Staten Island Parks

Staten Island Parks: A Nature Lover’s Dream

Staten Island, known as “The Greenest Borough,” boasts over 170 parks, comprising more than 12,300 acres of protected parkland, which accounts for over one-third of the Island’s total land mass. These parks offer a diverse range of recreational opportunities, catering to various interests and preferences.

For those seeking outdoor activities, Clove Lakes Park provides ice skating opportunities, while South Beach offers swimming facilities. Nature enthusiasts can indulge in bird watching at Mount Loretto Nature Preserve or explore the extensive hiking trails of the Greenbelt. Traditional parks with playgrounds and sports fields are complemented by vast forests and serene passive parkland areas, providing a rustic retreat just minutes away from Manhattan.

One notable park is Bloomingdale Park, established in 2004, spanning 138 acres in Southern Staten Island. This park features pathways, jogging trails, ballfields, a soccer field, and basketball court, catering to active recreation enthusiasts. Additionally, wooded trails offer a serene escape from urban life, with a handicapped-accessible playground ensuring inclusivity for all children.

Conference House Park, situated at the southernmost point of New York State, offers a blend of natural beauty and historical significance. Housing four historic buildings spanning three centuries, this 267-acre park is a haven for history enthusiasts. Visitors can explore historic landmarks, enjoy panoramic views of the Raritan Bay, and engage in recreational activities such as hiking, biking, and beachcombing. The park also features a newly refurbished playground, a Visitors Center, and kayak launch points, making it an ideal destination for both leisure and learning.

Greenbelt: Stretching across the heart of Staten Island, the Greenbelt is a natural oasis cherished by nature enthusiasts. Spanning over three times the size of Central Park, this contiguous expanse comprises forests, meadows, wetlands, ponds, and parks. Its extensive network of trails, varying in difficulty, beckons hikers and bikers to explore the Greenbelt’s diverse terrain, weaving through peaks and valleys. Covering nearly 3,000 acres, the Greenbelt is home to a plethora of native wildlife, making it a haven for bird watchers. From the summit of Moses Mountain, one of its highest points, the bustling cityscape fades away, offering a serene escape within New York City.

To begin their journey, visitors can stop by the Greenbelt Nature Center, where they can obtain trail maps, access the trail system, explore educational exhibits, or engage with knowledgeable staff. The Greenbelt Conservancy, a non-profit organization, collaborates with the New York City Parks & Recreation Department to protect and preserve this remarkable natural treasure, offering various programs and events for enthusiasts to participate in.

Freshkills Park: Transforming from a colossal landfill into a premier recreational destination, Freshkills Park is poised to become a world-class attraction. Covering almost three times the area of Central Park, this 2,200-acre park will offer a blend of passive and active recreational opportunities. With its picturesque wetlands, thriving wildlife, and stunning views of Manhattan, Freshkills Park promises an unparalleled experience for visitors.

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Prior to its official opening, guests can explore the site and learn about its future plans through scheduled tours and events. For information on upcoming tour dates and events, visit www.freshkillspark.org/calendar. Groups interested in arranging tours can contact [email protected] or call 212-602-5372. Freshkills Park is open on select days for tours and events, offering a glimpse into its promising future as a vibrant urban oasis.

Mid-Island Parks: Exploring beyond the Greenbelt, central Staten Island unveils a collection of parks boasting diverse attractions, including marinas, golf courses, and abundant wildlife.

Willowbrook Park: Nestled within Staten Island’s Greenbelt, Willowbrook Park stands out as one of the borough’s premier outdoor destinations. Anchored by the iconic Carousel for All Children, this 164-acre park delights visitors of all ages with its Victorian-inspired ride adorned with intricately carved figures. From traditional horses to endangered species and mythical creatures, the carousel offers a whimsical experience accessible to all, including those with physical impairments.

Beyond the carousel, Willowbrook Park offers a wealth of recreational facilities, including ballfields, tennis courts, playgrounds, and an archery range. The serene Willowbrook Lake provides a tranquil haven for birds and offers opportunities for paddle or row boating, with rentals available at the boathouse.

Great Kills Park: As part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, Great Kills Park beckons with panoramic views of Staten Island’s eastern shore, adorned with charming restaurants and marinas. Encompassing 580 acres of open space, this park is a sanctuary for wildlife, boasting a rich and diverse ecosystem.

Visitors can bask in the sun at the picturesque, lifeguarded beach or explore the park’s network of trails ideal for hiking, biking, or leisurely strolls. The park’s harbor hosts a marina, while its waterways provide excellent opportunities for fishing and kayaking, inviting outdoor enthusiasts to immerse themselves in nature’s beauty.

LaTourette Park: Nestled within the Greenbelt, LaTourette Park offers a rich tapestry of forest ecology, showcasing diverse woodlands and wetlands that provide sanctuary for threatened flora and fauna. The park boasts meticulously maintained hiking trails, a newly constructed bike path, and ample opportunities for outdoor recreation, including a public golf course, model airplane flying, and softball.

Reflecting its storied past, remnants of the LaTourette family’s agricultural legacy, including the historic LaTourette mansion dating back to the 1870s, still grace the landscape. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the mansion now serves as the clubhouse for the golf course, adding a touch of charm and nostalgia to the park’s ambiance.

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North Shore Parks: Staten Island’s North Shore Parks offer a serene escape from the bustle of the city, with quiet wooded trails, recreational amenities, and scenic vistas conveniently located near the Ferry terminal.

Silver Lake Park: Spanning 209 acres, Silver Lake Park caters to a wide range of recreational interests, from golfing and tennis to soccer and leisurely strolls amidst lush greenery. The park’s extensive trail network and open spaces provide ample opportunities for exploration and relaxation. The centerpiece of Silver Lake Park is its picturesque lake, which has played a pivotal role in the area’s history, serving as a backdrop for various recreational activities over the years. From hosting national skating championships to being a vital component of New York City’s water supply system, the lake holds a special place in the hearts of locals and visitors alike, adding to the park’s allure and appeal.

Clove Lakes Park: Spanning 198 acres, Clove Lakes Park offers a picturesque retreat featuring serene lakes and ponds, as well as notable geological formations such as outcroppings of serpentine rocks. One of the park’s highlights is Staten Island’s largest living thing – a majestic three-hundred-year-old tulip tree towering at one hundred and seven feet tall. Having witnessed significant historical events, including the consolidation of New York City, the Revolutionary War, and the settlement of Staten Island, this venerable tree stands as a testament to the passage of time.

Visitors to Clove Lakes Park can immerse themselves in nature by strolling along scenic trails or renting paddle boats to explore the tranquil bodies of water. The park also offers a wealth of recreational amenities, including baseball diamonds, basketball courts, playgrounds, a soccer field, and a football field, catering to diverse interests. Additionally, visitors can enjoy ice skating at the covered Staten Island War Memorial Ice Skating Rink and indulge in culinary delights at the park’s restaurant, ensuring a memorable experience for all.

South Beach: Since the 19th century, Staten Island’s Eastern Shore has beckoned tourists and beach enthusiasts, with South Beach emerging as a premier destination. The crown jewel of the shoreline is the iconic South Beach Boardwalk, stretching nearly two miles along the coast. Affectionately dubbed “The Riviera of New York City,” the Boardwalk area offers a myriad of attractions, including new playing fields, playful fountains, and a pristine, lifeguard-manned beach, perfect for family outings.

The highlight of South Beach is the impressive 835-foot Ocean Breeze Fishing Pier, one of the longest in New York City, providing ample opportunities for anglers to reel in their catch. Visitors can also enjoy comfort stations, a shady gazebo, snack bars, and a restaurant, all set against the backdrop of breathtaking vistas. During the summer months, South Beach comes alive with vibrant concerts, festive Back to the Beach festivals, and other exciting events, ensuring endless entertainment for visitors of all ages. With its scenic views of the city skyline, a day at South Beach promises unforgettable moments and cherished memories for locals and tourists alike.

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South Shore Parks: Southern Staten Island offers a surprising escape from the hustle and bustle of New York City, boasting diverse natural areas and abundant recreational opportunities for nature enthusiasts.

Wolfe’s Pond Park: As one of the largest parks in Staten Island, Wolfe’s Pond Park is a sprawling outdoor haven offering a myriad of attractions. From its pristine beach and vibrant wildlife preserves to its active recreation areas, this 341-acre park provides endless opportunities for adventure and relaxation. Visitors can engage in various activities, from running and jumping to climbing, while also enjoying amenities such as the boat house, playgrounds, and scenic picnic areas, ensuring a memorable experience for families and individuals alike.

Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve: Nestled within a 260-acre natural preserve, Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve boasts a rich tapestry of ecological habitats, including wetlands, sand barrens, spring-fed streams, and woodlands. Beyond its natural beauty, the park holds a significant cultural history, reflecting the legacies of the Lenape Indians, European settlers, and the Free Blacks of Sandy Ground.

The recently inaugurated Interpretive Center serves as an educational hub, offering insights into the park’s ecological and historical significance. Visitors can embark on guided hikes or enjoy leisurely picnics amidst the park’s picturesque surroundings, immersing themselves in nature’s splendor while discovering the fascinating stories of the past.

Mount Loretto Unique Nature Preserve: Discover the natural beauty of Mt. Loretto State Preserve, spanning 194 acres and hosting five distinct ecosystems. Visitors can explore grasslands, tidal and freshwater wetlands, forests, and Staten Island’s coastline within this protected area. The preserve, saved from development in 1998, features unique clay bluffs, the last remaining in New York City. Activities such as hiking, beachcombing, horseback riding, birdwatching, and fishing make it an ideal destination for nature lovers.

Blue Heron Park: Spread across 147 acres, Blue Heron Park is home to various wildlife, including the blue heron bird. As part of Staten Island’s Bluebelt, it offers wetlands, ponds, and meadows. Birdwatchers will appreciate the diverse avian species. The park provides hiking trails, picnic areas, and a visitor center for a serene outdoor experience.

Experience the beauty of Staten Island’s parks, just minutes away from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. Whether you’re seeking adventure or simply looking to unwind, there’s something for everyone in our natural playgrounds.

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