GPS: Parking: (N 43.23793 / W 77.52144)
Directions: From Rt 104/Ridge Rd, head north on Bay Rd in Webster for 2 miles until it terminates at Lake Rd. Make a left onto Lake Rd. After several hundred feet Irondequoit Bay will be on your left. The park and Lake Ontario will be on your right.
Or use Google Directions.
Parking: Park in the gravel lot along Lake Rd. Room for over 10 cars.
Best time to visit: Year-round.
Time: 5 minutes.
Handicap accessibility: None.
Pets: Allowed if on a leash. For your pet’s safety, and the safety of other hikers, keep your pet on the leash! It doesn’t matter if your dog is “friendly,” it’s the law. Please clean up after.
Swimming: Not allowed.
Boat launch: None.
Accommodations: The Bay Side Pub across the street has food, drink, and restrooms.
At nearly a half-mile wide and 4 miles in length, Irondequoit Bay is one of the largest bays on Lake Ontario, second only to Sodus Bay. The town of Irondequoit is nestled between the city of Rochester and the bay’s western shore, while on the east are the towns of Webster and Penfield. Separating the north end of the bay from Lake Ontario is a 1 mile long, 250 ft (average) wide sandbar, that sits as the foundation for a few dozen homes and several establishments. On a narrow stretch on the eastern side of the sandbar is a small open space, spotted with picnic tables and shade trees. Conveniently located across the road is the Bay Side Pub, a neighborhood favorite, and a great source of American take-out. This park is often used as a quick picnic spot for commuters and workers in the area.
To prevent erosion from the rising and stormy waters of Lake Ontario, the sandbar at the park is buffered with large dolomite boulders, which seem to be a magnet for driftwood. There’s no sandy beach here, like there is on the other side of the bay at Durand Eastman Park, but you can climb down onto the rocks fairly easily to get a better view of the lake and its spectacular summer sunsets. The vantage point offered from this park, angled slightly toward the west, positions the setting sun further out over water compared to the lakeside parks west of here. Although Webster Beach Park, just down the road to the east, generally serves up better sunset viewing, Sandbar Park is special in that it is relatively unknown, offering a more intimate setting, and doesn’t have the foul odor that the cove at Webster Beach seems to collect.
(Also known as: Picnic Park)
Distance: Just a small 5 ft incline to see the lake.
Description: There’s nothing to it. Just walk out of your car and see the lake.
Maps: See the interactive map below.
View Sandbar Park – Webster in a larger map
The most recent glacial period that swept over the Rochester region occurred 100,000 years ago and drastically altered the landscape. The Genesee River once emptied into Lake Ontario at this very location, but the tremendous pressure of the colossal sheets of glacial ice compressed and distorted the land, moving the river to the west and leaving the former Genesee River delta to become Irondequoit Bay. Today, Irondequoit Creek follows the faint outline of the prehistoric path of the Genesee and empties into the bay to the south.
Early French explorers recognized the bay as a harbor that opened up the land of the Seneca to battle and trade. They constructed Fort Des Sables on the western shore of the bay near the lake in 1718 (near Seabreeze Amusement Park). In response to the French’s successful post, the English constructed Fort Schuyler on a hill at the southern end of the bay in 1721.
Several vacation camps, lavish resorts and family amusement parks sprung up along the lake and bayside in the late 1820s, with Seabreeze Park opening as a picnic resort on August 5, 1879, and still thriving today as a family amusement park.
Located on Lake Rd, west of Sandbar Park, the Irondequoit Bay Outlet Bridge is the link between the towns of Irondequoit and Webster, crossing the narrow channel that connects Irondequoit Bay to Lake Ontario. This modern bobtail swing truss bridge is closed to traffic from spring through fall to allow boat traffic between the bay and lake. More information on the bridge and its operation can be found here.
Bay Creek Paddling Center, located at the southern end of Irondequoit Bay, offers Kayak and Canoe rentals, instruction, activities and more, with access to Irondequoit Creek and the bay.
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