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lighthouse in a state park near cortland new yorkWith more than 180 state parks, and around 35 historic sites within its borders, New York State is a fantastic place to explore the great outdoors.

Possessing everything from beaches, woodlands and rivers, to lakes, walking trails and marshes, these state parks are perfect for those who want to partake in outdoor recreational activities like hiking, swimming, fishing, boating, biking and camping.

Given that many of these state parks are situated near the city of Cortland, they also provide its resident population with a place to go, when they want a temporary escape from the daily routine of their home or working lives.

Next time you fancy some time away, below is a selection of five of the very best of them we highly recommend you visit.

Map of State Parks Near Cortland, NY

Here is a map of the state parks in New York covered by this post:

List of State Parks Near Cortland

All of the five state parks near Cortland featured below provide a different landscape to enjoy. They can easily be driven to as a day trip, but also offer a diverse range of visitor accommodation options too.

1. Cedar Point State Park

Location: 36661 State Park Dr, Clayton, NY 13624

Residing within the spectacular Thousand Island regions, some 2 hours north of Cortland, Cedar Point State Park is actually one of the oldest of all New York state parks.

First opened all the way back in 1898, this relatively small 48 acre park is rich in opportunities for swimming, boating and fishing. The latter of which is done by many people from a dedicated fishing pier.

A pet friendly destination, the park boasts a number of excellent hiking trails and a lovely expanse of sand for swimming, sunbathing and beach combing. There are also boating docks here too, as well as a number of scenic picnic spots to take advantage of.

For those wanting to stay a night or two, there are some 165 campsites onsite, in addition to 3 pavilions. A large number of these sites offer full hook up with water and electricity. While there are also warm showers, toilets, a recycling station and a dump station too.

2. Jacques Cartier State Park

Location: Old Mills Rd, Brier Hill, NY 13614

Covering only 461 acres, the Jacques Cartier State Park is another smallish state park to visit. But it is a popular one with those who enjoy recreational water sports activities.

Situated about a 2 hour and 20 minute drive north of Cortland, on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, the park features a lovely sandy swimming beach, which is protected by a picturesque sheltered bay. This makes it an excellent spot for sunbathing, snorkelling, paddling and swimming.

The park is also very popular with those who enjoy boating and fishing, while there are also plenty of hiking trails to explore, and lawns to play games, or picnic on. During the winter, when the snow hits, many people also come here for cross country skiing.

In terms of accommodation, some 89 campsites and a pavilion are located onsite. All of them present sweeping views of the St Lawrence River or the adjacent forest.

3. Verona Beach State Park

Location: 6541 Lakeshore Rd S, Verona Beach, NY 13162

Located about an hour’s drive north of Cortland, The Verona Beach State Park enjoys a beautiful setting along the eastern fringes of Lake Oneida.

Highly regarded for its spectacular beach, the 735 acre park also features a spectacular landscape of hardwood swamps, cattail marshes and the stunning Black Creek.

Combined with the lake, this facilitates one of the New York State’s most diverse aquatic terrains. Something which can be explored via trails that snake for about 13 miles through various patches of woods and wetlands.

During the summer lots of people come here to enjoy a picnic, whilst in the winter it is also a popular spot for cross country skiing, ice fishing and snowmobiling.

For campers, there are plenty of accommodation options available, including five different pavilions and a number of different sites for tents and RVs.

4. Robert Moses State Park

Location: Robert Moses Causeway, Babylon, NY 11702

Covering over 2322 acres, the Robert Moses State Park is by far and away the biggest state park on this list.

Straddling both the mainland, as well as Barnhart Island, the park is situated about a 3 hour and 20 minute drive north of Cortland.

Renowned for its gorgeous flora and diverse fauna, it can be accessed through a tunnel that goes directly underneath the Eisenhower Lock.

The park is also widely acknowledged as having the some of the best fishing opportunities in the whole of the state. In addition, it also boasts a fabulous swimming beach, and a number of splendid walking and trails that take you through a terrain of wetlands, forests and picturesque fields.

When it comes to accommodation the park is well served with 207 campsites, which collectively offer full hook up, as well as wooded and primitive campsites. It also features 15 cabins and 2 pavilions, as well as a marina, boat launch, tennis courts and playgrounds too.

5. Delta Lake State Park

Location: 8797 NY-46, Rome, NY 13440

At just over a 90 minute drive northeast of Cortland, the Delta Lake State Park is a great place to visit for a day trip. Though if you want to stay here longer there are over 100 sites available for tents, RVs and trailers.

Positioned on an impressive peninsula that dramatically protrudes into the Delta Reservoir, the highlight of this 720 acre park is its terrific lake.

Its a very popular fishing spot, with the likes of bass, trout, perch, bullhead and pike all being abundant here. While kayaking, canoeing, jet-skiing and paddleboarding are all regularly practiced too.

Surrounded by dense woodland, the park has a scenic beach which is great for swimming and sunbathing on. While their are plenty of hiking trails to explore.

During the winter months, the park also turns into an impressive venue for snowmobiling and cross-country skiing.