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From adventure activities to family-friendly days out, Culture Trip charts each of New York City‘s five boroughs to find the best things to do outdoors.
It’s dubbed a concrete jungle, but in fact, NYC has an amazing variety of outdoor opportunities: hiking and trail running in hilly parks, surfing on beaches, enjoying fun with the family at the zoo or playing a spot of golf in the country’s oldest course. Here’s our roundup of the best ways to experience nature and the city’s open spaces.
Birdwatchers will be as happy as a lark and as wise as an owl at this preserved patch of wildness. These 530 acres (214ha) of wetlands and grasslands in Brooklyn’s largest park are home to some 325 species including warblers, sparrows and pheasants. There is a flat pathway along a creek and around the preserve where you will be able to take some fantastic photos, and the park offers fun outdoor activities for families and friends including live entertainment such as storytellers and musicians.
NYC’s third-largest city park could arguably be ranked first when it comes to outdoor pursuits. Van Cortlandt’s hilly 1,146 acres (464ha) boast several hiking routes, traversing across the forest, scrubland, meadows and wetlands. Vanny – as locals call the park – also has the country’s oldest public golf course, where many actors and athletes including Sidney Poitier and Willie Mays have played.
Wolfe’s Pond Park, on the south shore of Staten Island along Raritan Bay, is home to one of New York’s best urban mountain-biking venues. Through thickly wooded terrain filled with white oak and hickory trees, bikers will find trails for all levels leading to glacial ponds and freshwater wetlands. A pristine beach on Raritan Bay with family-friendly facilities is the perfect place to end your day of biking.
In Staten Island, why not get “hooked” on some urban fishing? At 835ft (255m), Ocean Breeze Fishing Pier is one of the longest fishing piers in the city, offering plenty of opportunities for deep-water angling, making the pier a popular fishing spot on the island. Its distinctive design, with wavy edges and a T-shape, reduces the effects of the shade on the water and fish below.