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Erie Canal
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You can ride a boat around the New York State canal system

You won't have to pay any tolls or fees this year.

Anna Rahmanan
Written by
Anna Rahmanan

Did you know that the 524 miles that make up the New York State Canal System are accessible via 80 public ramps for free this year?

Officially opening to the public on May 20, the system will permit folks to boat around recreationally without having to pay any fees or tolls until October 12. Standard hours of operation are 7am to 5pm daily.

New Yorkers looking to spend some time on the water can launch their own boats off the various public ramps or find rentals. Either way, you're in for a beautiful experience in nature, away from the hustle and bustle that usually defines city life.

The New York State Canal System encompasses the following bodies of water, as per

  • Erie Canal connects the Hudson River with Lake Erie, 338 miles west;
  • Champlain Canal connects the tidal portion of the Hudson River with Lake Champlain, 63 miles north;
  • Oswego Canal follows the Oswego River, from the Erie Canal 23 miles north to Lake Ontario;
  • Cayuga-Seneca Canal connects the Erie Canal to 92 miles of canalized rivers and lakes, including the Seneca River and Cayuga and Seneca Lakes.

If it's on-the-ground nature-related activities that you're after, consider hiking or biking your way through the 750-mile trail that connects NYC to Canada or, perhaps, devour iconic state foods through the relatively newly launched 200-mile Upstate Eats Food Trail, which connects Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Binghamton while focusing on "the stories behind each city's iconic foods."

Although we love spending most of our time in Manhattan, there is obviously something about exploring nature and New York state in all of its glory that resonates with all city dwellers—especially after two years spent locked up in our apartments.

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