Did you know the Great Lakes are considered inland seas? That’s right, while Rochester is hours away from the nearest ocean, it is home to beautiful beaches where visitors can spend the day basking in the sun, building sandcastles, and swimming.
Ontario Beach Park
Iroquois for “beautiful lake,” the Great Lake Ontario features over 700 miles of shoreline, including Ontario Beach Park. Located in the northwest quadrant of the city, the park is home to one of the Great Lakes' best natural sand beaches. The park’s swimming season starts the Friday after Father's Day and goes until Labor Day. During the rest of the year, visitors can walk along the shore, or take a stroll on the park’s picturesque pier where they can ride the historic Dentzel Menagerie Carousel. Whether you go boating or set a picnic on the shore, Ontario Beach Park provides everything for a perfect summer—or winter—day at the beach.
Durand Eastman Beach
Durand Eastman Beach is part of Durand Eastman Park, one of Rochester's year-round natural gems. The beach boasts 5,000 feet of Lake Ontario waterfront space and is open to the public from June to September. Before relaxing on the sand, explore the rest of the park, which features beautiful valleys, scenic vistas, small lakes, blooming trees, and wildlife including swans, turkeys, and foxes. Hikers can take advantage of the park’s trails, including the Eastman Lake Trail, which is a 1.5-mile walk that follows along the lake where you can see waterfowl and warblers, especially during migration seasons. For a shorter hike, explore the half-mile Trott Lake Trail. Visit in the fall to witness the spectacular fall foliage colors.
Hamlin Beach State Park
Hamlin Beach State Park's clear water, sandy beaches, and tent and trailer campsites bring thousands of visitors to the park each year. Located on the shore of Lake Ontario in the town of Hamlin, this park is a nature lover’s haven. The park features six miles of hiking and biking trails, as well as snowmobile and cross-country skiing during winter. The park is also equipped with picnic tables with pavilions, a playground, recreation programs, and a food concession booth, so you can spend all day enjoying the lake breeze.