A melting pot and tourist’s heaven, New York is famously home to the Yankees, Niagara Falls, the Empire State Building, the biggest state park in the country, countless world-class museums and the Statue of Liberty. In all its grandeur, New York City could overshadow the natural beauty of the rest of the state. But there is a wealth of state parks and two main forest preserves. What more could you ask for?
New York City
Frank Sinatra said it best, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” Standing on the streets of New York can make you feel that you’re at the epicenter of the world. There are so many must-sees that the list could go on and an on, but here are a few highlights. Hit Broadway for a world-premier show, stroll through hip historical neighborhoods in Brooklyn, experience Warhol and Picasso at the Museum of Modern Art, feast on some of the world's best ethnic cuisine in Little Italy and Chinatown, and check out the bustle in Grand Central Terminal. There’s no better spot for people watching either, though you might not have time to do it.
Here are some suggestions for a well rounded trip:
Take a stroll or rent a bike and cycle through the 843 acres of Central Park to clear your head. It is the perfect place to relax in between sightseeing excursions.
Empire State Building:
As New York’s tallest structure, the Empire State Building is a visitor’s must-see. To avoid the worst of the lines, go at 8:30 a.m. or during lunch hours on Monday through Wednesday.
Did you know that almost 40 percent of all current U.S. citizens can trace their heritage to Ellis Island? It was the gateway for millions of immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and today it stands as a testament to America’s rich cultural diversity. Take a tour of the historic site to feel what it was like to arrive on the shores of the land of opportunity.
American Museum of Natural History:
One of the biggest museums in the world, the American Museum of Natural History offers 45 inspiring and educational permanent exhibits and more than 32 million specimens to see. Explore dinosaur fossils and the 563-carat Indian Sapphire. Take your kids for an adventure to see the 94-foot model of a blue whale.
Escape from the city life and discover the coast along Brooklyn and Queens. Ride the Atlantic waves at the only surfing beach in NY, Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk. The peninsula includes national parks, such as Fire Island, with waves lapping the shore. to unwind in the sand. Access to all NY beaches is free and open to the public. However, swimming is only permitted when a lifeguard is on duty from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
The state has cuisine representing every part of the globe. From Japanese sushi and Italian trattorias to soul food kitchens and Jewish delicatessens, take your pick to hit the spot.
Follow your ears to some of the best music spots around, including Madison Square Garden and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Check out the two-story Bowery Ballroom for national groups that will blow you away.
Northern New York
One of the forest preserves, Adirondack Park, is nearly the size of Vermont and takes the crown as the largest state park in the country. The Adirondack Mountains cut through the horizon and provide a more than 2,000 miles of hiking trails. Experience rolling hills, more than 3,000 ponds and lakes and camping destinations perfect for summer getaways, including bike trails for the spring and summer and ski trips for the winter months. Pack your hiking shoes or your lift tickets to start your journey in the Adirondack wilderness.
Take in the iconic vista of the Niagara Falls. The waterfalls spill into Lake Erie and Lake Ontario and are a wonder of the world that you will remember for a lifetime.
Southern New York
Shortened from Shawangunk Ridge, this expanse of bedrock is the easternmost ridge of the Appalachian Mountains.. Looking to get your adrenaline fix? These world-famous cliffs are meant for moderate to expert rock climbers. Go bouldering or strap on a harness and climb your way up.
Eastern New York
Hudson River whitewater rafting:
Considered the location of some of the best whitewater rapids east of the Rocky Mountains, the Hudson River provides thrilling day trips that make you feel beyond alive. Take your older kids on the escape in the jaw-dropping rapids of the Hudson, where “exhilarating” is an understatement.
From the sublime Appalachians to the Broadway stages, New York State truly packs it all. For more ideas on the best attractions to visit, check out our New York
. Adventure begins in New York.