When you hear New York, crowded streets, towering skyscrapers, and the magic of Broadway may be the first things that come to mind. However, New York is much more than the metropolis that is New York City. Just a short drive north of the five boroughs is a majestic wonderland of natural beauty.
These are must-see sights when you head upstate and leave the city behind!
Watkins Glen State Park
The crown jewel of upstate New York and one of the most stunning places in the United States east of the mighty Mississippi River. Located in the Finger Lakes region south of Seneca Lake, the hikes within the gorge will take your breath away.
The stream gently cuts through the rocks and creates dozens of cascading waterfalls to form a serene landscape pulled from a fairytale. The main trail through the gorge is only around one mile but could take a complete day to finish. Along every turn, you will be left in awe of the trees above the crevice and the peaceful flow of the water downhill.
If you want to verge off the main trail, there are several paths leading to further natural wonder. Throughout the park, you will find wonderful areas for a picnic or to camp overnight.
The most famous shot of the park comes at Rainbow Falls Bridge with Cavern Cascade flowing into the stream above the trail.
There is a shuttle that operates on busier days and is a convenient option to ride around to the other side of the gorge after a lengthy hike.
The lush mountain scenery and quaint villages of the Adirondack region have much to offer any type of visitor. Those seeking peace and serenity can take a lovely boat ride on the astonishing Saranac Lake or the picturesque Lake George. Each marvelous lake and its village are the definition of a sleepy small town to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
Thrill seekers are in luck as well with many adventurous outdoor activities in the widespread mountains and rivers. Hikers can explore the maze of scenic hiking trails to encounter endless natural beauty. Ditch the land and enter the boat for intense whitewater rafting through the Hudson River Gorge.
The gorgeous region has even hosted the Winter Olympics on two occasions (1932 and 1980) and visitors can make the trip to the Lake Placid Olympic Complex.
It is hard to believe this incredible stretch of land is only a two hour drive from New York City. The ultimate escape for nature lovers, the region offers countless hiking trails, camping sites, and wildlife.
No matter the season visitors make the trip to the Catskills, there is much fun for everyone. Cyclists can zoom through numerous biking paths and aquatic enthusiasts can take a dip in a refreshing lake or canoe downstream on the river. Those who love the snow can arrive during wintertime to hit the slopes at ski resorts adjacent to the mountains.
Whether you are searching for family-friendly getaways in the outdoors or some alone time from the hectic city, the Catskills are a dream come true.