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11 Top-Rated Beaches near Albany, NY

Albany reveals a myriad of beach getaways just a short drive away, each offering a unique blend of beauty, activities, and amenities, ensuring a fun sun-soaked experience.
Lake Taghkanic State Park Beach in New York State

As the mercury rises and summer days stretch longer in Albany the allure of glistening waters and golden sands becomes impossible to resist.

The capital city, historically known for its rich heritage and architectural marvels, might not immediately strike as a beach destination.

Yet, a closer look reveals a myriad of beach getaways just a short drive away.

Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie craving some aquatic adventures, a nature lover seeking tranquility, or a family on the lookout for the perfect picnic spot, Albany’s surroundings have got you covered.

Each offering a unique blend of beauty, activities, and amenities, ensuring a sun-soaked experience you won’t soon forget.

Check out these sandy retreats near Albany!

1. Thompson’s Lake Campground

Thompson's Lake Campground near Albany NY
Source: flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0
  • Distance from Albany: 19 miles
  • Activities: kayaking, paddleboarding, camping, hiking, fishing, swimming
  • Facilities: restrooms, parking, lifeguard, campground, trails

Part of the Thatcher State Park, Thompson’s Lake Campground is the nearest sandy spot to Albany.

This pristine beach, with its crystal-clear waters, invites visitors for a refreshing dip, while those inclined can also indulge in boating activities.

The campground’s beach may be compact, but its charm often leads it to be bustling with energy, especially on weekends.

On-site, a playground, basketball hoop, and volleyball net ensure kids are entertained, while movies on Saturday nights add a touch of nostalgia.

The clean, well-maintained facilities include a nature center that captivates young minds.

The proximity to a network of trails, both within the campground and at Thacher State Park, offers ample opportunities for hiking and biking.

A perfect blend of nature and amenities, Thompson’s Lake is indeed a treasure trove for beachgoers.

2. Grafton Lakes State Park

Beach at Grafton Lakes State Park in New York
Source: flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Distance from Albany: 21 miles
  • Activities: kayaking, paddleboarding, hiking, fishing, grilling, swimming
  • Facilities: picnic tables, restrooms, lifeguard, concessions, volleyball courts

Just 21 miles from Albany, Grafton Lakes State Park beckons with its pristine sandy shores and a plethora of activities to indulge in.

Its beach, while expansive, becomes a hive of activity especially during weekends and holidays, promising a lively atmosphere.

Visitors can soak in the sun, or find solace under the park’s many shaded areas.

Adventure seekers have an array of options, from kayaking to paddleboarding, all under the vigilant watch of friendly lifeguards.

On land, well-marked trails, suitable for all levels, offer a chance to connect with nature.

The park boasts clean restrooms, a snack bar, and a restaurant that promises delicious bites for every palate.

With covered picnic spots and a modest entry fee, it stands out as the quintessential family-friendly destination.

3. Cherry Plain State Park

Astonishing view of a lake beach  near Albany NY
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Albany: 24 miles
  • Activities: hiking, kayaking, swimming, fishing, paddleboarding
  • Facilities: restroom, showers, picnic tables

Located 24 miles east of Albany, Cherry Plain State Park emerges as an unspoiled gem.

The park, brimming with tranquility, offers an intimate beach experience that families particularly adore.

Children delight at the playground adjacent to the shore while swimmers revel in the lake’s refreshing temperatures.

Those inclined towards water sports can rent kayaks or indulge in paddle boarding.

The park ensures convenience with newly erected hot showers, pristine restrooms, and a store stocked with essentials.

For those longing for shade, trees generously drape sections of the beach, and picnic tables invite visitors for a leisurely meal.

With friendly staff on hand and myriad activities available, Cherry Plain is undeniably the perfect summer retreat.

4. Town of Stillwater Brown’s Beach

a busy lake beach scene during summer in New York State
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Albany: 30 miles
  • Activities: picnicking, swimming, kayaking, canoeing
  • Facilities: bathroom, parking, picnic tables

Located on the shore of Saratoga Lake, Town of Stillwater Brown’s Beach is a serene escape for both locals and visitors.

This meticulously maintained haven promises not just relaxation but also a suite of beachside delights.

From the shimmering shallow waters, ideal for young swimmers, to the pristine sands perfect for castle-building endeavors, this locale ensures an idyllic beach day.

For the adventure-inclined, kayak and boat rentals beckon, while those looking for respite can revel under the shade of picnic tables, some of which are pet-friendly.

The beach boasts state-of-the-art bathroom and shower facilities, ensuring maximum comfort for its patrons.

Although bustling on summer weekends, the area guarantees safety with lifeguards on duty.

Adjacent to the beach, Doc Brown’s Tavern offers a culinary experience, making the visit a comprehensive delight.

5. Moreau Lake State Park

aerial view at Moreau Lake State Park
Source: wikimedia/CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Distance from Albany: 46 miles
  • Activities: kayaking, camping, hiking, fishing, swimming
  • Facilities: volleyball court, restroom, picnic tables

Moreau Lake State Park, an oasis of scenic beauty, offers more than just stunning lakeside views.

Its beach, embraced by pristine waters, becomes a hub of activity during summer.

Swimmers revel in the refreshing embrace of the lake, while kayakers and paddle boarders glide effortlessly on its calm surface.

Motorized boats are notably absent, ensuring an uninterrupted and peaceful experience.

Apart from water activities, families can make memories at the adjacent playground or relish a sumptuous meal at picnic areas dotted around the beach.

Those keen on hosting gatherings will find dedicated spaces for BBQs and parties.

An added convenience, well-maintained restroom facilities, showers, and changing rooms are strategically located nearby.

All in all, Moreau Lake State Park’s beach promises a delightful blend of recreation and relaxation.

6. Onota Lake Beach

Onota Lake in Massachusetts
Source: unsplash
  • Distance from Albany: 40 miles
  • Activities: fishing, boating, walking
  • Facilities: playground, picnic tables, parking

Onota Lake Beach, nestled amidst the picturesque Berkshires, is a haven of scenic serenity and recreational pursuits.

With clear waters mirroring the surrounding mountains, visitors are invited to indulge in activities ranging from fishing and kayaking to sun-soaked swimming sessions.

Families can relish lakeside picnics at the numerous tables, strategically placed to offer both sunlit and shaded experiences.

Children can revel at the well-equipped playground, while walkers and bikers can traverse the beautifully maintained path that lines the lake’s edge.

Boasting ample parking facilities, this destination is prepared for both tranquil weekdays and bustling weekends.

Lifeguards vigilantly oversee the sandy beach, ensuring safety while patrons bask in the view.

In essence, Onota Lake Beach emerges as a prime locale for rejuvenation and family fun, all framed by nature’s grandeur.

7. Lenox Town Beach

  • Distance from Albany: 45 miles
  • Activities: swimming, kayaking
  • Facilities: picnic tables, restrooms, parking, swimming dock, lifeguard

Lenox Town Beach, nestled beside the tranquil waters of Laurel Lake, offers visitors a serene escape with stunning vistas.

Though slightly marred by weeds, the sandy shores provide a great setting for family outings.

A prominent feature of this locale is the lifeguard presence during summer months, ensuring a secure environment for swimmers.

Patrons can expect a slight descent to the beach, guided by a hilly footpath and strategically placed steps.

Kayaking enthusiasts will find the calm waters of Laurel Lake an inviting playground.

As an added convenience, the beach boasts well-maintained bathroom facilities, a boon for families with children.

Parking, which is a free amenity, enhances the accessibility of the beach.

However, potential visitors should note the beach’s policy for out-of-towners.

A quintessential spot for relaxation, Lenox Town Beach stands out in its charm.

8. Lake Taghkanic State Park

Lake Taghkanic State Park beach near Albany NY
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Albany: 46 miles
  • Activities: kayaking, camping, hiking, swimming, fishing
  • Facilities: lifeguard, showers, restrooms, picnic tables, volleyball court, rentals

Lake Taghkanic State Park is a cherished treasure offering a blend of natural beauty and well-maintained amenities.

The beach stands out with its meticulous design, featuring four distinct swimming sections, each equipped with its own lifeguard.

Moreover, a dedicated playground ensures youngsters have a space to engage in fun-filled activities.

Nature enthusiasts can indulge in serene kayaking sessions on the pristine waters or explore the surrounding trails with a robust hike.

On-site camping facilities reflect the park’s dedication to a quality experience, boasting clean showers, electric bathrooms, and an accessible laundry area.

Visitors also appreciate the immaculate campsites, well-placed restrooms, and the ever-helpful park rangers.

With a reasonable $10 entry fee, Lake Taghkanic promises not just a visit but a memorable experience amidst crystal-clear waters and scenic beauty.

9. Kingston Point Beach

a gloomy day at Kingston Point Beach near Albany NY
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Albany: 59 miles
  • Activities: volleyball, picnic, swimming
  • Facilities: bathrooms, lifeguards, picnic tables, volleyball

Nestled along the banks of the Hudson River, Kingston Point Beach is more than just a shoreline – it’s an experience.

With panoramic vistas stretching northeastward, visitors are graced with sweeping views of the majestic bridge that arcs across the water.

While the beach boasts a sandy stretch perfect for sunbathers, it also offers an array of amenities, from a covered pavilion to barbecue setups.

Families can enjoy the convenience of picnic tables and the thrill of a playground, while sports enthusiasts have volleyball nets at their disposal.

Bathrooms, noteworthy for their cleanliness, are a welcome feature.

The beach’s strategic location between a large rock and a park accentuates its charm.

Whether you’re seeking a day of swimming, a picnic, or simply some relaxation by the Hudson, Kingston Point Beach promises a refreshing retreat.

10. Million Dollar Beach

aerial view at Million Dollar Beach
Source: wikimedia/CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Distance from Albany: 60 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sun bathing, picnic
  • Facilities: lifeguards, showers, restrooms, parking

At the heart of Lake George, Million Dollar Beach beckons vacationers and locals alike with its pristine sand and crystal-clear waters.

A haven for families, the beach offers ample amenities from food stands to convenient foot rinsing stations.

Safety is paramount, with lifeguards vigilantly overseeing three dedicated swimming sections, ensuring both adults and children can indulge in aquatic fun with confidence.

But it’s not just about the water; the scenic backdrop of the luscious greenery sets the stage for relaxation.

The close proximity to the downtown area and the ambient sounds of steam boats drifting elevate the beach experience.

As an added bonus, with luck, visitors might even stumble upon a music festival nearby.

So, if you’re looking for a sunny escape with a mix of nature and convenience, Million Dollar Beach is the place to be.

11. Glimmerglass State Park

Otsego Lake in New York
Source: depositphotos
  • Distance from Albany: 66 miles
  • Activities: hiking, swimming, kayaking, fishing
  • Facilities: restrooms, picnic tables, swings

Glimmerglass State Park, set along the serene backdrop of Lake Otsego, offers visitors more than just a typical day at the beach.

This park, steeped in history, is home to the oldest covered bridge in the USA, drawing both history enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Families are particularly drawn to the beach, which features a unique sandbar, allowing children to play safely in shallow waters.

Modern amenities, including pristine bathrooms, well-maintained playgrounds, and a handy food store, ensure a comfortable visit.

For those who seek a blend of relaxation and recreation, the park offers inviting picnic spots, grills, and information-rich nature trails.

Moreover, the park’s proximity to notable attractions like the Erie Canal cruise and the Baseball Hall of Fame adds another layer of appeal for travelers.

At Glimmerglass, a delightful fusion of nature, history, and leisure awaits.

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