Westcott Beach State Park is located on Lake Ontario in the beautiful Thousand Islands Region of upstate New York. Spectacular views, wooded hills, and sandy beaches on Henderson Bay make this park a great stopover spot for those traveling near the Adirondacks, but it's also a destination in its own right.
Opportunities for outdoor recreation abound. Anglers can fish from shore, pier, or boat, and the park is well-known for its excellent black bass fishing. Miles of hiking trails serve doubly as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails during the winter months. During the summer, you can enjoy days of fun in the sun relaxing on the sandy beaches of the lake, surrounded by lush woodlands. After a day spent paddling, sailing, or splashing in the cool surf, you can enjoy a picnic by the tranquil banks of Lake Ontario.
The peak season at Westcott Beach State Park is from May to September. Many of the park's facilities, including the campground and swimming area, are closed during the winter months. The rest of the park, including the lovely wooded Black River Trail, is open year-round for day use. Summers temps are pleasant, usually sticking to the 60s and 70s, while winter days are typically below freezing and can commonly plunge below zero. No matter what time of year you take a camper road trip to upstate New York, you’ll be surrounded by the serenity untouched beauty off the shores of Lake Ontario.
Westcott Beach State Park is located on the eastern end of Lake Ontario right next to the town of Henderson, in Jefferson County, New York. NY-3, a major road, bisects the park. Paved and well-maintained roads within the park can take you to anywhere you'd need to go, including the beach, picnic area, trailheads, and the campground. There are no driving restrictions for RVs or trailers within the park.
There are no steep hills or sharp turns to worry about in or around the park. The biggest driving hazard is wintry weather, which can occur at any time from October through May in this northerly part of New York. Heavy precipitation coming off of Lake Ontario is not uncommon - make sure you check the weather forecast before heading out!
Parking lots can be found at the beach, the Contact Station, and at both campgrounds. You can easily access all the major attractions, including the beach and trailheads, from these lots. Parking is available for RVs and trailers, although RV spots may fill up quickly during peak season.
The 1000 Islands Region is home to Association Island on Lake Ontario. This scenic destination allows visitors to enjoy the simple pleasures in life, such as watching sunsets, relaxing to the sound of water crashing on the shore, or casting a line to reel in a prize-winning bass. Other area activities include biking, hiking, bird watching, and boat tours of the St. Lawrence. A stay at the 1000 Islands / Association Island KOA offers both relaxation and convenience. The lovely, 65-acre island boasts 300 RV sites with full hookups and 50-amp max electrical service.
When you aren’t swimming in the pool, shooting hoops on the basketball court, or relaxing in the TV lounge, escape into nature on the beautiful trails throughout the property. Enjoy lake life with a kayak or pedal boat rental, which are available on-site. Additional amenities include laundry facilities and a Kamping Kitchen. Firewood, propane, and Wi-Fi access are also available for purchase.
Westcott Beach State Park's Campground is divided into two main sections, which sit about a half-mile away from each other, on opposite sides of NY-3. The main, beach-side section of the campground is comprised of Gypsy and Triangle Loops. Both loops sit within easy walking distance of the beach. The campground is lightly forested and features many acres of grassy, lawn-like fields.
In total, the Gypsy and Triangle loops offer 119 campsites that can accommodate tents, RVs, or trailers up to 50 feet in length. All sites offer a picnic table and fire ring. About half the sites here offer 30-amp electric hookups, while the rest are primitive. Water and sewage hookups are not available. Freshwater spigots and a sanitary dump station, however, are present. Additional campground amenities include modern restrooms, showers, a beach volleyball court, and two horseshoe pitches.
The campground is open from May until September. Reservations can be made from one day up to nine months in advance. Reservations are highly recommended during the peak season, due to the park's summer popularity.
The smaller Plateau Loop is set farther back from the beach and on the western side of NY-3. This loop is more heavily forested, with towering oaks, maples and pines providing partial to full shade for all sites. The loop (as its name suggests) sits on a small but abruptly-rising plateau. A nearby overlook provides marvelous views of both Lake Ontario and the thickly forested, rolling hills of upstate New York.
In total, the Plateau Loop boasts 35 sites, all suitable for RVs or trailers. Twenty-amp electric hookups are available at all sites, but there are no sewage or water hookups. Like the main campground, there are water spigots available, and campers here can use the Gypsy/Triangle loops' dump station. The loop also has its own modern restroom with showers.
Reservation rules are the same for the Plateau Loop as they are for the rest of the campground.
If you prefer to stay outside of the park, there are several private campgrounds and RV parks to choose from. There are several accommodations in nearby Henderson and Watertown. You may be able to enjoy a range of modern amenities, including wireless internet, cable TV, and swimming pools.
Westcott Beach State Park's busy crowds fade away during the off-season, and during the winter months, you may be able to have large swaths of the park to yourself! Visitors can enjoy a brisk winter hike in the off-season, where they can take in both spectacular sites and some solitude. Bring your binoculars and look for some of the hardy critters that overwinter here, including deer, bald eagles, and golden-crowned kinglets.
The park’s beautiful waterfront picnic area is a great place to stop for lunch or grill up some grub for dinner. Enjoy the surrounding grassy areas and well-shaded napping spots while taking in the beauty of Lake Ontario. Spring and fall usually have chillier temperatures, but they also offer sparser crowds. Autumn brings a dazzling change of color, too.
Complete with forests, beaches, overlooks, and an expansive chunk of Lake Ontario, Westcott Beach State Park offers numerous photographic opportunities. In fall, the park's woodlands are swept with waves of vibrant color. Maples, oaks, beaches, basswood, and elms burst with yellows, reds, and oranges. Quiet, icy waters, and snow-clad hills make great subjects in winter. In the spring, macro-photographers can point their lenses towards wildflowers and rich beds of moss and lichen.
Westcott Beach is a great stop-over spot for those looking to do some cross-country skiing. The park's trails, managed and un-managed, allow you to coast along the freshly fallen snow and see the beauty of an upstate winter up close and personal. Make sure you pack your warm winter clothes with you - for most of the winter, this park's temperatures stay well below freezing!
Westcott Beach State Park turns into a winter wonderland during the colder months, providing ample opportunities to explore quiet beaches and woodlands on your snowshoes. The towering pines here take on a new character when they are snow-clad, and the waters along Lake Ontario's shore can often freeze in strange and fantastic ways.
While the views from the Plateau Loop are most popular in fall, winter offers its own majestic sites. Miles and miles of silent, snow-covered forests stretch over hills to the north, south, and west. The steely winter waters of Lake Ontario are ringed with beaches of pure white.
When you're ready to hit the water, just head over to Westcott's boat launch and marina. You can coast on the water in your motorized boat or paddle in a canoe or kayak. Sailing is another popular activity here, too.
Whether you head out for a challenging sail on a windy day, a scenic paddle up the coast, or a relaxing float, you'll be able to take in great views and soak up the hot (but not too hot) rays of a northern summer sun.
Head for Wescott's sandy beaches and take a dip in the cool waters of Lake Ontario. The park's swimming areas are conveniently located near the picnic area and playground, and they offer sweeping views of Henderson Harbor. If you're traveling with kids, you can head to the south swimming area, which has a designated “kiddie” swim zone. After a swim or a sunbath, there are plenty of spots to enjoy a picnic or a casual stroll.
Westcott Beach State Park is a great place to explore the beautiful beaches and woodlands found along Lake Ontario's shore. The park's trail network is not exactly extensive, and it includes many unofficial footpaths and social trails. But, even a casual stroll along one of these provides marvelous views and a chance to take in some of the park's diverse flora and fauna.
One popular route is the 1.3-mile Plateau Loop Trail. Leading from the Plateau Loop campground, this short but scenic jaunt takes hikers along the plateau's rim, offering spectacular, panoramic views of the forests and waters below.
If you're an avid fisherman, make sure your gear is packed in your rig before heading out to Westcott Beach. There are great angling opportunities in this park. Lake Ontario provides abundant opportunities to reel in a big one. Westcott is particularly well-known for its black bass fishing, but other species that can be caught in this section of the lake include lake trout, northern pike, and large and smallmouth bass.
The park offers plenty of scenic beachfront property to cast from. Or, you can head over to the fishing jetties, which protect the marina from Lake Ontario's strong westerly winds. The jetties provide a great place for children and adults to fish offshore. As is always the case, make sure you have a valid NY state fishing license before heading out.
An early morning breeze rustles through yellow and red-leaved trees. A lazy mist begins to rise off the cool waters of Lake Ontario as the sun crests over the horizon. This is the scene you could take in from the waterfowl blind at Wescott Beach, which is just a short walk from the Gypsy/Triangle loops of the park's campground. The waterfowl season lasts from September through November, with mallards, teal, wood ducks, and several species of geese all come to call at Lake Ontario during their southbound fall migration.
Make sure you have a proper hunting license before setting your sites on any bird. Licenses that permit hunting from the park's blind can be obtained by calling the Thousand Islands Regional office of the New York State Parks and Recreation Department.