Verona Beach,New York,USA
The Good: Access to waterfront, Places to grill
The Bad: Overpriced, Nothing exciting to do, Nothing spectacular for nature hikes
The Basics: The liberal in me won't allow me to rate a place that preserves our environment so well with the absolute lowest rating, but Verona Beach State Park is boring and overpriced.
It's a good thing that I do not work for my local chamber of commerce in Blossvale or in nearby Sylvan Beach. After all, just the other day I was here pretty mercilessly tearing the Sylvan Beach "Amusement" Park a new one. When contemplating that, I began to think of other local attractions I could review and it occurred to me that I live near a state park. I live right near Verona Beach State Park. Oh, this is just too bad . . .
Last year, I took a stab at travel reviews with my review of Fair Haven State Park and I think that might actually be the state park closest to me that is most worth going to, especially for people who want to camp and have something to do. That said, I've driven by Verona Beach State Park almost every day for five years. I have gone in it - on season - once. The rest of my many, many trips there take place on the Labor Day to Memorial Day period when it is free to get into the park. Free is the right price for this little park.
Verona Beach State Park is located right off Oneida Lake in the Finger Lakes Region of the New York State State Park System. This state park is located one mile away from Sylvan Beach, New York on Oneida Lake. The park is only accessible from Route 13, headed North from the Thruway and other parts South of it. Getting directions from MapQuest provides reliable results when one uses the address of: Verona Beach, Verona Beach, NY. Barring that, simply get directions to Sylvan Beach, NY and you'll find signs.
The nearest place to shop is the little tourist trap of Sylvan Beach, which is essentially a strip along Route 13 of restaurants, dollar stores and the like. To be fair to Verona Beach State Park, it adequately gets the visitor away from pretty much anywhere else!
Ease Of Local Transport/Parking
Verona Beach State Park is remarkably easy to get around. When one checks in at the ranger's booth at the park entrance (about an eighth of a mile into the park), they have ample maps and the staff was quite helpful in pointing out where everything was. Getting into the park during on-season costs approximately $7.00 for a day (this amount keeps changing, so odds are it will be a completely different number next summer).
The roads throughout the park are well-maintained, clearly marked and easy to navigate around. Getting around and parking within the State Park was not a problem at all. In fact, passing the Trooper station, one is in a giant parking lot, with parking for approximately three hundred vehicles. The only time Verona Beach State Park gets that packed is for the yearly Froggie Fest, the Country Music station's annual outing.
The roads around the park were fine as well, though in the camping area they are not paved and last winter I got stuck in it (LONG story, not at all relevant to this review. Besides, there's probably a statute of limitations that has not yet expired on that one . . .). They are kept clear and are very well marked.
Dirt. I just want to leave it at that. Verona Beach State Park is not one of the happy, coddling places to go to camp. Instead, one has a choice of dirt, dirt with trees, dirt near cattails near a creek. This state park has no cabins, so it's bring your own tent, camper or portable holographic generator.
As far as food accommodations goes, there are nuts and berries around the park. There are vending machines near the shower/bathroom building in the main part of the park. Verona Beach State Park is essentially broken into two parts: the main part on the waterfront and the camping area which is a giant woods on the opposite side of Route 13. In the main section of the park, there are charcoal grills for having a cookout. The campsites on the other side discourage fires for safety reasons.
Verona Beach State Park is not a place for people looking for cushy.
Whenever one is thinking of traveling to a state park, there is usually a reason, something one hopes to see or do. Verona Beach State Park is a wonderful escape from the compulsion to do anything. There is Oneida Lake to swim in. The beach is about a quarter mile long by about two hundred feet deep. That's Verona Beach State Park. Come to swim, throw a Frisbee in the cooking area between the sand and the parking lot, that's about all there is to do.
As for the other side of the road, Verona Beach State Park is essentially a giant forest, mostly coniferous trees. On that side, there are campsites (other campers tend to discourage you using their sites for your own entertainment), creeks with access for fishing, and in hunting season, legal (I think) hunting. Hunters seem to love Verona Beach State Park and I assume the yearly congregation on hunting season opening day is legal considering the State Trooper depot is about a mile away in Sylvan Beach.
Also, in the winter, snowmobile users are encouraged to use the park. The trails - I would think - would be as boring on snowmobile as on foot, but my experience is limited to driving and hiking around the park. The reason I am so down on Verona Beach State Park is that it is boring. There are no spectacular vistas, no sites that cannot be seen anywhere else on Earth, this is a pretty tired park and the only reason to go there is because Sylvan Beach gets more crowded and parking is more expensive for a full day.
The roads in Verona Beach State Park wind quite a bit, but there are only about five miles total trails for hiking around and it's . . . a lot of pine trees.
On a hot, desperate day when one finds themselves in the middle of nowhere, Upstate New York (I can say that, I live here!), I suppose Verona Beach is better than running through a sprinkler on some stranger's lawn. But not by much.
For other places to visit, be sure to check out my reviews of:
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
For other travel reviews, please be sure to visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2011, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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