Day Trip Ideas In Upstate Ny: 19 Fun Places To Visit
Day trip ideas in Upstate NY: 19 fun places to visit
A day trip in Upstate New York can lead to all kinds of adventures. Take a selfie with statues of women’s rights legends Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. Chase waterfalls from Niagara to the gorges of Ithaca to Ausable Chasm in the Adirondacks. Get wet at water parks in Canandaigua or Old Forge and catch sunsets on Million Dollar Beach in Lake George or atop Mount Defiance at Fort Ticonderoga. Check out these ideas when planning your next day trip in Upstate New York.
Advertised as the “High Line of the Forest,” the Wild Walk gives visitors a chance to walk among the trees on a trail of bridges at the 81-acre Adirondack campus. The park includes a four-story twig tree house, a spider’s web-like net for climbing, and a nest that visitors can climb into to see the view from 42 feet in the air. While in Tupper Lake, stop by Little Wolf Beach, one of the largest public beaches in the Adirondacks, with lifeguards watching over a floating dock with trampoline and rope swing. Or take in a movie at Adirondack State Theater, which opened its doors in 1914.
Woodstock Farm Sanctuary
The Safe Haven Museum And Education Center
The Safe Haven Museum preserves and educates people on a very important and often forgotten part of U.S. History. It recounts the story of the 982 Jewish refugees who were brought to the Fort Ontario Emergency Refugee Shelter in Oswego through the governments Safe Haven program.
This was the U.S. governments only official activity to rescue or assist Jewish refugees from the Holocaust and refugees were brought from Italy and other parts of Europe. Some were not even Jewish in an attempt to allay anti-Semitic fears that sadly existed during those days. If you find yourself in Oswego, stop in for a few hours to browse the exhibits. Experiencing museums keeps reminding us of how far the world and how we should not forget what we have overcome.
Panama Rocks Scenic Park
Panama Rocks Scenic Park is a park with impressive rock formations located in Chautauqua County. The rock formations are surrounded by a one-mile hiking trail and visitors are permitted to go off-trail and explore on their own.
The woods contain many caves, crevices, and passageways for visitors to discover. The park is located only 15 minutes away from Chautauqua Lake and visits to both places could easily be combined into a day trip. The park is a great place to spend time in nature but is only open seasonally so its recommended that visitors check the website before making the trip.
11 Rock Hill Road, Panama, NY 14767, Phone: 716-782-2845
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Niagara Falls New York
Another one of the best upstate New York getaways is to Niagara Falls. Guests are able to experience the Falls in a variety of ways hiking, boating, biking, or even while dining. Maid of the Mist takes tourists as close to the falls as possible. See the Falls while you dine at Top of the Falls restaurant. Niagara Falls State Park, encompasses all of these great options and much more. Once youve explored the American side, you can also cross to the Canadian side, so bring your passport and be sure to check up on current Covid-19 guidelines.
Upstate New York Getaways & Best Places To Visit
Its no surprise that the State of New York is enormously vast and spans against several state borders. Thus, the places listed below are broken down by New York region: Central New York, the Catskills, the Hudson Valley, the Adirondacks, the Finger Lakes, Thousand Islands, Niagara Frontier, and Chautauqua-Allegheny. So you can choose the area thats best for your Upstate New York Vacation!
Please note: we realize that the exact definition of Upstate New York varies depending on who you ask. For the sake of simplicity, were following the New York City definition: which is literally everything up the state and above NYC.
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Whitaker Park Black River Valley
Whitaker Park is one of the hidden gems of Black River Valley, and was originally owned and maintained by Daniel Whitaker. He left the extensive property to his daughter, who donated it to the town upon her death, leaving the beautiful gorges and maintained recreational grounds to the publics enjoyment.
Head out here for a rural camping experience, or to pass the day. The ballfields, pavilions and picnic areas are open to the public the area is filled with trails that lead you through the gorgeous and to beautiful vistas of the valley. Relish in this secluded park and take some time to recharge from your busy life.
Weather In New York State
New York’s weather varies, both within the state and with each turn of the calendar page. Temperatures and humidity peak in the summer months, with highs edging up into the 90s F. Most days are more pleasantly warm in the high 70s to mid-80s F. Expect cooler temperatures in the mountains.
Fall is the prettiest season wherever you roam. With the heat and stickiness of summer gone, it would be the ideal time for outdoor activities even without the bonus of vibrant colors, which begin to appear in late September and peak in progression, starting in the higher elevations and northern regions of the state and ending in late October on Long Island and in New York City’s parks. Daytime temperatures are typically in the comfortable 60s to low 70s F, with nighttime temperatures dipping lower.
In the winter, snowfall is particularly heavy in the snow belt along Great Lakes Erie and Ontario. The city of Buffalo, on Lake Erie’s eastern shore, is known for getting socked with snow. The Tug Hill Plateau, a region tucked between Lake Ontario and the Adirondack Mountains, gets the most snow of all: an annual average of more than 200 inches. There’s no shortage of snow for skiing and snowmobiling in the Adirondacks, and you’ll actually find terrific skiing in practically every region of New York. Winter temperatures are predictably in the low teens to low 30s F.
TripSavvy / Makito Umekita
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Montgomery Place Bard College
Directly adjacent to Bard College Campus is this magnificent 380 acre estate. Montgomery Place overlooks the Hudson River and is a designated National Historic Landmark nestled in from of the Catskill Mountains. Come visit this impressive mansion and admire a piece of early American history.
Tour the mansion grounds to see the historic farm, orchards, farmhouse and accompanying buildings that occupy the estate. Walk the gardens and follow the network of paths that connect the buildings through quiet wooded trails boasting views of the Catskills and river. Tours are available seasonally only on Saturdays, but be sure to stop through if you find yourself in Barrytown.
Best Overall: Lake George
Nestled amongst the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains and lauded by Thomas Jefferson as the most beautiful water, glacial Lake George provides the perfect backdrop for idyllic summer vacations spent enjoying the great outdoors.
Make your base at Tea Island Resort, a hotel located on the lakefront near the town of Lake George. The resort’s immaculate lawns roll down to a sandy, private beach with crystal clear waters perfect for swimming, or exploring the lake with complimentary watercraft. If you’ve taken your own boat to get to the resort you can also arrange for mooring your own vessel on the dock.
Two-bedroom cottages are ideal for families, with a spacious living room, a full kitchen, and a barbecue situated on the lakefront patio allowing for a ton of space to splay-out.
In between lazy afternoons spent at the waters edge or playing outdoor games, book a scenic cruise on Lake Georges classic Minne Ha Ha Steamboat, or cycle along the Warren County Bikeway to Glen Falls. If you’re more interested in cultural excursions, nearby Fort William Henry Museum offers an immersive day out for those interested in experiencing what life was like for British soldiers during the French and Indian War.
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Buttermilk Falls State Park
- Buttermilk Falls
The Buttermilk Falls State Park is one of our favorite places to go upstate NY. Many lovely hiking trails lead to natural pools, streams, unique rock formations, gorges, and waterfalls. Visitors can even swim at the bottom of Buttermilk Falls but only when a lifeguard is present. Be sure to pay attention to any notices regarding trail conditions, Covid-19 restrictions, and other important news when you enter the park.
If you want more than a day trip to this beautiful spot, camp here in a tent or in a cabin. Buttermilk Falls State Park has both historic and modern cabins to choose from.
Best Resorts And Hotels In Upstate Ny: Wonderful Places To Stay On Vacation
We previously featured five great hotels and resorts in Upstate New York. We heard from many of you suggesting other ideas. So here is a more complete list of 20 wonderful resorts and hotels to visit after a long day on the road in Upstate New York. Some are historic, some are unusual … and all are worthy of your consideration.
The Sagamore, Bolton Landing
More than 100 years old, the Sagamore is the Grand Dame of the Adirondacks, overlooking the shores of Lake George. A full reconstruction of the resort in 1930 continued to attract the wealthy elite of Manhattan. In the 1980s, the hotel was closed and renovated to keep with its original grandeur. Today, the resort has a place on the National Register of Historic Places and includes exquisite dining options and a world-class spa.
Geneva on the Lake, Geneva
Sitting on the northern tip of Seneca Lake is the Italianate mansion known as Geneva on the Lake. Nestled in the heart of Upstate New York’s wine country, this resort started as a private home and was renovated to become today’s resort. The views of the lake are breathtaking, and the gardens that surround the resort mimic the classic styling of Italy. Come by boat or by road, but either way make sure to indulge in some of the area’s best local food and wine while visiting.
May 7, 2017 at 2:03pm PDT
West Branch Angler Resort, Hancock
Inns of Aurora
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Pine Grove Dude Ranch Resort, Kerhonkson
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Best Places To Visit In New York State In Winter
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Winter does not need to stop your travels. Just consider new adventures that take advantage of playing in the snow, such as skiing, sledding, skating or even cross country skiing. How about building a snowman on the same grounds where the United States won a gold medal in mens hockey? Or, touring New Yorks wine region, but in addition to checking out the local wines, maybe go ice fishing, too. You can also visit your favorite wineries while in the Finger Lakes region. Whatever you decide to do, do not let the snow prevent you from having fun, embrace and enjoy all that winter has to offer in beautiful New York State! Here are a few spots around the state that make for great winter getaways.
Shelter Island An Attractive Upscale Vacation Destination For New Yorkers
Shelter Island is located at the east end of Long Island and consists of several neighborhoods and villages. It is a resort town that is still a popular tourist destination, and it is so unique that it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
It has also been the site of several movies and is referenced in numerous films and television shows. Just the buildings alone are worth the trip there, especially the big beautiful homes that line the water and present a stately image to everyone nearby.
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The Corning Museum Of Glass
CorningThe glass collections at this offbeat museum are intriguing, but its the striking 100,000-square-foot Contemporary Art + Design Wing that has visitors planning a trip to the Finger Lakes for more than just wine and waterfalls. Live glass-blowing demos are available daily, and current exhibitions include a showing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Corelle, in addition to the museums ongoing Innovation Center and the Jerome and Lucille Strauss Study Gallery with objects spanning 3,500 years of glass making across the world. Stay for the make-your-own-glass projects available to everyone. The museum is open with advance ticketing.
Taughannock Falls State Park
Taughannock Falls State Park is a natural attraction centered around the waterfall of the same name. Taughannock Falls is an impressive 215-foot-tall waterfall viewable from hiking trails through the gorge and around the rim. Cayuga Lake is also part of the park and features a full-service marina with boat launches and a beach nearby.
The parks trails are popular for hiking in the summer and can be used for cross-country skiing in the colder months. The trails pass many natural skating ponds and sledding slopes for added winter fun. Campsites and cabins are available for overnight rentals.
1740 Taughannock Blvd., Trumansburg, NY 14886, Phone: 607-387-6739
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Pollepel Island For Beautiful Scenery And A Unique History
Covering roughly 6.5 acres, Pollepel Island is part of the Hudson River and is home to Bannermans Castle, which is an old military surplus store that has since been abandoned. The castle, in fact, is the main attraction on the island and is currently the property of The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.
It is a fascinating building for sure, and it has been mentioned in movies, television shows, and music. Visiting the island would make a great day trip for those who live in this area of New York.
The American Museum Of Natural History
First opened in 1869, this museum currently boasts a collection of a whopping 30 million artifacts including complete dinosaur skeletons, a state of the art planetarium and even a seasonal butterfly house. There are 600 fossil skeletons on display including a mammoth and t-rex. The Rose Centre in the museum provides space theater shows that are both informative and spectacular to watch.
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Saranac Lake & Lake Clear
Saranac Lake is a hidden gem region in the Adirondacks, located just a 15-minute drive from Lake Placid. Its location makes it the perfect destination to add to your Adirondacks itinerary. Here you can enjoy several hikes, lake excursions, go fishing, boating, cycling, paddling, and much more.
In the winter, this area turns into a blissful winter wonderland where the powdery snow piles up several feet in the area. In the winter you can walk on the frozen lake, go ice fishing, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and most popularly? Snowmobiling at Charlies Inn!
Dont miss Lake Clear Lodge & Retreat for the perfect winter getaway filled with dinners, horse-drawn sleds, and speakeasy experiences. This lodge alone is worth the trip up to this stunning New York hidden gem.
For delicious eats, grab a bite at The 1892 Bar & Grille and Charlies Inn.
Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge
3395 Hwy 20, Seneca Falls, NY 13148, map
Whether you want to go for a drive or hike, this is a great place to go birding. Besides all the different species youll find here, there are also 6 bald eagles nest to look out for.
Local Tip: You can borrow binoculars from the visitor center to use during your visit.
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Looking For The Ultimate New York State Adventure Road Trip
Check out this four-day itinerary that will take you to three of New York States most iconic outdoor destinations: the Catskills, the Adirondacks and the Saint Lawrence River in the 1000 Islands.
Day 1: Fly Fishing in the Catskills
Lakes, rivers, streams, waterfalls… The Catskill region of New York is renowned for its waterways, and those waters are teeming with fish. Maybe thats why this region literally invented fly fishing. The Esopus, Rondout and Willowemoc creeks, as well as the Beaverkill, Rondout and Neversink rivers, offer days upon days of fly fishing in everything from narrow streams to wide rivers.
But have no doubt, its all about the trout. For some of the best trout fishing around, head to the small town of Roscoe, known as Trout Town USA. Book a guide or wade the waters on your own and fish to your hearts content. You can also visit the Catskills Fly Fishing Center and Museum in Livingston Manor to explore the history of the sport.
After a full day of fishing, enjoy a craft beer at the Roscoe NY Beer Company or do a tour and tasting of fine spirits at the Prohibition Distillery. For dinner, fill your belly at the Roscoe Diner, a vintage restaurant thats well-known across the state.
The Catskill Mountains in New York is known as the birthplace of fly fishing.