581 West Jericho Turnpike, Smithtown, NY 11787
(631) 265 - 1054 (office)
Caleb Smith State Park Preserve
DescriptionCaleb Smith State Park is located at 581 West Jericho Turnpike, Smithtown, NY. The small, paved and stone parking area has no handicapped spaces. Two handicapped spaces are located near the visitor center. You need to drive up the hill to reach it.
Hand-sanitizer is located near the parking lot and restrooms.
A 1/2 mile paved road for walking, cuts through the park. Additional trails can be accessed from this path. At this time all trails are closed.
The only place to sit is in a gazebo about a third of the way north.
Four steps, or a wooden ramp get one to the porch and single door to the Visitor Center and Museum. This building is closed, due to Covid. Multi-stall, handicapped-accessible restrooms, with a baby-changing station are located just inside the entrance.
A 1/2 mile, "all access" trail, is uneven gravel, with several large pot-holes and several deep ruts near the end.
- Attraction Type: park, kid-friendly
Surface of lot: paved, stone and grass
Distance to venue: close
Transportation to venue offered: na
Places to rest: just in the gazebo
Paths and walkways: concrete, gravel, wood chips
Number of floors: 1
Ramps: ramp to entrance of visitor center
Steps and staircases: 4 steps to wooden porch and etrance to visitor center
Width of aisles: adequate
Places to sit: chairs in visitors' center
Location of restrooms: in visitors' center
Type of restroom: multi-stall, handicapped-accessible
Ease of entry and exit: OK
Baby changing station: yes
Available food services: none
Friendliness of staff: very friendly volunteers
Notes: *Handicapped parking spaces are located next to visitors' center. Even though it says "no cars allowed beyond this point" you can drive up the road if you have a handicapped sticker.
It has been several years since we visited Caleb Smith Park. We remembered it as a pleasant destination but unfortunately lacking places to sit and rest, if needed.
The 543 acre preserve has a “variety of habitats that change with the season.” It has freshwater wetlands, ponds, streams, fields and upland woods. It is a “passive park,” meaning that pets, bikes, picnics, are not permitted. It is meant as a place that “…allows visitors to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoy the quiet serenity…” (website) that surrounds you when you are here.
It is easy to get to, its entrance is located on Jericho Turnpike. The small parking area (paved and stone) has no handicapped parking spaces. There are two handicapped spaces near the museum and visitors’ center. If you have a handicapped sticker you can park here, even though the sign at the bottom says the road is not open to visitors.
As you walk up the paved road you come upon Willow Pond, a beautiful, serene place. If you know a kid that might like fishing, or you would like to introduce him/her to it, the park offers clinics for kids. The park offers natures programs for all ages, year round. Unfortunately, due to Covid, there are no programs and the museum is closed.
You can continue to walk, as we did, along 1/2 mile of paved roadway through the park. There are trails for varying abilities that can be accessed from this main road. At this moment all trails are closed. Unfortunately, the only place to sit is a gazebo about one third of the way north. It would be a good idea if they added some benches along the way. On our previous visit here, we spoke with the park manager about the possibility of adding some benches. As of today, there are still none.
There are four steps up to the Museum and Visitor Center, as well as a wooden ramp. The single door entryway has a high threshold into the museum building. As we stated before, the building is closed, except for the restrooms. In this building you can usually find a map as well as a scale model of the park. If you are planning to walk the trails, stop here for a map before you begin. We didn’t think there were any maps because there were none with the other brochures located near the parking lot.
Just inside the building entrance are multi-stall, handicapped-accessible restrooms (with baby-changing stations).
The museum and visitor center is a lovely place, especially for younger kids. There are several rooms offering kid-oriented, natural history exhibits about forests, ponds, rivers and wetlands, with some hands-on activities for kids. Hopefully, we will return to those days when the building can be open and activities return.
There is an “all access” trail. It is a 1/2 mile path that could be lovely; however, it does not seem to have been well-maintained. I think it needs to be “regraveled” (if that is a word). In its present state it is an uneven, gravel path that has several large “pot-holes” that could be dangerous, especially to a wheelchair. In two locations there are white tubes that have been place across the path. There are also some deep ruts near the end of the trail. If you go, pay attention to where you are walking. This was how we found the path on our last visit. We have no idea if it has been repaired, as all of the trails were closed due to recent storms.
This is a lovely park that is open year-round ( not on Mondays or Tuesdays). When they are able, they offer a variety of family programs and fishing from April – October.
As always, we at Destination Accessible advise you to check a venue’s website, www.nysparks.com, when planning a visit, to “know before you go.”