There are mountains surrounding the sandy cove I’m sitting in. Sailboats bob peacefully in the water. My 2-year-old is digging at my feet.
Last week, I grew tired of the pool and looking for a change of pace, we headed to Croton Point Park‘s public beach. It was hot and a Saturday, so I wasn’t sure if it was the right move. Would the beach be so packed that we couldn’t squeeze our towels in somewhere?
Turned out, it was empty. We arrived at 11am, just as the beach opens, and we were one of only a few families there. When we left two hours later, only a handful more had come. There were crowds of picnickers on the grass and fields surrounding the beach, but the sandy crescent was delightfully quiet.
Here’s the real question: What is it like to dip a toe, let alone your whole body, into the Hudson River? It’s actually kinda cool. Well, in a summer camp kinda way. I felt like I was swimming in a murky New Hampshire lake. In other words, the water was crisp and the mountains were so invigorating that you are blinded by what’s lurking around you. Here’s my rundown of what to do if you head to Croton Beach this summer.
When you pull into Croton Point Park, you’ll see the beach up ahead on the right. There’s a turnoff where you can drop off your stuff before you park. Do it! I didn’t realize how far the parking lot was from the beach and ended up with a mark on my shoulder from carrying my beach bag, a bag of sand toys and my toddler an endless distance.
There is a pretty great playground for climbing, near the parking lot, facing the beach. Give the kids plenty of time here before you head down to the water because you’re not going to want to trek back before you leave; although, if you want to skip it altogether, they can’t see it from the beach.
The views are serene. Take a walk on the trails that line the Hudson River on the bank opposite of the beach (you’ll find the area I’m referring to if you follow the parking lot straight away from the beach side of the lot.) There’s something about looking at the low lying mountains from this vantage point that are particularly majestic.
On weekends, there is a hot dog stand in case little bellies start growling. There are bathrooms and a fairly primitive shower to hose yourself and your wee ones down after a swim.
While the beach is long and wide, you can only swim between the green flags. It’s where the lifeguard sits. It’s a fairly small space. If the park gets crowded, the small swimming area would fill up fast.
$10 for the day; no special park pass required. The beach is open Wednesday through Sunday, 11am to 6:30pm until August 19. While the beach is open through September 3, it opens an hour later on Wednesday and Thursdays after August 19th; hours on weekends don’t change.
Croton Point Park, Croton Point Avenue, Croton-on-Hudson; 914-862-5290