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Sampson State Park

6096 State Rt. 96A

Romulus, NY 14541The statue of a young sailor greets every visitor to Sampson State Park in the Finger Lakes, New York, USA.






Sampson State Park is located on the east side of Seneca Lake about 3 mi./4.8 km. north of the Village of Willard and north as well of Willard Wildlife Management Area and a number of the fine wineries along the eastern shore of Seneca Lake.


Few parks have such a complex history as Sampson.  Named for Rear Admiral William T. Sampson of nearby Palmyra, New York, Sampson served as the country's second largest naval training base from 1942 to 1945--the height of World War II.


After World War II, the many buildings and barracks, connected by miles of roads, were converted into Sampson State College, which educated returned serviceman and -women.


Then, during the Korean War (1950-1956), Sampson served as a training base for Air Force personnel. It is estimated that the combined number of men and women trained at Sampson was close to 750,000.


"Pitching Up," a sculpture of a soaring falcon by Dextor Benedict, stands outside the museum complex. The monument is dedicated to the men and women who trained at Sampson Air Force base from 1950 to 1956.


Finally, in 1960, Sampson became a state park. Many of the buildings were removed, but a few remain, and the miles of paved roads, though slowly being taken over by trees and shrubs, are still there to explore on foot or by bike.


One of the main features of the park is a museum compound that is home to both the Sampson Air Force Base Veterans Association Military Museum and the Sampson World War II Navy Veterans Memorial Museum, now jointly called the Sampson State Park Military Museum. Here you will find a wide variety of artifacts and memoriabilia on display, including uniforms, weapons, photos and documents, and personal items donated by former Sampson trainees.



On beautiful Seneca Lake, the focal point of the park itself is the 103-berth marina for seasonal and transient boaters. The lake is large and deep, ideal for just about any recreational lake craft from multi-masted sailboats to kayaks.


The marina at Sampson State park has spaces for more than 100 transient boats and a three-ramp launch.


The park also offers picnic areas, a playground, playing fields that include tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, a swimming beach, a concession stand, and a rentable recreation building for group events.


One of the young visitors to Sampson State Park tries out the playground.


The park has many miles of paved roads on which one may hike or bike as well as the scenic Sampson State Park Lake Trail, an easy and relatively flat trail, which runs along the lake from the inside of the park to the village of Willard, a round trip of 6.4 mi./10.3 km. This trail can also be accessed from a parking area just outside the southern end of the park on East Lake Road. Bicycles may be rented at the park office. There you may also pick up brochures on the Lake Trail and the geology of the park.


Birding is excellent at the park. A brochure available at the park office lists the birds that are likely to be seen in or near the park with a map of the various habitats in the park. About 135 species have been seen at one time or another in the park or on the water just off shore.


The park is open year round. During the winter, the park is ideal for cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing, though there are no groomed trails. Camping from May through mid-October.


Pets must be leashed everywhere in the park.


1905 acres, 308 tent/trailer sites (245 electric), marina with 103 seasonal and transient slips


Park plan and camping area map (pdf)

Key to Services



C-Boat Launch Sites

D-Boat Rentals


F-Camper Recreation

G-CampsitesThe Sampson State Park Lake Trail is a great place to hike, bird, and bike. Bikes can be rented at the park office/


I-Dumping Station

J-Empire Passport Accepted





O-Nature Trail


Q-Picnic Tables


S-Playing Fields


U-Recreation Programs





Z-Tent/Trailer Sites

AA-Vacation Rentals

BB-X-Country Skiing

CC-Scenic Views

DD-All above


Sampson State Park is on the east shore of Seneca Lake. The park has a small beach and bathhouse. 


Updated 6 January 2013








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