Photograph: I Love New York

Seven stunning LGBT getaways to take in New York State

In town for WorldPride 2019? Make time to escape the city and explore the best of the state. From Long Island to the Catskills, here are seven fantastic LGBT road trips

Written by Time Out for I LOVE NEW YORK

This year, WorldPride is landing in the US—specifically, New York—for the first time ever in its 20-year history. This global celebration (which runs throughout June) will see New York City painted rainbow with huge festivals, marches, arts events, and of course, a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the historic Stonewall Uprising. We’ve got all the highlights for the city’s WorldPride festivities here.

WorldPride is a statewide celebration, so if you’re going to take the trip to New York for this epic festival, then you may as well go all-out. We’ve put together this hit list of seven fantastic trips for LGBT visitors to take in the state of New York, which you can take before WorldPride begins or after the city’s festivities are over. Happy travels!

Check out our guide to the ten can't-miss activities at WorldPride 2019.

1. Fire Island

One of the most famous (and infamous) LGBT resort destinations in America, this small barrier island is set ablaze with action during the summer. If you’re visiting New York for the first time this WorldPride, make a pilgrimage to one of the island’s two LGBT communities: Cherry Grove or the Pines. The former has a diverse community vibe, and the latter is home to such notable establishments as Sip N’ Twirl and Pavilion. There are no cars here, so you’ll need to take the LIRR to Sayville and hop on a quick shuttle bus to your ferry ride to this magical place.

2. Long Island Wine Trail

Doesn’t June sound like a great time to sample award-winning wines overlooking the ocean? Sitting just an hour-and-a-half drive out of New York City, Long Island’s North Fork is an erstwhile potato-farming region-turned-hotspot of good wine and food. When planning your winery tour, be sure to include East Coast viticulture pioneer Lenz Winery, founded in 1978 and known for its merlot, as well as Bedel Cellars, renowned for rosé. And on June 25th, take a tour of North Fork wineries and vineyards for Pride on the Vines. And remember: no first-timer to Long Island should skip a visit to Gold Coast Mansions – a stretch of grand, Gatsby-esque estates built in the early twentieth century.

3. Storm King Art Center and Dia Beacon

Your Instagram will thank you for visiting Storm King, a picturesque Hudson Valley-set gallery and “outdoor museum” where rolling landscapes meet open skies. Here at one of the world’s most expensive collections of outdoor sculpture, you’ll encounter a range of stunning large-scale sculptures from the likes of Richard Serra and Alexander Calder. Then there’s Dia Beacon, a museum in a converted cereal box factory for the Dia Art Foundation’s collection of contemporary art, sitting on the banks of the Hudson River. While you're there, make sure you spend time exploring the quaint town of Beacon, which is full of fabulous restaurants.

4. Hunter Mountain

Outdoorsy types, take note. A trip up to the Catskills region upstate offers opportunities for all kinds of active fun ranging from mountain biking and horseback riding to fly-fishing and zip-lining. (Fun fact: Hunter Mountain is home to North America’s longest and highest year-round zip-line). Once you’ve had your fill of outdoor activities, head to the nearby Kaatskill Mountain Club to shop antiques and locally made crafts; or visit the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts and Museum of the Sixties, on the site of the original Woodstock music festival, which is also celebrating a 50th anniversary with special exhibits, concerts and events.  Talk about a Summer of Love!

5. Letchworth State Park

Dubbed the “Grand Canyon of the East” and the top state park in America, this gorgeous 14,350-acre park boasts some 66 miles of hiking trails interspersed with 600-foot gorges carved by the Genesee River. Whether you’re into whitewater rafting or hot air ballooning, there’s plenty of adventure to be had. Those who are staying for a bit longer can consider camping at one of the sites equipped with electrical outlets, communal showers and restrooms.

6. City of Buffalo

Buffalo wings—need we say more? Visit the funky northern New York city that gave birth to the original Buffalo wings. You can even eat at the place they were created, Anchor Bar. There’s tons of curious culture to check out, from singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco’s Babeville, a creative arts space housed in a Gothic Revival-style church, to walks around quirky neighborhoods like Elmwood Village and Allentown, to tours of perfectly preserved works of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, like the Darwin-Martin House and Graycliff Estate on the shore of Lake Erie.

7. Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is the oldest state park in America, because majestic waterfalls are truly timeless. The park’s 400 acres of lush landscape are open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. And there’s no one way to experience the falls—you can board the Maid of the Mist to see them from the water (raincoat provided), or get up close and personal by hiking the Cave of the Winds and its famous Hurricane Deck. History buffs can learn more about the history of the falls, and the many efforts to preserve it at the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center and Niagara Adventure Theater. And especially for WorldPride revelers, Pride at the Falls on July 5th features a free concert by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra with a fireworks show and the Falls lit in rainbow colours.  Note that the drive from NYC to Niagara takes six to seven hours, but inexpensive direct flights are available.

Find lots more tips on making the most of your WorldPride 2019 experience here.

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