New York City does its best in trying to supply its extremely urban setting with enough green space, with many small squares and parks located within the city itself. However, for most residents to truly get immersed in nature, they need to drive outside the city and experience the beautiful forests, lakes, and mountains of the surrounding states. Many lakes are located even farther upstate, four to five hours from the city, but here are the closer lakes, all of which can easily be visited in a weekend or even a day.

Lakes Near New York City: 5 Places for a Waterside Getaway

1. Hawley, Pennsylvania

Located about two hours outside of the city lies Lake Wallenpaupack, Pennsylvania’s third largest lake. It’s a recreation attraction in both Pennsylvania and the surrounding states with boating, fishing (there’s lots of bass in the river), and swimming. Though usually a summer destination, in the winter the lake is open for ice skating and ice fishing.

2. Tomkins Cove, New York

Just a couple miles outside of New York City lies Bear Mountain State Park, a popular location for hiking, boating, swimming, and picnkicnking in the summer and for skiing in the winter. The state park also has a merry-go-round, pool, skating rink in the winter, and museum and zoo. The area, likely due to its location relatively close to the city, has long attracted important visitors including Eleanor Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Dwight Eisenhower.

3. New Paltz, New York


Like Bear Mountain, Lake Mohonk is also located in the Hudson Valley, not far from the city. It’s surrounded by beautiful woodlands, making it a great destination in the fall as well as in the summer. If you do go to enjoy the lake in the spring or summer, though, spend time hiking and swimming. And, no matter where you decide to stay, check out the historic, castle-like Mohonk Mountain House, which has horseback riding, boating, fishing, tennis, and golf for visitors and has hosted many famous guests, including five United States presidents.

4. Danbury, Connecticut

The largest lake in the small state of Connecticut, Candlewood Lake was originally formed to store water to generate power. Now, however, it is a popular summer destination because of its prominent fishing, boating, golfing, and beaches. Because it is less than two hours outside of the city, you can find many New Yorkers there, either visiting or staying in the second homes to escape into a more relaxed environment. Kids can enjoy “Chicken Rock,” a rock from which they can jump into the 40-foot-deep lake or a rope swing as alternative methods to submerge themselves in the refreshing water.

5. Fishkill, New York

Located in Clarence Fahnestock Park, a haven for hikers, is the relatively small Canopus Lake. What it lacks in size, however, it makes up for in location and setting. There’s a large sandy beach and swimming area, making it perfect to cool off in whether you’re sweaty from hiking or just trying to relax. You might even run into some more serious hikers, as the Appalachian Trail runs along the side of the park.

This article was written by Isabella Sayyah.