Genesee Region State Parks in Western New York

View from Portage Viaduct
Dan Parnell at en.wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0
or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
The Genesee and Genesee Valley regions of Western New York are known for their many parks, its scenic beauty and rich history. One of the most well-known parks, Letchworth State Park, offers both an interesting history, many places of interest and miles of trails. Including the Genesee River Gorge, giving it the name "Grand Canyon of the East."
About an hour north of Letchworth is Lakeside Beach State Park and a handful of other state parks and beaches within the Genesee region. Most of which provide camping, swimming, outdoor activities and even fishing in some of the locations.

Letchworth State Park

Letchworth State Park is in the area of what was once the home of Mary Jemison and the Seneca. The "Grand Canyon of the East" is one of the most scenic areas in the state. The Genesee River flows through the middle of Letchworth Park with three waterfalls at different points of the river within the park. There are over 60 miles of hiking trails. Which includes specialized trails for biking, snowmobiling, skiing and horseback riding. Activities at the park include guided walks and tours, programs about nature and the local history, whitewater rafting, boating, and kayaking. There's also a pool available for swimming and hot air ballooning at the nearby, "Balloons Over Letchworth".
Not only are there plenty of spring and summer activities are Letchworth State Park but there's also winter activities for visitors. Which include cross-country skiing, snow tubing, sledding, and snowmobiling. At the Glen Iris Inn, many services are available and open to the public. Which include breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They also offer rooms and reservations for special events.

Conesus Lake and Conesus Lake Public Boat Launch

Conesus Lake offers those who enjoy boating and fishing easy access to the lake with many different species of bass, trout and other fish in its waters. You can even fish from the docks. The lake is also open in the winter for ice fishing. For those looking just to visit and not go out onto the lake, there are plenty of picnic sites. For campers, there are campsites open for tents and RVs and on-site cabins, cottages and trailers available for rent.
A yearly tradition also takes place on the night of July 3rd for the 4th of July holiday. Called the "Ring of Fire", people staying at the lake light up thousands of road flares around the whole lake at dusk and shoot off fireworks. During the day, you can engage in activities beyond just fishing or having a picnic though. You can go scuba diving, water skiing, sailing or just sit back and relax if that's your thing.
Conesus Lake panorama
Benjamin D. Esham / Wikimedia Commons [CC BY-SA 3.0 us], via Wikimedia Commons

Darien Lakes State Park

Darien Lakes State Park, not to be confused with the theme park nearby. The park was originally called Harlow Lake and Park and was created in the summer of 1960. It provides over 150 seasonal campsites, most of which providing electric hookups for RVS and trailers. There's also a small beach at one part of the lake. Elsewhere around the park, there are rest stations, showers, playgrounds, areas for fishing, trails for hiking and horse-riding. Some of which are also open in winter for skiing and snowmobiling. For picnicking. there are two picnic shelters (requiring a reservation) and numerous picnic tables with grills nearby, including across the small bridge to Picnic Island.

Genesee Valley Greenway State Park

Genesee Valley Greenway State Park roughly follows the Genesee River. Much of the park is a trail that stretches for 90 miles along what was once the Pennsylvania Railroad path and along the Genesee Valley Canal. The trail is open to public for biking and walking. Along the trail, you'll find a few areas of historical and natural significance. Being made from the former Pennsylvania Railroad path, much of the trail is level with cinder, gravel and short grass and not just a dirt path. While passing through the Genesee Valley Greenway, you'll find plenty of environments including marshes and wetlands, woodlands, streams and river valleys, gorges, farmland, the area's long-standing villages and more. The trail also connects up with the Finger Lakes Trail, Erie Attica Trail, Lehigh Valley Trail, the Genesee River Trail and the Erie Canal Recreation Way.

Silver Lake State Park

Silver Lake State Park offers visitors a quiet day vacation getaway. There are many boat launch sites, picnic areas and restroom areas on and in the area of the parklands. But most of the park isn't developed, allowing it to keep its natural beauty. On West Lake Road, in the southwest corner of the lake, not far past Silver Lake Marine, is a boat launch open to the public. On the eastern side of the lake, there are a few boat rental businesses and public boat launch sites. The public boat launch is suited for rowboats, canoes, kayaks and small motor boats. While other sites can handle larger boats. So it's best to do a little research on the boat launch locations before visiting. The two links below provide much more information about Silver Lake and the State Park.

Oak Orchard State Marine Park

Oak Orchard State Marine Park is open from April 15th to November 1st, offering picnic areas with grills, boat launch sites, showers and restroom areas, an overlook, and many seasonal events. Events which include a car show, a series of concerts, a fishing tournament. Visitors can also reserve, in advance, the park and pavilions for events and gatherings.

Irondequoit Bay State Marine Park

Irondequoit Bay Marine park has 30 acres of land and offers fishing, boating on Lake Ontario and Irondequoit Bay. There is a small restroom area for visitors and clean out stations for boaters who visit the park. The park is open from April 1st to October 31st, 6:00 am until 8:00 PM. Besides fishing and boating, there are also geocaches located around the park.

Hamlin Beach State Park

Hamlin Beach features over 250 campsites for tents and trailers, numerous shaded picnic sites with grills and picnic tables. On the east side of the State Park is the mile-long nature trail that's for visitors. Elsewhere on the park grounds, mainly near the lakeside, are miles of hiking trails, which visitors are also permitted to use bikes on. In winter, there are numerous snowmobile and skiing trails. For those who enjoy time on the lake, or fishing, you can bring small (car-top) boats and launch them from an area on the eastern side of the park.

Lakeside Beach State Park

Lakeside Beach State Park
By The original uploader was Decumanus at
English Wikipedia [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0],
via Wikimedia Commons
Lakeside Beach State Park is a well-kept, peaceful scenic park offering 274 camping sites, miles of hiking and biking trails, picnic areas, restrooms, fishing, open playing fields and a disc golf course with 18 holes to play through. There are separate pets and no pets areas for convenience and comfort. On the grounds, there are also a few playgrounds and a camping supply store.
The downside is that there is no swimming allowed at this park but you can head to Hamlin Beach with your camping pass. Though it's about a 20-minute trip to Hamlin Beach. In winter, Lakeside offers hiking, snowmobiling and ski trails.
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