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10 of the Best Upstate New York Activities For Outdoor Lovers

posted by Discover Upstate NY at 2019-09-18 21:28:00

Take to the great outdoors in Upstate New York and you will not be disappointed! Here are 10 of the best Upstate New York activities for outdoor friends & families...




People seem to have some mixed feelings when it comes to Upstate New York. Some find it absolutely stunning, while others fear its intense winters. Its winter season doesn't stop Upstate New York from having some of the most beautiful landscapes and scenery!

If you're an outdoor enthusiast and are looking for Upstate New York activities, you will find that there's an abundance of options to choose from. If you want to find the perfect outdoor activity, check out our guide below for all the best sites in Upstate New York!

Fun Outdoor Visits for Families in Upstate New York

If you're visiting Upstate New York with your family, you might be searching for things you can do outside that your little ones will enjoy too. Luckily, there are plenty of kid-friendly sites in Upstate New York!

        Howe Caverns

Howe Caverns is located in Howes Cave and is the perfect place to introduce youngsters to geology!

Tours of the six million-year-old caves are the main attraction here, and they typically last around 90 minutes.

For those who are a bit more adventurous, try out the Lantern Tour, available year-round on Fridays and Saturdays. It's a 2 hour evening tour where you are led through the caverns under the full lights, only to arrive at the underground lake, where the rest of the tour is lit by torches and lanterns.

Kids can also try their hand at sifting minerals at the water trough! You can purchase a bag of mining "rough", and the children can then sift the rough through screen trays to discover things like fools gold and quartz. It's a fun experience, and they'll have a souvenir to take home!

        Seabreeze Amusement Park

Seabreeze Amusement Park is a historic amusement park in Rochester. It's the nation's fourth oldest amusement park, and it boasts beautiful views of Lake Ontario.

The Jack Rabbit roller coaster is the oldest continuously operating coaster in the United States. When it first began running in 1920, it was the fastest coaster in the world!

Along with some fun amusement park history, Seabreeze offers a water park packed with everything from kiddies pools to a lazy river to tube slides. There are also some classics like a carousel, teacups, and the tilt-a-whirl!

Beautiful Parks in Upstate New York

Upstate New York is often praised for its natural beauty, so it's no surprise that it's crammed with parks!

These are just a couple of the best parks in Upstate New York, but there's a plethora to choose from.

        Letchworth State Park

Letchworth has 66 miles of hiking trails, so be ready to strap on your boots! Located in both the Livingston and Wyoming counties, it has picnic tables, two swimming pools, and cabins and tent-friendly campsites available.

If you go to Letchworth, it's an absolute must that you check out the Upper, Middle, and Lower waterfalls. They are the three biggest falls on the Genesee River in the park!

        Allegheny State Park

This beautiful park can be found in Salamanca. Just north of the National Allegheny Forest in Pennsylvania, this state park has 18 different hiking trails available for use and is New York's largest state park. 

The Allegheny State Park is divided between the Red House Area and the Quaker Run Area. The Red House Area has 5 miles of paved bike paths for cyclist enthusiasts, while the Quaker Run Area has two lakes for swimming, fishing, and kayaking!

        Whirlpool Park

Whirlpool Park is a sprawling 109-acre park in Niagara County that gives visitors a perfect view of the Niagara Whirlpool and lower Niagara Gorge.

The Rim Trail is a pleasant walk that gives a great view of the rapids below. If you're fine with a bit of hiking, there's even a trail that takes you right down to the river's edge!

Additional Scenic Stops in Upstate New York

If you've exhausted your parks list but still want to check out some beautiful scenery, there are plenty of sites that can give you that perfect Instagram-worthy photo!

        Niagara Falls

This one is a must. A trip to Niagara Falls should be on every traveler's Upstate New York activities list.

The falls can be accessed from both the United States and Canada, but you're getting a beautiful view from either side!

Boat rides on the Maid of the Mist are available if you want to get dolled up in a poncho!

        Fort Ticonderoga

This 18th-century French fort is located in Ticonderoga near the south end of Lake Champlain, and is full of history!

Fully operational during two wars and five battles, this now retired fort has a variety of hands-on activities, exhibitions, and a garden!

        Ausable Chasm

The Ausable Chasm has often been dubbed as the Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks.

Daytime and evening tours of the gorge are available, but you can also stick by yourself if you'd like! The Adventure Trail offers some hiking over cliff trails and cable bridges to cross.

They also offer 15 miles of biking terrain, as well as rafting and tube rides in the warmer months!

Best Upstate New York Activities for Animal Lovers

If you want to spend some time learning about wildlife, Upstate New York has plenty to offer. You don't have to travel far or pack a survival kit to get a glimpse of some fascinating creatures!

        Animal Adventure Park

The Animal Adventure Park is located in Harpursville, and it's a fun place to checkout if you've always wanted to have the chance to feed animals!

Admission is cash only, but there's an ATM at the park, where you can also get some money to buy animal feed.

They have a pretty popular giraffe named April, among other animals like wolves, bison, zebras, and monkeys!

        Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge

The Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge is part of the Montezuma Swamp at the northern end of Cayuga Lake. The refuge, run by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, is an excellent spot for bird-watching.

Herons, Canada geese, and osprey are just a few of the birds that can be spotted here. Spring is the best time to go to the reserve for bird-watching, but the refuge claims that bald eagles can be spotted year-round!

If you don't want to try the Senecal Trail, you can stay in your car and take the Wildlife Drive to see waterfowl and shorebirds! It's 3.5 miles long, and it opens in April and closes in the winter once ice and snow makes driving unsafe.

Endless Exploration

As you can see, there's no limit when it comes to Upstate New York activities. From parks to reserves to waterfalls (like, tons of waterfalls), everyone with a love for the outdoors is bound to find something to do up north!

For more information and suggestions on what to do in Upstate New York, check out the rest of our website!

posted at: 2019-09-18 21:28:00, last updated: 2021-04-06 17:08:32

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