Looking to explore upstate New York and have some fun & adventure? This is the list for you! We break upstate New York into its various regions and list many fun things to do in each region. Links are provided to most suggestions!
|Western NY||Hudson Valley|
The Adirondacks of New York
The Adirondack Park was established in 1892 and consists of 6.1 million acres of land, 102 towns & villages, over 10,000 lakes, over 30,000 miles of rivers & streams and an estimated 200,000 acres of old-growth forests! It is a fabulous area to explore and find many outdoor adventures! Here are just a few ideas of what you can do in the Adirondacks!
- Adirondack Experience Museum, Blue Mountain Lake
- The Wild Center, Tupper Lake
- Rail Bikes – Ride multi-person recumbent style bikes on closed portions of old railroads! Enjoy the Adirondack forest close up – as well as the bridges & rapids – depending on which option you choose.
- Experience Outdoors High Ropes/Zip Line Course, Lake Placid & Lake George
- Whitewater rafting
- Lake Cruise
- Old Forge Lake Cruises (Old Forge) – Historic steamboat cruises the the Fulton Chain Lakes.
- Seaplane tour – Enjoy the beautiful Adirondacks from the air!
- Paynes Air Service – Inlet, NY (on Seventh Lake)
- Olympic village (Lake Placid), Olympic Jumping Complex, Lake Placid Olympic Museum
- Shelving Rock Falls, (Fort Ann) You can read a little about our visit to Shelving Rock Falls here: Family Adirondack Mountains Adventure #3
- Camp on an island (Alger Island on Fourth Lake is a good one to consider)
- Adirondack Sky Center & Observatory (Tupper Lake)
- Moose River Farm (Old Forge) An interactive experience with animals in a scenic landscape.
- Old Forge Hardware Store in Inlet New York. Visit an old-time store for nostalgia & to take you back to a simpler time!
- High Falls Gorge, Wilmington
- Hiking! (High Falls Gorge lake placid, Avalanche Lake, Shelving Rock, Lake George) Check out the best hiking trails @ Adirondack.net & Alltrails!
- Outlet shopping
- Water park – Enchanted Forest Water Safari (Old Forge)
- Cave exploring
- Moose Expedition – It may not be very likely that you actually spot a moose – but the DEC says that the Old Forge area and the northern area of the Adirondacks have the greatest concentration of moose in the Adirondacks. We think we spotted on in the Old Forge area – and you can read about that HERE.
For More about Moose in the Adirondacks click the + ==>
The moose is the iconic animal associated with the Adirondacks. Ironically – there are estimated to be only 400 – 800 moose roaming the wild in the Adirondacks. In the 1800s the moose population in the Adirondacks was decimated – due to deforestation and un-regulated hunting. Since the 1980s, Moose are making progress in repopulating the Adirondacks – but progress has been very slow & spotty. These massive animals can reach 6 feet tall at the shoulders and have an antler rack nearly as wide!
For an interesting article on the efforts to learn more about the moose population in the Adirondacks check out this article HERE.
- Bike trails: Check out the best biking trails @ Alltrails & Adirondack.net!
- Fort Ticonderoga, (Ticonderoga, NY) Built by the French in the 18th century – it now serves as a museum & National Historic Landmark. Fascinating museum & gorgeous landscape!
- Souvenir shopping (Inlet, or really just about anywhere!)
- Firetower Challenge
The Finger Lakes Region of New York
The Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York is characterized by the 11 slender “finger-like” lakes that run roughly north/south in length. This is a beautiful region that is littered with vineyards & wineries and a lot of fascinating things to do and see! As life-long residents of the finger lakes region, here are some of our best ideas on where to go & what to see!
- A Dickens Christmas, Skanneatles. One of the best times to visit Skaneateles might just be right before Christmas. Every year – the village hosts a Dickens Christmas – an old fashion Christmas tradition inspired the novella “A Christmas Carol” by the English writer Charles Dickens. The tradition kicks off right after Thanksgiving and runs until the 23rd of December. “Charles Dickens” & a cast of over 40 characters roam the village streets and interact with shoppers & visitors. Oh, and yes – those are chestnuts roasting on an open-fire there on the corner and watch out for the horse drawn carriage going down main street!
- Classic Car Museum, Norwich
- Corning Museum of Glass (Glassworks). This is a great museum in small community. We most recently visited it in May of 2022. It has a great mix of ART & SCIENCE. The museum has exhibits that feature modern art, the history of glass use and how it has been made throughout human history, how optical fiber is made and there are even live demonstrations on glass blowing. There are also opportunities to make your own glass piece, as well (for a fee, & you will have to make reservations). My favorite displays & exhibits are on the third floor. There you can learn about bullet proof glass, try out a periscope and use a couple of telescopes. The souvenir shop is quite large, and has a great variety of items for everyone. The atmosphere of the museum feels very clean and upscale – and the cafe has a good variety of high quality food items. Consider becoming a member – and receive free admission, and 15% off at the cafe & souvenir shop. During the months of May & December – you receive 25% off at the souvenir shop!
- Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown
- Old Erie Canal Heritage Park
- She-Qua-Ga Falls, Montour Falls
- Destiny USA mall, Syracuse
- Strong Museum of Play, Rochester
- Renaissance Festival, Sterling (Sat. July 2 – Sun. August 14, 2022)
- New York State Fair, Syracuse
- Rosamond Gifford Zoo @ Burnet Park, Syracuse
- The Carrier Dome, Syracuse University Campus. Take in a Syracuse basketball game at the dome and experience America’s most famous & largest structure of its kind on a college campus! GO ORANGE!
- Taughannock Falls: A magnificent waterfall that plunges 215 feet over rocky cliffs that tower 400 feet over the gorge. You can hike and see the falls from both above and below the breakline!
- Robert H. Tremont State Park: Great hiking over winding trails that follow the gorge past 12 waterfalls – the highest of which is 115 feet!
- Triphammer Falls: (on the Cornell University campus) Named after the forge that operated at this site until the 1820s. 55 foot multiple cascading falls that are part of a man-made structure formed by the dam at Beebe Lake.
- Buttermilk Falls: The name for the falls was inspired by the foam which forms from the water cascading down the steep side of the valley towards Cayuga Lake.
- Explore the Finger Lakes Wine Trails
- Canandaigua Lake Wine Trail: Arbor Hill Grapery & Winery, Finger Lakes Wine Center, Hazlitt’s Red Cat Cellars (one of our favorites!), Heron Hill Tasting Room on Canandaigua Lake, Inspire Moore Winery & Song Hill Winery.
- Cayuga Lake Wine Trail: Americana, Buttonwood Grove, Cayuga Ridge Estate, Goose Watch, Hosmer, Knapp, Long Point, Lucas Vinyards, Montezuma, Six Mile Creek, Swedish Hill, Thirsty Owl, SixEighty Cellars
- Keuka Lake Wine Trail: Heron Hill Winery, Hunt Country Vineyards, Vineyard View Winery, Keuka Spring Vineyards & Weis Vineyards.
- Seneca Lake Wine Trail: Anthony Road Wine Company, Atwater Estate Vineyards, Bagley’s Poplar Ridge Vineyards, Belhurst Estate Winery, Boundary Breaks, Castel Grisch Winery, Caywood Vineyards, Chateau LaFayette Reneau, CK Torrey Ridge Winery & Meadery, Fox Run Vineyards, Fruit Yard Winery, Fulkerson Winery, Glenora Wine Cellars, J.R. Dill Winery, Lakewood Vineyards, Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars, Leidenfrost Vineyards, Miles Wine Cellars, Penguin Bay Winery, Prejean Winery, Seneca Shore Wine Cellars, Tabora Farm and Winery, Three Brothers Wineries and Estates, Toast Winery, Ventosa Vineyards, Wagner Vineyards Estate Winery & White Springs Farm Winery
- Skydive Finger Lakes, Ovid
- Whitewater rafting Adirondacks
- Watkins Glen State Park, Watkins Glen
- Mark Twain Study, Elmira
- Fall Foliage!
- National Warplane Museum, Geneseo Airport
- Annual Airshow
- Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester
- National Toy Hall of Fame, Rochester
- It’s a Wonderful Life Museum & Festival, Seneca Falls.
- Women’s Rights National Historical Park, Seneca Falls.
- National Women’s Hall of Fame, Seneca Falls.
- Belhurst Castle, (Geneva) Built between 1885 – 1889 as a private residence on the shores of Seneca Lake, this place has since been converted to a resort. It includes two restaurants, 3 hotels, a spa/salon & winery. This place offers it all – and is located right in the heart of the Finger Lakes region!
Greater Binghamton Area
At the cross-roads of Interstate routes 81, 86 & 88 many visitors to several of the upstate regions will pass right through the Greater Binghamton area to get to their destinations. As such, we thought it would be helpful to list some fun & interesting things to do in the Greater Binghamton area!
- Try a Spiedie Sandwich! It’s a tasty treat of marinated meat, char-broiled & fed on Italian bread…
- The Spiediefest/Balloon Rally!
- The Cider Mill in Endicott – Watch how they make cider & donuts!
- Broome County Carousel Circuit, Johnson City, Endicott, Binghamton, and Endwell. Ride some carousels – Binghamton is the carousel capital of the world – due to the benevolence of George F Johnson. 5 carousels.
- Stoughton Farms – (Autumn) corn maze, pumpkin farm…
- Animal Adventure Park – Harpursville New York. A interactive and educational animal park with animals ranging from penguins to giraffes. What’s wonderful about this park is both the setting and the close interaction with the more docile animals.
- Roberson Museum
Western New York
- Erie Canal / Locks, Connects the Hudson river to Lake Erie (and Lake Ontario too via the Owego Canal) See list of the location of the locks HERE. Rome is a good place – boat ride and museum…
- Letchworth State Park, Castile
- Eternal Flame Falls, Orchard Park
- National Comedy Center, Jamestown
- Seneca Iroquois National Museum, Salamanca
- Lucy Desi Museum, Jamestown
Saint Lawrence Valley Region, New York
- Boldt Castle, Alexandria Bay / Thousand Islands
- Helicopter Tour of Boldt Castle & Thousand Islands
- Antique Boat Museum, Clayton.
- Shipwreck Diving (The Islander) in Alexandria Bay
- Cornwall Brothers Store & Museum
Leatherstocking Central Region, New York
- National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown
- Farmer’s Museum, Cooperstown
- Empire State Carousel
- Howe Caverns
- Herkimer Diamond Mine, Herkimer
- Yellow Brick Road (YBR) casino, Chittenango
- Turning Stone casino, Verona
- Rail bike
- Glenn H. Curtiss Museum, Hammondsport
Catskills Mountain Region, New York
The Catskills are part of the Appalachian Mountains located in the southeastern part of New York State.
- Overlook Mountain Hike, Woodstock
- Rail bike ride, Phoenicia
- Mohonk Preserve, New Paltz
- Hanford Mills Museum, Athens
- Historic Huguenot Street, New Paltz
- Hudson River Maritime Museum, Kingston
- Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel
Hudson Valley Region & Hudson River, New York
- Erie Canal / Locks, Connects the Hudson River to Lake Erie (and Lake Ontario too via the Owego Canal) See list of the location of the locks HERE. Erie Canal Village in Rome is a good place – boat ride and museum…
- Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs
- Saratoga Race Course, Saratoga Springs
- Walkway Over the Hudson, Poughkeepsie
- Resorts World Catskills casino.
- New York State Museum, Albany