Pack a picnic lunch and grab the swimsuits and golf clubs in the summer. Or, snowshoe and cross country ski in the winter. Experience a picturesque year-round natural setting at the 950-acre Beaver Island State Park along the southwestern corner of the island, the largest state park in Erie County. Or, if your preference is something wilder, hike Buckhorn Island State Park on the northwest corner, an 895 acre preserve that’s the final vestige of marshlands and meadows straddling the Niagara River.
Once you’ve had your fill of nature, enjoy Erie County’s only amusement park, Martin’s Fantasy Island. The park has been delighting children and families for decades with roller coasters like the Silver Comet, thrill rides, a water park and a Wild West Shoot-Out show performed several times a day.
No island trip is complete without a stop at Kelly’s Country Store, which has been a Grand Island mainstay for over 50 years. From candy jars along the counter to hundreds of varieties of chocolate and gifts, Kelly’s Country Store is a Christmas and Eastertime staple and a must at any time of year.
If a day at Grand Island’s parks has whet your appetite, there are nearly three dozen dining options available, from Louisiana cuisine at Dick and Jenny’s and home cooking at the Village Inn to local flavors like beef on weck at Adrian’s Custard and Beef and char-grilled goodness at Theodore’s Red Hots.
— Brian Hayden