Travel 2021 | Grafton, Moreau, Thompson: closer to home, rediscover this summer trio

New York State Parks are home to some of the best lakes in the state, including Grafton, Moreau, and Thompson.

Grafton Lakes, located in Rensselaer County, actually consists of several ponds – Shaver, Long, Mill, and Second. Nestled between the Hudson and Taconic valleys, these “lakes” are surrounded by over 2,500 acres of land that includes 25 miles of hiking trails and is home to all manner of boats including canoes, kayaks, sailboats and rowboats. Motor boats are also allowed.

The park where the “lakes” are located provides visitors with cycling and nature trails, and it is not uncommon to see someone riding a horse along these trails. If you want to spend the day, there is a sandy beach and a swimming area, as well as several lodges which can be rented seasonally.

Picnickers can choose one of the many tables and can bring their dog as well – a maximum of two pets are allowed in many day-use areas.

Before taking a dip in the clear waters of Long Pond, where the sandy beach is located, you can walk up the fire tower trail to see the newly restored Dickinson Hill fire tower. Climbing its 80 steps offers views of the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts, the Green Mountains of Vermont, and the Adirondacks.

Alane Ball Chinian, Saratoga and Capital Region regional director for parks, recreation and historic preservation for New York State, said Grafton is offering a new natural playground adjacent to the beach parking lot. .

“It’s made of natural materials that kids can fit in and crawl,” added Ball Chinian. “There’s a miniature fire tower they can climb on, an eagle’s nest, and a pollinator garden.”

Grafton Lakes State Park is also home to a Bird Conservation Area, with over 30 acres of wetlands, making it perfect for bird lovers to spot not only birds such as the great blue heron and the Eastern bluebirds, but also raptors such as the Cooper’s Hawk and the Red-shouldered Falcon. The Grafton Visitor Center is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily except Tuesday. Building staff provide orientation and interpretation of the park throughout the day.

For more information on Grafton Lakes, visit

Plus: Travel 2021 | Our beautiful lakes – A travel guide for summer 2021

Another gem of the Capital Region is Moreau Lake State Park, home to Moreau Lake.

Lac Moreau is surrounded by deciduous forests, pine forests and rocky ridges. Shaded groves house picnic areas and a pavilion overlooking the lake.

The wooded campgrounds are quiet and secluded, offering facilities for group campers, as well as sites for tents and trailers.

Three pavilions can accommodate up to 75 people each, and can be booked daily.

The sandy beach, nature, hiking and cross-country skiing trails, boating, fishing and ice fishing opportunities, as well as proximity to the Saratoga Springs and Lake George areas make the park attractive. for visitors.

In summer, beach lounges, umbrellas and fishing equipment can be rented.

“We are very fortunate to have natural attractions like Moreau Lake State Park in Saratoga County. People come to enjoy and explore the beautiful lake, trails and beach at Moreau, then visit other towns, villages and towns in Saratoga County for shopping, dining and lodging, ”said Todd Shimkus, Chairman of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce. “The state park is such an asset to our community. Being located near Saratoga Springs and Lake George, and its proximity to I-87, also helps attract visitors. “

Additionally, Moreau hosts a nature center directly on the beach that features live animals and naturalist interpretations, as well as nature programs. From Saturday, the Nature Center will open on weekends, and June 14 will be open six days a week (except Tuesday). Hours of operation will be 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The nature center will be open regardless of the capacity authorized throughout the season. On Tuesdays, the center will offer public hikes and take care of the animals. Be sure to check out the website below for more details.

New for 2021, Moreau Lake State Park offers seven accessible campsites for people with disabilities. At least one member of a camping party must require accommodation.

The sites will support electrical equipment for those with a legitimate medical need, and documentation from a physician is required. You can contact the park manager for more information at 518-793-0511.

“It’s a beautiful place to go where you have a lot to do,” said Ball Chinian. “You can have a picnic or go swimming. The lake is surrounded by protected land and you can hike to some simply spectacular views.

To learn more about Moreau Lake State Park, visit:

Lake Thompson in Albany County is inside John Boyd Thacher State Park.

Lake Thompson Campground, nestled in the mountains just four miles from the Helderberg Escarpment, is a popular campground and recreation area.

Plus: Travel 2021 | Our beautiful lakes – A travel guide for summer 2021

Ideally located in Thacher National Park, this campsite offers 140 wooded pitches and consists of a sandy beach, mixed deciduous and coniferous forests, limestone outcrops and open fields.

Recreational options include a volleyball court, horseshoe pits, playground, swings, access to cabin boats, canoes, kayaks and paddle boards, fishing areas and natural trails. Interpretation and recreation programs are offered to campers throughout the summer. (In winter, visitors can cross-country ski and ice fish.)

The Emma Treadwell Thacher Center is located on Lake Thompson next to the campground and is accessible to campers.

The center opened in July 2001 and offers exhibitions, interactive exhibits, hiking and skiing trails, and educational programs. Be sure to check out the Thompson’s Lake website for details on hours of operation and summer opening. A launch site is also available and is only available in the cabin.

To learn more about Lake Thompson, visit

Grafton Lakes
Lake name: “Grafton Lakes” actually consists of several scenic ponds: Shaver Pond, Long Pond, Mill Pond, and Second Pond.
Meaning / origin of the name: Located in the town of Grafton, hamlet of Grafton
Location: Rensselaer County
Cut: Grafton Lakes State Park covers 2,545 acres. Long Pond, the largest, is 33 feet deep at its maximum depth.
Claiming Glory: Close to Petersburg, Grafton Peace Pagoda is one of two peace pagodas in the United States and 80 in the world.
Where to swim: Long Pond Beach
Where to throw: Long Pond in State Park offers a boat launch.
Fisherman’s paradise: Long Pond is stocked in the spring with approximately 900 brown trout and 900 rainbow trout. It is also home to largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, chain pickerel, blue sunfish, pumpkin seeds, bass, yellow perch, and brown bullhead. Hot and cold water fishing takes place at Long Pond.
Restaurant by the lake: Due to the rural location, Grafton Lakes does not offer nearby lakeside restaurants. However, seven miles down the road is Man of Kent Tavern & Cafe. Located in Hoosick Falls, MOK offers a British pub-style dining experience, with excellent beer selections, delicious fish and chips, and outdoor dining options. You can also take a picnic basket and eat by the beach in the park.

Moreau Lake
Location: Saratoga and Warren Counties
Cut: 32 feet deep, 2.9 miles in length, according to NYS DEC
Little known fact: The area around Moreau Lake was originally a summer residence and estate developed by George W. McAdam, a wealthy lawyer. From 1935 to 1940, the area began to develop as a seasonal campground.
Where to swim: Moreau Lake State Park has a sandy beach for swimming.
Where to throw: The park offers a launching ramp. No engine is allowed and there is parking for 10 cars and trailers.
Fishing possibilities: Moreau has excellent fishing for largemouth bass and rainbow trout. At the north end of the lake, it becomes relatively shallow and overgrown with weeds, providing good habitat for largemouth and pike. Ice fishing is also permitted.
Restaurant by the lake: Due to its rural character, there are few restaurants on the shores of Lake Moreau. However, about 10 km down the road to Gansevoort, Chez Pierre is a French restaurant that offers delicious European cuisine in a warm, old-fashioned atmosphere. For those who want a more laid back experience, there is a concession stand near the beach.

Thompson Lake
Location: In John Boyd Thacher State Park, east of Bern, in Albany County
Size: 60 feet deep, 2.5 miles long
Little known fact: The state park in which the lake resides was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.
Where to swim: The campground in John Boyd Thacher State Park offers a sandy beach and swimming. You should check the Thompson’s Lake webpage for the capacity of the beach, as the beach caters to campers first.
Where to throw: You can launch your boat at the State Department of Environmental Conservation boat launch, which is located south of Thompson’s Lake State Park, off the highway. 157 from New York, north of Route 157A and Beaver Dam Road. Daytime usage fees are charged during the summer season.
Restaurant by the lake: Maple on the Lake, which is actually on nearby Warner’s Lake, has lovely patio views, as well as American and German fare.

Plus: Travel 2021 | Our beautiful lakes – A travel guide for summer 2021

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About Douglas Mackenzie

Douglas Mackenzie

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