Three Outstanding Swimming Spots for Family BBQs

October 19, 2016
David Klatt


Three Outstanding Swimming Spots for Family BBQs
Lake Minewaska - Photo Vincent DiCostanzo


Belleayre Beach, Catskills

33 Friendship Manor Road
Pine Hill, NY 12465

Belleayre Beach offers some of the best swimming in the Catskills and a long list of activities you can pack into the day as you work up an appetite for whatever’s cooking on the grill. If you planned to picnic at Blue Hole only to realize that cookouts are not allowed and parking spots are scared, Belleayre Beach is an excellent back-up plan and it’s only 40 minutes north.

Located just west of Phoenicia, NY, this park offers a cool lake for a dip with a lifeguard on duty. Picnic tables and BBQs are on-site.

Free activities along the lakeshore include volleyball, badminton, horseshoe pits, basketball, a playground, soccer, and wiffle ball. Belleayre Beach rents the following: pedal boat, single or double kayak, standup paddle board (SUP), row boat, and sun chairs. There’s even a climbing wall.


Belleayre Beach requires an entrance fee for cars ($10) and pedestrians ($3). The beach does not accept the NYS Empire Pass. Check entry fees.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, New Jersey/Pennsylvania

1978 River Rd
Bushkill, PA 18324

When the weather heats up, head for Milford Beach (PA), Smithfield Beach (PA), or Turtle Beach (NJ) in this national park on the state line between New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Three different beaches provide access to the Delaware River. Each beach has a boat lunch, playing fields, and prime picnic spots. Lifeguards are on duty at all three beaches from mid-June through August.

Picnic tables and restrooms are available on site. BBQs are allowed but they are not provided. You will need to bring your own grill. There are grassy fields at all three beaches with lots of room for soccer and volleyball.


Access to each beach requires an entry fee for cars ($7-10) and pedestrians ($1). Check entry fees.

None of the three beaches accepts the America the Beautiful Annual Pass. But if you hold one of the following four passes, you are eligible for a 50 percent discount:

  • America the Beautiful Senior Pass
  • America the Beautiful Access Pass
  • National Park Service Golden Age Pass
  • National Park Service Golden Golden Access Pass

Lake Minnewaska and Lake Awosting, Shawangunk Mountains

5281 Route 44-55
Kerhonkson, NY 12446

Take a leap into the cool waters Lake Minnewaska and Lake Awosting at Minnewaska State Park Preserve and soak up some sun with views of the Shawangunk Mountains. Located about an hour and a half from New York City by car, this park’s 23,000 acres of stunning wilderness and long list of activities will have you wondering what took you so long to make the trip. The rocky Shawangunk Mountains feature a variety of waterfalls, sheer cliffs, and dense woods that draw hikers, rock climbers, and cyclists from around the region each weekend. Lake Minnewaska is also a popular scuba diving site. 


  • Swimming in Lake Minnewaska is allowed between 11:15 a.m. and 6:45 p.m.
  • Swimming in Lake Awosting is allowed between 11:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
  • Check hours of operation.


Minnewaska State Park Preserve requires an entry fee for cars ($10). Check entry fees.