Hempstead Lake State Park – What to Expect

What’s a park without its visitors? National parks make up a large part of the tourism industry. That is because of their widespread appeal. New York’s national parks include a wide variety of flora and fauna that will take your breath away. All you need is a visit.

Like many other parks built around a lake, Hempstead’s attractive 737-acre area and its water-based activities provide many locals the opportunity to connect with nature. They don’t need to leave the country and go far away. They can easily do it in the comfort of their hometown.

The state park is situated within West Hempstead and is just one of the three big parks that inhabit the area. After visiting Hempstead, you might even take a detour and spend some time inside the other parks. That is if Hempstead doesn’t tire you out first!

Historical Significance

A trip to Hempstead will introduce you to the largest freshwater lake in Nassau. From there, you can begin diving into the area’s rich history, along with its unique features. Hempstead lake didn’t exist before the 1870s. In fact, no one had thought that the area needed a freshwater lake in the first place.

However, people soon began to notice the shortage of water supply within Brooklyn. They needed a dam. This necessity birthed the reservoir formed from Hempstead Creek. Soon, this reservoir stopped being relied upon, and the rest is history!

Since the creek was no longer a water source, it needed to be utilized elsewhere. Thus, it soon got converted into a state park. The park included the Southern State Parkway. This Parkway kept getting redesigned, which resulted in the structure we see today.

Popular Activities in Hempstead Lake State Park

What’s a trip to Hempstead without an itinerary? Planning in advance will ensure you thoroughly enjoy all the activities the park has in store for you. Pull out a notebook and list the ones you would like to tick off the bucket list;

1.      Play Tennis in the Sun

The park provides multiple options to get your heart rate up. Bring your family with you and play tennis with them in the sun. You can utilize the 18 beautifully built tennis courts the park offers.

2.      Sports

Hempstead is known for its playgrounds and courts. Leave your children at the children’s playground and visit nearby basketball courts. Play some ball with your friends, or choose to enjoy one of the six pickleball courts with your partner.

3.      Trails

The park offers trails for both hiking and horseback riding. Gather your family, pack a picnic, and follow the hiking trails. End your hike with a delicious dinner at one of the picnic areas.

4.      Fun for Dogs

The park is an absolute delight for dog owners. It is known to be especially welcoming to dogs and offers many areas where the dogs can run around, walk, or rest.

5.      The Carousel

Hempstead’s wooden carousel is historically known and a major attraction for younger children. Your young ones are most like to pull you to the carousel, so be ready!

6.      Water Activities

If you are particularly fond of lakes, you should visit Hempstead Lake. It is Nassau County’s largest lake. However, it only allows inflatable boats. The lake is a great fishing option as it produces many trout and other species depending on the season. These include Largemouth Bass, Bullhead Catfish, Crappies, Yellow Perches, and more.

7.      Camping

You can choose to camp at Hampstead. However, you need to inform the park in advance. If you plan to stay in the park for longer, ensure you have some places picked out for dinner. Try The Blue Lagoon or The Crabby Lady if you like seafood, or go for one of the steaks at The Old Mill! 


Wildlife is the park’s biggest attraction. Most of the park’s visitors like to set up camp and watch the birds fly by, capturing them on their cameras. Others wish to spot bigger mammals, although that is a dangerous idea. Keep your distance if you see a predator, and do not aggravate them as they might attack.

Most people escape city life to interact with nature. This includes different species that they might never have seen before. The local wildlife is a great encounter indeed. You can spot bird-watchers that look just as excited as the birds themselves.

The park is known for its birds, including the Yellow-Rumped Warblers, the Grackles, sparrows, and many other birds that will welcome you with songs if you visit the park early morning. You can also spot many bigger birds that will gladly spread their wings and show off for you if you are quiet enough.

How to Visit Hempstead Lake State Park

It’s quite easy to get to Hempstead Lake State Park. If you live in New York, you can access the start of the trails through exit 18 off Long Island Expressway. Once you reach Franklin Avenue, you need to go north. You will soon spot the entrance. Keep a lookout for it on the right side of your vehicle.

Parks are a place where you can appreciate nature. Take responsibility and keep them clean. Preservation is our responsibility, and we must rise to the occasion!

Why Hempstead?

Hempstead is a great place to visit for you and your family. It offers various activities, from fishing to hiking and horseriding. You can go for a run or follow one of the bike trails. The choice is yours.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a getaway, choose Hempstead Lake State Park. The staff is friendly, the activities are plentiful, and you will never get bored. Enjoy your nature trails or spend the night star gazing with your family.

The McClain Family

We hope we helped. Please let us know of any place that you want to know about in NYS or if we did a poor job with any part of this. Our goal is to help as many people as possible.

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