Croton Point Park

1 Croton Point Ave
Croton-On-Hudson, NY 10520

Website: https://parks.westchestergov.com/croton-point-park

Activities: Walking, hiking

Last Visit: 2018

Notes: Parking fees charged May – September, see website for details.

500+ acres of mostly manicured park jutting out into the Hudson River. There are many trails through the (smallish) wooded areas and scenic paths along the river. It gets quite crowded during the summer and there are often festivals or cultural events held there. Like Sherwood Island State park, there is also a small runway for model aircraft.

Croton Gorge Park & The New Croton Dam

35 Yorktown Rd
Cortlandt, NY 10520

Website: https://parks.westchestergov.com/croton-gorge-park

Activities: Hiking, walking

Last Visit: 2019

Notes: Parking fee required May – September.

This is a lovely park with a large open area popular with picnickers surrounded by wide and well maintained hiking trails through the woods. The loop that goes up and over the dam is highly recommended.

As with some of the other parks on this list, the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail is adjacent (I believe it originates here) and I recommend hiking it for a while as it runs along some scenic high-ground.

Westchester Land Trust: Zofnass Family Preserve

Upper Shad Road (just before Joshua Hobby Lane)
Pound Ridge, NY

Website: https://westchesterlandtrust.org/enjoying-the-land/visit-preserve/westchester-wilderness-walkzofnass-family-preserve/

Activities: Hiking

Last Visit: 2019

Notes: Dogs must be leashed at all times.

This is a hidden gem of over 150 acres with beautiful trails cut throughout. Especially nice are the adjacent private gardens open to quiet hikers. Well worth the trip, Westchester Land Trust is to be commended for opening their properties to people and their four-legged friends!

Saxon Woods Park

Website: https://parks.westchestergov.com/saxon-woods-park

Activities: Hiking, walking

Last Visit: 2019

Notes: Technically a Westchester County Park Pass is required but we have never had an issue in the off-season. Parking fee for picnic area only, May through September.

A 700 Acre park (including an 18 hole golf course) on the Mamaroneck / Scarsdale border that is conveniently located off the Hutchinson River Parkway. Despite being in a heavily suburban area the woods are surprisingly deep and quiet here. We typically visit in the fall / winter to avoid parking fees and crowds at the pool area.

PS – There is a wonderful mini-golf course by the pool where my father, brother and I used to battle it out in some highly competitive games.

Kitchawan Preserve

712 Kitchawan Rd.
Ossining, NY 10562

Website: https://parks.westchestergov.com/kitchawan-preserve
https://www.yorktownny.org/community/kitchawan-preserve

Activities: Hiking, walking

Last Visit: 2020

Notes: Visited on a busy weekend and ran into a lot of people ignoring the leash law – so unfortunately it could be a problem for reactive dogs.

This is a very nice park – great variety of terrain; from hilly paths through the woods to a long paved “rails-to-trails” section of the North County Trailway that includes a scenic bridge over the Croton Reservoir.

As mentioned in the notes – we visited on a fairly busy day, parking was overflowing (we parked on an embankment on the side of the road) and the paved paths were crowded, but once we got out into the woods it emptied out.

This is certainly worth the trip, we did a 4.5 mile loop and there was still quite a bit left to see.

Playland Beach & Rye Town Park *RECOMMENDED*

Playland Parkway
Rye, NY

Website: https://www.facebook.com/groups/696727267094492/?ref=bookmarks
https://www.townofryeny.com/rye-town-park-and-beach

Activities: Dog swimming, dog socializing, walking

Last Visit: 2019

Notes: Off leash allowed (on beach only), “Dog Season” runs late-September to late-April; check the “Dog Friends of Playland Beach” site for more info.

Playland Beach is one of our favorite winter destinations. Opening in the early fall and closing mid-spring, it has one of the longest dog seasons in the area. It is large, mostly fenced, well maintained and very popular so your pupper will have plenty of friends to play with. Rye Town Park abuts Playland Beach and is lovely to walk around on leash (neighboring Rye Beach is NOT opened to dogs however). Both are easily accessed off I-95 via Playland Parkway.

Larchmont Dog Beach & Manor Park *SKIP*

118 Park Ave
Larchmont, NY 10538

Website: https://larchmontmanorpark.org/index.html

Activities: Walking, dog swimming, dog socializing

Last Visit: 2016

Notes: NOT RECOMMENDED, Parking is on the street.

Larchmont Dog Beach is no longer worth the trip, although the adjacent Manor Park is nice to stroll through with your leashed dog, as is the surrounding neighborhood.

Several years ago Dog Beach was a popular destination – there is a *very* small spit of land (partially fenced but open to the road) with a sandy beach just off the street. At lower tides, a second larger beach was accessible. Sandwiched between two large piers and a tall seawall, it provided a nice spot for the dogs to run and play – however getting their required ignoring some “private property” signs of dubious legality placed there by a nearby beach club.

However, in 2016 social media started spreading more and more accounts of zealous police enforcement and hefty fines for dogs off leash, in the water or beyond the dubious “private property” signs. Apparently the beach clubs were unhappy with dogs in their vicinity and the new mayor was happy to oblige them.

It’s been several years and I don’t know if things have improved, but I no longer recommend people make the trip. Go to Lake Mohegan in Fairfield instead.

Rockefeller State Park Preserve *RECOMMENDED*

125 Phelps Way
Pleasantville, NY 10570

Website: https://parks.ny.gov/parks/59/details.aspx
Activities: Hiking, Walking
Last Visit: January, 2020
Notes: May have to pay for parking. Lot gets crowded. Connects to Old Croton Aqueduct Trail.

A fantastic day-trip with lots of options – you can take a short stroll around the the welcome center and nearby lake, a longer walk through the surrounding rolling hills, visit the nearby working farm or make the trek all the way to the ruins of Rockwood Hall which offers beautiful views of the Hudson River. The sprawling network of trails connects with the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail that runs for miles from Croton-on-Hudson to Yonkers. If you hike to Rockwood Hall you will see remnants of the old aqueduct in the form of stone ventilation towers.