When you hear New York, do you think about NYC or the rest of the state? While NYC is a fascinating place to visit, there is much more to the state than its large metropolis.
New York has played a significant role in American history, and throughout New York, you’ll find historical landmarks, beautiful landscapes, and much more.
I grew up in Pennsylvania and lived in Rochester, NY, for two summers while I was in college. I’ve seen quite a bit of the western part of New York and can attest to its beauty.
So to encourage you to think bigger than the confines of New York City, here is a list of places outside of the city that are worth a visit.
1. Adirondack Mountain Region
The Adirondacks spread out across six million acres. It is one of the world’s greatest protected wilderness regions. The Adirondack Mountain Region is a patchwork of towering peaks, crystal-clear lakes, and verdant woodlands. It’s a paradise for hikers, boaters, and winter sports enthusiasts alike. Explore the historic Great Camps, kayak amidst the mirror-like waters of Lake Placid, or ski down the frosty slopes of Whiteface Mountain. From quaint mountain villages to the untouched wilderness, the Adirondacks are an idyllic retreat with endless activities.
2. Hudson Valley
The Hudson Valley is a treasure trove of natural beauty and cultural richness just a stone’s throw from the hustle and bustle of New York City. Visitors can traverse scenic trails that offer breathtaking views of the Hudson River, indulge in the culinary delights of farm-to-table restaurants, and marvel at the historic mansions dotting the landscape. From art galleries in small towns to the famed music festivals of Woodstock to festive county fairs, the Hudson Valley awaits with endless enchantment and exploration.
3. Catskills Region
Embrace the rugged charm of the Catskills, a haven for outdoor adventurers and relaxation seekers. Immerse yourself in nature as you hike to cascading waterfalls and serene mountaintops. In winter, hit the slopes at popular ski resorts, and come summer, explore the region’s extensive network of cycling paths. Delight in the local arts scene, sample fresh produce at farmers’ markets, and unwind in cozy cabins. The Catskills offer a picturesque escape with activities for all seasons.
4. Finger Lakes Region
Escape to the Finger Lakes Region, where the tranquil waters of 11 lakes are flanked by rolling vineyards and charming small towns. Savor world-class Rieslings on a wine tour, hike through gorges carved by ancient glaciers, or sail the expansive lakes. History buffs can follow the Women’s Rights Trail while outdoor enthusiasts paddle along the serene waterways. Whether you’re looking for restful retreats or active exploration, the Finger Lakes are a perfect blend of beauty and adventure.
5. Buffalo & Niagara Falls
Discover the raw power and beauty of Niagara Falls and the vibrant energy of Buffalo, a duo that offers thrill and culture, about a half-hour’s drive apart. Feel the mist on your face from the legendary falls via boat or observation deck, and explore the revitalized waterfront of Buffalo, rich with history and modern attractions. Dive into Buffalo’s renowned culinary scene, with its famous wings, or admire the city’s impressive architecture.
6. Albany & Saratoga Springs
Albany and Saratoga Springs, less than an hour apart, are rich in history and brimming with culture, offering a delightful mix of experiences. Witness Albany’s stunning Empire State Plaza and delve into New York’s past at the State Capitol. Just north, Saratoga Springs beckons with its legendary thoroughbred racetrack, healing mineral springs, and vibrant arts scene. Enjoy classical performances at Saratoga Performing Arts Center or stroll down Broadway for shopping and dining. Together, these cities promise discovery and enjoyment in every corner.
In the heart of New York State lies Syracuse, a city where history converges with modern vitality. Visit the sprawling Destiny USA shopping and entertainment complex for a shopping spree, or delve into the past at the Erie Canal Museum. Outdoor lovers can roam the scenic Onondaga Lake Park, while the Everson Museum of Art captivates culture seekers. With its lively festivals, rich collegiate atmosphere, and diverse dining options, Syracuse is an engaging hub for all who visit.
Ithaca is a city steeped in academic prestige and surrounded by the stunning gorges and waterfalls of the Finger Lakes region. Wander through Cornell University‘s lush campus, take a scenic hike to the awe-inspiring Taughannock Falls, or relax by the shores of Cayuga Lake. The city’s vibrant downtown pulses with unique shops, eclectic dining, and a thriving arts scene.
9. Thousand Island Region
Adventure and relaxation intertwine in the idyllic archipelago of the Thousand Islands Region, where the St. Lawrence River weaves through a mosaic of secluded isles. Cast your line in the fisherman’s paradise, uncover opulent tales at Boldt Castle, or watch ships navigate the engineering marvel of the Eisenhower Lock. Encounter quaint waterfront towns, savor gourmet riverfront dining, and bask in the serenity of the region’s natural beauty.
Ready to plan a trip?
It would take more than one trip to see all the regions the state of New York offers. Are you ready to partner with a professional travel advisor to plan your travels? Many people aren’t sure what to expect when planning a trip with a professional travel advisor. Read what my clients say about their experience.