Southwick Beach State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Located on the wide open waters of Lake Ontario, Southwick Beach State Park is a sandy retreat in western New York. Known for its spectacular shoreline, you’ll find miles of beach to relax on and explore, as well as clear, refreshing waters. That’s why this park is most popular during the warm summer months when families flock to the soft, sandy beaches and cool water. And there’s excellent fishing and boating on the lake, with an easy to access boat ramp. The most popular type of fishing is trolling for salmon and trout.

Once you step away from the water, you’ll still find plenty to keep you busy. There is excellent hiking throughout the park, with access to the Lakeland Wildlife Management Area. Hunting is allowed throughout most of the park. Wintertime visitors can also use the parks network of trails for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.

The campground has 100 RV sites for you to choose from for your rig. And you’ll be able to pick a site that has beautiful views of the waters of Lake Ontario.

RV Rentals in Southwick Beach State Park

Transportation in Southwick Beach State Park

Driving

Located in western New York, Southwick Beach State Park can be reached via car or RV from many major cities in the region. And once you arrive at the park, you’ll find RV friendly roads that make getting to your site easy.

From Syracuse, take I-81 north out of the city, and you will reach the park in just under an hour. If you are coming from Buffalo, take I-90 east from the city, and you will arrive at the park in around three hours. And from New York, take I-81 north from the city, and you will get to the park in about five hours.

Once inside the park, you’ll find that all of the main roads are straight and wide, making it easy to navigate large rigs through the park. However, if you plan on visiting during the colder months of the year, you should be prepared for some ice and snow on the roads. It is a good idea to have snow chains with you, in case of a winter storm.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Southwick Beach State Park

Campsites in Southwick Beach State Park

Reservations camping

RV Camping at Southwick Beach State Park

The campground within the park is home to 100 campsites, located in three loops throughout the park. The sites all have picnic tables and fire pits. Pets are also allowed at all of the campsites. Only 20 of the sites have electrical hookups. The rest have no hookups of any kind.

With three main loops, you can choose where you would like to be located in the park. The Beach Loop gives you waterfront views and easy access to all of the park’s main facilities. The other two loops are still close to the water, but offer sites that have more shade and privacy.

All of the sites can be booked online. You’ll have to book at least a day in advance, and you can reserve a spot up to nine months before your visit. The park gets quite crowded during the summer months, so you should consider booking well in advance if you plan on visiting during the peak period. The campground is open from May through October.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Southwick Beach State Park

In-Season

Hiking

If you want something to do out of the water, you can explore the park’s network of hiking trails. Wander through the sand dunes that border the park’s beaches. Or walk through the shaded forests that stretch near the water.

The Lakeview Wildlife Management Area is also connected to the park’s trails, giving you even more ground to cover. You’ll find dozens of species of birds in the area, as well as a variety of mammals.

Hunting

Visitors to Southwick Beach State Park will find excellent hunting. The forests surrounding the park make for great deer hunting, as well as small game hunting.

You’ll need a New York state hunting permit if you plan on hunting in the park. Although most of the park is open to hunters, you should check with park officials before hunting to make sure that you aren’t hunting in a restricted area. And always take extra caution, as the park is popular with hikers.

Beach Activities and Swimming

The main highlight at Southwick Beach State Park is the miles of sand stretching along Lake Ontario. The beaches are all well maintained and don’t get too crowded, even during the peak summer season. Make sure you pack your swimsuit in your rig because you won't want to miss the chance to jump into these pristine waters.

There’s also food near the beach, and you’ll find a variety of picnic shelters nearby as well. You’ll also be right next to the sand dunes, should you want to explore after a day of lounging in the sun. And you’re within walking distance of the park’s playing fields.

Off-Season

Snowmobiling

The frozen shores of Southwick Beach State Park also make a great destination for snowmobilers. The varied terrain of sand dunes, hills, and forests makes every ride exciting. And you’ll still find plenty of wildlife living in the area during the winter.

In addition to the trails that you’ll find in the park, you can also access a network of trails that lead you through the surrounding coast. This allows you to make your ride into a day trip. The park doesn’t offer rentals, so you’ll have to be sure to bring your own snowmobile with your camper or trailer.

Cross-Country Skiing

RV campers who visit the park in the winter can use the network of hiking trails as a cross-country skiing course. The lake is beautiful in the winter as the shoreline begins to freeze. And the rolling terrain makes for exciting skiing.

The trails are not groomed, so less experienced skiers may have some difficulties moving through the park after a heavy snow storm. But the varied terrain means that there are trails for skiers of all experience levels.

If you are planning on skiing during your stay at the park, make sure you bring your own gear with your rig, as there are no rentals.

Fishing

The open waters of Lake Ontario are also an excellent destination for fishers. The most popular form of fishing on the lake is trolling. Bring a few lines and see if you can reel in trout or salmon. The waters of the lake are well populated with other fish species as well including bass, crappie, yellow perch, northern pike, and catfish.

There’s a boat launch that makes getting your vessel from your campervan to the water easy. Fishing tends to be best in the spring, but you’ll be able to catch fish no matter what time of year you visit the park.

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