Kids’ Almanac (Aug. 14-21)

(Photo by Julie O’Connor)

Last swim of the day at Belleayre Beach (Photo by Julie O’Connor)

“Ninety percent of success is achieved by knowing you have something incredible to offer and having tenacious persistence.”
– Jesse Saperstein, best-selling author and autism/anti-bullying advocate


Get in the swim!

Now that Labor Day and its implications of summer’s end are in sight, some of you are frantically e-mailing me looking for beach information. When I need an ocean fix, I make a day trip with my crew to the wavy bliss of Robert Moses Beach on Long Island, Field 5, which has a great lighthouse walk and a fun playground, and we can skip the $8 parking fee by using our Empire Passport. Another option that we enjoy for calmer bayside waters is Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk, Connecticut, which has a snack bar and a small playground. Sometimes we combine it with a trip to Norwalk Aquarium. The nonresident parking fee is $25 per car on weekdays before 5 p.m., $30 per car on weekends before 5 p.m. and $10 after 5 p.m.


But for our regular jaunts, here’s a local roundup of some Hudson Valley sand beaches. Thanks to your input, this list is growing. Please keep them coming!


Belleayre Beach at Pine Hill Lake is a treasure, with its beautiful white sand and the natural scenery surrounding it. Note that you can no longer use your Empire Passport to get in, but carloads cost $10, with additional pricing details for motorcycles et cetera on The beach is a manageable size for all ages, and they offer rowboat, pedal boat and kayak rentals by the hour. This was the first place where our son swam on his own and jumped off a dock, perfecting his signature cannonball.

Belleayre is open through Labor Day weekend for swimming every day at 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on weekdays, and until 7 p.m. on weekends. Belleayre Beach is located at 33 Friendship Manor Road in Pine Hill, just off Route 28. For more information, call (845) 254-5202 or visit


Lake Taghkanic State Park is another sandy beach where you can use your Empire Pass. Without an Empire Pass, the admission fee is $8 per vehicle. This beach is much larger, giving you lots of options for setting up your site, and they also offer boat rentals. Lake Taghkanic has a camping area on the other side of the park, and the snack bar has a wider selection than other sand-beach concession stands, including hot food and souvenirs. My kids have played with the toy boats that they got there longer than I ever would have expected.

Swimming is available every day through September 1 starting at 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. weekdays and until 7 p.m. on weekends. After our time at the beach, we pack up our stuff in the car and drive over to the other end of the parking lot to the playground. It has some unique features that we don’t usually see in community play areas, and our kids especially love going on the dizzy seats there.

Lake Taghkanic State Park is located at 1528 Route 82 in Ancram. For more information, call (518) 851-3631 or visit, which includes a video tour of the park.


Kingston Point Beach is an easy stop and has a bathroom on-site, as well as a nearby playground. On this same end of the strip, you can visit Kingston Point Park with its scenic views and enjoyable hiking trails. Kingston Point Beach is located at 53 Delaware Avenue in Kingston. For more information including swimming hours, call (845) 331-1682 or visit


Sojourner Truth/Ulster Landing Park is beautiful and well-cared-for with a gorgeous view of the river. It has easy parking, close access to the sand beach and well-placed restrooms, and the playground adds one more element of fun! Sojourner Truth/Ulster Landing Park is located at 916 Ulster Landing Road in Saugerties. For more information, call (845) 336-8484 or visit


The Saugerties Village Beach is a delightful small sand beach with an adjoining playground – plus it’s within walking distance of Krause’s Chocolates, just a short jaunt away. The Saugerties Village Beach is located at the end of Partition Street in Saugerties. For more information, call (845) 246-2919 or visit


Red Wing Park includes a large beach and an expansive park. Admission for non-resident adults is $12, $6 for children, and rates are half-price after 5 p.m. Additional pricing details are listed on the website. Red Wing Park is located at 11 Old Farm Road off Route 82 in East Fishkill. For more information, call (845) 221-9191 or visit


Peacocks run wild in Kingston

This month, keep your eyes out in the Uptown, Midtown and Rondout areas of Kingston for the special appearance of the Junior League of Kingston’s fancy, artistically decorated peacock sculptures! Peacocks are one of the most popular attractions at Kingston’s Forsyth Nature Center, and as you have read here in Kids’ Almanac, the Junior League of Kingston is planning a playground renovation at Forsyth Park in April 2015 called Kingston Kinderland II. The 22 peacock sculptures are a clever way to tie it all together, and the October fundraising auction for them will benefit the upcoming playground renovation.

Maps of the peacock trail are available in tourism offices, sponsorship businesses and art galleries. For more information, visit Share your photos of the peacocks “in the wild” with the hashtag #peacocksrunwild.



Miracle Treat Day at Dairy Queen

My heart breaks over the pediatric cancers and other serious illnesses faced by area folks in our community. Miracle Treat Day is one simple way to help. On Thursday, August 14, head over to the Middletown Dairy Queen Grill & Chill for a Blizzard Treat, and Dairy Queen will donate $1 to our area Children’s Miracle Network hospital, the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center, to help children in need.

If you can’t make it to Miracle Treat Day, no problem: You can make a donation by purchasing a Miracle Treat Day balloon, each of which has a special coupon. The Middletown Dairy Queen is located at 11 James P. Kelly Way in Middletown. For more information, call (845) 381-1118 or visit To learn more about Miracle Treat Day, visit



Bicycle Safety Rodeo in Middletown

Another fun visit to Middletown is in store for Kids’ Almanac readers by attending the Hudson Health Plan Free Bicycle Safety Rodeo. I love these rodeos because, while kids enjoy the gamelike elements of the designated bicycle safety course, the repetition helps kids practice important bicycle skills without the risk of pedaling on real roads. Kids are also entered into a free raffle, plus a free brake, seat and tires check.

The event is free and takes place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Garcia’s Market, located at 123 North Street in Middletown. For more information, call (800) 339-4557 or visit