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NEW YORK TRAVEL GUIDE

LEGOLAND in Goshen, New York Bryant Park in NYC Niagara Falls, New York

Welcome to the bigroads.com travel guide to New York! Hopefully this page helps provide some inspiration and tips to help you plan your next trip to New York.

Take note that I build and maintain this website as both a hobby and public service. I take joy in performing travel research and sharing my experiences and adventures. I do not make any profit from this website, and you will see no ads on it. Your constructive feedback about this site and its content is encouraged. Please email me if you have any suggestions or ideas for improvement.

Author/Contributor: Greg Parsons

OVERVIEW



New York is a monster to explore. There's just so much to see and do in the state. First you've got New York City, one of the finest cities in the world. Then there's Adirondack Park, one of the most pristine and wild parks in the country. Niagara Falls is found in the western part of the state, and that's one of the world's most famous waterfalls. And in between all that is hundreds of attractions ranging from the Baseball Hall of Fame to the Finger Lakes wine country to the waterfalls and gorges of Ithaca. If that's not enough, there's also Lake George, Long Island, and Saratoga Springs to keep you busy.

TOP 10 ATTRACTIONS IN NEW YORK



Are you short on time or struggling to choose something to do or see in New York? Here are my selections for the top 10 attractions or experiences in New York, in no particular order:

Witness the magnificent power and beauty of Niagara Falls in western New York
Enjoy the beaches of Long Island
Drink at some of the more than 100 wineries found in the Finger Lakes Wine Country
Catch a ballgame at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx
Take a ferry to the Statue of Liberty
Explore lower and central Manhattan on foot
Catch a Broadway show in NYC
Take a hike in Adirondack Park
Head to Lake Placid for a few days of skiing or snowboarding at Whiteface Mountain
Visit some of NYC's world-class museums

If I could select only one place to visit in New York, I would choose NYC. It's my second favorite city to visit in the U.S. (after Chicago).

For a list of 10 great attractions in each U.S. state, click here.

5-STAR ATTRACTIONS IN NEW YORK



Here is my opinionated list of 5-star attractions in New York. I believe each of these attractions should be on your New York bucket list since they are all noteworthy from a national perspective:

Western New York (including Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Rochester)
Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park, Buffalo - explore four decommissioned Naval ships at the largest inland Naval park in the U.S.
Buffalo AKG Art Museum, Buffalo - the best art museum in western New York
Canalside, Buffalo - a public park with hundreds of annual events; part of a Buffalo waterfront revitalization project
Cave of the Winds, Niagara Falls - get up close and personal with Niagara Falls while wearing a waterproof poncho
Darwin D. Martin House, Buffalo - visit a historic home designed by the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright
Eternal Flame Falls / Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park - see a waterfall that has a natural eternal flame (caused by a natural gas leak)
Forest Lawn, Buffalo - one of America's prettiest cemeteries; the final resting place of Rick James
Griffis Sculpture Park, East Otto - a huge and impressive outdoor sculpture park with more than 250 sculptures; several miles of hiking trails
Highmark Stadium, Orchard Park - home of the Buffalo Bills NFL team until their new stadium is completed in 2026
Jell-O Museum, Le Roy - small museum focusing on one of America's most famous and beloved foods
Letchworth State Park, Castile - see three large waterfalls and a deep canyon; one of the best state parks in the U.S.
Maid of the Mist, Niagara Falls - a tourist attraction where a ferry travels up the raging Niagara River and very close to the famous falls
National Comedy Center, Jamestown - features more than 50 museum exhibits about comedy
Niagara Falls Observation Tower, Niagara Falls - enjoy elevated views of the famous waterfalls of Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara Falls - walking trails with various viewpoints of the world-famous Niagara Falls
Rock City Park, Olean - has fun hiking trails that visit unique rock formations
Strong National Museum of Play, The, Rochester - an eclectic museum that's popular with families/children

Central New York (including Ithaca, Syracuse, and the Finger Lakes region)
Boat tours on the Erie Canal - single day and multi-day boat tours on the historic and scenic waterway
Buttermilk Falls State Park, Ithaca - features one of the best waterfalls in New York; hiking trails explore the gorge
Chittenango Falls State Park, Cazenovia - features one of the best waterfalls in New York
Corning Museum of Glass, Corning - one of best glass museums in the U.S.
Digging for diamonds in Middleville - bring or rent tools and dig for real diamonds (e.g. Herkimer Diamond Mines or Ace of Diamonds Mine)
Glenn H. Curtis Museum, Hammondsport - a large transportation museum with aircraft, motorcycles, vehicles, and more
Ithaca Falls, Ithaca - one of the best and biggest waterfalls in New York
National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum, Cooperstown - one of the very best sports museums in the U.S.
Robert Treman State Park, Ithaca - highlights include 12 waterfalls (including 115ft Lucifer Falls), swimming, and nine miles of hiking trails
Rosamond Gifford Zoo - it takes about two hours to explore this medium-sized zoo with more than 700 animals
She-Qua-Ga Falls, Montour Falls - one of the best waterfalls in New York
Taughannock Falls State Park, Trumansburg - visit one of the best and tallest waterfalls in the East; views from inside canyon or on its rim
Watkins Glen State Park, Watkins Glen - a beautiful gorge with a hiking trail that passes by several series of waterfalls
Wineries/vineyards in the Finger Lakes region - the Finger Lakes region is home to more than 100 wineries, breweries, and distilleries
Women's Rights National Historical Park, Seneca Falls - engage in the history of the women's rights movement

Northern New York (including Lake Placid, Old Forge, and the Adirondack region)
Adirondack Park - massive wilderness park with 46 peaks over 4,000 feet tall; one of America's best state-managed nature preserves
Antique Boat Museum, Clayton - one of the top boating museums in the U.S.; has more than 300 unique boats on display
Ausable Chasm, Keeseville - a nature adventure park with via ferrata climbing, whitewater rafting, rappelling, a riverside walk, and more
Boldt Castle and Yacht House, Alexandria Bay - take a tour boat to visit a Rhineland castle and yacht house on Heart Island
Downtown Lake Placid - a lively area in a great mountain town with many shops and restaurants
Enchanted Forest Water Safari, Old Forge - a highly-rated amusement park and water park with more than 50 rides
Fort Ticonderoga, Ticonderoga - visit an 18-century fort that is shaped like a star
Gore Mountain, North Creek - generally regarded as New York's 2nd best ski/snowboard resort (the #1 is Whiteface)
High Falls Gorge, Wilmington - a privately-owned tourist attraction that offers a metal walkway into and over a scenic gorge with waterfalls
Ice Castles, near Lincoln - winter attraction where a giant ice park is created and visitors can walk (and sometimes slide) through it
Lake George - a small lakeshore town with many family-friendly attractions and great water sports; Six Flags Great Escape is nearby
Mount Marcy - take a challenging day hike or backpacking trip up New York's tallest mountain; parking trailhead may require reservations
Olympic Ski Jump Complex, Lake Placid - watch ski jumpers at the 1980 winter Olympics site; also has zip-lining tours and scenic views
Prospect Mountain, Lake George - hike or drive the Veterans Memorial Highway (in season) up to scenic views of the Lake George area
Revolution Rail, North Creek - one of several places in the U.S. where you can go "rail-biking" (riding a mechanical vehicle on a railroad)
Star Trek Original Series Set Tour, Ticonderoga - claims to be the "most accurate reproduction of the Star Trek Set in the world"
Whiteface Mountain, Wilmington - New York's best ski resort; close to the great mountain town of Lake Placid

Eastern New York (including Albany, Cooperstown, Lake George, Saratoga Springs, and the Catskills region)
Art Omi, Ghent - a great and free outdoor sculpture park with hiking trails that lead to more than 60 art sculptures
Bear Mountain State Park, Bear Mountain - features rugged mountains, excellent hiking trails, scenic views, and several tourist attractions
Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel - an excellent outdoor performing arts amphitheater
Boat tours in Lake George - various boating companies offer sunset cruises, steamboat cruises, fireworks cruises, sightseeing cruises, etc.
Catskill Forest Preserve / Catskill Mountains - the smaller and lesser known of NY's two awesome forest preserves; great hiking and waterfalls
Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum, Hyde Park - a famous presidential attraction
Howe Caverns, Howes Cave - offers the best guided underground cave tours in the Northeast
Kaaterskill Falls, Haines Falls - one of the best and tallest waterfalls in New York; includes two waterfalls that total 260 feet in height
Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Kerhonkson - a great nature park with lots of trails, rock-climbing, and several waterfalls
Mohonk Preserve, New Paltz - a nature park that includes some of the famous Shawangunk Mountains (a renown rock-climbing destination)
Motorcyclepedia Museum, Newburgh - one of the best motorcycle museums in the U.S.; has more than 600 motorcycles on display
New York State Capitol, Albany - take a guided tour of this historic capitol building
New York State Museum, Albany - a large museum covering many aspects of New York's history, including 9/11
New York Zipline Adventure Tours, Hunter - excellent zip-lining tours
Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), Saratoga Springs - a large, half-covered live performance amphitheater
Saratoga Race Course, Saratoga Springs - a famous Thoroughbred horse racing track; the 4th oldest horse racetrack in the U.S.
Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs - diverse park with a performing arts center, several museums, a spa, pools, golf course, and more
SplashDown Beach, Fishkill - a good medium-sized water park; they call themselves "America's Biggest Little Water Park"
Storm King Art Center, New Windsor - a huge outdoor sculpture park with more than 100 art sculptures
Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site, Hyde Park - guided tours of a historic home and self-guided tours of formal gardens
Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park, Poughkeepsie - take a walk or cycle over the world's longest elevated pedestrian bridge

New York City: Upper Manhattan (including Central Park, Upper East Side, and Upper West Side)
American Museum of Natural History - some of the best fossil & dinosaur exhibits in the U.S.; one of NYC's top 5 attractions
Central Park - one of the largest and best urban parks in the U.S.; miles of awesome walking trails, several playgrounds, and other attractions
Frick Collection, The - see 12 rooms of spectacular art
Horse-drawn carriage tours in Central Park - these carriage tours in Central Park are considered a "quintessential New York experience"
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts - a complex of several stages that produce a variety of performing arts events
Met Cloisters - museum focusing on European medieval art and architecture
Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) - one of the world's greatest art museums; many would say this is NYC's #1 attraction
Metropolitan Opera, The - one of the very best opera company's in the U.S. (if not the #1)
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum - the museum gets mixed reviews, but the building exterior designed by Frank Lloyd Wright is fascinating
Strawberry Fields Memorial - a small memorial on the west side of Central Park that is close to where John Lennon was murdered

New York City: Central Manhattan (including Chelsea, Hell's Kitchen, Hudson, Mid-Town, and Times Square)
Broadway - one of the world's most famous theater districts; offers dozens of world-class live performances
Bryant Park - one of New York's best public parks; famous for its outdoor ice skating rink in winter
Carnegie Hall - a famous live performance venue with concerts and orchestra events
Chelsea Market - one of the best food and retail marketplaces in NYC; home of what might just be the #1 taco shop in the U.S. (Los Tacos)
Chrysler Building - walk past this iconic Art Deco skyscraper on the East Side of Manhattan; there are no observation decks in this building
Edge - a 100th-floor observation platform that juts out from the rest of the building
Empire State Building - one of the world's most famous buildings; observation decks are offered on at least 2 floors (reservations required)
Fifth Avenue - one of the world's most famous upscale shopping districts; one of the best sections is close to Central Park
Flatiron Building - a famous NYC building that has a distinctive triangular shape; next to Madison Square Park; no tours are offered
Grand Central Terminal - walk through a massive and famous historic train terminal
Guided food tours - NYC is foodie-heaven, and many companies over guided food tours all over lower and central Manhattan
Guided photography tours - there are several companies in NYC that offer popular photography tours all over lower and central Manhattan
Guided walking tours - there are several companies in NYC that offer popular walking tours all over lower and central Manhattan
High Line, The - an excellent, 1.45-mile long elevated walking path on Manhattan's West Side; one of my favorite walking areas in NYC
Hudson River Greenway - a dedicated 12.9 mile paved path for cycling and walking along the Hudson River and the west side of Manhattan
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum - an excellent military and maritime history museum; climb aboard a decommissioned aircraft carrier
Little Island - a free and beautiful public park with stunning landscaping on an artificial island; great views of New York City
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (event) - attend the premier Thanksgiving Day parade in the U.S.; book hotels a year in advance
Madison Square Garden - bills itself as the "world's most famous arena"; home of the New York Rangers (NHL) and New York Knicks (NBA)
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) - perhaps the finest modern art museum in the U.S.
New York Public Library (Stephan A. Schwarzman Building) - one of NYC's iconic public buildings
Radio City Music Hall - a famous entertainment venue; a fantastic place to see a concert or the famous Rockettes
Radio City Rockettes (event) - billed as "NYC's Favorite Holiday Celebration"; an extremely popular Christmas-themed precision dance show
Rockefeller Center - a "cultural landmark" with shopping, dining, and tourist attractions (e.g. an observation deck and outdoor skating rink)
Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting (event) - a wonderful Christmas-tree lighting event; NYC is amazing around the holidays
St. Patrick's Cathedral - visit an iconic Neo-Gothic-style Roman Catholic cathedral church
Steve Cohen's Chamber Magic - a top-rated magic show near St. Patrick's Cathedral and Rockefeller Center
Times Square - the tourist center of New York City; this area is always crowded and has dozens of stores, restaurants, and attractions
Times Square New Year's Eve (event) - one of the world's largest New Years Eve celebration events
Top of the Rock Observation Deck - three levels on the top of Rockefeller Center offer some of the finest skyscraper views in NYC
Vessel, The & Hudson Yards - a giant art sculpture that sits outside of an upscale mall; combine this with a walk on the nearby High Line

New York City: Lower Manhattan (including Battery Park, Ellis Island, Financial District, Greenwich Village, and the Statue of Liberty)
Boat tours - e.g. sightseeing cruises, architecture yacht cruises, dinner cruises, speedboat tours
Brooklyn Bridge - walk across this famous hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge; there are good public parks on the Brooklyn side
Charging Bull sculpture - famous bronze sculpture of a life-sized charging bull in the Wall Street district
Ellis Island - take a ferry to visit this famous historic immigrant inspection and processing station
Ground Zero Museum Workshop - see powerful 9/11 images and artifacts through the eyes of a professional photographer
Guided food tours - NYC is foodie-heaven, and many companies over guided food tours all over lower and central Manhattan
Guided photography tours - there are several companies in NYC that offer popular photography tours all over lower and central Manhattan
Guided walking tours - there are several companies in NYC that offer popular walking tours all over lower and central Manhattan
National 9/11 Memorial & Museum - visit an "incredibly moving tribute to the 9/11 victims"
Oculus Center - a transit hub that is also an artistic/architectural landmark; near the World Trade Center
One World Observatory - on observatory experience located on floors #100-#102 of the One World Trade Center
St. Paul's Chapel - visit the oldest surviving church building in Manhattan; famous for its "Late Georgian church architecture"
Statue of Liberty National Monument - take a ferry to visit this iconic green statue; try to get reservations to climb partway up the sculpture
Tenement Museum - contains two historical tenement buildings; exhibits document the immigrant and migrant experience

New York City boroughs (including The Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens)
Bronx Zoo, Bronx - one of the best zoos on the East Coast; features more than 6,000 species; a typical visit is 2-3 hours
Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn - a fairly small but lovely botanical garden in Prospect Park
Brooklyn Bridge - walk across this famous hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge; there are good public parks on the Brooklyn side
Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn  - great public parks adjacent to the famous Brooklyn Bridge (which you can and should walk across)
Brooklyn Heights Promenade, Brooklyn  - offers great views of Lower Manhattan from a platform and pedestrian walkway
Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn - visit New York City's second largest art museum
Citi Field, Queens - a famous MLB ballpark; home of the New York Mets
Coney Island amusement parks, Brooklyn - there are several small amusement parks and family-fun centers near Coney Island Beach
Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens - a great public park with a large and beautiful Unisphere spherical stainless steel sculpture
Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn  - a large and famous cemetery with a Gothic revival entrance; a "peaceful oasis in Brooklyn"
New York Botanical Garden, Bronx - an attractive, 250-acre botanical garden in Bronx Park
New York Transit Museum, Brooklyn - see historic New York City subway, bus, and commuter rail systems
Prospect Park, Brooklyn - a public park that offers a variety of outdoor activities, including a botanic garden and outdoor ice skating rink
Yankee Stadium, Bronx - a historic MLB ballpark; home of the New York Yankees

Long Island
Cupsogue Beach County Park, Westhampton Beach - a popular white-sand barrier beach with excellent saltwater bass fishing and RV camping
Fire Island Lighthouse, Fire Island - a famous black-and-white striped lighthouse on Great South Bay on the western end of Fire Island
Fire Island National Seashore - a diverse park with shorelines, a maritime forest, a lighthouse, 4x4 driving trails, sand dunes, and hiking trails
LongHouse Reserve, East Hampton - a small but beautiful garden and outdoor art sculpture park
Mashomack Preserve, Shelter Island - 11 miles of coastline with "interlacing tidal creeks, oak woodlands, fields, marshes & underwater lands"
Montauk Point Lighthouse, Montauk - a famous lighthouse next to Montauk Point State Park at the easternmost point of Long Island
Old Westbury Gardens, Old Westbury - visit a historic mansion and formal gardens
Planting Fields Arboretum, Oyster Bay - visit a beautiful historic home museum and an arboretum; fine landscaping by the Olmsted Brothers
Robert Moses State Park, Fire Island - a hugely popular 5 mile stretch of shoreline; often touted as one of the best beaches on Long Island
Shadmoor State Park, Montauk - features ocean beaches, freshwater wetlands, scenic views, and tall ocean bluffs

Are you aware of any other 5-star attractions in New York? If so, please email me at gparsons66@hotmail.com.

For a list of 5-star attractions in neighboring states, click on any of these links:  CT  |  MA  |  NJ  |  PA  |  VT

BEST TOWNS & CITIES TO VISIT IN NEW YORK



These towns and cities in New York are generally regarded as the most interesting to travelers:

Cooperstown / Otsego - a small town famous for its National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum; the town has many historic buildings
Ithaca - a small city known for its waterfalls and gorges; a gateway to the many wineries/vineyards of the Finger Lakes region
Lake George - a small lakeshore town with many family-friendly attractions and great water sports; Six Flags Great Escape is nearby
Lake Placid - a small mountain town in the heart of the Adirondacks; site of the 1980 Olympics; has a lively downtown area; skiing is nearby
New York City - a major city with dozens of world-class attractions and museums; one of the most walkable cities on Earth
Niagara Falls - a small city known for its giant waterfalls; if you cross the border into Canada you'll find many family-friendly attractions
Old Forge - a small town in the western Adirondacks; has many family-fun attractions and there is a ton of outdoor activities nearby
Sag Harbor - a small harbor town on Long Island; features several nature preserves and beaches; excellent boating
Saratoga Springs - a small city famous for its mineral springs and horse-racing events/museums; has a lively downtown area

My favorite major city in New York is New York City - I recommend that first-time visitors spend at least 4-5 nights there. If you enjoy museums, you could easily spend a week or more there.

My favorite small town in New York is Lake Placid - I recommend that first-time visitors spend at least 2-3 nights there. Lake Placid is in the heart of the Adirondack region and there is great hiking, skiing, and sightseeing nearby.

If you want to visit the Adirondacks, stay in Lake Placid or Old Forge.

If you want to visit Niagara Falls, stay in Niagara Falls, NY or better yet, Niagara Falls in Canada. There's a heck of a lot more going on in Niagara Falls in Canada. I think the views of the falls are better there too. The views from the U.S. side are still quite good though.

If you are visiting New York City for the first time and you have five days to spend, here is an itinerary for you to consider:
Day #1 (Upper Manhattan): Visit the American Museum of Natural History and then explore a portion of Central Park on foot, bicycle, or horse carriage
Day #2 (Upper/Central Manhattan): Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET), and then catch a Broadway show in central Manhattan
Day #3 (Central Manhattan): Explore the middle section of central Manhattan on foot by walking from the southern end of Central Park to the Empire State Building and back using both 5th Avenue and 7th Avenue. Visit a variety of stores and attractions along the way, including Times Square, Rockefeller Center (perhaps including a trip up to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck), and Bryant Park. In total, this is about 3-4 miles of walking.
Day #4 (Central Manhattan): Explore the west side of central Manhattan on foot. Visit the shops of Hudson Yard, see the giant Vessel sculpture, walk the entire High Line trail, stroll some of the fine art galleries of Chelsea, grab lunch in Chelsea Market (amazing tacos!), and explore Little Island. You could also consider visiting Edge (a 100-story high observation deck) and/or the Whitney Museum of American Art. If you have children in tow, also include a stop at the Chelsea Waterside Park, which is a small but great playground.
Day #5 (Lower Manhattan): Take a ferry to visit the Statue of Liberty and/or Ellis Island, visit the National 9/11 Memorial, and then take an elevator up the One World Observatory for amazing views of NYC.

Click here if you'd like to see a complete list of towns and cities that I find interesting across the entire U.S.

WHAT IS NEW YORK FAMOUS FOR?



Here are some things that New York is famous or well-known for:

bagels
Broadway shows
concert venues
finance/banking industry
glens
horse racing
immigration history
museums
New York style pizza
professional sports teams
sculpture parks
skyscrapers
taxicabs
theater
waterfalls
wineries

Click here if you'd like to explore what other U.S. states are famous for.

NATIONAL PARKS IN NEW YORK



There are currently no national parks in New York. However, the state is loaded with other federally-managed parks and properties, including:

National Monuments
African Burial Ground National Monument
Castle Clinton National Monument
Fort Stanwix National Monument
Governors Island National Monument
Statue of Liberty National Monument (includes Ellis Island)
Stonewall National Monument

National Recreation Areas
Gateway National Recreation Area

National Forests
Finger Lakes National Forest

National Historical Parks / Other National Parks & Properties
Appalachian National Scenic Trail
Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail
Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site
Federal Hall National Memorial
Fire Island National Seashore
General Grant National Memorial
Hamilton Grange National Memorial
Harriet Tubman National Historical Park
Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site
Lower East Side Tenement Museum National Historic Site
Martin Van Buren National Historic Site
North Country National Scenic Trail
Sagamore Hill National Historic Site
Saint Paul's Church National Historic Site
Saratoga National Historical Park
Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site
Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site
Thomas Cole National Historic Site
Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River
Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site
Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail
Women's Rights National Historical Park

For more information on New York's national parks, visit the New York page of the National Park Service. For an overview of all U.S. national parks, click here.

STATE PARKS IN NEW YORK



New York has more than 175 state parks, making it one of the premier state park systems in the country. Of particular note are the fantastic waterfalls found in many of New York's state parks. Also included within the New York state park system are two large and outstanding preserves: Adirondack Park and Catskill Forest Preserve. Here is a list of what I consider to be many of New York's finest state parks:

Western New York (including Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Rochester)
Letchworth State Park, Castile - see three large waterfalls and a deep canyon; one of the best state parks in the U.S.
Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara Falls - walking trails with various viewpoints of the world-famous Niagara Falls

Central New York (including Ithaca, Syracuse, and the Finger Lakes region)
Buttermilk Falls State Park, Ithaca - features one of the best waterfalls in New York; hiking trails explore the gorge
Chittenango Falls State Park, Cazenovia - features one of the best waterfalls in New York
Robert Treman State Park, Ithaca - highlights include 12 waterfalls (including 115ft Lucifer Falls), swimming, and nine miles of hiking trails
Taughannock Falls State Park, Trumansburg - visit one of the best and tallest waterfalls in the East; views from inside canyon or on its rim
Watkins Glen State Park, Watkins Glen - a beautiful gorge with a hiking trail that passes by several series of waterfalls

Northern New York (including Lake Placid, Old Forge, and the Adirondack region)
Adirondack Park - massive wilderness park with 46 peaks over 4,000 feet tall; one of America's best state-managed nature preserves

Eastern New York (including Albany, Cooperstown, Lake George, Saratoga Springs, and the Catskills region)
Bear Mountain State Park, Bear Mountain - features rugged mountains, excellent hiking trails, scenic views, and several tourist attractions
Catskill Forest Preserve - the smaller and lesser known of NY's two awesome forest preserves; great hiking and waterfalls
Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Kerhonkson - a great nature park with lots of trails, rock-climbing, and several waterfalls
Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs - diverse park with a performing arts center, several museums, a spa, pools, golf course, and more

Long Island
Robert Moses State Park, Fire Island - a hugely popular 5 mile stretch of shoreline; often touted as one of the best beaches on Long Island
Shadmoor State Park, Montauk - features ocean beaches, freshwater wetlands, scenic views, and tall ocean bluffs

My favorite state park in New York is probably Letchworth State Park. The canyon scenery and major waterfalls in that state park are spectacular. Take a long day hike there if you can to visit much of the best of the park.

To see my list of the top 100 state parks in the country, click here.

BEST WATERFALLS IN NEW YORK



New York has hundreds of natural waterfalls, making it one of the very best states in the country for waterfall hunting. Here are some of the best waterfalls in the state:

Western New York (including Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Rochester)
Eternal Flame Falls in Shale Creek Preserve, Orchard Park
Lower, Middle, and Upper Falls in Letchworth State Park, Castile
Niagara Falls

Central New York (including Ithaca, Syracuse, and the Finger Lakes region)
Buttermilk Falls in Buttermilk Falls State Park, Ithaca
Carpenter Falls in Bahar Preserve, Moravia
Cascadilla Gorge in Cascadilla Gorge Natural Area, Ithaca
Chittenango Falls in Chittenango Falls State Park, Cazenovia
Hector Falls in Hector - visible along highway NY-414; only a few miles from Watkins Glen State Park
Ithaca Falls in Ithaca
Lower Falls in Robert H. Treman State Park, Ithaca
Lucifer Falls in Robert H. Treman State Park, Ithaca
Salmon Creek Falls in Ludlowville Park, Lansing
She-Qua-Ga Falls in Chequaga Falls Park, Montour Falls
Taughannock Falls in Taughannock Falls State Park, Trumansburg
Watkins Glen in Watkins Glen State Park, Watkins Glen

Northern New York (including Lake Placid, Old Forge, and the Adirondack region)
High Falls Gorge in Wilmington
High Falls Park in Chateaugay
OK Slip Falls in the Hudson Gorge Wilderness
Rainbow Falls in Ausable Chasm
Rainbow Falls in Ausable Club

Eastern New York (including Albany, Cooperstown, Lake George, Saratoga Springs, and the Catskills region)
Awosting Falls in Minnewaska State Park
Barberville Falls in Barberville Falls Nature Preserve
Cohoes Falls in Cohoes/Waterford
Kaaterskill Falls in Kaaterskill Wild Forest
Renssealerville Falls in Huyck Preserve, Renssealerville

For a listing of all known waterfalls in New York, visit the World Waterfall Database.

BEST SCENIC DRIVES IN NEW YORK



Here is a list of the best scenic drives in New York:

High Peaks Scenic Byway - a 30-mile paved route in the Adirondack region from I-87 in North Hudson to Lake Placid using mostly NY-73
Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway - a 52-mile paved route through the Catskill region using mostly NY-28
Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway - an 87-mile paved loop around Cayuga Lake in the Finger Lakes region that uses a variety of roads
Hawk's Nest Highway/NY-97 - a 70-mile paved route from Port Jervis to Hancock; aka the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway
Palisades Scenic Byway - a 42-mile paved route from the NJ side of the George Washington Bridge to Bear Mountain State Park in NY
Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway - a seasonal 5.5-mile paved toll road to the summit of Prospect Mountain near Lake George
Seven Lakes Drive, Harriman State Park - a seasonal 18-mile paved route from NY-17 in Sloatsburg to US-6 in Doodletown
Shawangunk Mountains Scenic Byway - an 88-mile long series of paved roads that encircle the Shawangunk Mountains
Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway - a seasonal 8-mile paved toll road that climbs to the summit of Mount Whiteface (4,867')

There may also be a scenic drive or two on Long Island, but I haven't driven out there yet.

For a list of great scenic drives in each U.S. state, click here.

BEST OCEAN BEACHES IN NEW YORK



New York's Long Island has many great beaches, including these favorites:

Western and Central Long Island
Corey Beach, Blue Point
Fire Island National Seashore beaches
Jones Beach, Wantagh
Outer Beach, Smith Point County Park, Mastic Beach
Overlook Beach, Babylon
Rockaway Beach, Arverne
Robert Moses State Park beaches
Sunken Meadow State Park Beach

Eastern Long Island
Ditch Plains Beach, Montauk
Hither Hills State Park Beach
Kirk Park Beach, Montauk
Pikes Beach, Westhampton Beach
Ponquogue Beach, Hampton Bays
Two Mile Hollow Beach, East Hampton

BEST RAIL TRAILS IN NEW YORK



Here is a list of some of the best rail trails (or similar cycling paths) in New York:

Central New York (including Ithaca, Syracuse, and the Finger Lakes region)
Keuka Lake Trail

Eastern New York (including Albany, Cooperstown, Lake George, Saratoga Springs, and the Catskills region)
Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail
Harlem Valley Rail Trail
Hudson River Greenway
Hudson Valley Rail Trail
North County Trailway - this is part of the Empire State Trail
Wallkill Valley Rail Trail - this is part of the Empire State Trail

The High Line in New York City is also considered a rail trail, but you cannot cycle on it. It's a fantastic walking trail through.

For detailed information on all known rail trails in New York, visit the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy website.

BEST AMUSEMENT PARKS / THEME PARKS IN NEW YORK



There are many amusement parks in New York, many of which are found in the eastern side of the state. The best amusement parks in the state include:

Western New York (including Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Rochester)
Seabreeze Amusement Park, Irondequoit
Six Flags Darien Lake, Corfu

Central New York (including Ithaca, Syracuse, and the Finger Lakes region)
Roseland Waterpark, Canandaigua

Northern New York (including Lake Placid, Old Forge, and the Adirondack region)
Enchanted Forest Water Safari, Old Forge
Santa's Workshop, Wilmington

Eastern New York (including Albany, Cooperstown, Lake George, Saratoga Springs, and the Catskills region; see below for NYC area)
Huck Finn's Playland, Albany
Legoland New York Resort, Goshen
Magic Forest, Lake George
Six Flags Great Escape, Queensbury
SplashDown Beach, Fishkill

New York City area (including Long Island)
Adventureland, Farmingdale (Long Island)
Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, Brooklyn
Luna Park, Coney Island
Playland Park, Rye (Long Island)
Splish Splash Water Park, Calverton (Long Island)
Zoom Flume Water Park, East Durham

BEST MUSEUMS IN NEW YORK



New York has many outstanding museums, including several world-class museums in New York City. The best museums in New York include:

Western New York (including Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Rochester)
Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park, Buffalo
Buffalo AKG Art Museum, Buffalo
Buffalo Museum of Science, Buffalo
Darwin D. Martin House, Buffalo
Frank Lloyd Wright's Martin House, Buffalo
Griffis Sculpture Park, East Otto
Jell-O Museum, Le Roy
Strong National Museum of Play, The, Rochester

Central New York (including Ithaca, Syracuse, and the Finger Lakes region)
Corning Museum of Glass, Corning
Glenn H. Curtis Museum, Hammondsport
National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum, Cooperstown
Women's Rights National Historical Park, Seneca Falls

Northern New York (including Lake Placid, Old Forge, and the Adirondack region)
Antique Boat Museum, Clayton
Boldt Castle and Yacht House, Alexandria Bay
Fort Ticonderoga, Ticonderoga
Star Trek Original Series Set Tour, Ticonderoga

Eastern New York (including Albany, Cooperstown, Lake George, Saratoga Springs, and the Catskills region)
Art Omi, Ghent
Dia:Beacon, Beacon
Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown
Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum, Hyde Park
Motorcyclepedia Museum, Newburgh
National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, Saratoga Springs
New York State Museum, Albany
Saratoga Automobile Museum, Saratoga Springs
Storm King Art Center, New Windsor
USS Slater DE766, Albany
Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site, Hyde Park

New York City: Upper Manhattan (including Central Park, Upper East Side, and Upper West Side)
American Museum of Natural History
Frick Collection, The
Met Cloisters
Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET)
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

New York City: Central Manhattan (including Chelsea, Hell's Kitchen, Hudson, Mid-Town, and Times Square)
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

New York City: Lower Manhattan (including Battery Park, Ellis Island, Financial District, Greenwich Village, and the Statue of Liberty)
9/11 Tribute Museum
Ellis Island Immigration Museum
Ground Zero Museum Workshop
National 9/11 Memorial & Museum
Tenement Museum
Whitney Museum of American Art

New York City boroughs (including The Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens)
Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn
Museum of the Moving Image, Queens
New York Transit Museum, Brooklyn

BEST DAY HIKES IN NEW YORK



New York has thousands of miles of hiking trails, and there is good hiking to be found all over the state. Here are many of the best day hikes in New York:

Western New York (including Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Rochester)
Eternal Flame Falls, Chestnut Ridge Park
Gorge Trail, Letchworth State Park
Niagara Gorge Rim Trail

Central New York (including Ithaca, Syracuse, and the Finger Lakes region)
Buttermilk Falls State Park trails
Chimney Bluffs State Park
Rim Trail & Gorge Trail Loop, Robert H. Treman State Park
Taughannock Falls via the Gorge Trail, Taughannock Falls State Park
Watkins Glen State Park trails (e.g. Gorge Trail)

Northern New York (including Lake Placid, Old Forge, and the Adirondack region)
Algonquin Peak, High Peaks Wilderness, Adirondack Park
Ampersand Mountain, High Peaks Wilderness, Adirondack Park
Ausable Chasm
Big Slide Mountain, High Peaks Wilderness, Adirondack Park
Bald Mountain / Rondaxe Fire Tower, Fulton Chain Wild Forest
Blue Mountain Fire Tower, Blue Mountain Wild Forest
Cascade Mountain, Adirondack Park
Dix Mountain, Adirondack Park
Giant Mountain, Adirondack Park
Gothics, Adirondack Park
Haystack Mountain, Adirondack Park
Hurricane Mountain, Hurricane Mountain Wilderness
Jay Mountain, Jay Mountain Wilderness
Mount Arab, Horseshoe Lake Forest
Mount Colden, High Peaks Wilderness, Adirondack Park
Mount Jo, Adirondack Park
Mount Marcy via the Van Hoevenberg Trail, Adirondack Park
Poke-O-Moonshine Range Trail, Taylor Pond Wild Forest
Whiteface Mountain, Wilmington Wild Forest

Lake George area
Black Mountain, Lake George Wild Forest
Buck Mountain, Lake George Wild Forest
Cat Mountain, Lake George Wild Forest
Pinnacle, The
Prospect Mountain, Lake George Wild Forest - you can also drive to the summit/scenic views
Sleeping Beauty Mountain, Lake George Wild Forest

Eastern New York (including Albany, Cooperstown, Saratoga Springs, and the Catskills region)
Anthony's Nose, Hudson Highlands Gateway Park
Awosting Falls, Minnewaska State Park Preserve
Bear Mountain Loop Trail, Bear Mountain State Park
Bonticou Crag and Table Rocks Loop, Monhonk Preserve
Breakneck Ridge, Hudson Highlands State Park
Burroughs Range Loop, Catskill Mountain Preserve
Gertrude's Nose & Millbrook Mountain Loop, Minnewaska State Park Preserve
Harriman State Park trails (e.g. Reeves Brook Loop)
Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve trails (e.g. Bull Hill)
Hunter Mountain, Hunter-West Kill Wilderness Area
Indian Ladder Trail, Thacher State Park
Kaaterskill Falls, Catskill Forest Preserve
Labyrinth Trail, Mohonk Preserve
Overlook Mountain, Overlook Mountain Wild Forest
Panther Mountain & Giant Ledge, Slide Mountain Wilderness
Peekamoose/Table Mountains, Catskill Forest Preserve
Sam's Point, Minnewaska State Park Preserve
Storm King Mountain, Storm King State Park

New York City
Central Park
Walking around Lower and/or Central Manhattan

The highpoint of New York is Mount Marcy (5,344') in Adirondack Park. A challenging day hike or backpacking trip is required to reach the top. Trailhead parking may be limited and reservations may be required.

BEST BACKPACKING TRIPS IN NEW YORK



New York offers many excellent backpacking opportunities. Some of the premier backpacking trails/areas in New York include:

Western New York (including Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Rochester)
Allegany State Park, Salamanca
North Country Trail

Central New York (including Ithaca, Syracuse, and the Finger Lakes region)
Finger Lakes Trail
North Country Trail

Northern New York (including Lake Placid, Old Forge, and the Adirondack region)
Algonquin Peak-Indian Pass Loop
Cold River-Seward Range Loop
Cranberry Lake 50
Dix Mountain
High Peaks Loop (Avalanche Lake, Mt Marcy, Mt Basin, Saddleback Mt)
Mount Marcy-Avalanche Lake Loop
North Country Trail
Northville-Placid Trail
Pharaoh Lake Wilderness
West Canada Lakes Wilderness Loop

Eastern New York (including Albany, Cooperstown, Lake George, Saratoga Springs, and the Catskills region)
Appalachian Trail
Burroughs Range Loop (Wittenburg, Cornell, Slide)
Devil's Path
Escarpment Trail
Harriman State Park
Lake George Wild Forest
South Taconic Trail

Long Island
Fire Island National Seashore

A great article about backpacking in NY can be found here.

CLASSIC OUTDOOR ADVENTURES IN NEW YORK



New York offers many excellent outdoor adventures, including these classics:

Backpacking in Adirondack Park
Backpacking the Escarpment Trail
Backpacking the Northville-Placid Trail
Bouldering in Central Park, New York City
Canoeing/kayaking on the Delaware River
Canoeing/kayaking on the Hudson River
Canoeing/kayaking on the Raquette River
Canoeing/kayaking the Saint Regis Canoe Area
Canoeing/kayaking on the Saranac River
Cycling the Hudson River Greenway
Cycling the Hudson Valley Rail Trail
Day hiking Algonquin Peak, Adirondack Park
Day hiking Breakneck Ridge, Hudson Highlands State Park
Day hiking Cascade Mountain, Adirondack Park
Day hiking Dix Mountain, Adirondack Park
Day hiking Giant Mountain, Adirondack Park
Day hiking Gothics, Adirondack Park
Day hiking Haystack Mountain, Adirondack Park
Day hiking Mt. Marcy, Adirondack Park
Helicopter tours in New York City
Hot air ballooning in Glen Falls, Groveland, Ithaca, Munnsville, Middletown, Queensbury
Ice climbing in the Catskills
Mountain biking at Ausable Chasm
Mountain biking at Blue Mountain Reservation
Mountain biking the Glacier Ridge Preserve
Mountain biking at Gore Mountain
Mountain biking at Greek Peak
Mountain biking the Plattekill Mountain Bike Park
Mountain biking the Windham Mountain Bike Park
Rock climbing all over the Adirondacks
Rock climbing in the Shawangunks (aka "The Gunks"; this place is a world-famous climbing destination)
Skydiving in Albion, Gardiner, Shirley, Weedsport, or West Milford
Tubing Esopus Creek
Tubing on the Delaware River
Tubing the Lower Hudson River
Whitewater rafting the Black River
Whitewater rafting the Hudson River
Whitewater rafting the Moose River
Whitewater rafting the Sacandaga River

SKI RESORTS IN NEW YORK



There are more than 30 ski resorts in New York. These ski resorts are generally considered the best in New York:

Premier Ski/Snowboard Resorts:
Gore Mountain - 109 trails; 2,537ft vertical drop; 3,600ft summit
Whiteface - 91 trails; 3,430ft vertical drop; 4,650ft summit

Other Notable Ski/Snowboard Resorts:
Belleayre Mountain
Hunter Mountain
Windham Mountain

Whiteface is considered one of the best ski areas on the entire East Coast. It has the most vertical drop of any ski area in the East, and it's close to the attractive mountain town of Lake Placid. Lake Placid is actually one of my very favorite small towns in the U.S.

NEW YORK TRAVEL TIPS



For offbeat and unique New York attractions, visit one or both of these amazing websites: Atlas Obscura and Roadside America

UNIQUE / SPECIALTY FOODS TO TRY IN NEW YORK



Here are some unique / specialty foods to try while you are in New York:

bagels
black and white cookies
buffalo wings
crumb cake
deep-fried hot dogs
fried soft shell crabs
garbage plates
Half-Moon cookies
New York cheesecake
New York-style pizza
pastrami sandwiches
poutine
roast beef / beef on weck
spiedies

For a list of unique foods and mom-and-pop type eateries and restaurants in New York (or any other U.S. state), visit the Roadfood.com website.
For a list of unique foods to try in each of the 50 U.S. states, click here.
For a list of the top-rated beers to try in New York (or any other U.S. state), visit the Beer Advocate website.

OTHER KEY NEW YORK INFORMATION



State Capital:
Albany

Major Airports:
John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia, both of which are close to NYC; there are several other medium-sized airports found across the state

Largest Cities:
New York City (8,930,002), Buffalo (281,757), Yonkers (214,687), Rochester (211,480), Syracuse (149,310), Albany (99,498)

Primary U.S. Interstates:
I-81, I-84, I-86, I-87, I-88, I-90, I-95

State Highpoint:
Mount Marcy (5,344') in Adirondack Park in northern New York; a challenging day hike or backpacking trip is required to reach the top

Professional Sports Teams:
MLB: New York Mets and the New York Yankees
NBA: Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks
NFL: Buffalo Bills, New York Giants, and the New York Jets
NHL: Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, and the New York Rangers
WNBA: New York Liberty

Funny or Unique Town/City Names:
Handsome Eddy, Horseheads, and Lonelyville

Take note that in general this travel guide intentionally excluded restaurants, lodging/hotels, breweries, wineries/vineyards, and certain other types of attractions (like arcades, ax-throwing, bowling alleys, and escape rooms). These types of places tend to come and go, and keeping up with that would be too challenging. I encourage you to use Google Maps, Tripadvisor, Yelp, and other travel sites that have reader reviews to find the latest and greatest places that I haven't covered here.



Niagara Falls in western New York
Niagara Falls in western New York

Giant Uncle Sam in Lake George, New York
Giant Uncle Sam in Lake George, New York

welcome sign for Lake Placid, New York
welcome sign for Lake Placid, New York

very large Labatt Blue six pack in Buffalo, New York
very large Labatt Blue six pack in Buffalo, New York

canoe art in Buffalo, New York
canoe art in Buffalo, New York

house on a pole at Art Omi in Ghent, New York
house on a pole at Art Omi in Ghent, New York

Joker stairs in the Bronx, New York
Joker stairs in the Bronx, New York

Legoland Hotel in Goshen, New York
Legoland Hotel in Goshen, New York

Legoland in Goshen, New York
Legoland in Goshen, New York

slide in Central Park, NYC
slide in Central Park, NYC

John Lennon Memorial in Central Park, NYC
John Lennon Memorial in Central Park, NYC

Statue of Liberty National Monument, New York
Statue of Liberty National Monument, New York

Taughannock Falls in Taughannock Falls State Park , New York
Taughannock Falls in Taughannock Falls State Park , New York

Ghostbusters building in NYC
Ghostbusters building in NYC

the Vessel in Hudson Yards, NYC
the Vessel in Hudson Yards, NYC

NYC Skyline
NYC Skyline

Letchworth State Park, New York
Letchworth State Park, New York

Bryant Park in NYC
Bryant Park in NYC

views from Central Park, NYC
views from Central Park, NYC

Radio City Music Hall in NYC
Radio City Music Hall in NYC

Little Island, NYC
Little Island, NYC

High Falls Gorge in Wilmington, New York
High Falls Gorge in Wilmington, New York

Storm King Art Center in New Windsor, New York
Storm King Art Center in New Windsor, New York

I Love Lucy mural in Jamestown, New York
I Love Lucy mural in Jamestown, New York


ROAD TRIP GUIDEBOOKS



In addition to the information found on my website, I personally recommend purchasing these road trip/travel-related guidebooks. Click on any book cover to read reviews and/or purchase these books on Amazon.com.

        


MORE U.S. STATE TRAVEL GUIDES



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