Well not my ACTUAL backyard, that’s not very exciting right now with all the melting snow and mud. What I’m referring to is all those little treasures that are nearby but we take for granted. There are so many wonderful things in every town, city, or village. Yes, you probably have a few favorites that you like to visit regularly, but do you realize how many more wonderful places there are to check out? Take a chance! Try something new!
I decided that the topic of my first post would be local favorite and a place that is very near and dear to my heart – Green Lakes State Park. Green Lakes is one of the gems of the Syracuse area (and also the banner photo for this blog). There are two lakes at the park, both formed many years ago by glaciers, and the chemistry of the lakes gives them a gorgeous green coloring. It’s the only “beach” you can find in Syracuse. The park is technically open year-round, but only charges admission from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Hint #1 – go before Memorial Day! Or after Labor Day! It’s free! And when you come across a mild autumn or winter day, there isn’t a much better place to be than wandering the trails at Green Lakes.
Hint #2 – New York state now offers the Empire Passport as a card – which means you no longer need to use the same car every time you go to a NYS park! The $15 price difference is definitely worth that flexibility AND you don’t need to put a sticker on your car window. Wait, what’s the Empire Passport? It’s the yearly fee you can pay for unlimited entry into all New York state parks; that way you don’t have to worry about the $7 or $8 daily fee each time you go. And now that the passport is offered as a card, share with your friends and family!
So what is there to do at Green Lakes? Walk, hike, swim, kayak, canoe, relax, sunbathe, birdwatch, golf, disc golf, geocaching, Ingress, PokemonGo, the list goes on! Green Lakes is perfect for a family with children, a couple looking for a simple date night, a group of friends, or a solo traveler searching for a new place to explore. Hint #3 – Green Lakes is dog-friendly! Bring your dog! Every dog I have taken to Green Lakes has LOVED it. There are great trails for them to hike as well as some nice spots along the shore trails for the dogs to get into the water away from the crowded beach areas. If you decide to bring your dog, please remember to keep them on a leash, pick up after them, and respect other dogs on the trail. (Yes, there are spots around the park with doggy bags and trash cans to help you clean up after your pooch!)
Last bits of advice – keep an eye on the park’s website; there are always lots of activities going on (from summer campfires and stargazing, to 5k walk/runs and winter snowshoeing). Bring a picnic lunch with you. There are so many areas to hang out – grass, sand, benches along the trail. Have an event and need a venue? The Old Administration Building is a personal favorite, but there are other pavilions and a community room as well. Take advantage of them!