Parks You Must Visit #onStatenIsland

Staten Island is well-known as the “borough of parks”—but even long-time Staten Island natives may not have explored all the natural splendor that this beautiful borough has to offer. Here are some of our favorite recommendations of places to see in the greenest borough! Be sure to use #onStatenIsland to share your next park photo.

Take A Hike Along Staten Island’s South Shore

Photo by Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

New York’s “south pole” is home to American history, beaches, and acres of natural splendor. You can pick up a map and Blue Heron Nature Center, and then hike through secluded paths and ponds in Blue Heron and Lemon Creek Parks, all the way to Raritan Bay. During the summer, Wolfe’s Pond Park offers one of New York City’s quietest and most serene public swimming beaches. And at Conference House Park, you can find hiking trails alongside some of the oldest houses in the city, including the Conference House itself, the site of a milestone of American independence. Visit Staten Island's South Shore

See the Crabapple Trees in Bloom at Silver Lake Park

Photo by Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

Enjoy the enchanting beauty of the sweet-smelling crabapple trees along the north end of the lake. Take a seat—this is one of Staten Island's most treasured views. The lake is a piece of New York's state history. It was once the end point of the Catskill water supply system, and it hosted the National Skating Amateur Championship races in 1897. Visit Silver Lake Park

Walk Down the Allee to the New York Chinese Scholar's Garden

Photo by Malcolm Pinckney/NYC Parks

This enchanting tunnel arch at Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden leads out to a bamboo forest, waterfalls, a koi-filled pond, and rock formations that mimic the mountains of ancient China. Make a day of your trip to Snug Harbor! Visit the garden's neighbors—the Heritage Farm and Staten Island Museum! Visit Snug Harbor

Train Like An Athlete at Ocean Breeze Track & Field Athletic Complex

Person pole vaultingPhoto by Malcolm Pinckney/NYC Parks

While most of Ocean Breeze Park remains a pristine tidal meadow, this park by South Beach has been picking up a lot of buzz lately as the site of one of the nation’s premier track-and-field facilities. During the year, the track hosts a wide variety of meets, from local events to major college meets and national championships. You can visit Ocean Breeze’s meet page to catch an upcoming competition, or you can visit our Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex page to join the center and use the same facilities as our nation’s top amateurs!

Kayak to a Wildlife Refuge in Freshkills Park

Photo courtesy of Michael Anton/DSNY

See spring in a whole new way! On April 30, join the Freshkills Park Alliance on a free kayaking excursion to the William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge. You'll get a preview of the Freshkills Park (the entire park opens in 2036) and see the park's varied wildlife up close. Learn more about the Freshkills Park Kayak Tour

Hit the Target at the Greenbelt

Urban Park Ranger teaching people how to shoot a bow and arrowPhoto by Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

Staten Island’s Greenbelt is a local name for a chain of parks that together include more than 3,000 acres of land right in the heart of the borough. Much of the parkland remains wild and natural, offering some of the best hiking opportunities in the city. But there are great opportunities for active recreation as well, including the sprawling public LaTourette Golf Course, regular programs at Greenbelt Recreation Center, a preserved 17th-century village at Historic Richmond Town, and a variety of opportunities at Willowbrook Park, including tennis courts, ballfields, a handicap-accessible carousel for all children, canoeing events, and one of the city’s few archery ranges for any aspiring Robin Hoods or Katniss Everdeens!

Go Behind the Scenes of Alice Austen's Incredible Life

outside shot of the Alice Austin HousePhoto courtesy of the Alice Austen House Museum

Alice Austen was a prolific 19th-century photographer and a woman of many firsts who lived in this farmhouse on the grounds of what is now Alice Austen Park, off Buono Beach. In addition to her life as a photographer, Alice Austen was the first woman on Staten Island to own a car, founder of the Staten Island Garden Club, and a master tennis player. Step inside her home, one of the oldest in NYC—it dates back to the 1690s. The walls are decorated with photos taken by Alice Austen, including self-portraits and images of New Yorkers at work and at the beach. Head out on the front lawn for a beautiful view of the waterfront—you'll see the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, Brooklyn's southern waterfront, the skyscrapers of lower Manhattan, and parts of New Jersey as you enjoy watching the ships sail in to the Harbor. The house is owned by NYC Parks, operated by the Friends of Alice Austen Inc., and is a member of the Historic House TrustVisit Alice Austen Park

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