Despite the natural beauty and charm of New York State, it remains firmly in the shadow of the city with which it shares its name. When somebody says the words “New York” it conjures images of skyscrapers, shopping, busy streets and yellow cabs but the state of New York has so much to offer in addition. Canyons, lakes, mountains, creeks, rivers and waterfalls provide some of the most beautiful terrain mother earth has to offer. The vast Adirondack Mountains offer some of the United States most tantalizing scenery.
The city of New York certainly has a lot to offer but there is also so much to see and experience in New York State. Our list of the top 25 things to do in New York combines the best of nature and urban sights to provide a definitive list of activities in The Empire State.
1. The Adirondacks
This scenic range of forest covered hills are part of the Canadian Shield and reach a height of 5345 feet at the highest peak Mount Marcy. The park is a beautiful place to enjoy nature and various activities such as canoeing on the lakes and hiking. There are also a number of lakeside cabins in the park, which are a great place for an relaxing vacation. The Adirondacks is particularly beautiful in fall due to the colour of the autumnal trees.
2. Thousand Islands
Extending from the Adirondacks along the St Lawrence river is a 50 mile stretch of thousands of small islands. Cruises along the river are highly recommended and give sightseers the chance to navigate this labyrinth of attractive islands. The tours operate during the summer months highlighting not only the natural beauty of the area but also some of the extravagant holiday villas on the islands.
3. George Eastman House
George Eastman House is a stunning 50-room mansion located in Rochester. The impressive building was completed in 1905 and has been restored to its appearance in photographs from this time period, allowing visitors to experience this grand house as it would have been 100 years ago. The reputable International Museum of Photography and Film is located within the grounds of the house and is highly recommended for those with a passion for photography.
4. Watkins Glen State Park
This park, containing 18 waterfalls, is situated at the southernmost tip of Seneca Lake. Once one of the state’s leading salt producers due to its natural salt wells, the park is popular in summer for hiking as well as car racing. The rock formations within the park often mesmerize visitors and reach heights of 300 feet above the stream flowing below. There is also a nerve wracking 165 foot high bridge traversing the water.
5. Statue of Liberty
One of America’s, or maybe even the world’s, most recognizable landmarks. The Statue was completed in 1886 and was a gift to the United States from the people of France. For close up views of this enormous statue, a ferry trip to Liberty Island will need to be taken. Battery Park also offers great views from afar. No trip to the state of New York.
6. Niagara Falls
The Niagara Falls are one of the most visited natural wonders in the USA and draw millions of tourists every year. The name actually refers to three separate waterfalls: the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls. Each minute, around four million cubic meters of water cascades from the waterfalls on its way to the nearby Atlantic Ocean. There are plenty of ways to see the falls including walkways above the water, a boat trip to the bottom or even an extravagant helicopter ride. Located on the USA-Canada border, the Niagara Falls.
7. Finger Lakes
Theses lakes, formed by the impression of a great spirit according to local legend, provide a stunning backdrop for a wide range of outdoor pursuits. The Finger Lakes are made up from a number of different lakes as well as towns and resorts. The area can get busy during the summer months but offers a few brilliant hiking trails, which are well worth undertaking.
8. Lake Placid
This beautiful lake located in Essex County, is a world famous winter sports resort and has hosted the winter Olympics twice. Despite being known worldwide for its winter recreational activities, the town is very popular in the summer also. The main tourist strip in the town is home to a wide variety of interesting shops and plenty of restaurants. As well as the lake known as Lake Placid, the town is also home to the beautiful mirror lake, which should not be missed by visitors.
Lake George is a town that shares a name with the lake upon which it is located. The town, along with the 32-mile long lake, is a major New York tourist attraction and offers a great range of outdoor activities in the summer. The town is home to a number of historical sights such as the Fort William Henry Museum and Lake George Battlefield Park. Many of the islands on the lake can be camped on and sightseeing tours by boat are very popular. Prospect Mountain offers spectacular panoramic views and is a great way to see the lake from above.
10. Letchworth State Park
The Letchworth State Park is another naturally beautiful area in the State of New York. It is home to three waterfalls along the Genesee River Gorge. The park is a great place for camping and also offers a range of holiday cabins. A days hiking within this striking park or a less physically demanding picnic are both truly memorable experiences.