Lake Ontario

The eastern-most and smallest of the Great Lakes. The largest and foremost body of fresh water for upstate New York with a coastline populated by more than 2 million in the U.S. and 9 million in Canada. The massive size of the lake contributes greatly to the climate of New York, both positively and negatively.

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Parks, Preserves, and Beaches along Lake Ontario

View Lake Ontario Parks and Beaches in a larger map

Parks and Recreation Areas

From west to east we have visited parks, beaches, and preserves along Lake Ontario to construct these online guides.

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Fort Niagara State Park and Historic SiteFort Niagara State Park and Historic Site

The State Park is an excellent recreation facility with excellent views of Lake Ontario. The Historic Site is a living museum with daily reenactments.


Wilson-Tuscarora State Park

Wilson-Tuscarora State Park

The west and east branches of Twelvemile Creek meet Lake Ontario at Wilson-Tuscarora State Park. The park is filled with nearly 400 acres of relatively flat grassy fields, immature deciduous forest, and protected wetlands, but is most noted for its excellent pebble beach and breathtaking views of Lake Ontario.

Olcott Beach Krull ParkKrull Park / Olcott Beach

This beautiful and well-equipped lakeside park in Olcott Beach sits upon land that was once occupied by bustling pre-depression resorts and amusement parks. The ruins of the old Olcott Beach Hotel stand above the sandy swimming beach. Nearby shops and a classic 1940’s kiddy park make this an excellent day-trip for the entire family.

Barker Bicentennial ParkBarker Bicentennial Park

A small community park with little to offer but a peaceful view of the lake. An excellent picnic stop when passing through.


Golden Hill State ParkGolden Hill State Park

A peaceful park with excellent views of the lake and the historic Thirty-Mile Point Lighthouse. This beautifully restored landmark serves as a museum for visitors to learn about Lake Ontario’s maritime history. The park also features camping, hiking, fishing, boating, and more.

Lakeside Beach State ParkLakeside Beach State Park

Thirty miles west of Rochester is a lakeside park that sits in the shadow of the more popular Hamlin Beach. As a summer park, Lakeside Beach is surely lacking. Without a public swimming area, this park is no longer the draw it once was. What is does have is a spectacular view and plenty of hiking opportunities year-round.

Hamlin Beach State ParkHamlin Beach State Park

Thirty minutes west of Rochester is a beach seemingly immune to the closings that plague other urban beaches. Hamlin is one of the most equipped state parks in the region, with everything from nature trails to campsites. But what people really come for is the expansive sandy beach and clean water.

Braddock Bay State ParkBraddock Bay Wildlife Management Area

2500 acres of wetland, wooded and developed park land surrounding Braddock Bay, Cranberry, Long, and Buck Ponds, are the perfect stopover for migrating birds tired from crossing Lake Ontario. The numerous species that feed and nest here make this park a Mecca for New York State bird watchers.

Ontario Charlotte BeachOntario Beach Park (Charlotte Beach)

Once dubbed the “Coney Island of the West,” this lakeside park was a former amusement resort that brought in crowds from rails around the state. Today it is a city park within the boundaries of Rochester. A recent revival brought an upheaval in traffic, making this one of the more popular parks in the region, but is still a shadow of its former self.

Durand Eastman ParkDurand Eastman Park

A wonderful lake-side nature park with sandy beach, picnic facilities, arboretum, fishing ponds, trails, public swimming areas, and the Lady in White legend. This is one of the premier fall foliage locations in Upstate New York.

Sandbar ParkSandbar Park (Webster)

A small park in the town of Webster, located on a large sandbar between Lake Ontario and Irondequoit Bay. It serves as a quiet picnic area and a nice spot to catch a sunset.

Webster Park

Webster Park

A well-equipped county park just east of Rochester and Irondequoit Bay. The wooded section of the park is beautiful. The lakefront, on the other hand, could use some work. Despite the pungent smell, junk-filled beach and slimy water, the lakefront is still popular for fishing, walking on the pier and enjoying sunsets.

Bear Creek HarborThompson Park at Bear Creek Harbor

A small town park on an equally small harbor, with a boat launch and a quaint veterans’ memorial.

B. Foreman ParkB. Forman County Park

A beautiful lakeside county park with plentiful picnicking facilities and a red pebble beach, but no swimming.

Beechwood State ParkBeechwood State Park

This abandoned Girl Scouts of America Camp is now a New York State nature park. Hike the new trails and explore the camp’s crumbling buildings. The north end runs up against Lake Ontario, while the east is bordered by Maxwell Bay.

Sodus Point BeachSodus Point Beach Park & Sodus Bay Lighthouse

Sodus Point’s beautiful sandy beach on Lake Ontario and silvery waters of Sodus Bay make it a classic summer attraction. Although most that visit the beach park walk the pier and see the navigation beacon, they tend to ignore its predecessor, the 1871 Lighthouse, just to the west.

Chimney Bluffs State ParkChimney Bluffs State Park

Less than an hour east of Rochester, this beautiful landscape is now a well developed state park. With 4 miles of hiking trails, and many spectacular views, it is a popular summer destination. The Bluff Trail offers visitors a hike along the edge of the clay cliffs, giving an exhilarating and somewhat dangerous experience.

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