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Enjoy a Trip to These 5 Great Public Beaches Near Albany NY

One of the best ways to beat the summer heat is with a beach day, and Albany is located less than an hour from some great public beaches in the Capital Region. However. as we all adjust to the new normal, please note that New York State beaches and parks are operating at a reduced capacity with a number of social distancing guidelines in place. It's highly recommended that you have a backup plan because visitors will be turned away when the beach reaches capacity.

To help you start planning your next trip, we've highlighted everything you need to know about 5 of the best beaches near Albany.

people relaxing on a sandy beach

5 Beaches Under 60 Minutes From Albany (From Closest to Farthest)

Brown's Beach on Saratoga Lake (35 minutes away)

Want to hit the beach, but not go too far? Head up the Northway to Brown's Beach on the southern end of Saratoga Lake. Though most of the lake is private, Brown's Beach has public access and a beach for sunbathing and playing in the water. With a shallow launch area, Brown's Beach is also a great place to bring your kayak, paddleboard, or canoe for even more fun on the lake.

As of June 24, 2020, Brown's Beach is open daily from 10:00am-7:00pm. The beach is operating at 50% capacity, which means 250 patrons are allowed on weekdays and 300 are allowed on weekends. Please follow social distancing guidelines while at the beach. Admission is free for ages 12 and under and $3 for ages 13 and over.

Grafton Lakes State Park Beach (35 minutes away)

If you're looking for somewhere to swim near Albany, you should definitely check out Long Pond at Grafton Lakes State Park. If you're torn between hitting the beach or exploring the trails, no need to choose! The best part about picking a park like Grafton Lakes for your beach day is that there are plenty of outdoor activities to satisfy your interests.

As of June 24, 2020, Grafton Lakes State Park is operating at 50% capacity, which means a reduced number of people are allowed at the beach. The main bathrooms by the beach are open, and visitors are asked to adhere to social distancing guidelines, including:

  • Blankets and towels on the beach must be at least 10 feet apart
  • Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet away from others (wear a mask when unable to do so)
  • Masks must be worn at all times inside the restrooms and all buildings
  • Call the Park Office at 518-279-1155 for questions about current capacity

In addition, the vehicle entrance fee into the park is $8/car daily. Use of the beach is free, and it is currently open daily for the summer season from 10:00am-6:00pm.

Thompson's Lake Campground Beach (37 minutes away)

Thompson's Lake Campground is located west of Albany, and it features a little bit of everything. Based within Thacher State Park, the campground has 140 wooded campsites, a sandy beach, nature trails, and other places for recreational activities, including carry-in boat access.

As of June 24, 2020, Thompson's Lake Campground is operating at 50% capacity, which means a reduced number of people are allowed at the beach. The park's beach bathrooms are open, and visitors are asked to adhere to social distancing guidelines, including:

  • Blankets and towels on the beach must be at least 10 feet apart
  • Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet away from others (wear a mask when unable to do so)
  • Masks must be worn at all times inside the restrooms and all buildings
  • Call the Park Office at 518-872-1674 for questions about current capacity

In addition, the vehicle entrance fee into the park is $7/car when the beach is open, and $6/car when the beach is closed. Use of the beach is free, and it is currently open daily, 10:00am-5:45pm, from now through September 7.

Moreau Lake State Park Beach (45 minutes away)

Take a 45-minute drive north of Albany to Gansevoort and enjoy a day at Moreau Lake State Park. Nestled amid hardwood forests and rocky ridges, this state park has a nice sandy beach on the west side of Moreau Lake. You can relax and soak up the sun, swim in the calm water, or take a hike on the surrounding nature trails.

As of June 24, 2020, Moreau Lake State Park is operating at 50% capacity, which means a reduced number of people are allowed at the beach. The park's beach bathrooms are open, and visitors are asked to adhere to social distancing guidelines, including:

  • Blankets and towels on the beach must be at least 10 feet apart
  • Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet away from others (wear a mask when unable to do so)
  • Masks must be worn at all times inside the restrooms and all buildings
  • Call the Park Office at 518-793-0511 for questions about current capacity

In addition, the vehicle entrance fee into the park is $8/car daily from May 26 - September 3, and $6/car on weekends and holidays from September 4 - October 8. Use of the beach is free, and it is open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, daily, from 10:00am-6:00pm.

Million Dollar Beach on Lake George (58 minutes away)

Offering a million dollar view of Lake George, Million Dollar Beach (Lake George Beach) is a summer destination for locals and tourists in the Lake George Region. Located on the southern shore, this large beach is well worth the drive, and it's perfect for both sunbathing and swimming. Boaters can also launch from the beach's boat launch and access the boat inspection and washing stations. Inspections and boating washing are free.

As of June 24, 2020, Million Dollar Beach is open daily from 10:00am-6:00pm. Beach capacity is limited to 500 people (50% of the normal capacity), and parking is restricted to 150 cars. Use of the beach is free, but parking costs $10/car, $5/motorcycle, and $50/bus.

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