I Want To Ride My Bicycle
For family-friendly rides around the city, visit the website of Bike New York,
a local organization for city bikers which has guides to biking trails and
routes (212-870-2080, bikenewyork.org). No worries if you don’t own a bike;
these companies offer bike rentals near kid-friendly riding areas: Bike and
Roll rents bikes in Battery Park, South Street Seaport, Pier 84 in Hudson River
Park, and Governors Island (212-260-0400, bikeandroll.com); and Central Park
Bike Tours is located on the northwest corner of 58th Street and Seventh Avenue
Jacob Riis Park, Queens This park offers a mile-long stretch
of surf kids can swim in, plus ball courts, miniature golf, a boardwalk, playground
and more. 718-318-4300,
Midland Beach, Staten Island This beach is great for
swimming and boasts concession stands, a playground, and the Sea Turtle
Fountain (complete with sprinklers). It’s also close to South Beach, which is
popular for its boardwalk and fishing pier. 718-987-0709, statenislandusa.com.
Sandy Hook, NJ It’s technically outside the city on the tip
of the Jersey Shore, but it’s only a 40-minute ferry ride from Wall Street. The
beautiful, well-kept park includes seven miles of ocean beaches, salt marshes
and hiking trails. Check out Sandy Hook Lighthouse, the oldest surviving lighthouse in the United States, and be sure to bring your Schwinns. Bikers of all ages will love Sandy Hook’s trails, kept pristine by the non-profit Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. 732-872-5970, sandy-hook.com. For ferry info: seastreak.com.
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Encompassing 9,155 acres, the refuge comprises
diverse habitats, including salt marsh, fields and woods, water ponds, and an
open expanse of bay and islands. Over 325 species have been recorded here
during the last 25 years! Jamaica Bay, Queens, 718-318-4340, nyharborparks.org.
Wave Hill A 28-acre public garden filled with strolling lawns shaded by trees,
quiet woodland trails, lotus ponds, flower and herb gardens and a dramatic view
of the Hudson River. West 249th Street and Independence Avenue, Bronx, 718- 549-3200, wavehill.org.
Alley Pond Environmental Center Rugged forested acreage
filled with streams, marshes, and diverse wildlife. Take a casual stroll
on the trails or enroll in one of the many family education programs. On June
7, brush up on the basics of bee keeping (now legal in New York City) with a
presentation by experienced bee man, Ross Ber. 228-06 Northern Boulevard,
Douglaston, Queens, 718-229-4000,
Whether it’s your final destination or a fun-filled stop on
the way to your vacation venue, camping is a great way to spend uninterrupted
time with the family and explore the great outdoors. Here are a few of our
favorite campgrounds, all just a few hours from New York City.
The Delaware Water Gap
The Delaware Water Gap, located just an hour and a half from
the city, offers campers spectacular views of the Appalachian Mountains, as
well as a wide variety of family-friendly activities like boating, fishing and
Editor’s Pick: The Dingmans Campground, located in Dingmans
Ferry, Pennsylvania, offers 133 sites in a variety of settings and with
amenities like clean water and electricity. The site has plenty of family
packages, and hosts fairs and festivals throughout the summer.
Bear Mountain State Park
Located near the Hudson River on the Appalachian Trail, this
park features large fields, picnic areas, biking trails and swimming pools.
Editor’s Pick: Black Bear Campground in Orange County, New
York, is a pet-friendly family oasis, complete with basketball courts, hayrides
and much more. (blackbearcampground.com)
The Catskill Mountains offer a diverse range of adventures
like hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing and more. For families that crave
even more excitement, some areas even include safaris, water parks and scenic
Editor’s Pick: Mongaup Pond, located in Livingston Manor,
New York, is a serene campground situated on a 120-acre lake. The remote
location, dense forest and lake (perfect for swimming and boating!) are only a
few of the area’s attractions. (dec.ny.gov)
Kampgrounds of America (KOA) operates campgrounds all over
the country (there are 15 sites in New York alone!), and also offers campers a
wide variety of housing options, including tent and RV sites, cabins, lodges
and luxury condominiums. The site to visit first? Koa.com, which can not only
help you pick a destination for your family, but also provides cookout recipes,
craft projects, games for the road, safety suggestions and much more.
—Noelia De La Cruz
P.S.: Want to stay inside the city limits? The Urban Park
Rangers host Family Camping nights throughout the summer months at parks in all
five boroughs (including Central Park!). It’s a one-night campout (either
Friday or Saturday), and they provide you with the tent, the cookout food, and
the activities (such as hikes and stargazing)—all for free. BYO sleeping bag!
If interested, you must enter an online lottery the Monday before—the pool
closes within 24 hours. Visit nycgovparks.org.
Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn A great destination for off-shore
fishing, Sheepshead Bay has a fleet of around 50 boats for rent; prices range
Steeplechase Pier, Coney Island If you’d like to keep your
feet on land, head to Coney Island, home to a diverse array of fish all year
round. If the fish aren’t biting, Nathan’s hot dogs make for a tasty Plan B.
PSSSSST! If you and your family are first-time fishers,
study up on New York fishing regulations before you hit the shores at
The Downtown Boathouse Begin your free kayaking adventure
(vests and sunscreen included) from one of the Downtown Boathouse’s three
locations (Pier 40, Pier 96 and 72nd Street.) Free lessons are provided on
Wednesday nights for first-timers. (downtownboathouse.org)
Manhattan Kayak Company Located on Pier 66, this school
offers safe kayak instruction, a wide variety of tours and even off-season
storage. Tours vary in level of difficulty and range; prices range from $35-$225.
The New York Kayak Company Another great option for kayak
beginners, The New York Kayak Company sells apparel and gear (as well as
lessons and tours) at its Pier 40 location. Looking for a challenge? Try a stand-up
paddle board class. (nykayak.com)
Circle Line Sightseeing Hop on The Beast Speedboat Ride for
an exciting 30-minute trip through the New York Harbor. You’ll fly by
skyscrapers and the Statue of Liberty at a whopping 45 miles per hour!
New York Water Taxi For something a bit more relaxing, New
York Water Taxi offers a variety of sightseeing cruises, including the Audubon
eco-cruise (a 90-minute flirtation with some of the city’s aviary dwellers) and
the hop-on/hop-off boat. (nywatertaxi.com)
Staten Island Ferry The ferry’s breezy, 25-minute trip
across the harbor will get you great photos of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis
Island and Lower Manhattan, and it won’t cost you a penny! (siferry.com)
Offshore Sailing School Offshore Sailing offers lessons (a
two-hour excursion on the water) and courses (a 3-5 day course to get your
sailing certification) from Chelsea Piers. (offshoresailing.com)
Hudson River Sloop Clearwater Learn about the Hudson River’s
eco-system, enjoy the water, and listen to music on a three-hour public sail.