We all love our own little cozy corners of Westchester. There are so many things to do and see, places to eat, parks to visit. We love exploring the county and “finding” the kid-friendly gems! Even if you have lived here your entire life, you can still find new fun things to do all the time. It is our mom-bloggin’ duty to highlight some of those awesome places so that other moms can take advantage too! With each installment one or two new towns/cities will be highlighted to give you a glimpse into the awesomeness that is Westchester! Be sure to read all posts in our Spotlight on Westchester Series.
Nestled on the Sound, near the border of Greenwich, Connecticut, is the beautiful city of Rye. Rye is a wonderful place to visit, but I may be biased. I grew up in Rye and currently live within minutes of the city. However, bias aside, Rye offers an elegance and charm that is second to none.
What To Do For A Fun Family Day
Rye Playland is a county owned amusement park with classic roller coasters and rides, a kiddie land, mini golf, a concert area, game booths and more. Patrons must pay to enter and rates differ depending on your level of participation (in other words, if you are just going to be a spectator you can pay a different rate than a regular, riding, adult). Families can often take advantage of coupons that come in mailers or online to offset the costs of entrance. County residents, with identification, can also enjoy a cheaper rate. Parking is ample in their paid lot, though it can get crowded, especially on nights where there is a fireworks display.
Playland is a great family destination with rides for all ages. My older child enjoys the thrill rides like the log flume and the Dragon Coaster, a wooden coaster built in 1929. Meanwhile, my little one has fun on the kiddie coaster and other age appropriate attractions. There are many bathrooms, benches for resting, and classic amusement park food and snacks are available. Playland also has a great boardwalk overlooking the sound that was used to film scenes in the classic 1980’s movie, Big. This is definitely a must visit for my family multiple times a summer.
Playland is also home to a great ice skating rink on the boardwalk. The ice rink was the practice home to the NY Rangers once upon a time. Now it is open for lessons and free skate opportunities. They have skate rentals there as well.
When the summer heat has you tired and worn out, Playland has a county owned beach and public swimming pool as well. Prices for the beach and pool are really reasonable. Outside food isn’t allowed at the pool, but coolers can be used at the beach. They offer chair rentals and more making this a great way to spend the day, then head over to the amusement park at night!
Playland’s boardwalk is also home to the Westchester Children’s Museum. I had the opportunity to visit the Children’s Museum in December and was pleasantly surprised by the fun activities that were available to my children. There is something there for your child no matter what their age. Toddlers can enjoy a safe space just for them while older children can explore lots of hands on exhibits that will engage their brain while they are having fun! My girls loved the arts and crafts station and enjoyed the challenges they faced to build some great towers with their wooden blocks. The bathrooms are clean and the environment is very safe for little ones which is another plus.
The Pier Restaurant and Tiki Bar is a fun restaurant at the end of the boardwalk that is family friendly but can also be a great place for a night out without the kids. There are indoor and outdoor seating options, as well as the option to sit at their huge tiki bar. The view is amazing and eating there during sunset or fireworks time is a visual treat. There are many seafood options but also classics like burgers and wings. Certain nights they will also host events like live music nights or will bring out the big screen to watch the big game, so check their website for a fun, relaxing night out. Oh, and did I mention the drinks? The drinks are poured large and strong, and always delicious! Their frozen selections hit the spot after a long, hot day of summer fun.
More Natural Splendor
Rye Town Park is a 62 acre oasis in the middle of residential Rye. Half of the park is a grassy open park with trails, a dog area, and a quaint duck pond. In the springtime the flowers and budding trees make this a truly spectacular sight. The other half of the park is Oakland Beach. The beach has beautiful, flat sand and a large area of the sound to swim in with a large area shallow enough for young swimmers.
Oakland beach has a snack bar and public bathroom and changing areas. During the off season parking is free but does cost money in the late spring and summer. From the beach or the park you can see Playland’s fireworks on Friday evenings. There is a restaurant space above the beach that is currently in the process of opening and is sure to be a great summer hot spot.
You also may like the Rye Nature Center. This beautiful forest oasis is home to many trails of varying lengths that are great for hikers, walkers, and photographers alike. There is a natural wooden playground for children and an indoor area. Animals are kept in the center and there are many educational programs and workshops for children who would like to learn more about our natural environment. Parking is free and bathrooms are clean. Rye Nature Center also offers unique birthday party opportunities for those of us who are tired of going to the same 5 or 6 places over and over for every kid in the class’ birthday.
Small Town Charm
If the outdoors is not really your cup of tea, head into town and walk down Purchase Street. There are beautiful shops to browse through and a fine selection of delicious restaurants. Here you can find everything from children’s clothes to fine jewelry and French pastry. Should you venture towards the edge of Purchase Street you may find yourself traveling back in time.
The Square House Museum is a small house that holds the secrets of Rye inside. Located right off of what was a main highway, this colonial house was the perfect inn for travelers en route between Boston and New York. It was built circa 1763 and is a fun way to explore history with the family! As you walk down to the other end of Purchase Street you are sure to build up an appetite. Be sure to check out Rye Grill and Bar. This fabulous find has something to please every palate. Everything from steak to salad is absolutely divine. Make sure to leave room for desert too! They offer a great variety for kids as well. But, if you are looking for a night out, this is also a great choice! With a full bar and a fun apps selection, this restaurant is a must try.
All in all, Rye has a little something for everyone to enjoy. You will not be disappointed with this beautiful Westchester city.