Sears Bellows Park
|A popular camping and sportsman's destination, the playground and pond at Sears Bellows Park in Hampton Bays is a nice spot to take the kids for some fun in the woods.|
Sears Bellows Park is part of the Suffolk County Parks system and offers a great deal of space for outdoor pursuits: hunting, fishing and camping are the primary attractions here. There is a parking fee during the summer season, and Green Key passes are honored. The campsite means that there are a lot of public facilities available here, including restrooms, picnic areas, grills and the like. Parking is pretty rustic, with open fields that are unpaved and largely unmarked.
The playground at Sears Bellows Park is located on a scenic spot overlooking the large freshwater pond. It is also very close to two restrooms and a covered picnic pavilion. There is a small beach nearby, but swimming was prohibited for the 2008 season, with the jury still out for 2009. There is a large playset with many slides and a number of challenging climbs.
There are a pair of steep slides that run side-by-side, a covered slide and a bumpy one. There is also a corkscrew at the other end of the set and a tandem slide. The play surface is wood mulch, which is spread rather thin throughout the play area. There are no swings at Sears Bellows.
The lake itself is a very pretty setting, and one of the better freshwater fishing sites on Long Island. Rowboats are available for rental, and fishing can be done from a boat or on the shore. While swimming is prohibited, the sandy beach here can still be a fun spot for kids to play. The large and still water is, however, a magnet for bugs -- so bring your mosquito spray.
Sears Bellows Park is also the home of what may be Long Island's most famous landmark, The Big Duck. So why the vintage National Park Service photo? Well, to be honest, we couldn't find the duck. There are no signs (apart from the 'Home of the Big Duck' sign on Route 24). We're told that it's there somewhere, maybe it's an exciting adventure to find it. Along these lines, Sears Bellows is not a particularly visitor-friendly park. They close the front gates at 4:00 p.m. sharp, with a phone number to call the police if you get locked in...
Sears Bellows ParkOfficial Site: http://www.co.suffolk.ny.us/
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