Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Where To Vacation In Upstate New York

New Paltz For Adventurous Romantics

Top 10 Must-Visit Destinations in New York State for Your Next Trip | MojoTravels

New Paltz waterfall

New Paltz is a great town for a romantic getaway in New Yorks Hudson Valley, especially for outdoorsy couples.

Just outside of town, Minnewaska State Park backs up to the Mohonk Mountain Preserve providing more than 100 miles of trails. Truly adventurous couples will find challenging hikes with a few scrambles, rock climbing spots and mountain bike trails. There are plenty of trails for couples who just want an easy scenic ramble.

Road cyclists can park their cars by the mile-long Walkway of the Hudson, which links rail trails on both sides of the river. The Empire State Rail Trail crosses the walkway, snakes through New Paltz and up to Kingston, where it cross the river again.

The SUNY New Paltz campus is right in town, which means Main Street offers a nice college-town mix of bars, brewpubs, cheap ethnic restaurants and a few stylish places like Jarrd Wine Pub.

The 1772 Lefevre House Suite Image via Airbnb

Tip: For a fun meal, drive a few minutes east of town to Twin Star Orchards, which grows apples for Brooklyn Cider House. Enjoy the view while you munch on wood-oven pizza and burgers, and cider doughnuts. You can also sample Brooklyns very good cider. Its open on weekends from early spring to late fall.

Where to stay:B& B: Mountain Meadows B& B, about five minutes west of town. Comfy rooms, homemade breakfast and great views.AirBnb: The 1772 Lefevre House Suite, an enchanting farm stay in a stone home near New Paltz

Car Rental Road Trips In Upstate New York

Renting a car is, of course, the best way to get around in most of New York State outside of New York City. With a car, you can venture out of small towns to explore the best lakes and waterfalls in New York or drive to different nearby attractions in Upstate New York like gemstone mines and swimming holes all on your own schedule. Consider a long-term rental to lower the daily rate and using a credit card like the Chase Sapphire which includes car rental insurance.

Prepping & Packing List For A Day Hike From Nyc

SLEEP & EAT: Always try to get a full nights sleep and have a full meal before embarking on a hike. This way youre energized for your hike and dont risk getting extremely tired halfway. Or worse, fainting.

DOWNLOAD ALLTRAILS: One of the best ways to plan your hike more seamlessly is by downloading the AllTrails apps. The app will provide: offline maps , interactive trail maps , can record your trail , and up-to-date trail information!

And here is a basic packing list of the things to bring on your day hike:


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Escape Campervans & Sample Itinerary

There are still so many spots on this list that we havent visited. We plan to check off a few more before the winter season comes. A couple of weeks ago, we headed upstate in an Escape Campervan. It was a great way to see and experience these state parks with a bit more comfort and style.

We can arrive in the parks without worrying about setting up camp. Once we pull into a campsite, were ready to go! The interior transforms from a living room to a queen-sized bed. During our trip, we mostly left it as a bed, and used the picnic table in our campsites. The back also opens up to a kitchen, with a camp stove, hand pump sink, and all the cooking items needed.

  • 8:00 AM Breakfast & Pack Up
  • 9:00 AM Drive to Ithaca
  • 9:30 AM Visit Ithaca Falls & Buttermilk Falls
  • 11:00 AM Drive back to NYC to return the campervan

Weekend Getaways In New York Full Of Nature And Historic Charm

The Most Beautiful Places in Upstate New York

Ducking in and out of the boutique shops and antique stores along Narrowsburgâs main street, we were drawn to a charming home-goods shop called Nest. Inside we found an insanely well-curated selection of chic, artisan-crafted goods sourced from countries all around the globe. Intrigued by the caliber of the collection, we began chatting with the shop owner, Anna Bern, to find out more.

Bern is a former Design Director at Vogue and spent years at W Magazine, but craved a slower pace of life. Her story is like that of so many others weâd come across on our travels in Upstate New York. These former creative types who left the big city to follow their passion and open their own business, are the drivers behind the recent revitalization of Upstate towns and cities.

These days, destinations Upstate offer everything from newly renovated inns and delicious farm-to-table restaurants to amazing outdoor activities and world-class art exhibitions. Whether youâre looking for a family getaway, a friends trip filled with adventure, or a romantic couples retreat, thereâs a destination calling your name in Upstate New York.

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Rainbow Falls Ausable Chasm

Rainbow Falls in Ausable Chasm, tucked into the Adirondacks, is one of the most photographed waterfalls in the Adirondacks. The 91-foot-tall upstate New York waterfall tumbles over a series of segments, nestled against a historic hydro house. Visitors driving along Route 9 can see the falls from the road, where a bridge crosses the churning waters below. Walking paths follow along the bridge, so visitors can park and walk across the bridge to take pictures of the view. Follow the road a bit further, and youll find yourself near a visitor center, and closer to the falls. While the park is open year-round, be sure to check any Covid-19 restrictions at this visitor center before entering the visitor center.

As if this amazing waterfall wasnt enough, Ausable Chasm offers a number of unique recreational activities. Although pricey, many of these experiences may be worth the extra cash. Inside Ausable Chasm, you can:

  • Experience the Adventure Trail, a guided ropes course above the falls.
  • Take a Lantern Tour deep into the chasm at night, and celebrate afterwards with a campfire and marshmallows.
  • Ride the waters yourself by rafting or tubing.
  • Climb or rappel the walls of the chasm with experienced guides.

Finally, these fantastic seasonal activities earn the chasm its nickname the Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks.

The Finger Lakes Region

Looking for small towns with easy access to lakeside activities, waterfalls, hikes, and wine country? Then look no further than the Finger Lakes region in Upstate New York. Just four hours from New York City, this beautiful area offers so many things to do that we dedicated an entire guide to the Finger Lakes region for first-time travelers. Below are some of the cutest small towns you can base yourself out of during your Finger Lakes vacation.

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Quick Recap About The Finger Lakes

The Finger Lakes get their name from their unique shapes . These long narrow lakes are in a basin/valley eroded by glaciers hundreds of meters deep. The vast region covers ~9,000 square miles, stretching across New York State and as far south as near the Pennsylvania border. The area is also an essential part of the homeland belonging to the Iroquois tribes .

Since these lakes span across a large chunk of New York State, in this Finger Lakes travel blog post, we are going to focus on Keuka, Seneca, and Cayuga. These are the most popular lakes and the best ones to start with for first-time travel to the Finger Lakes.

The Sagamore Resort Bolton Landing

Best places to visit in upstate NY

Set amid 70 acres of prime real estate in Bolton Landing, the beautiful 4-star Sagamore Resort on Lake George was built in 1883 and is one of the oldest surviving resorts in the Adirondacks.

This delightful location offers a choice of 137 Adirondack-themed rooms and suites boasting such features as large marble-accented bathrooms featuring stand-alone showers and bathtubs, good-sized living areas with pullout couches, as well as furnished balconies.

If you can swing it, check out the availability of the resort’s uber-luxurious vacation home. Known as “The Castle,” this 2,000-square-foot property includes six bedrooms, four bathrooms, and a full kitchen. There’s also a dining room, living room, plus great views over the lake.

When you can drag yourself away from your comfortable accommodations, you’ll enjoy on-site amenities such as great restaurants a heated swimming pool and outdoor adventures including fishing, kayaking, and canoeing.

Other activities include lake trips and tours, a full-service spa, five tennis courts, and a championship golf course.

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Where Exactly Are The Catskill Mountains Located

The Catskill Mountains are located via a three-hour drive north of the city. This is one of the more popular places to take a weekend getaway in Upstate New York because of its close proximity to New York City.

On your drive, youll be surprised how quickly the scenery becomes rural, compared to the dense skyscrapers of NYC. Just a half-hour outside of the city, youre likely to see farming fields, barns, and beautiful forest-lined roads.

Some of the most popular places to stay in the Catskill Mountains are in Woodstock, Phoenicia, Shandaken, and Hunter. Each of these small towns has its own unique feel and vibe to them!

Also, to stay in that dream cabin or farmhouse Upstate!

Ride A Hot Air Balloon Over Letchworth State Park

Known as the Grand Canyon of the east, the Genessee River flows through three waterfalls, as high as 600 feet. In addition to waterfalls, the park has 66 miles of trails, horseback riding, biking, skiing, guided tours, white water rafting, kayaking, and hot air balloon experiences.

Camp here in the summer, or stay in a winterized cabin during colder months. Snowmobiling is also popular here in the wintertime. Remember: before exploring Letchwork State Park, check their website for any alerts.

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Skaneatles A Relaxing Lakeside Ny Experience


Skaneateles, located in Onondaga County, is a beautiful town in the Finger Lakes region. This scenic and quaint village exudes romance at every turn with its cute, antique shops, tree-lined streets, art galleries, boutiques and restaurants.

The region is well-known as a year round destination with an abundance of activities and things to do. Top sights include the Baltimore Woods Nature centre, Sycamore Hill Gardens, Cliff Park, and the ever popular Skaneateles Lake. The lake is often bustling with visitors enjoying water activities like sailing, waterskiing, and trout fishing.

Couples, in particular, should not miss the dinner boat cruises across the lake. What makes this town feel like a true escape, despite being fairly accessible, is the pristine natural surroundings and a cheerful atmosphere, matched with smiles from welcoming locals and all those who visit.

Tip: The best time to visit is during the months of May to September when the weather is perfect to take advantage of all the outdoor activities.

Where to stay:Hotel: The Mirbeau Inn & Spa, a 4-star French wine country estate getaway, one of the most romantic hotels in upstate New York.

National Center For The History Of Electronic Games

Upstate NY, Fall 2005....Ausable Falls...

Part of the Strong National Museum of Play, the National Center for the History of Electronic Games boasts a collection of more than 20,000 electronic games and consoles. The center was established preserve the history of electronic games, to investigate the ways in which they have changed over time, and to explore the impact they have on our society and our daily lives. The exhibits include everything from classic arcade games to prototypes built by electronic games inventors, and many of the consoles in the museum are in working order and available to be played by visitors.

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How To Get To The Finger Lakes

The best way to get around the Finger Lakes is by driving or renting a car. This way you get the most out of your trip and get to see a little bit of everything. Otherwise, you can take a bus to the walkable town of Ithaca and take an Uber to places around Cayuga Lake.

Because the 11 Finger Lakes span across a large portion of New York State, the time it takes to get there varies on which lake/area you choose. But the most popular lakes are about a 4-5 hour drive from New York City.

Watkins Glen New York

  • Watkins Glen State Park
  • Boat tour to different wineries

One of the best upstate New York getaways a trip to Watkins Glen will leave you wanting more of the beautiful Schuyler County outdoors. Just a 30-minute drive from Ithaca , the town of Watkins Glen is located at the foot of the majestic Seneca Lake and at the entrance of Watkins Glen State Park! Two for one. So you can literally walk from the downtown area of this town towards waterfalls. Coupled with the delicious restaurants in town and the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, Watkins Glens makes for a perfect New York weekend getaway.

This town is one of the best launching pads for a plethora of activities to enjoy in the area. For instance:

In and around Watkins Glens you can also visit antique stores, boutiques, and souvenir shops.

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Taughannock Falls State Park

The Cayuga Lake region has many beautiful natural wonders to visit, and Taughannock Falls State Park is one of the most popular.

The park offers campsites, cabins, and also many miles of trails. In the summer, the beach and swimming area come to life in winter, ice skaters twirl on the skating pond, and tubers hit the sledding hill.

Of course, the top attraction at Taughannock Falls State Park is the falls themselves. Water rushes down from a height of 215 feet here, cutting through rocky cliffs of almost 400 feet.

You can hike to the falls, and also see it easily from an upper viewing area. If you do choose to get up close to the falls, be careful. Dont enter the water or a park ranger will come out and scorn you publically . This is due to the falling rocks. But there are areas where we saw people swimming in peace along the riverbed.

In addition, during the wet season, the rocks- made of slick shale, limestone, and crumbly sandstone- can be quite slippery. So enjoy the scenery, but be sure to take along your best grippy water shoes.

Panama Rocks Scenic Park

Hudson Valley Region, New York, a picture-perfect holiday destination

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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Mohonk Mountain House New Paltz

Those looking for a genuine Victorian castle experience will definitely want to book a stay at the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz. Sitting high atop a cliff overlooking its own lake, this upscale 3-star resort was built in 1869 and continues to offer plenty of great activities and amenities.

Top of your list of things to do should be exploring the surrounding 40,000 acres of natural beauty, either on foot, by bike… or even on horseback. Other outdoor activities include archery, basketball, swimming at the resort’s private beach and in its pools, and boating. Indoor amenities include a billiard room, board games and games room, as well as a fun museum.

A variety of luxurious rooms and suites are available, as well as a number of quaint stand-alone cottages. Popular choices include the elegant lake-view suites, featuring cozy living rooms with real woodburning fireplaces, and wet bars. They also come with spacious bathrooms with classic claw-foot bathtubs and separate glass showers, and large furnished balconies with great views.

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