Explore Westchester’s Outdoor Recreation Destinations by Town

Westchester County is a dream for anyone who wants to explore the great outdoors, thanks to its numerous parks and preserves.

The county boasts 104,000 acres of outdoor space plus 18,000 acres of parkland, so you’ll find manicured playgrounds and challenging hikes alike.

Bedford

Mianus River Gorge Preserve

A variety of animals, plants, and fungi can be found at this rich wildlife and botanical preserve. Several miles of trails enable people of all ages and fitness levels to experience this nature hotspot by strolling, walking, or jogging. With a mission to protect local species, dogs, bicycles, and motorized vehicles are not permitted. Open from April 1 through November 30, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. 167 Mianus River Rd; mianus.org

Cortlandt

Croton Gorge Park

At the base of the Croton Dam are nearly 90 acres of green space that offer impressive views of the dam and its 200-foot spillway. Plan a leisurely day of picnicking, hiking, fishing, or birding. When snow falls, Croton Gorge Park is a great destination for cross-country skiing and sledding. The park offers direct trail access to New York State’s Old Croton Aqueduct. Dogs are welcome but must be leashed. Rte. 129, 35 Yorktown Rd; parks.westchestergov.com/croton-gorge-park

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Mamaroneck

Harbor Island Park

A stretch of saltwater beach is among the many attractions at Harbor Island Park in “The Friendly Village.” Before cooling off there during the summer, turn the heat up by playing a game of tennis, soccer, or baseball. In addition to the waterside pavilion, there’s a spray park and play area. A public boat launch and fishing dock are also available. Browse the calendar for events. 123 Mamaroneck Ave; village.mamaroneck.ny.us

Hastings-on-Hudson

Hillside Park and Hillside Woods

Every season offers an array of activities at Hillside Park. Take to the trails on a hike, play a game of tennis, fish, or splash around in the pool. During the winter, bundle up and skate across the pond or indulge in a vigorous winter hike. Adjacent to the park, Hillside Woods attracts a variety of birds, including the scarlet tanager and rose-breasted grosbeak. Farlane Dr and Hillside Ave; hastingsgov.org

Katonah

Lasdon Park & Arboretum

Regarded as Westchester’s Public Garden, nature enthusiasts will uncover a 30-acre arboretum brimming with lush gardens, trees, colorful blooms, and shrubs. Attractions include a Historic Tree Walk, American Chestnut Grove, Lilac Collection, and Chinese Friendship Garden. Check the events calendar for happenings. 2610 Amawalk Rd, Rte 35; lasdonpark.org

Larchmont

Larchmont Manor Park

Although this stretch of sandy beach is exclusively available to Larchmont residents who underwent the application process, all are welcome to visit the picturesque waterfront park area. Spanning nearly 13 acres, it runs along the shoreline of Long Island Sound. The parking lot can fill up rather quickly, so get an early start. 108 Park Ave; larchmontmanorpark.org

Otter Creek Preserve

Nature enthusiasts are enticed by this three-mile stretch of coastline along Long Island Sound. It contains 90 percent of the remaining productive salt marshes in Westchester County. Offering coastal waters, marsh, wooded wetlands and uplands, vernal pool, and edge habitats, it is a haven for marine life, insects, and migratory birds. A seasonally active osprey nesting platform lures birders. More than 100 species of birds have been recorded here. Taylors Ln; westchesterlandtrust.org/preserves/otter-creek-preserve

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Sheldrake Environmental Center

This oasis of land and water provides a sanctuary for wildlife and people. Stroll the grounds on a nature walk — the trails are open daily from dawn until dusk. Visit the website to browse the Center’s many programs, from volunteer events to birding, climate conversations, and beyond. 685 Weaver St; sheldrakecenter.org

Montrose

George’s Island Park

Activities are plentiful at this waterfront park with vistas of the Hudson River. Hiking, biking, picnicking, fishing, and boating are just a few ways to enjoy some downtime here. During the winter, birdwatchers flock to the park — a top destination for witnessing eagles soar through the skies. A trail network links to the Hudson River Greenway. Dutch St; parks.westchestergov.com/georges-island-park

New Rochelle

Ward Acres Park

A hiker’s haven, this expansive park offers 62 acres of trails. Wander through its meadows or bring the pup to Paws Place — a dog park that requires permits. The park is also home to a community garden with a mission to foster the spirit of community, grow veggies, and help feed the hungry. Quaker Ridge Rd and Sussex Rd; newrochel-leny.com/facilities/facility/details/wardacres-18

Ossining

Teatown Lake Reservation

Located on 1,000 bucolic acres, this quiet lakeside preserve offers 15 miles of trails that are open year-round from dawn to dusk. Its two-acre island refuge is home to over 230 species of native wildflowers. Year-round programming, wildlife exhibits, and natural science day camps are available. 1600 Spring Valley Rd; teatown.org

Teatown Lake Reservation
Adobe Stock/ Jonbilous

Peekskill

Briarcliff-Peekskill Trailway

No passport required. Come marvel at one of the largest hand-hewn stone structures in the world. Take a leisurely hike along the trailway to enjoy vistas of the Croton Dam spillway and waterfall at Croton Gorge Park. Visitors can also delight in panoramic views of the Hudson River from the perch of the Spitzenberg Mountain in Peekskill. Multiple on & off points; visitwestchesterny.com/things-to-do/outdoors/trailways/briarcliff-peekskill-trailway/

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Riverfront Green Park

This scenic park has a two-mile walking path that extends from Annsville to Charles Point. It will whisk walkers or runners on a journey along the Hudson River. For a nominal fee, the public is welcome to use the boat launch ramp. Visit for picnicking, kayaking, or listening to the sound of children laughing at the play area. Check the calendar for special events. 117 N Water St; cityofpeekskill.com/Facilities/Facility/Details/Riverfront-Green-Park-7

Spins Hudson

Seeking a thrill? The indoor/outdoor-ropes course at Spins Hudson is sure to get your adrenaline going. If that doesn’t suit your style, try two-story laser tag or axe throwing. This 40,000-square-foot complex, which also boasts an arcade, dining event space, and satellite brewery, claims to be the largest entertainment venue on the Hudson. 5 John Walsh Blvd; spinshudson.com

Pleasantville

Rockefeller State Park Preserve

This picturesque preserve sits on land that was once home to the Pocantico Hills and Rockwood Hall estates of the John D. Rockefeller family and William Rockefeller. Offering quiet countryside walks through forested hills and valleys, the area boasts 45 miles of scenic carriage roads that are ideal for walking, riding, jogging, and carriage driving. With 202 recorded species of birds, it received the Important Bird Area designation by the National Audubon Society. Open year-round from sunrise to sunset. 125 Phelps Way; parks.ny.gov/PARKS/59

Rockefeller State Park Preserve
Courtesy of Friends of The Rockefeller State Park Preserve

Rivertowns

Westchester RiverWalk

Westchester RiverWalk is planned as a 51.5-mile pathway (with 32.9 miles already finished) that will extend the length of County, connecting Rivertowns along the Hudson River shoreline. Upon completion, trails, esplanades, and boardwalks will unite emerging riverfront developments and parks, village centers, and historic sites. A work in progress, it is still being developed through a series of interconnected projects. Multiple entry & exit points; planning.westchestergov.com/initiatives/westchester-trails/Riverwalk

Rye

Marshlands Conservancy

This wildlife sanctuary, which sprawls over 147 acres, is composed of diverse habitats. Explore forests, meadows, salt marshes, and shoreline. Beyond the three miles of trails, there’s a half mile of shoreline along the Long Island Sound. Located along the Atlantic migratory flyway, Marshlands is a prime birdwatching destination. More than 230 species have been sighted. 220 Boston Post Rd; parks.westchestergov.com/marshlands-conservancy

Playland

Since 1928, this iconic amusement park has been luring families for good old-fashioned fun. Spend the day thrill-seeking on any of its 40 rides, which range from classic to modern. Water enthusiasts will enjoy splashing around at Playland Beach or Playland Pool on the picturesque Long Island Sound. 1 Playland Pkwy; playland.com

Rye Nature Center

Offering over two miles of hiking trails, this forest-and-wildlife sanctuary also has ponds and streams. Its trails, grounds, and playground are open daily from dawn to dusk. Educational programming caters to children from preschool age and up. Summer camps are also available. 873 Boston Post Rd; ryenaturecenter.org

Rye Town Park & Beach

Since 1908, Rye Town Park has been a favorite spot for beachgoers. During summer weekends, splash around or rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard on-site through Hudson River Recreation. Off-season, enjoy free cultural events, from story-times to concerts, movie nights, outdoor performances, beach cleanups, and the Fall Festival. 95 Dearborn Ave; townofryeny.com

Scarsdale

Greenburgh Nature Center

Find serenity while exploring forest trails, flourishing native meadow, or open green spaces. The Center is also home to Native American Replica Structures and seasonal organic gardens. Witness the splendor of majestic eagles, hawks and owls or enjoy watching the sheep, goats, and chickens mingle about in the barnyard. Be sure to visit the many non-releasable native New York birds of prey. 99 Dromore Rd; greenburghnaturecenter.org

Weinberg Nature Center

Explore, learn, and immerse yourself in nature at this serene spot that has lured outdoor enthusiasts since 1958. It’s a top location for hiking, picnicking, and observing wildlife such as graceful deer and woodchucks. The Center’s Animals & Rehab Center is home to more than 40 critters, including chinchillas, bearded dragons, and a panda hamster. The trails are open every day from sunrise to sunset. 455 Mamaroneck Rd; weinbergnaturecenter.org

Sleepy Hollow

Kingsland Point Park

Offering stunning vistas from its overlook areas, this 18-acre park invites all to take in spectacular views of the Hudson River, historic Tarrytown Lighthouse, and beyond. Picnic areas, playgrounds, and ballfields are all available at this fun family location that’s been serving the community since 1926. It’s an excellent spot for hiking and fishing, too. Tarrytown Light-Kingsland Point Path; parks.westchestergov.com/kingsland-point-park

Somers

North County Trailway

Once renowned as the Old Put, this former railroad line provided passenger-and-freight service between the Bronx and Putnam County between 1881 and 1958. Reimagined as a recreational destination, the North County Trailway now attracts outdoorsy folk who bike ride and walk its grounds. At just over 20 miles, the scenic trailway is the longest of four rail-trails created from the former New York Central Railroad’s Putnam Division line. Multiple entry & exit points; traillink.com/trail/north-county-trailway

Valhalla

Kensico Dam Plaza

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this impressive dam soars 307 feet into the sky and spans 1,843 feet. The park surrounding it provides a unique setting for cultural heritage celebrations, concerts, and fitness classes. The park also offers a fitness course. In addition to the areas for picnicking, in-line skating, walking, and nature study, the grounds are home to The Rising 9/11 memorial. 1 Bronx River Pkwy; parks.westchestergov.com/kensico-dam-plaza

White Plains

Delfino Park

This 18-acre park offers an array of attractions, including Ebersole Ice Rink, an outdoor basketball court, baseball fields, playgrounds, and more. Enjoy an afternoon relaxing at the picnic grove, which has barbecue grills and tables. The park is also a top destination for hosting birthday parties, family reunions, barbecues, and special events. 110 Lake St; cityofwhiteplains.com/facilities/facility/details/Delfino-Park-37

Saxon Woods Park

Attractions abound at this sprawling 700-acre park, which features an 18-hole golf course, mini golf course, swimming pool, children’s aquatic playground, and picnic areas. Another perk: It offers a playground that is accessible to people with disabilities. The trails at Saxon Woods are popular with hikers, cross country skiers, and horseback riders.1800 Mamaroneck Ave; parks.westchestergov.com/saxon-woods-park

Yonkers

Lenoir Preserve

Once home to two Hudson River estates, this 40-acre nature preserve boasts many unusual specimen trees and shrubs that were imported from places around the globe. Among them are magnificent copper beeches from Europe, gingko trees from Asia, and Douglas firs from the Pacific Northwest. It’s a superb place for bird watching and witnessing hummingbirds, too. 19 Dudley St; parks.westchestergov.com/lenoir-preserve

Tibbetts Brook Park

A refuge from urban life, this park welcomes outdoor buffs to explore its tranquil lakes, woodlands, playing fields, playgrounds, and aquatic complex. On steamy days, glide down the water slide or cool off at the spray playground. Play ball at the in-pool basketball or volleyball net, swim the lap lanes, or just float the day away on the “lazy river.” Year-round activities and festivals are offered. 355 Midland Ave, parks.westchestergov.com/tibbetts-brook-park

Untermyer Gardens

Untermyer Gardens blooms with floral and architectural majesty. Its stunning grounds once belonged to lawyer/investor Samuel Untermyer. They span over 150 acres overlooking the Hudson River. Visit The Walled Garden, which drew inspiration from the Indo-Persian gardens of antiquity. Another key attraction is The Temple of Love, which entices with views of the Hudson River and Palisades. 945 N Broadway; untermyergardens.org

Untermyer Gardens
Photo by Jessica Norman

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