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Official Website of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation

Getaway Parks for the Staycationing New Yorker

Vacationing in the Big Apple? Here are some off-the-radar park gems, perfect for exploring New York while on a staycation. 

1. Hunter's Point South Park, Queens

Photo by Daniel Avila

Enjoy stunning views of Manhattan from this beautiful waterfront park in the budding Long Island City neighborhood. There are seats along the shore, a restaurant at the pavilion (near the LIC Landing), as well as a playground, dog run, and volleyball courts. Head a few steps north of the park to check out the neighborhood's iconic Pepsi sign and Gantry Plaza State Park. More information about Hunter's Point South Park >

2. The Greenbelt, Staten Island

Photo by Daniel Avila

The Greenbelt is a large parkland of many parks in middle of Staten Island. Willowbrook Park, shown here, is a lovely getaway for the whole family and the most popular of the Greenbelt parks. Flop down brook side for a picnic, join our Urban Park Rangers on canoeing or fishing trips, check out the archery range (bring your own bows and arrows), take archery lessons, ride on the carousel, go hiking, or play baseball. Further south of Willowbrook Park, other local favorites include the Historic Richmond Town (a 300-year-old historic village), La Tourette Park Golf Course, and the Greenbelt Yellow Trail (Southwest Trailhead) to Todt Hill—New York City and the East Coast's highest natural point at 410 feet above sea level. More information about The Greenbelt

3. Fort Washington Park, Manhattan

Photo by Daniel Avila

Visit Manhattan island's only lighthouse, the Little Red Lighthouse. Hang out on the rocks or wander along the shores of the Hudson River to enjoy beautiful views of the New Jersey Palisades and the George Washington Bridge. Bike to the park from the Hudson River Greenway or take the 181st Street overpass. Pack dinner; there are picnic tables by the waterside and you wouldn't want to miss the sunset from here. Want to take a tour of the lighthouse? Come to the Little Red Lighthouse Festival on September 26, 2015. More information about Fort Washington Park >

4. Twin Islands, Bronx

Photo by Daniel Avila

Nestled between the massive acres of Pelham Bay Park and the southernmost tip of New England's southern shore, the salt marshes here are one of the last remaining in the city, and the bedrock dates back half a billion years—older than the Long Island Sound which surrounds it. The islands are just off Orchard Beach. Wander through the Twin Island Preserve Trail to this rocky shoreline for a different view of the Bronx. More information about the Twin Islands >

5. Shore Road Parkway, Brooklyn

Photo by Daniel Avila

Escape to Bay Ridge's waterfront park overlooking The Narrows. The towering Verrazano Bridge draws the eye to both Brooklyn and the mirroring Staten Island shores. Take a stroll or bike along the romantic four-mile greenway to see the army bases, as well as Owl's Head Park, Coney Island, and Alice Austen Park. The 69th Street/American Veterans Memorial Pier, shown here, is a local favorite for fishing and capturing the sunset. More information about Shore Road Parkway >

6. Alley Pond Park, Queens

Photo by Daniel Avila

The Alley Pond Park Adventure Course features a human swingshot, rope courses, a climbing wall, zip-line, trust-fall stations, and more. The adventure course is free on Sundays. Are you more of a nature lover? The park's over 600 acres feature many hiking trails through its oak-hickory forest, beautiful views of the sunset on the lake, a windmill, and NYC's oldest and tallest tree. More information about Alley Pond Park >

7. South Shore, Staten Island

Photo: Wolfe's Pond Beach by Malcolm Pinckney

Escape to Staten Island's beautiful south shore—quiet romantic beaches, lush hiking trails, lovely waterfront views, and the perfect birding spots. Take a virtual tour of Staten Island's South Shore >

8. Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx

Photo by Daniel Avila

This park is NYC's third largest park, and it is home to the country's first public golf course, the oldest house in the Bronx, the borough's largest freshwater lake, the country's premiere cross-country running courses, and numerous hiking trails. More information about Van Cortlandt Park >

9. Marine Park, Brooklyn

Photo by Malcolm Pinckney

Trail through the salt marshes of Brooklyn's largest park, rent a pedal boat, or join a canoeing/kayaking event and cruise around Jamaica Bay and Gerritsen Greek. Take in the view of Gerritsen Creek, once home to the nation's first flour-grist mill, which was built in 1645. The mill is no longer here but today you can see remnants of the mill—wood pilings across the creek at low tide. More information about Marine Park >

10. Fort Totten, Queens

Photo by Daniel Avila

Built in 1862 to protect the New York Harbor, then later used as a hospital care center during the Civil War, today, visitors can tour the Queens landmark which overlooks the bay, or take a dip in its outdoor pool which opens in the summer. More information about Fort Totten >

11. Wave Hill, Bronx

Photo Courtesy of Wave Hill

Looking for a romantic getaway during your New York City staycation? Step into 28 acres of strikingly beautiful botanic gardens at Wave Hill. Take a romantic stroll, tour the mansion, enjoy a picnic, or stop by during the late afternoon hours for an awe-inspiring sunset over the Palisades. More information about Wave Hill >

12. Highland Park, Brooklyn & Queens

Photo by Daniel Avila

This massize 101-acre park sits on the border of Queens and Brooklyn and is best known for the peacefully beautiful Ridgewood Reservoir at the very top of the park. The park itself is home to more than 151 species of birds that live about its woods and wetlands, but the reservoir is a favorite spot among locals and experts for birding. Come admire the view on the one-mile pathway that wraps around the reservoir. From here you can see far west to the Manhattan skyline and far east to the Old Mill Creek landfill. You can barbecue in the park and watch the local teams play baseball. More information about Highland Park >

13. Baisley Pond Park, Queens

Photo by Malcolm Pinckney

Throughout the year, many species of birds flock to this Queens park's 30-acre pond, decorated with giant lily pads. But the park is best known for once hosting the American Mastodon (an extinct species of elephants) 10,000 years ago, whose remains were found here. Love cricket? Neighborhood players and teams come here to play during the warmer months. More information about Baisley Pond Park >

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