There’s clearly no shortage of things to do in NYC, and many people who visit New York state come for just that reason. But should you find yourself wanting to explore the wider region, whether it’s a romantic getaway or you’re just curious about what lies beyond the five boroughs, consult our curated list of the best places to visit in New York State. Luxury seekers may enjoy an afternoon at the beach in Montauk or a trip to some of the best Long Island wineries, whereas more adventurous types might opt for a hike through the Adirondack mountains. From upstate to Long Island, here are the best places to visit in New York State.
Best places to visit in New York State
Named for its whopping 18 mineral springs, this town has attracted spa-seekers since the 19th century. Almost all the springs are naturally carbonated, so sip on some the complimentary Saratoga Sparkling Rosé when bathing in them. The city’s also famous for its market-forward cuisine, with products like cheeses, tapinades and housemade jams prepared by local artisans. After a meal, head to the Saratoga Race Course for some horse racing and stop by the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame if you’re not equined out.
For a true breath of fresh air, ditch Gotham for a simple life in the forests and mountains. The Adirondack region is vast, but you can easily spend a full day trekking through the new Wild Walk, a system of wooden bridges that snakes through the Adirondack Park as a “High Line of the Forest,” which offers stunning views of the trees and wildlife. For additional education on wilderness living, head an hour north to the Adirondack Museum, perched on a ridge overlooking Blue Mountain Lake, to delve into topics like boating, cabins and camping.
Known to locals as “the End,” the chilled-out Hamptons village at the easternmost reach of the South Fork offers luxurious beachside relaxation as well as some of the best surfing in the region. For the perfect group day-trip, head to the family-friendly Kirk Park Beach where you can catch some sun, play a game of volleyball at the nets or fly kites. Before you head home, join everyone else in town at the Montauket, a neighborhood joint where you can sip a pint of locally-brewed Blue Point toasted lager while watching the sun melt into the rippling horizon of Fort Pond Bay.
America's beloved hot wing is indeed named after the chilly upstate town in which it was conceived. Lore has it that the 45-year-old invention was an accident—in a last-ditch effort to feed her customers, one Teressa Bellissimo of Buffalo's Anchor Bar deep-fried some leftover pieces of chicken and added butter and hot sauce to make them more palatable. But beyond grub, the town boasts loads of beautiful sightseeing, from the nearby shores of Lake Erie to the city-wide park system and a well-preserved examples of neo-classical, beaux arts and art deco architecture from its time as an industrial capital in the early 20th century.
Located just a 25-minute drive from Buffalo, Niagara Falls is well worth a visit. It would be hard not to be amazed seeing a curtain of water splashing down the curved cliffs at 750,000 gallons a second. Soak up the view from the sidelines or dive straight into the action with the immersive Maid of the Mist boat tour or a walk through the Cave of the Winds (take note: you will get soaked on the Hurricane Deck). As an added plus, you’re standing on the Canadian-United States border, the longest international border in the world. Just don’t forget to bring a passport if you want to check out the other side!
Sure, Long Island has plenty of wineries, but in upstate New York you get a refreshing glass while appreciating the hills and blue lakes of this quiet region of the state. Sip some of the town’s best Riesling offerings while overlooking a lake from the Ravines Wine Cellars’ tasting room, or the green Adirondack chairs at Sheldrake Point Winery. We recommend a romantic booze cruise around the glacier-carved Cayuga Lake where you’ll get to visit some of the 26 wineries nestled on its banks.
Head to our state’s Capital Region to get a taste of history, politics and even some locally-produced booze. Make sure to plan a stop at the New York State Capitol building (pro-tip: it’s glowing lights look particularly stunning in the evening), as well as the New York State Museum, which offers a moving tribute to the victims and heroes of the 9/11 attacks. Other notable spots include the USS Slater DE-766, a World War II destroyer, and the Shaker Heritage Society. After all the sightseeing, grab a drink at Nine Pin Cider Works or C.H. Evans Brewing Co.
There’s a hike for everyone among Bear Mountain’s tranquil, woodsy trails, from the short loop around Brooks Lake to the more challenging four-mile segment of the Appalachian Trail. Most impressive is the steep, twisting trek to the Perkins Memorial Tower, from where you’ll have a stunning 360-degree vista of four states (NY, NJ, CT and PA), the Big Apple skyline, Storm King Art Center, the Hudson Highlands and the Hudson River some 1,000 feet below. If you’ve got any juice left after your climb, shoot hoops at the on-site basketball courts.