Enjoy summer with a visit to a state park or a night spent camping under the stars

— After the long, cold winter we had here in the Central New York, it’s time to take advantage of the warm weather and the beautiful sunshine as much as we can in the days to come. We’re fortunate to be surrounded by beautiful scenery throughout New York, from our beaches to our mountains to everything in between. When it’s nice out, there is no shortage of locations for taking advantage of what can only be described as glorious weather. The month of June is Great Outdoors Month, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than by visiting one of New York’s 180 gorgeous state parks and historic sites.

We’re very lucky to have several beautiful state parks in our area, including Green Lakes State Park, which is home to Round Lake and Green Lake. I kicked off the season by spending time there on May 1 and removing invasive species from the park as part of “I Love my State Park Day.” It was a great reason to get outside and get excited for the season to come. Since then, I’ve been back with my wife to enjoy a breath of fresh air with a hike.

The park features a lifeguarded beach and a modern bath house built in 2009 and is home to one of the most popular beaches in Central New York. Besides swimming and relaxing in the sand, visitors can rent paddle boats and row boats for exploring the lake or fishing. The park features an 18-hole golf course, as well as numerous trails for hiking and biking. Campsites, cabins and pavilions are available for rental, which can provide the perfect backdrop for your next celebration. Enjoy the park’s grills, playground, Pine Woods nature center and nine-hole disc golf course too. Whether you and your family are looking for a true rustic outdoor experience at the campgrounds or a meal at the park’s restaurant surrounded by beautiful scenery, there is truly something for everyone on the park’s 1,774 acres. My family and I visit the park as much as we can in the summer and the best part of all is that even though it’s only a few minutes from home, we always feel like we really had a chance to get away and relax.

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