As you can imagine, Staten Island is full of parks, woodlands, beaches, and other spots for outdoor recreation. But did you know that Staten Island is the “greenest borough” in New York City? In fact, it contains the largest amount of landscaped and natural areas in all the five boroughs, with 59 percent of Staten Island considered “green”! Sounds like heaven for dogs that love to be outdoors, right?
According to the Staten Island Advance, “Staten Island has 9,300 acres of federal, state and city parkland, 7,200 acres of which is overseen by the borough’s Parks Department.” Natural Areas Conservancy’s map of NYC shows that over half of that Staten Island’s green land cover is provided by 5,566 acres of forest, which is great for those of you who love hiking in the woods with your dog.
While Cody and I are nowhere close to covering all that acreage, we have walked our fair share of parks and are lucky to be spoiled with so many choices in the borough in which we live. To help you plan your walk with your dog, whether you’re a Staten Island resident or just visiting, here are our top 3 favorite local spots in Staten Island for a great walk with your pup.
Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk and Beach
The boardwalk spans 2.5 miles along the beach between Ocean Ave and Greeley Ave. It features great views of the Verrazano Bridge, Brooklyn, and the bay. Near Sand Lane, you’ll find a nice restaurant on the boardwalk called South Fin Grill that’s open in summer, and it even has a dog-friendly patio! Speaking of dog-friendly, dogs are welcome on the beach between Labor Day and Memorial Day. On top of that, there are a variety of activities along the boardwalk in the adjacent Ocean Breeze Park, like playgrounds, picnic areas, baseball and soccer fields, and volleyball and bocce ball courts.
If you feel up for adventure, at the end of the boardwalk closest to the Verrazano Bridge you can head up the pathway into the Gateway National Recreation Area. Keep going with your dog until you reach the top of the hill, and you will discover one of the oldest military bases in the United States – Fort Wadsworth – and the best view of all: Jersey City, Manhattan, and Brooklyn all in one shot!
Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden
This 83-acre campus features gorgeous green spaces among 28 historic structures and offers numerous environmental and cultural sights. Among them are the Chinese Scholar’s Garden, Heritage Farm, a bamboo forest, a koi-filled pond, rock formations, a rose garden… the list goes on! There is even a huge field where dogs and their owners can get together for some off-leash play.
Snug Harbor was originally established as a home for retired sailors in 1801 and is now a center for visual and performing arts, education, horticulture, recreation, and more! It’s a quick bus ride from the Staten Island Ferry, which is free and welcomes dog passengers in a carrier or wearing a muzzle/gentle leader. The ferry ride is a treat, boasting spectacular views of the Statue of Liberty and Downtown Manhattan.
Silver Lake Park
This 209-acre park is known for its namesake lake, which features a great pathway for walking or running while taking in the beautiful scenery of flowering trees along the water. Trails leading off the pathway will lead you to a few points of interest, like the huge dog run that has three fenced-in sections for different-sized dogs. You’ll find it on the Victory Blvd side of the park below the pavilion, across from the Parkview Apartments.
The lake has a storied history, having once served as the endpoint of the Catskill water supply system, the setting for a casino and saloon, national skating championships, and an important part of the local ice harvesting industry before there was modern refrigeration. Nowadays, people come to enjoy the park’s beauty and partake in one of many activities and amenities, like the 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, and sports fields.
Cody and I are leading a walk for the Walk 2 Miles 2 Save Lives Walk-a-thon at one of these locations! Join our team to support Near and Far Animal Foundation on August 21st at 9:00am at the Great Lawn Gazebo (corner of Seaview Ave and Father Capodanno Blvd). We’ll enjoy ocean views along the Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk, and we have fun surprises in store for our team members! You can sign up here.