Published on August 30th, 2013 | by growwny0
Feature Friday: Long Point State Park
BY CAROLYN HUMAN, GROWWNY TEAM
We’re heading south for this week’s Feature Friday and exploring a beautiful state park right on Chautauqua Lake. Long Point State Park has been a tourist destination on the lake for more than a century. It’s easy to spot from the water because of a signature long skinny piece of land jutting out (moraine) from the shore that was formed thousands of years ago by a glacier.
I’ve seen it hundreds of times from the lake but I’ve never ventured inside the park. So on a cool, sunny Saturday I headed over to the park with my cousin to do some exploring. The park is very easy to find right off NY-430 – it’s about an hour and half drive from Buffalo. No need to make all the turns that Google suggests, the entrance is right off the main road.
There is an entrance fee per vehicle; we paid $7 for our car because it was a weekend day. You can see the other rates here. We were given a map when we paid and inquired about the hiking trails. There are multiple trails throughout the park; we decided to check out the ones by the northern parking area (include picture?). Just be real careful about where you are on the map – we were slightly confused because there are two major areas of waterfront buildings on either side of the land that sticks out. You can tell them apart because one has boats docked there and one doesn’t.
We started with the picturesque hike along the sliver of land that makes up the moraine. We took our time exploring the clearings that take you to the water sporadically along the way. There was a fishing dock off to one side for those trying to get out to deeper water to catch a bass or musky. We also noticed quite a few fishermen in boats in the area, so it must be a hot spot. When you get to the tip of the land, there is a nice bench for relaxing. We weren’t alone, there was another couple with their dogs enjoying the beautiful day. There were also some people canoeing around the park. Along the trail there are signs sharing the history of the land and the wildlife.
There are lots of benches and picnic tables in the park and we regretted not bringing a bag lunch to enjoy along the way. For boaters, you can pull up and get gas and food at the marina. There are multiple restrooms located around the park.
We then headed back to our parking lot to explore the trails that are more inland and are heavily used for cross-country skiing in the winter. The trails are very easy to navigate, feature a wide path and are not difficult at all. In fact, you’ll notice sand on many of them making it a nice padding for your feet if you aren’t wearing appropriate shoes! Everything is marked and the trails inland have a lot of shade so you stay cool. I loved that in the same park you could be along a gorgeous lake or could feel like you are deep in the woods.
A word of caution on wildlife, we were leaving the park around 1:30 PM on a Saturday and as we pulled back onto NY-430 (a 55 mile an hour road) a family of deer sauntered across the road. I’m used to seeing deer at night in that area, but not in the middle of the day!
If hiking isn’t your thing, there is a beautiful beach, playground, grills and plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy all day long. There are also pavilions to rent for a family gathering or party. It’s a great option for people who don’t have direct access to Lake Chautauqua and definitely worth a day trip.