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    North of NYC North of NYC By Houlihan Lawrence By Houlihan Lawrence by

    Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties each provide residents with ample opportunity to get out and play, the beautiful countryside doubling as an urban escape and personal jungle gym for those who live and breathe the great outdoors. If you’re not one to send your children to summer sleep-aways or missed out on registration this year, don’t fret—Houlihan Lawrence scanned the area for day camps and programs, ways to get outside and short daytrips to help you and your family enjoy some fresh air and a bit of beautiful sunshine.

    If you live in the southern Westchester area, you’ll want to check out Mohawk Country Day School in White Plains, an interactive camp with a slew of different activities and programs for a variety of age levels. From sports teams to creative and performance art programs, Mohawk values diverse interests and tailors its programs to all sorts of needs. Hillcroft Day Camp in Dutchess Country offers a similar experience with over 30 activities to choose from on a daily basis.

    Looking for something a little more day-to-day? Take a trip to Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park in Yorktown Heights. Its massive pool holds up to 3,500 people, and its 841-acre park contains miles of bike trails, numerous picnic areas, scenic rowboat rentals and more. FDR is a short trip north or south on the Taconic State Parkway in northern Westchester, which makes it an ideal daytrip for gas-conscious families looking to stick close by.

    Moving north on the Taconic, Clarence Fahnestock State Park also offers a unique one-day getaway from families looking to milk what they can out of a beautiful day. Fahnestock is home to North America’s most popular trail Breackneck Ridge—on clear days, hikers can view the New York City skyline from the top of its crest. A lifeguard-stationed lake, row boat rentals, and an 80-site campground are a perfect way to top off a great hike. The Putnam County Trailway is another great spot for cyclists, joggers and dog-walkers—the 12-mile stretch of paved path brings you through hilly groves of trees and offers unparalleled views of Putnam’s reservoir systems.

    You could be looking for something a bit different, something more low-key. The Putnam arts Council in Mahopac offers classes and workshops throughout the summer for kids, teens and adults. PAC’s Summer Kids Art programs welcomes children ages 5 – 12 to use their imagination as they explore their inner Picasso as they draw, sculpt, paint and mold clay. The Jacob Burns Film Center and Media Arts Lab offers visual arts and filmmaking workshops for its Summer ’12 @ The Lab program, which runs from June 25 to August 10.

    Maybe you’re a thrill-seeker. Go no further than SplashDown Beach in Fishkill along Route 9. Splash Down offers all the fun a large amusement park has at a cheaper price and shorter trip from home. The water park offers unique water slides, a wave pool, lazy river, and more. For those who are looking to get in touch with our animal instincts, visit Trevor Zoo—the Millbrook zoo houses more than 180 exotic and indigenous animals as well as seven endangered species. Children ages 12 and up can also volunteer at the zoo during the summer months.