Nestled 40 miles north of the city, FDR State Park spans approximately 2 square miles. Despite its medium size, this park is just large enough for full day of activities. Whether it is a game of Disc golf or hiking/biking/running the trails, there seems to be something for everyone in the family to do. (Note: Some of the most peaceful locations in the park are nestled deep in the walking trails away from the picnic areas.)
During the warmer months, the park is full of travelers from lower New York, New York City in particular. At times the park may feel crowded, but there always seems to be plenty of room for everyone. Visiting during the off months and weekdays may be your best bet to fully appreciate the tranquility of the park.
The park is also very popular in the fall due to the various activities held there. Every year, in early October, the Support Connection Breast and Ovarian Cancer Walk is held and attended by people of all ages, sometimes including actress Glen Close. Usually within a week of the Support Connection Walk, the Guiding Eyes for the Blind Walk is also held at FDR to raise money to train guide dogs. One other big event held in the fall is the Native American Festival (PowWow), which includes various activities to spread knowledge of Native American culture.
While the park may not be the most exciting place to go in the winter, there are still some things to do. If the lake is frozen enough, it is the perfect place to go ice skating and ice fishing. (Note: Skate and fish at your own risk.) Also, the trails are ideal for cross-country skiing and the hills are great for sledding.
Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park’s swimming facilities are vast to say the least. The pool is open from 10am-5:30pm on weekdays and from 10am-6:30pm on weekends and the cost is $2 per person. The swimming section of the pool is divided into 8 sections, each one watched by a lifeguard ensuring the safety of the patrons. (Note: Most of the time only 4 sections are open unless the number of patrons requires more to be opened.)
The depth of the pool ranges from 1 foot to 5 & 1/2 feet (excluding the diving section). There is also a lap lane open from until noon. Additionally, there are 2 diving sections, each including a small and large diving board. There are many rules involving the diving board to prevent injuries (no flips, back dives, double jumps, etc.) so the only things you can really do are jump and dive. During the weekends, the pool can reach full capacity (3500 patrons), but during the early weekdays, the usual number ranges from 100-1000. This may seem like a lot, but the size of the pool and pool deck combined is more than enough to occupy everyone.
The pool has a concession stand that tends to be rather expensive so I would recommend bringing your own food. There are benches and lots of grass for patrons to settle down on and enjoy the day.
Lake, Boating and Fishing
Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park also offers rowboat and pedal boat rentals for its Mohansic Lake. (Note: Swimming is not allowed.) If you would rather bring your own kayak, canoe or rowboat, there is a boat launch but a regional boating permit is required. Fishing is permitted also, but a New York State Freshwater Fishing License is required.
There is a little waterway that is just big enough for a rowboat to fit through running off of Mohansic Lake that leads to Crom Pond. Only trees and wildlife can be seen from Crom Pond so if you’re up for the rather difficult trip through the waterway, it’s a nice place to go to get away from everything.
Whether you are looking to walk the dog, go for a jog, or just enjoy the day, FDR’s numerous walking trails allow for several hours of exploration and relaxation. The hiking trails are relatively flat, although some are more challenging side trails for the experienced hiker. The trails range between easy paved trails to medium dirt paths. Whichever trail you end up on, you are never too far away from a familiar landmark or pavilion.
After a swim in the pool or a walk on the trails, many people settle down to one of the eight picnic areas. As the food is being cooked on the provided charcoal grills, many picnic areas have playground areas, volleyball courts, soccer/baseball/softball fields and the occasional basketball court. The grills are old to say the least so I would recommend bringing your own charcoal grill or an extra roll of tin foil.
There are two concession stands that are open during the summer months, although they tend to be rather expensive compared to bringing your own food. Each picnic area has a complimentary restroom facility that is rather clean for a park. All in all, FDR State Park is a fun and inexpensive way to spend a day with the family.
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