Located in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, Rochester and its surrounding area has a handful of natural reserves and nature centers that are cherished by visitors and residents alike. Along with their environmental objectives, these reserves are well known in Monroe County because they fulfill the interests and abilities of a wide range of people. Most people come to the following places to learn about their surroundings, picnic, embark on a camping adventure and much more, all while enjoying the scenery.
1. Irondequoit Bay State Marine Park
As a natural reserve with the fisherman or boater’s interest in mind, Irondequoit Bay State Marine Park is a marina made for boating and boat launches. Since fishing and boating are the main activities of visitors, this is the place to come if you want to peacefully enjoy the waterside with limited amenities. However, the park offers a small toilet facility and a boat clean out station for those who plan to stick around throughout the day. Visit nysparks.com/parks/100/amenities-activities.aspx.
2. Helmer Nature Center
Operating as an indoor and outdoor classroom on nature for students of all grades, local schools can depend on the Helmer Nature Center for their environmental curriculum. Students are invited to explore approximately 45 acres of land with trails that will teach them about wildlife and the species of trees, shrubs and wildflowers.
3. Hansen Nature Center and Tinker Nature Park
A popular destination throughout the year, the Hansen Nature Center and Tinker Nature Park attracts visitors for leisure, education, fitness, and sports. Depending on your preference, Tinker Nature Park will offer you an authentic experience of New York wildlife with 68 acres of fields, woodlands and marsh that features a wildflower meadow, snake hibernaculum, wildlife observation blind, indoor observation beehive, and an orienteering course. Conversely, the Hansen Nature Center offers environmental education through its nature library, extensive taxidermy collection, and seasonal programs.
4. Hamlin Beach State Park
Enjoyed throughout the year and sitting on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, Hamlin Beach State Park draws thousands of visitors each year with its 264 tent and trailer campsites, self-guided nature trail, and a plethora of hiking, biking, snowmobile and cross country skiing trails. If going to the beach sounds more appealing, visitors can take advantage of boat launch sites, fishing, swimming, and nearby playgrounds.
5. Braddock Bay
Approximately two to six miles west of Rochester lays the Braddock Bay Fish and Wildlife Management area, which is a shallow water bay-marsh complex separated into five sections along the shoreline of Lake Ontario. With an abundance of unique areas, this natural reserve attracts visitors for wildlife observation and photography, boating and canoeing, fishing, designated hunting, trapping (permit only) and having picnics.