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Visit Nature

With over 170 parks, it’s no wonder that Staten Island is called “The Greenest Borough”. There are more than 12,300 acres of protected parkland – that’s more than one third of the Island’s total land mass! For sheer variety, our parks cannot be beat. There is ice skating at Clove Lakes, and swimming at South Beach. Go bird watching at Mount Loretto Nature or hiking on the acres of land at the Greenbelt. Traditional parks with playgrounds and ball fields are complemented by vast forests and passive parkland. Just minutes from Manhattan, Staten Island’s rustic retreats have something for everyone!

Bloomingdale Park:

Opened in 2004, Bloomingdale Park is a 138-acre retreat in Southern Staten Island. Featuring pathways, jogging trails, ballfields, a soccer field and basketball court, Bloomingdale Park offers great opportunities for active recreation.

There are also plenty of wooded trails, allowing visitors to escape the hustle and bustle of the surrounding neighborhoods. The Park also features a handicapped-accessible playground, meaning that all children get to enjoy the great outdoors!

 

Conference House Park:

Conference House Park is a great destination for both park and history buffs. Located at the southernmost point of New York State, this park houses four historic buildings that trace the history of the borough over the course of three centuries.

In addition to its historic landmarks and its breathtaking views of the Raritan Bay, the 267-acre park boasts a newly refurbished playground, a Visitors Center, 2.5 miles of beach, expanded paths and hiking and biking trails. Another great park destination is the “South Pole,” marking the southernmost point of New York State. Conference House Park also has one of the Borough’s six kayak launch points.

Greenbelt:

More than three times the size of Central Park, Staten Island’s Greenbelt  is a haven for New York City’s nature lovers. The Greenbelt is a contiguous series of forests, meadows, wetlands, ponds, and parks that stretches across the heart of Staten Island.

There are miles of trails of varying difficulty for hikers and bikers, bringing you through the Greenbelt’s many peaks and valleys. At nearly 3,000 acres, many native creatures call this vast woodland home, making it a bird watchers paradise. From atop Moses Mountain, one of the Greenbelt’s highest points, it is easy to forget that you’re in New York City. Visitors should start their adventure at the Greenbelt Nature Center, where they can pick up trail maps, access the trail system, explore the educational exhibits, or learn more about this fascinating park from one of the knowledgeable rangers. Other programs and events are run by The Greenbelt Conservancy which is a non-profit organization created to protect the land in conjunction with the New York City Parks & Recreation Department.

Greenbelt Nature Center Hours

April through November: Tuesday through Sunday, 10am-5pm

November through March: Wednesday through Sunday, 11am-5pm

Mid-Island Parks:

Beyond the Greenbelt, central Staten Island’s parks offer a marina, a golf course, wildlife, and more.

Great Kills Park

Part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, the harbor at Great Kills Park offers picturesque views of Staten Island’s Eastern shore, punctuated with charming restaurants and marinas. With 580-acres of open space, this park is a haven for wildlife and features a diverse ecosystem. Visitors are welcome to take a dip at the beautiful, life-guarded beach. Trails throughout the park are open to hike, bike, or walk. The harbor features a marina and the parks many waterways are great for fishing and kayaking.

LaTourette Park

The LaTourette Park section of the Greenbelt has diverse forest ecology, featuring woodlands and wetlands that preserve threatened flora and fauna. The park has well maintained hiking trails, a new bike path, a public golf course, model airplane flying, and softball. Once belonging to the LaTourette family, the parkland still features remnants of its agricultural past, including the LaTourette’s mansion. Dating from the 1870s, this beautiful building is on the National Register of Historic Places and serves as the club house for the golf course.

North Shore Parks:

Featuring quiet wooded trails, an ice skating rink, rowboats, and playing fields, Staten Island’s North Shore Parks offer plenty of fun, close to the Ferry.

Silver Lake Park

Whether it is swinging a club or a racket, kicking a soccer ball or kicking back, Silver Lake Park’s 209 acres is bound to have something for you. Silver Lake Park provides abundant recreational activities amidst plenty of trails and open space to wander. The park features an18-hole public golf course, tennis courts, sports fields, and many other facilities. The natural centerpiece of the park is the lake, which in the last 150 years has served numerous purposes: it provided the setting for a casino and saloon, served the ice harvesting industry, held national skating championships, and became the endpoint of the Catskill water supply system for New York City.

Clove Lakes Park With 198 acres, Clove Lakes Park features lakes and ponds, outcroppings of serpentine rocks, and Staten Island’s largest living thing – a three hundred-year-old tulip tree! One hundred and seven feet tall, this tree has lived through the consolidation of New York City, the Revolutionary War, and the settlement of Staten Island!

Visitors can stroll along trails, rent paddle boats to explore the beautiful bodies of water, or utilize the many baseball diamonds, basketball courts, playgrounds, soccer field, and football field that dot the park’s landscape. Clove Lakes Park is also home to the covered Staten Island War Memorial Ice Skating Rink and a restaurant.

South Beach:

Since the 19th Century, Staten Island’s Eastern Shore has been a haven for tourists and beach bathers. The pride of the shoreline is the South Beach Boardwalk , which stretches almost two miles!

Called “The Riviera of New York City,” the Boardwalk area boasts new playing fields, fun fountains, and a clean, lifeguard manned beach, making it a popular destination for the whole family. The 835-foot Ocean Breeze Fishing Pier is one of the longest in New York City. Comfort stations, a shady gazebo, snack bars and a restaurant also dot this beautiful expanse which boasts fantastic vistas. During the summer, South Beach comes to life with concerts, Back to the Beach festivals, and other great events. A day at the beach with a view of the City: It’s a “shore” thing on Staten Island!

South Shore Parks:

You’ll never believe you’re in New York City. Southern Staten Island is a nature lover’s paradise, with diverse natural areas and countless recreation opportunities.

Wolfe’s Pond Park

As one of Staten Island’s largest parks, Wolfe’s Pond Park is a varied outdoor wonderland. With a beautiful beach, wildlife and plant preserves, and active recreation areas, this park is a great place to run, jump, and climb. With 341-acres to explore, visitors can utilize the boat house, beach, playground, and picnic areas.

Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve 

Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve is a 260-acre nature preserve that features diverse ecological habitats, such as wetlands, sand barrens, spring-fed streams, and woodlands. More than just a natural wonderland, this park also has a long cultural history showing evidence of the Lenape Indians, European settlers, and the Free Blacks of Sandy Ground. The new Interpretive Center is a great starting place for visitors. From there, you can picnic or hike on designated trails.

Mount Loretto Unique Nature Preserve

Explore the natural wonder that is the Mt. Loretto State Preserve. Within its 194 acres are five separate ecosystems! In one day visitors can see grasslands, tidal and freshwater wetlands, forests, and Staten Island’s coastline. Saved from development in 1998, the distinctive clay bluffs are the last remaining in New York City. This is the perfect place for hiking, beach-combing, horseback riding, bird watching and fishing.

Blue Heron Park

This 147-acre park is home to the blue heron bird, which the park is named for. Part of Staten Island’s Bluebelt, Blue Heron Pond Park features wetlands, several ponds, and meadows. A birdwatcher’s paradise, the park also has a visitors center, hiking trails, picnic areas, and much more.

Willowbrook Park:

Part of Staten Island’s Greenbelt, Willowbrook Park, is one Borough’s most popular outdoor destinations.

It is home to the Carousel for All Children, a Victorian inspired ride that is a delight for children and the young at heart. This merry-go-round features beautiful hand-carved figures that range from the standard horse to endangered species and mythical beasts. The carousel is completely accessible to people with physical impairments, meaning that anyone can ride! The-164 acre park also offers ballfields, tennis courts, playgrounds, and an archery range. Willowbrook Lake provides a sanctuary for birds and can be explored by paddle or row boat, which can be rented from the boathouse.