While everyone thinks of the big city when they think of New York, the state is home to much more. Upstate New York is an excellent area for a weekend trip, romantic getaway, or family vacation, with all kinds of charming towns and destinations to consider. Check out our guide below if you’re traveling to the region. We explore some upstate New York destinations you can’t miss!
Green Lakes State Park
One of the best-hidden gems of upstate New York is the Green Lakes State Park area. This state park is home to two gorgeous glacial lakes, and while it’s a summer tourist town, it doesn’t see the same flock of visitors as some of the more big-name destinations on our list.
The Green Lakes features gorgeous hiking trails, lakes to swim in, beaches to relax on, and plenty of things to do in the surrounding area, like golf. You can even return in the winter for beautiful snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails!
Cooperstown is a destination in upstate New York you can’t miss if you’re a baseball fan, but there’s more to this charming town than just baseball. Of course, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is the main attraction of Cooperstown and should be on every fan’s bucket list.
But near Cooperstown are Otsego Lake and Glimmerglass State Park for the more nature-minded travelers who’d like to hike, camp, or relax on the nearby beaches. Be sure to also check out the fascinating farmers’ museum that chronicles the rural history of New York and offers its renowned cidery for visitors to taste authentic, fresh, upstate New York cider!
In the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, one of the best spots to visit is Watkins Glen, the small town on the southernmost shore of Seneca Lake. Watkins Glen is a popular hiking and camping destination thanks to the nearby Watkins Glen State Park Gorge Trail and has many things to do in town, from lake cruises to shopping and apple-picking.
But Watkins Glen’s real claim to fame is the Watkins Glen International Raceway, one of the most revered auto race tracks in the US and the world. The Glen is worth experiencing as it has a storied legacy and features races from NASCAR to the SVRA Watkins Glen SpeedTour, one of the classic car races every car enthusiast should attend.
Perhaps the most well-known town in upstate New York, and the most famous hippie town in the country, is Woodstock. While we’ve all heard of the festival, Woodstock is more than just the location of one of the defining cultural events of the Sixties in the US.
The charming little town is full of beautiful natural landscapes and a vibrant downtown area full of shops, museums, and live music venues. Woodstock is also near Kaaterskill Falls, the highest cascading waterfall in New York, and an extraordinary hiking destination.
We’re sure you’ll have an extraordinary weekend trip or vacation in upstate New York, whichever destination you choose!