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Best Summer Lakes Near New York City for Families (All Within 4 Hours)

Boy and a girl facing the pool and the Lake George, one of the best lakes near New York City for families.
Photo Courtesy: Gunjan Prakash
Lake George

Families looking for the best lake getaways near NYC with kids can end their search! If you’re planning to leave the city bustle for a calmer climate this summer, the East Coast boasts some of the best lake getaways near NYC for kids! From Lake Noami in the Poconos to New York’s Lake George or Candlewood Lake in Connecticut, we’ve created a comprehensive list of the best lakes near New York City for families. With useful tips compiled with the help of our community of family travelers, you’ll have more time to kayak, hike, or simply spend your days lazily lounging in the sun! Next time your family needs a change of scenery, consult this handy round-up of the best kid-friendly lakes in New York. Certainly, kids will also have a blast on any of the Best Summer Lakes Near New York City for Families (All Within 4 Hours)

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New York Lakes near New York City for Families

If you’re looking for some of the best lakes in New York for families, look no further than these options! Including everything from the best swimming lakes near NYC to quaint towns to lakeside picnics, we’ve got your upcoming family weekend getaways from NYC covered. Plus, with these options, you never have to leave the state!

Lake George

New York

Girl on a boat in lake George, one of the best lakes near New York City for families.
Photo Courtesy: Gunjan Prakash

From mountains towering over glistening waters to a modern downtown area, families will love Lake George! Just over 3 and half hours from NYC, spend your days enjoying picnics, swimming, or kayaking down this 32-mile-stretch of shoreline along the Adirondack Mountains. Families can visit Ushers Park Beach, a popular public beach due to its shallow water and nearby playground. Within driving distance, you’ll also find the Natural Stone Bridge & Caves. It is an easy hike, even little kids will be able to enjoy its trails. Or, get your daily dose of history at Fort William Henry! For some family fun, head to the downtown Lake George Village area to take kids on rides or other carnivalesque excursions! Children will also love The Around the World Golf Course, featuring popular landmarks as different holes. Bolton Landing is also a non-touristy alternative before enjoying dinner at places like Cate’s Italian Garden.

Book Lake George Luncheon or Sightseeing Cruise aboard the Lac du Saint Sacrement using Viator.

Where to Stay near Lake George with Kids

Girl jumping near the pool at Sagamore hotel at Lake George.
Photo Courtesy: Gunjan Prakash

Lake George features various accommodations for families. Between home rentals, camping, and boutique hotels, your choice will depend on your style and budget. Daring children who enjoy camping may love staying at nearby sites like Adirondack Camping Village, Lake George Battleground State Campground, or Lake George Escape Campground, featuring heated pools, sports fields, and organized weekend activities. Or, stay on your own specially reserved island campsite by booking in advance through Lake George’s official camping website! If you want easy access while exploring one of the best lakes near New York City for families, then luxury resorts like The Sagamore are definitely the way to go. On-site, you’ll find multiple pools, a 10,000 square-foot recreation center, kid-friendly restaurants, and the opportunity to rent boats. Whatever accommodation you choose will likely have access to a private lake beach, perfect for spending sunny days on Lake George!

Hotels not your style? Find a Lake George vacation rental now using Vrbo.

Greenwood Lake

New York

Greenwood Lake has been one of the best lakes near New York City for families for over 200 years! Located half in New Jersey and half in New York, it’s one of the best short family weekend getaways from NYC. It is precisely 50 miles from NYC. Flanked by springs and brooks, Greenwood Lake actually totals a whopping nine miles long in length. Today, many visit for boating, swimming, jet-skiing, and fishing, among other fun activities. Town Beach, located at the end of Windermere Ave on the lake, is a great place for families to enjoy the sunshine, as well as stick their toes in the sand. On the beach, you’ll also find a children’s play area, a volleyball court, and a picnic area. There is definitely something for everyone! Apply for a family season pass for a discount on beach fees. 

Then, nearby Warwick offers a quaint downtown area featuring family-friendly restaurants, shopping, and more to explore! Or, visit nearby attractions like Stanley Deming Park, Wawayanda State Park, or Warwick Town Park if you want to spend more time in nature. History buffs may also be interested in visiting the Warwick Historical Society. In addition to stores like Newhards and Frazzleberries, there are also a ton of cute restaurants in town! Finally, for food in the area try Caffe a la Mode, The Helm, or Charlotte’s Tea Room.

Where to Stay near Greenwood Lake with Kids

Multple families on the beach at Greenwood Lake, one of the best lakes near New York City for families.
Photo Courtesy: Village of Greenwood Lake

Spend one of your family weekend getaways from NYC with a home rental through Vrbo or alternative services to feel more comfortable in this cozy community surrounding one of the best lakes in New York! Accommodations directly on Greenwood Lake are usually best, but you can expand into nearby areas to widen your search. For example, venture only ten minutes outside the lake’s main area and you’ll find Warwick, New York. A fantastic place to visit even if you’re not staying there overnight.

Rent a home at Greenwood Lake during your summer break using Vrbo.

Lake Tiorati

New York

Beautiful Lake Tiorati with a lush green shoreline on a sunny day.
Photo Courtesy: ScubaBear68

Lake Tiorati is one of seven man-made lakes in Harriman State Park. Located in Sloatsburg, New York, it’s about 90 minutes from NYC. As such, it’s perfect for a short family weekend getaway from NYC! Kids will love spending time at Lake Tiorati Beach, which provides plenty of swimming, fishing, and boating opportunities. Biking is also available if you want to see more of the lake. With so many options, it’s no wonder this is one of the best lakes in New York! Of course, you can also explore Harriman State Park, offering plenty of hiking. Kid-friendly trails include The Torrey Memorial Trail for younger kids or The Reeve’s Brook Trail, which is rated more moderate but features local wildlife, rock scrambles, ridge views, creek crossings, and more. With so many outdoor adventures nearby, this is certainly one of the best lakes near New York City for families!

Pro Tip: If you’re considering Lake Tiorati for one of your future road trips from New York City, you will need to have an NYS license to fish, and a permit to launch your boat.

Where to Stay near Lake Tiorati with Kids

Three men with hiking packs walk outside the Bear Mountain Inn with fishing poles.
Photo Courtesy: Bear Mountain Inn

If you need ideas for where to stay near Lake Tiorati with kids, here are a few options that may suit your family! A few miles from the lake, families can find options like the Hampton Inn Harriman Woodbury, and the Holiday Inn Express & Suites West Point-Fort Montgomery, an IHG Hotel. Then, less than 10 miles from the lake, Bear Mountain Inn – Overlook Lodge offers accommodations within the inn, lodge, and a few cottages nestled along the Appalachian Trail. Lastly, families looking to set up camp can consider Tiorati Plateau Campground and Cedar Pond Campground, which offers pioneer campsites right on Lake Tiorati. Or, just a few miles down the road, Beaver Pond Campground is another option for families.

Lake Taghkanic

New York

A close up of two toddlers playing in the sand at Lake Taghkanic State Park, with several other families along the beach in the background.
Photo Courtesy: Lake Taghkanic State Park

Travelers of all ages will love Lake Taghkanic State Park, which houses one of the best lakes for families near NYC! Located about two and a half hours from the city, it’s nestled next to Lake Taghkanic in Columbia County. It also offers recreational activities for the whole family, from a beach to playgrounds, picnic pavilions, and more fun. Parents love it because it’s pretty convenient to reach for both a day trip or an overnight stay. Summer activities kids can enjoy include swimming at the lakeside beach, which is relatively clean and calm compared to other lakes. Families who like watersports can also rent gear to go row boating, paddle boarding, canoeing, or kayaking. There’s also a sports field, plus opportunities to bike, hike, and go fishing. When little ones get hungry, a snack stand on the beach sells kid-friendly fare like cheeseburgers, nachos, fries, etc. 

Where to Stay near Lake Taghkanic with Kids

A cozy cabin rests amongst green foliage in Lake Taghkanic State Park.
Photo Courtesy: Lake Taghkanic State Park

Looking for somewhere to stay near Lake Taghkanic with kids? RV, tent, or trailer camping is available, but families can also stay in cozy cottages or cabins right by the lake. They come outfitted with kitchens, a back porch, and even a fire ring, making your stay at one of the best lakes in New York for families even sweeter!

New Jersey Lakes near New York City for Families

Some of the best lakes near New York City for kids are located just across the border into New Jersey. Here, find boating opportunities, kayaking, fishing, and a cozy lake house near NYC!

Lake Hopatcong

New Jersey

At just under an hour from NYC, escape to Lake Hopatcong for one of the best family weekend getaways from NYC! As the largest freshwater lake in New Jersey, you’ll find plenty of kid-friendly activities along its four-mile stretch of shoreline. This includes access to public beaches, like Hopatcong State Park or Lee’s County Park Marina. Byram Cove, a quiet enclave near West Shore Boulevard, is also an alternative to the lake’s central boating area! As one of the best lakes near New York City, Lake Hopatcong’s abundance of watersports provides a scenic adventure away from the hustle and bustle. Fishing, kayaking, and canoeing are among the many excursions you can participate in as a family! Down Lake Hopatcong’s waterfront, you’ll also discover countless quaint boutiques or family-friendly restaurants. Best of all, you can park your boat directly in front of many restaurants, like The Windlass.

NOTE: Before visiting Lake Hopatcong on a weekend getaway from NYC with kids, keep in mind the lake has experienced recent toxic algae growth in the past.

Where to Stay near Lake Hopatcong with Kids

Chidlren tubing behind a boat at Lake Hopatcong.
Photo Courtesy: Sarah Einhorn

Lake Hopatcong has plenty of accommodation options for your family. In fact, it’s a great place to rent a lake house near NYC directly via Vrbo or home rental sites. This is particularly useful if you have a boat you want to dock near the marina. Most properties are also connected to private beaches, which means you can have everything you need all in one place! In fact, on the water is how most families choose to experience and enjoy Lake Hopatcong. Alternatively, consider camping at Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, which boasts many easy trails for kid-friendly hiking. If you’re still unsure about fully committing to Lake Hopatcong, try taking a day trip first!

Find Vacation Rentals in Hopatcong using Vrbo.

Pennsylvania Lakes near New York City for Families

Embarking on road trips from New York this summer? This Pennsylvania lake is ideal for lake getaways near NYC with kids. Offering everything from fishing, tubing, paddle-boarding, and one of the best swimming lakes near NYC, you’ll never hear “I’m bored” here!

Lake Naomi

Pennsylvania

Boy and a girl in Lake Naomi, PA, best lakes to visit from NYC with kids!
Photo Courtesy: Irene V. Martin

Head to the Poconos for a family adventure set among rolling hills and lush forests! Many favor Lake Naomi’s short distance from NYC (under 2 hours!), kid-friendly features, and rustic charm. Lake Naomi features three large lakes, seven beaches with lifeguard supervision, and two outdoor heated pools! Adventurous families will appreciate opportunities to hike, fish, tube, kayak, or paddle-board, as well as spotting various local wildlife. Central to this private community, you’ll also find the Lake Naomi Club, a recreation center perfect for a rainy day or for organizing summer activities outside. In addition to two restaurants and a beach bar, the center also boasts a kids club so you can have some alone time to unwind lakeside! Here, you also can feel like a child attending summer camp, while you play tennis and soak in everything Lake Naomi has to offer.

Pro Tip: Nearby Lake Harmony is a nice alternative if you prefer to branch out on your family weekend getaways from NYC.

NOTE: Non-residents should note that to use Lake Naomi facilities, you must either rent a property or purchase a temporary pass for a minimum of 30 days.

Where to Stay near Lake Naomi with Kids

View looking down a water slide at Lake Naomi, one of the best lakes near New York City for families.
Photo Courtesy: Lake Naomi

Renting a private house remains Lake Naomi’s most popular family option. Search for a lake house near NYC directly on Lake Naomi via Vrbo or other services! What makes Lake Naomi special, however, is its emphasis on community bonding. Even if there’s not much to do at your rental, you’ll find so many activities nearby! Waterpark enthusiasts will love staying at Kalahari Waterpark. Then, Camelbeach Resort is only twenty minutes from Lake Naomi, which makes a perfect place to stay on one of the best road trips from New York City with kids. Here, you’ll find a water park, rock climbing, laser tag, zip-lining, and more! Staying at the Camelbeach Resort also puts outdoor enthusiasts close to amazing hiking at Camelback Mountain in Big Pocono State Park.

Top 50 Lake Naomi Club Vacation Rentals | Vrbo.com

Connecticut Lakes near New York City for Families

Did you know Connecticut offers some of the best lake getaways near NYC for families? Not only can you rent a lake house near NYC, but you can embark on outdoor adventures like hiking, boating, camping, and more.

Candlewood Lake

Connecticut

Boating in Candlewood Lake, CT, one of the best lakes near New York City for families.
Photo Credit: Paulo O

Candlewood Lake is Connecticut’s largest man-made lake, which is why it’s a popular option among the best kid-friendly summer lakes within 4 hours of NYC! In fact, Candlewood Lake isn’t just one area, but rather several different lake-side towns. One lake-side town, Bethel showcases a unique drive-through adventure called the Sycamore Drive-In. Reminiscent of an old-timey movie theater, it has been in continuous operation since 1948. Here, you can enjoy wings, burgers, and other comfort food at this landmark institution. Don’t forget the famous root beer passed down from generation to generation! Then, if your family loves art, Molten Java is a three-in-one coffee shop, art gallery, and music venue! Enjoy works by local artists while you munch on lunch sandwiches.

Additionally, nearby Sherman Town Park is popular for its long stretch of sand, playground, and picnic area. Or, consider New Fairfield Town Park, which also offers a family season pass for its public beach, which features an extended snack bar and restrooms. Finally, you can also rent a multi-person pontoon or take your own boat to some of Candlewood Lake’s waterfront restaurants, like Down The Hatch! If you require a rental, check Echo Bay Marina.

Note: Though Candlewood Lake’s water quality has recently declined due to its increased boat crowds, it’s still a great place for future road trips from New York City!

Where to Stay near Candlewood Lake with Kids

View of Candlewood Lake, one of the best lakes near New York City for families.

Search for a lake house near NYC near Candlewood Lake through Vrbo or other home rental sites. Though surrounding towns boast various accommodation options, many families prefer a comfy lakeside escape. Bethel, a neighboring town may have other alternatives to suit you too. Then, consider staying in Sherman for quick access to its public beach. No matter where you stay near Candlewood Lake, you’ll be in close access to exciting outdoor sports like boating, fishing, hiking, tubing, and canoeing!

Find your summer Candlewood Lake vacation rentals here.

Bantam Lake

Connecticut

Several pontoons and swimmers enjoy a sunset at Morris Beach.
Photo Courtesy: Morris Beach & Recreation

Spend your summer vacation on Bantam Lake! Around two hours from NYC, this warm-weather destination is the largest natural lake in Connecticut. It’s also a great place for families, as it offers lots of hiking, camping, and other outdoor opportunities. Spend your afternoons lounging on Morris Town Beach in Morris or Sandy Beach if you’re closer to Litchfield. Kids can enjoy swimming, play volleyball, or go boating. Bantam Lake is also a great place for jet-skiing, water skiing, or kayaking. Of course, the waters are also perfect for fishing! Hikers can appreciate the scenic landscape on the Lake Trail Loop, a 1.2-mile trek to an observation platform overlooking the lake.

Where to Stay near Bantam Lake with Kids

One of the main buildings at the Winvian Farm, one of the best mom's weekend getaway locations, lit up during dusk, giving it a charming allure.
Photo Courtesy: Winvian Farm

Bantam Lake has plenty of accommodation options for visiting one of the best lakes near New York City for families. Try booking a stay at Winvian Farm, a hilltop hotel set in quaint farm cottages and rustic buildings, just four miles from Litchfield. Overlooking nearby Lake Waramaug, The Hopkins Inn & Restaurant is also a great option for families since it has its own private beach. Many also consider renting properties from Vrbo or Airbnb. Finally, for families who truly want to experience the great outdoors, Bantam Lake also offers camping at two locations on its shores. Head to Point Folly for lakefront camping on one of the best lakes near new york city for families. Or, try Windmill Hill for tent camping in the woods.

Happy Travels!

Mother and son fishing on boat in Lake George.
Photo Courtesy: Sheryll Pang Yu
Lake George

No matter where you choose to visit, we hope taking one of the best lake getaways near NYC is unforgettable for your family! We also hope you’ve enjoyed our round-up of the Best Summer Lakes Near New York City for Families (All Within 4 Hours). Whether you are looking for a lake house near NYC, epic hiking, waterparks, adventurous water sports, or lazy days on sandy lake beaches, we know this list has a lake destination for your family on your next road trip from New York with kids! One thing is for certain, making memories on these lakes near New York City are sure to last a lifetime!

*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the accommodations, restaurants, or activities on this list may also be closed. Please ensure availability before making your decision.

*This post may contain affiliate links that may also earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, or other recommendations included in our articles. All opinions and recommendations expressed here are also compiled from submissions submitted by the generous members of our Families Who Love To Travel community.

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