Sheldon Beach Park (Flat Rock) in Oswego, NY
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Location / Directions / Maps

Location: On Lake Ontario; near SUNY Oswego; City of Oswego; Oswego County; New York.

Maps: Google MapTopographic; Interactive map

GPS Coordinates:

  • Parking: 43.458681 / -76.534478

Directions: From NY-104 head north on Sheldon Ave. Make a right on Washington Blvd and then make a left onto 6th Ave. Follow 6th Ave to the end at the park.

Or use Google Maps.

Parking: The parking lot at the end of 6th Ave can hold 30 cars.

YouTube video



Flat Rock at Sheldon Beach Park on Lake Ontario

Information / Accessibility / Accommodations

Typical Seasons/Hours: Year-round, from dawn to dusk.

Admission: Free.

Best time to visit: Spring through fall. Despite the “no swimming” rule, the park can get busy in hot summer months.

Time: A few minutes or more to enjoy the lake. It’s not a big park.

Handicap accessibility: Views from the parking lot only, which is seeing most of it.

Pets: Allowed in the park and walkways when on a leash.

Swimming: Unfortunately, the City of Oswego has no public beaches for swimming in Lake Ontario. Some folks, especially students of SUNY Oswego used to swim here (and some still do) but the city does patrol and kick people out. It’s especially ill-advised to swim at this park as it’s located right next to a wastewater treatment plant. The closest public beach for people looking to cool off will be to the west at Fair Haven Beach State Park.

pools of water on flat rock in oswego, ny


Sheldon Beach Park, also known as Flat Rock, is a natural area located along the shores of Lake Ontario in Oswego, New York. This park is known for its distinctive flat limestone shelves that extend into the lake, creating a unique coastal landscape that is both beautiful and accessible. The flat, layered rock formations at the water’s edge are a result of centuries of sedimentation and erosion, offering a rare glimpse into the geological history of the region. These natural platforms make for an ideal spot for sunbathing, picnicking, and enjoying panoramic views of Lake Ontario, especially during sunrise and sunset when the sky and water are painted in vibrant hues.

The immediate area surrounding Flat Rock provides visitors with a serene and somewhat rugged natural environment, perfect for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life within the city itself. While not a traditional beach with sandy shores, Flat Rock offers its own unique charm, flanked to the west by SUNY Oswego campus and to the east by the Oswego Harbor Power (Oil-burning) station. It’s a very small park, recently refurbished by the city, and with minimal amenities, it manages to be well worth a quick stop to check out the unique shoreline, relax and reflect amongst the views of the lake and surroundings.

Flat Rock at Sheldon Beach Park in Oswego.
Small pools of water on Flat Rock in Oswego.


The Oswego Harbor Power plant next door was commissioned in 1975, but plans to construct it began as early as the 1930s. It was originally designed to run on coal, but when coal as a power source became more and more unpopular, designs pivoted towards oil. It is a privately-owned, oil-powered, steam turbine plant capable of 1,650 MW. It runs only when demand increases, which is less than 10% of the time.

The State University of New York at Oswego (SUNY Oswego) has a rich history that dates back to its founding in 1861. It was established by Edward Austin Sheldon, who is credited with pioneering the Oswego Method of teacher education, emphasizing hands-on learning and object teaching. This innovative approach to education was quite progressive for its time and helped to shape the future direction of teacher education programs nationally and abroad.

Originally named the Oswego Primary Teachers’ Training School, it focused primarily on training teachers. Over the years, the institution underwent several name changes, reflecting its expanding academic offerings and evolving role in higher education. It became a state normal school in 1866, and later, it was known as Oswego State Teachers College as part of the New York State Education Department.

In the mid-20th century, as part of a broader movement to expand and diversify higher education in New York State, the institution transitioned into a comprehensive college offering a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs. This transition was part of the creation of the State University of New York (SUNY) system in 1948, which Oswego then joined. As a result, it was renamed SUNY College at Oswego, more commonly known as SUNY Oswego.

Oswego Primary Teachers' Training School bulding
Lake Ontario looking to past the Owego towards the Nuclear Power Plant

Hiking / Walking Trails

Difficulty: Moderate. There isn’t much of a trail—nothing officially, at least. Most people go down to the flat limestone rocks, which is not a challenge at all. What some may have difficulty with is that the flat rock along the lake may be wet and slippery. Use caution.

Distance: A few hundred feet.

Markings: None. Just go down to the flat rock.


  1. From the parking area, head to the west corner (left if facing the lake).
  2. Make your way down the stone/gravel path to the limestone rocks.
  3. Follow the limestone rocks westward. Look out for the edge, deep puddles, and splashing waves.

Maps: See the interactive map below.

pools of water on Flat Rock at Sheldon Beach Park in Oswego.
A woman sitting on a bench in front of Lake Ontario at Sheldon Beach Park in Oswego, NY

Oswego Waterfront Interactive Map


Fishing is allowed at Sheldon Beach Park (Flat Rock). Fishermen usually cast from the shoreline.

Flat rock at Sheldon Beach Park in Oswego.
Lake Ontario Parks and Beaches Guides.

More Lake Ontario Parks & Beaches

Find a new summer hangout spot or place to swim in our comprehensive guide to Lake Ontario Parks and Beaches in New York State.

Interesting Stuff

Oswego Harborfest

This festival runs the last weekend of July and features food and craft vendors, musical performances, a midway, and a spectacular fireworks display over the lake. An average of 75,000 people come to the ‘fest each year.

Breitbeck Park & Oswego Waterfront

Breitbeck Park is a beautiful centerpiece to the historic Oswego Waterfront. An ideal place for walking, the waterfront is filled with as much history as it is scenic views.

Fort Ontario State Historic Site

This American historic bastion site is located on the other side of the river and features some original structures, recreations of period fort rooms, demonstrations, recreations, and fantastic views of  Lake Ontario.

Sheldon Beach Park Media

Flat rock at Sheldon Beach Park in Oswego.

Photography Tips


  • Because of the angle of the shoreline, Oswego is a good spot to catch summer sunsets over the lake.


  • W 1st St has several historic buildings from the city’s shipping era, many of which now house modern shops and eateries. It’s worth a walk for some architectural and street photography.

More tips

Lake Ontario's waves over Flat Rock in Oswego.

Who to Contact

City of Oswego Parks & Recreation
(315) 343-5055

Flat rock in the foreground, Oswego Harbor oil power plant, with the Nine Mile Point Clean Energy Center off in the distance.