From colossal city skylines and charming village backdrops to scenic mountain getaways and exhilarating lake activities, the state of New York seemingly has something for everyone.
Whether you’re a long-time New York native or you’re simply visiting the state for a few days, here are eight of the best places “The Empire State” has to offer!
New York City
By far the United States’ largest metropolitan area with over eight million residents, the Big Apple is home to all kinds of historic landmarks, shopping plazas, and top dining options. Discover the magic of NYC through sightseeing, whether it’s a guided tour through Central Park or a trip out to Ellis Island to see the Statue of Liberty.
After you have witnessed some of the city’s most important monuments, scratch your creative itch by visiting the Museum of Modern Art or the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Finally, NYC is the home of Broadway. Make sure to catch a show before you leave!
Venture a little further east from the bustling New York City and you’ll inevitably land on Long Island, a long strip of land where there are dozens of fun beach activities and historic landmarks to explore.
Start by visiting Montauk Point Lighthouse and the Old Westbury Gardens before soaking up the sun at one of the island’s many convenient beaches—Jones Beach, Cooper’s Beach, or Long Beach, for example!
Straddling the border of the United States and Canada, Niagara Falls is a natural wonder that is worth the trek to western New York. The best way to witness the falls is to enter through Niagara Falls State Park, the oldest state park in the U.S.
For a bird’s-eye view of the aquatic landmark, climb to the top of the 282-foot Observation Tower. You can also take the Maid of the Mist boat ride through the waters of the Horseshoe Falls and American Falls. If you’d prefer to approach the falls by foot, throw on a poncho and embark on the Cave of the Winds tour—which will bring you up close to the Bridal Veil Falls.
On your way toward Niagara Falls, you’re likely to pass through Buffalo—the second-largest city in the state. While in Buffalo, there are a handful of attractions you won’t want to miss.
For one, you will want to tour The Martin House—one of the finest residential works of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Be sure to also take a stroll through Canalside, Buffalo’s waterfront boardwalk area that offers ice skating, live music, and other fun attractions!
Lake Placid is a small village in the Adirondacks that famously hosted the Winter Olympics in 1932 and 1980. Naturally, it remains a popular winter vacation spot today. Bobsled or toboggan on an Olympic track, enjoy dog sledding around Mirror Lake, or ski down Whiteface Mountain.
If you visit during the summer, go kayaking on the lake, hike to the summit of Whiteface, or go cliff jumping at Flume Falls!
Right on the western border of New York, Jamestown is known for being the birthplace and hometown of American actress and comedian Lucille Ball. Check out the museum in her name, where her many television awards and costumes have been preserved.
For a good laugh, be sure to visit the recently opened National Comedy Center. Between its interactive exhibits and recreated sets, there are plenty of family-friendly activities to keep you entertained for hours on end.
Dubbed the “Queen of American Lakes,” Lake George is a gorgeous vacation spot tucked away in the Adirondack Mountains. Spanning 32 miles long and roughly two miles wide, the lake, its crystal-clear blue waters, and its surrounding wilderness offer an array of outdoor activities.
Popular summer pastimes include hiking, biking, fishing, and whitewater rafting. You can even go parasailing or take a hot air balloon ride over town. If you’re visiting during the wintertime, there are several cold-weather sports to enjoy—including tubing, skiing, ice skating, and much more!
Sometimes referred to as “America’s hometown,” Cooperstown is a charming village filled with historic buildings, museums, and relaxing lake activities. Swing by the Farmers’ Museum for an accurate recreation of life in the 18th century—complete with farm animals, gardens, carousels, and more.
Most notably, however, Cooperstown is home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. This museum honors 342 total inductees—from players and managers to executives and umpires across several generations. Walk the museum’s corridors to discover rare memorabilia, plaques, and video footage of some of the game’s greatest heroes.