Beaches may not be the first thing you associate with Central New York, but the region is actually home to many family-friendly swimming spots. Here are nine you should visit this summer:
1. Delta Lake State Park (Rome)

Lake Delta was first created in the early 1900s. These days, the park’s sandy beach, playgrounds, and hiking and nature trails make it a family favorite during the summer months.
Where: 8797 State Route 46, Rome.
Admission fee: $7/vehicle.
More information:

2. Emerson Park (Auburn)

Come to this Finger Lakes park for its beach, then stay for its many other amenities, including playgrounds, disc golf, a dog park, the Merry-Go Round Playhouse, and the Ward W. O’Hara Agricultural and Country Living Museum.
Where: 6877 E. Lake Road, Auburn.
Admission fee: Free.
More information:

3. Fair Haven Beach State Park (Fair Haven)
Fair Haven Beach State Park, Fair Haven.
Fair Haven Beach State Park. Renate Wood Photo

Touted by its website as “one of the finest public lakefronts in upstate New York,” Fair Haven Beach State Park offers 1,500 feet of sandy shore, 600 of which are monitored by lifeguards.
Where: 14985 State Park Road, Fair Haven.
Admission fee: $9/vehicle.
More information:

4. Green Lakes State Park (Fayetteville)
Green Lakes State Park. Courtney Kless Photo

Green Lakes State Park is probably best known for its two meromictic lakes, Round Lake and Green Lake. Swimming is allowed in the latter from Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day.
Where: 7900 Green Lakes Road, Fayetteville.
Admission fee: $10/vehicle.
More information:

5. Jamesville Beach Park (Jamesville) and 6. Oneida Shores Park (Brewerton)

Onondaga County Parks has two family-friendly beaches: Jamesville Beach Park (located on Jamesville Reservoir) and Oneida Shores Park (located on Oneida Lake). The purchase of a season pass gives you access to both of them.
Where: 4110 West Shore Manor, Jamesville (Jamesville Beach); 9400 Bartel Road, Brewerton (Oneida Shores).
Admission fee: $7/vehicle (cash only).
More information:

7. Sandy Island Beach State Park (Pulaski)
Sandy Island Beach State Park. Renate Wood Photo

If you’re willing to travel a bit from Syracuse, Sandy Island Beach State Park should be at the top of your list; the park’s website boasts that it is the “only significant freshwater dune site in the northeastern United States.”
Where: 3387 County Route 15, Pulaski.
Admission fee: $7/vehicle.
More information:

8. Verona Beach State Park (Verona Beach)

When you’re done relaxing on the eastern shore of Oneida Lake, explore the park’s 13 miles of trails or make the short drive to Sylvan Beach, home to an amusement park, an arcade, and more.
Where: 6541 Lakeshore Road South, Route 13, Verona Beach.
Admission fee: $7/vehicle.
More information:

9. Veterans Memorial Park at Gillie Lake (Camillus)

This hidden gem has a beach, of course, but its grounds also include a restored one-room schoolhouse. It was open from 1855-1942 and has since been moved and repurposed into a museum.
Where: 2260 Sands Road, Camillus.
Admission fee: TBD. Free/seniors (ages 60 and up) and children ages 4 and under.
More information:

Swim Safe

Swimming is allowed in designated areas where lifeguards are present. For a fun, safe time, follow these tips:

Be Proactive

Make sure everyone in your group knows how to swim.

Choose bright colors for swimwear. Neon pink and neon orange offer the most visibility for light-bottomed pools. For lakes and dark-bottomed pools, neon green, neon orange, and neon yellow are the most visible.

Be Aware of the Conditions

Ocean swimming is very different from pool swimming, so be prepared for powerful waves, strong surf, and sudden drop-offs.

Rip currents usually form near a shallow point in the water, and can happen at any beach with breaking waves, including the Great Lakes. If you are caught in a rip current, try to remain calm and don’t fight it. Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current, and float or tread water if you begin to tire.

Be Aware of the Rules

Swim only in designated areas, and only when a lifeguard is on duty. Prohibited swim areas are often accompanied by dangers such as turbulent underwater currents, extreme cold, and widely varying depths. These hazards can put even good swimmers at risk.

Choose a swimming spot near a lifeguard for maximum visibility. Always follow their directions and ensure that any children you are swimming with do the same.

Be Attentive

If you’re swimming with children, designate a “water watcher” who will always keep a close eye on the kids. This person shouldn’t be reading, using a phone, or doing anything but observing. Never let children swim unattended.

Know the signs of trouble: While we tend to think that swimmers in trouble will be waving their hands and making lots of noise, this may not always be the case. Watch out for people whose heads are low in the water (mouth submerged) or tilted back with mouth open, eyes closed or unable to focus, legs vertical in the water, or who are trying to swim but not making progress.


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