.pepsico.com/sculpture-gardens

Photo by Molly Leibel

The Path on the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge

A three-mile, twin-span crossway, the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge connects Rockland and Westchester counties. Crossing one of the widest parts of the Hudson River, it’s regarded as the longest bridge in New York State. Runners, bikers, and walkers are invited to enjoy the 12-foot-wide, shared-use path, which claims to be the longest of its kind in the entire nation. Located on the northern side of the westbound span, The Path boasts six scenic overlooks, interpretive displays, and public artwork created by New York talents. The recently opened path offers panoramic vistas of Westchester, Rockland, and the majestic river. It’s also ideal for strollers who yearn to revel in its picturesque views.
Rte 9 (Broadway) & I-287, Tarrytown; www.mariomcuomobridge.ny.gov

Photo courtesy of Westchester Parks

Lasdon Park & Arboretum & Veterans Memorial

Recently billed as “Westchester Public Garden,” Nature enthusiasts will be enticed by an array of offerings here. Beyond the 30-acre arboretum, which features woodlands and open grass meadows, are lush gardens brimming with trees, colorful blooms, and shrubs. Cardinals, bluebirds, and woodpeckers are often spotted here. Lasdon Park is also home to rare American chestnut trees, one of the largest lilac collections in the county, and a memorial that honors William and Mildred Lasdon. A Chinese Friendship Pavilion and Cultural Garden on the grounds symbolize the bond between Westchester County and its sister city, Jingzhou, China. History buffs can visit the Westchester County Veterans Museum and Memorial, which is dedicated to all of the county’s military members who served from the time of the American Revolution through Desert Storm.
2610 Amawalk Rd, Rte 35, Katonah; www.lasdonpark.org

Photo courtesy of New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation

Rockefeller State Park Preserve

This scenic Preserve area sits on property that was once home to the Pocantico Hills and Rockwood Hall estates of the John D. Rockefeller family and William Rockefeller. Its 45 miles of carriage roads are suitable for walking, jogging, and carriage driving. Find your Zen as you meander through forested hills, valleys, and pastoral fields. Visit Swan Lake and the Pocantico River, which is dotted with bridges and gurgling streams. For a glimpse of the Hudson and Palisade Cliffs, retreat to Rockwood Hall. Featuring hardwood forest, oak, tulip poplar, maple, and beech trees, the park supports a diversity of mammals, insects, amphibians, and birds. In fact, the National Audubon Society designated it an Important Bird Area.
125 Phelps Way, Pleasantville; www.parks.ny.gov/PARKS/59

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