May 14, 2014
Lake Ontario is considered one of the Great Lakes of North America and a trip to its expansive shoreline will confirm just why it holds such lofty acclaim. The expansive and varied beaches are just a short jaunt from Rochester, and offer visitors ample opportunity to explore the diverse natural backdrop, while also indulging in some well-deserved sand time. Here we take a look at some of the best beaches on Lake Ontario, to inspire your next trip.
A favourite of locals, Hamlin Beach’s pristine shorelines and clear waters ensure that, come summertime, it’s heaving with holidaymakers. Popular with active types, there are also extensive hiking and biking trails and cross-country skiing trails to explore; making this an ideal year-round destination. Hamlin Nature enthusiasts eager to learn more about the local wildlife and horticulture should head east for the environmental education centre in Yanty Creek Marsh area, where there’s a long self-guided nature trail to get lost on.
Another draw for Hamlin Beach State Park is its first-rate camping facilities, which include over 260 fully equipped campsites. The excellent facilities mean it’s always busy, so if you do plan on heading over there for an adventurous road trip, book ahead of time to snag a good location.
Easily one of Rochester’s most picturesque parks, the bay in Durand Eastman Park hosts a glimmering shoreline that stretches out over 5000ft along the lake. Beyond the picturesque beaches on Lake Ontario, there’s plenty to discover at Durand Eastman, with 1000 acres of forested rolling hills, freshwater marsh and gleaming ponds on offer. But there’s more to Durand than swimming and hiking, for avid golfers the area boasts a spectacular 18-hole course designed by Robert Trent Jones.
Niagra County’s Krull Park is the place to take in killer views of Lake Ontario and roam across its attractive 325-acre parklands. Here you’ll also find Olcott Beach, the only accessible shoreline within the confines of the park. By Olcott’s famous Lighthouse is a wonderful vintage amusement park, Carousel Park. Channel your inner child and take a ride on its 1928-style Hershell-Spillman two row carousel. There are also plenty of other vintage kids rides to keep the young ones in the family entertained, and a wonderful 1931 Wurlitzer organ to admire too.
A summertime getaway for many Rochester and Syracuse natives, Sodus Point has managed to retain its village charm despite steady demand. In recent years, this quiet little refuge has grown from holiday home hub into an increasingly popular full-time residence for those looking for a quieter and more peaceful way of life. If you plan on visiting the area be sure to stop off at the Sodus Bay Lighthouse Museum to learn more about the 140 year-old landmark and the rich maritime history of the local area.
Great water conditions make Sodus Point the perfect spot to practice your front crawl, or better yet, try your hand at one of the many water sports activities – there’s everything from sailing and kayaking to canoeing on offer. If you tire of the beach then head down to the pier for a spot of fishing in an area that’s known for its yellow perch, pike and rainbow trout.
The beach within the 250-acre area of Beechwood State Park is less pristine and polished than the others previously mentioned. The park, after a period of abandonment, has reverted back to a more natural state. The pebble beach, which visitors can access from the west of Maxwell Bay is a great stretch to rock up with friends and family and enjoy a picnic and some outdoor fun. The area is also a key ecological zone among all the beaches on Lake Ontario and is a haven for ground squirrels, deer, and migrating birds in addition to plenty of species of fish. The pine and hemlock groves, wooded hills and marshy ravines are great to explore on foot and the years or abandonment have seen natural sheltered fishing spots and paddling areas form, making exploration an even more interesting escapade.
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What are your favourite beaches on Lake Ontario? Let us know in the comments section below.
Written by Chantelle Symester