5 Top Attractions in New York State (Besides NYC)

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While New York City is by far the biggest draw in the state of New York, you can find other exciting destinations that are worth checking out, too. If you’re planning a trip to New York and want to make sure you experience the best the state has to offer, consider adding these other attractions to your itinerary.

Letchworth State Park

Image via Flickr by Rahul S. Nair

Called the Grand Canyon of the East, Letchworth State Park is considered one of the most scenic areas in this part of the country. It’s just 5.5 hours from New York City. Most of the 14,427-acre state park encompasses the Genesee River and Genesee River Gorge. Although the park has over 50 waterfalls, the most famous are the Upper, Middle, and Lower Falls. You’ll also find 66 miles of hiking trails, playgrounds, picnic areas, and two large swimming pools.

Lake Placid

Situated about five hours due north of New York City is the picturesque village of Lake Placid. In the winter, the surrounding Adirondack Mountains, including the famous Whiteface Mountain, are popular destinations for winter sports enthusiasts. In fact, the village hosted the Winter Olympics twice. In the summer, the hike up the Whiteface Mountain offers a stunning view of the area. Lake Placid is also a popular destination for paddling, cycling, and fishing.

Albany

Located 2.5 hours north of New York City, Albany is the New York state capital, so it offers plenty of interesting history that’s worth exploring. Empire State Plaza is in downtown Albany and has monuments, reflecting pools, a striking performing arts center, and an art-filled underground shopping area. You can learn more about the history of the state by visiting the New York State Museum, and the New York State Capitol is also open for tours.

Finger Lakes Region

The Finger Lakes region is just under five hours from New York City. The region gets its name from its long, narrow lakes. As a result, the area is a popular destination for exploring the state’s outdoor beauty. While you’re here, consider checking out the dramatic waterfalls at Taughannock Falls State Park and Watkins Glen State Park. If you need a place to stay during your time in the Finger Lakes region, you can find hotel rooms in nearby Syracuse.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is located on the other side of the state and about six hours from New York City. If you’re traveling to the area, however, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to view this incredible natural wonder. When you visit, you’ll find a variety of unique ways to see the falls and experience their immense power, including sightseeing boats that take you to the base of the falls and the walkways above them. Along with the waterfalls, you can also enjoy excellent shopping, dining, and entertainment options when you visit Niagara Falls.

Even though New York City is a top destination in New York that you shouldn’t miss, don’t forget to head outside of the city to discover these other top attractions around the state.