There are so many beautiful state parks in the Capital Region and my favorite turns fifty this year. Grafton Lakes State Park will celebrate in a big way on July 1st.

We try and get out to explore all that the Capital Region has to offer and last year during the pandemic we ventured out to Grafton Lakes State Park. We even brought our dog, Freddie. It was the first time that he experienced the lake. He loved it. We walked the trails and found Grafton to be amazing. I know we couldn't explore the entire state park but from what we did do, it was an awesome place to visit. Now it's time to celebrate Grafton Lakes State Park.

Get our free mobile app

Grafton Lakes State Park opened on July 1st, 1971 where it was one thousand eight hundred and fifty acres. It boasted five lakes, a one thousand foot beach, a park office, and a concession stand, according to News 10 ABC. Today, fifty years later, there are twenty-five hundred acres, six lakes, twenty-five miles of trails, a new Welcome Center, and the Dickenson Fire Tower.

The park and the Grafton Historical Society partnered up for the 50th celebration that will be held on July 1st and the entry fee will be what it was that first day, twenty-five cents. All of the activities for the community celebration will be free and you can get lunch for just five dollars. There will be historic walks including through the cemetery along with a look back at pictures of Grafton through the years. Plus a special visit to the Dickinson Fire Tower with the granddaughter of Ellen Ellett who was an observer back from 1943 until 1965. She would be in the tower with her pet raccoon, Soggy, and her dog, Tippy.

New York State Parks Recreation & Historic Preservation Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said:

Grafton Lakes State Park’s breathtaking ponds and miles of trails are just some of the features that make this site a jewel of the State Park system that has drawn many visitors over the decades. This celebration will join past accolades with the next generation of park visitors who appreciate all this special place has to offer.

LOOK: Here are the 50 best beach towns in America

Every beach town has its share of pluses and minuses, which got us thinking about what makes a beach town the best one to live in. To find out, Stacker consulted data from WalletHub, released June 17, 2020, that compares U.S. beach towns. Ratings are based on six categories: affordability, weather, safety, economy, education and health, and quality of life. The cities ranged in population from 10,000 to 150,000, but they had to have at least one local beach listed on TripAdvisor. Read the full methodology here. From those rankings, we selected the top 50. Readers who live in California and Florida will be unsurprised to learn that many of towns featured here are in one of those two states.

Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.