Beautiful Vacation Destinations in Upstate New York
Posted by: Karen Fowler
The state of New York is one of the 13 original colonies of the United States. The regions north of the New York City area, often called upstate New York, are host to many sites of historical significance. In addition, it is also home to a wide variety of vacation destinations and tourist attractions. From lakes to major rivers, upstate New York offers visitors an abundance of opportunities for camping, fishing, hiking, and other outdoor activities. Whether vacationing in the city or the great outdoors, upstate New York offers something for everyone.
The Finger Lakes
New York's Finger Lakes region has an abundance of activities that make it an appealing vacation destination. The area, which is one of the largest regions for tourism in the state of New York, has two waterways and 11 long and slender lakes. It encompasses 14 counties and more than 9,000 square miles. Visitors to the Finger Lakes will also find that the region has in excess of 1,000 waterfalls. Due to the many bodies of water in the area, fishing is a popular activity. Anglers vacationing in the region can take advantage of both cold-water and warm-water fishing. Species found in area fisheries include landlocked salmon as well as lake, rainbow, and brown trout. Small-mouth bass, yellow perch, and walleye are also commonly found in fishing waters. It is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, whether time is spent on land or the water. In addition to fishing, people can pursue other water activities/sports such as kayaking, sailboarding, paddle-boarding, or canoeing. There are numerous opportunities for hiking, biking, camping, and even horseback riding at state parks like Seneca Lake State Park in Geneva, Buttermilk Falls State Park in Ithaca, or Old Erie Canal State Park. Other attractions include area wineries and museums. Depending on the time of year, there are also various festivals that take place in the region, such as the Central New York Maple Festival that takes place in Marathon in the month of April.
Lake George is a popular year-round destination for people traveling to New York. No matter the time of year, there are activities to suit the whims of tourists, whether on the ski slopes, the water, or a mountain trail. When fishing, anglers will find species that include black bass, northern pike, and yellow perch. Landlocked salmon and lake trout are also common species to the region, with trout fishing season opening in the month of April. Tourists in Lake George may also consider enjoying the water by renting a kayak, paddle-board, or canoe. Land-based outdoor recreational activities include hiking up a mountain or on trails found in the Berry Pond Preserve, which is located in Warrensburg, Lake Luzerne, and the town of Lake George. Here, hikers will find trails ranging in difficulty from easy to challenging. There are numerous camping opportunities in Lake George, with one location being Luzerne. Here, campers will also have the opportunity to do some horseback-riding. Tourists visiting the northern end of Lake George will find Rogers Rock, where they can also enjoy hiking nearby trails, fishing, and boating. The Lake George Islands also have a number of camping opportunities; however, these areas are only accessible by boat.
The Hudson Valley
The Hudson Valley region, located in the eastern part of New York, centers around the historic Hudson River. The valley spans 11 counties, including Westchester in the Lower Hudson region, Duchess and Sullivan in the Mid-Hudson region, and Albany in the Upper Hudson region. The tributary mouths of the Hudson River are great places for fishing for both small-mouth bass and large-mouth bass during the summer and fall. In the spring, striped bass may be found in the regions past the Troy Dam on the way toward New York City. The Hudson River Striped Bass Derby occurs in late April for those looking to participate in a fishing competition. A sizeable population of rainbow trout and brown trout can be found along the Esopus Creek, and other species of trout are stocked along the Kinderhook Creek.
Tourists can enjoy a drive along the Taconic State Parkway is a scenic road that winds its way through Westchester County. The region is host to a large number of campsites, including the Oakland Valley campground in Cuddebackville, Croton Point Park in Croton-on-Hudson, Camp Waubeeka Family Campground in Copake, and the Rondout Valley Resort in Accord. In addition, there are plenty of attractions to see in Albany, the state's capital city, and all along the river southward, there are interesting small towns that offer unique shopping and dining opportunities.
Outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers traveling to New York know that the Adirondacks are the place to go. This beautiful region has thousands of lakes for water-based activities such as fishing, boating, canoeing, or kayaking. The Adirondacks are a perfect place for fishing, as there are 86 fish species that can be found in the region's lakes, such as large and small-mouth bass, wilderness, brown, and rainbow trout, and walleye. It is also the home of the Adirondack High Peaks: These 46 mountains, which offer a range of difficulty levels for hikers, include Algonquin Peak, Mount Redfield, Tabletop Mountain, and Whiteface Mountain, a site for the 1980 Olympic Winter Games. The mountainous area is ideal for hiking and camping.
The Catskills are made up of four counties in upstate New York: Ulster, Delaware, Sullivan, and Greene. A visit to any one of these counties provides tourists with endless hours of outdoor and indoor fun. Popular activities range from hiking to skiing, camping, fishing, and hunting. During the winter months, tourists travel to places such as Windham Mountain, which offers 269 acres for skiing. Other winter sports attractions include Belleayre and Hunter Mountain. In the spring and summer, warm weather beckons tourists in search of outdoor activities such as camping and hiking. In Ulster County, tourists will find Slide Mountain, which is the Catskill Mountains' highest peak. This is a perfect destination for hiking, although campers must use caution, as above certain elevations, camping is prohibited. A sight not to miss while visiting the Catskills is Kaaterskill Falls. This breathtaking 260-foot fall is the highest in New York state.