By Alicia Dziak

Summer’s finally here, which means spending hot days cooling off in the water. Whether you prefer clear pool waters or swimming in a deep blue lake, the Enchanted Mountains offer an abundance of opportunities to get out and get wet!


Sand beneath your feet, water splashing on the shore, there’s nothing quite like a day at the beach.

Allegany State Park offers two lifeguarded beaches, both of which are now open for the season. Quaker Lake features a huge, all-new bathhouse with every amenity you could want, as well as a well-stocked concession stand. Savor views of the mountains while sitting in the sand, jump off the diving platform, or watch the kids enjoy the new playground right on the beach.

The beach at Red House Lake features a wide sandy area surrounded by grass and shaded by mature trees, so you can hop in and out of the sunshine. A concession stand offers the essentials of summer snacking, and there’s a playground right across the street. If you need other things to do, you can rent a paddleboat or canoe at the adjacent boathouse.

Of course, Western New York has many other popular state parks and public beaches along the shores of Lake Chautauqua and Lake Erie. Check out Bemus Point Beach and Park and Long Point State Park on Lake Chautauqua, or Sunset Bay, Evangola State Park, Lake Erie State Park and Woodlawn Beach on Lake Erie. All of these parks are within an hour’s drive of Ellicottville.


If “see-the-bottom” water is more up your alley, pools are the way to go.

Holiday Valley’s pool complex, located in the heart of the resort between the main lodge and the Tamarack Club, features a toddler pool, a lap pool and an activity pool with a slide and diving board. Multi-tiered sun decks lend themselves to spending a day catching some rays while easily cooling off, and the Cabana Bar, McCarty Cafe and John Harvard’s Brew House offer a variety of summer refreshments. Plus, guests can challenge their peeps to a variety of fun outdoor games, such as giant Jenga, corn hole and ping pong. The pools are open daily through Labor Day weekend.

If you live in Little Valley, head to the community pool, open Monday-Friday from noon to 7 p.m., and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends. While pool use is geared toward residents, all are welcome. For more information, visit

Springville also has a community pool for only $1 daily admission. Located in the village on S. Buffalo St. and maintained by Springville Youth Inc. (SYI), the pool is open seven days a week from 1 to 8 p.m. (closed to the public at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays for lessons). Everyone is also welcome to enjoy the playground area. SYI also offers a splash pad, complete with sprinklers and water features, located on the corner of N. Central and Franklin Streets, right in the village. For more information, visit

You can also head to Olean and check out the public pool at the William O. Smith Recreation Center. Open swimming is offered daily through Labor Day weekend. For specific hours, visit