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There are two trails at the Sound View Dunes County Park leading to the beach. (Credit: Tara Smith)

The quiet Sound View Dunes County Park (4201-5801 Soundview Ave., Southold) is one of the most enchanting locations on the North Fork, partly because it merges a little bit of everything that makes the area so unique.

From the parking area, the mile long trail meanders through a a sandy, woodland forest with several wooden walkways placed throughout over low-lying wetlands.

Suddenly, the forest becomes sparse and you’ll find yourself among the dunes and a bit further, an expansive view of the Long Island Sound.

(There’s also a shorter, more direct trail if you’re looking to high tail it to the water.)

The preserve, a joint effort between Southold Town and Suffolk County, offers a look at a rare ecological environment known as an internal swale community, a fresh-water wetland that occurs between dunes.

No matter what path you take, it’s an easy walk with maximum reward.

We recently spent time exploring and working up a sweat on a sweltering day before reaching the beach and going for a dip.

Spend a minute with us there: