Harriman State Park: Lake Sebago
GOOD FOR: Ages 5-8

Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:Seven Lakes Drive, Harriman, NY
Hours:Lake: open seasonally, July 2 to August 7, 7:30 A.M. to 8 P.M. Other parts of Harriman State Park are open throughout the year.
Fee: $8 per vehicle (free with an Empire Passport)
Bathrooms: Comfort station
Water/Snacks: Vending machines in the comfort station

USGS Sloatsburg

A hike along Lake Sebago is relatively easy, as is paddling its calm waters.

Lake Sebago has many quiet coves for paddlers.
Photo by: Cheryl and William de Jong-Lambert

Harriman State Park, the second-largest in the New York State park system, has 31 lakes and reservoirs. Covering 310 acres, Lake Sebago is the largest lake in the park (sebago is Algonquian for “big water”). The lake is fronted by a brick comfort station with a first-aid clinic, bathrooms, and vending machines. Beyond this is a guarded beach with a swimming area designated by roped buoys. The campground, including tentsites, 40 popular rustic cabins, and two full-service cottages, covers a large area north and west of the beach. The campground is an easy hike from the beach, and has a playground.

Campers or visitors on day trips can experience the backwoods beauty of Harriman on a moderately easy walk around part of the lake. As you enter the beach area, head right (counterclockwise, or southwest) along the sandy beach. After about 100 yards you will encounter a footpath leading into the forest surrounding the lake. The rock-studded path includes slight inclines and exposed roots. While strollers are not an option, the hike is suitable for kids ages 5 and above. The path leads around the edge of the lake, and the views across and above to the surrounding woods are delightful. After about a mile, the path veers right (northwest) over to nearby Lake Skenon. Return the way you came and enjoy the beach. You can also head left (clockwise) around Lake Sebago, but the path is very rocky and less clear.

Three large and mostly shaded barbecue and picnic areas are between the parking lot and the beach, and boat launches are at designated areas on the beach for nonmotorized craft. After a few paddle strokes away from the busy beachfront, you will find yourself in the soul of quiet waters. Remember: No dogs are allowed.

Plan B:

The Appalachian Trail (AT) runs through Harriman State Park. At the intersection of the AT and Arden-Surebridge Trail, near the base of Island Pond Mountain, look for the “Lemon Squeezer,” a large rock formation that requires hikers to “squeeze” through a nearly 10-foot-long opening—a favorite with kids.

Where to Eat Nearby:

It is best to pack a picnic.


Get outdoor tips & trips
Yes, I want to receive expert advice on getting my family outside!



Ellis Island »
Island walk with terrific views
Battery Park, State Street and Battery Place, Manhattan, NY (ferry departure point)

Taconic State Park: Rudd Pond »
Ice fishing near the campsites
59 Rudd Pond Road, Millerton, NY

Forest Park »
Mountain-biking and horseback-riding trails
Park Lane and Forest Park Drive, Queens, NY

Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park: Pelton Pond »
Boat rentals at the beach
Cold Spring Turnpike, Kent, NY


Taconic State Park: Rudd Pond »
Ice fishing near the campsites
59 Rudd Pond Road, Millerton, NY

North-South Lake: Catskill Mountain House »

Short hike to breathtaking mountain ridge views
County Road 18, Haines Falls, NY

Fire Island »

Rare Sunken Forest
99 Maple Avenue, Bay Shore, NY (ferry departure)

© 2023 Appalachian Mountain Club | 10 City Square, Boston, MA 02129
About | Privacy Policy | Contact Us