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Summer Checklist: Three Village Parks

Relax outdoors with Patch's guide to area parks.

Parks abound in Three Village, from beaches to walking trails to ball fields. If you're looking for a shady spot to eat lunch, let the kids play, or commune with nature, Three Village parks offer the best of all worlds.

Frank Melville Memorial Park
1 Old Field Rd, Setauket

A paved road buffeted by thick growth and old willows goes all around Melville Mill Pond and over a bridge with plenty of benches to sit or openings to view the water. Some boys said there used to be better fishing on the pond but the weeds grew in. Later I saw them fishing off the bridge for large mouth bass and sunfish.

Frank Melville Memorial Park Nature Preserve
1 Old Field Rd, Setauket

This park within a park offers quiet woodsy hiking along well maintained trails. Get lost in your thoughts among the pitch pine. Visit the Satterly Barn among other historic buildings, explore the grassy meadows off the trails and reach the marsh on the southern finger of Conscience Bay.

Percy Raynor Park
Nesconset Highway, South Setauket

Play ball! A brand new park with everything you need to host your little league game including full amenities. Sidewalks wind around baseball fields and a modern play area to occupy the little ones if they get bored of watching the game. Across the parking lot is a quadrant of football and lacrosse fields.

Pond Park
301 Main Street, East Setauket

Right in the middle of town is this quiet pond stemming from Setauket Harbor and Little bay. Sit and watch geese lazily glide across the water. (Quite romantic except for the goose poop!) Walk across the wooden bridge to take the trail at the north end of the park along the inlet.

California Beach/Park
Washington Street, Poquott

This little slice of beach on the Port Jefferson Harbor offers Poquott village residents a place to recharge. The rocky beach is great for watching people kayak on the waves or the Port Jefferson ferry steam by.

Ashley Schiff Park Preserve
South Loop Road, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook

Named for a popular Stony Brook University professor who died unexpectedly in 1969, this preserve offers a beautiful walk in a 26-acre patch of forest boasting a variety of fauna and flora to explore on the university campus.

Avalon Park & Preserve
200 Harbor Road, Stony Brook

Nature enthusiasts will love to hike on a boardwalk winding through an artistically landscaped 8-acre park. Stone risers take you upwards of 60 feet into the hillside to explore the Labyrinth, a Stonehenge like circle of sculptured boulders. Keep going into the nature preserve to walk along well-worn trails that open up to expansive wildflower meadows.

Oxhead Road Park
348 Oxhead Road, Stony Brook

The park stretches out along Oxhead Road with swings, monkey bars and play sets for the lil' tykes spaced along one side of the park and the Thomas C. Moody Memorial Ball Field set on the other. In between is a well-groomed grassy field good for running, taking a nap or flying a kite.

Park on Sycamore Drive
Sycamore Drive & Stratton Lane, Stony Brook

A stand of trees offers a barrier to Nicholls Road in this park with a nice walking trail, a big playground and open ball field that makes you almost forget it's conveniently located right off a busy thoroughfare.

West Meadow Beach
West Meadow Beach Road, Stony Brook

For sun worshipers this popular beach offers a great place to lie out and play in the surf without too many of the rocks that typically plague the North Shore. Bustling with neighbors among playgrounds, full facilities and an ice cream truck, the beach is nestled near a wetland preserve.

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