New York City is a wonderful place to visit (or shoot a movie in!), and an even more wonderful place to live if you happen to find yourself so lucky. But when we think “New York," we tend to forget that the city is just one small part of a larger, even more amazing state.
While travel to Brazil may not always be in our price range, there is tons of natural beauty right here in the U.S. To inspire you to travel this year, we’ve gathered the 20 most gorgeous places to visit in New York State—from Riesling wine country in the Finger Lakes region to the Montauk Point Lighthouse, it’s time to get out there!
1. Saranac Lake
Peaceful and gorgeous -- that’s the perfect way to describe this part of the Adirondacks in upstate New York. This view, from the Ampersand Bay Resort & Boat Club, is breathtaking in the middle of winter, but even better in the summer. (We know, hard to believe.) Head into town and have a lovely meal at Freestyle Cuisine, then walk around and shop or get a coffee at Left Bank Cafe. Be sure to check out the Winter Carnival for extra fun in February.
Photo via msirinagonzalez/Instagram.
2. Hudson Valley
Home to a ton of cute little towns along the Hudson River, running north to south down the eastern edge of New York State, there is more to do here than you can imagine. From visiting Madava Farms in Duchess County, home of organic maple syrup Crown Maple, to checking out Mohonk Mountain House in Ulster County, a National Historic Landmark, you can easily get there from New York City.
Photo via crownmaple/Instagram.
3. Crane Mountain
Love to hike? Then head straight to Crane Mountain in the Adirondacks, which is known for gorgeous hiking trails during the spring, summer and fall. There are gorgeous views heading up to the highest summit, and even a natural stone bridge over Putnam Brook. Just remember that the mountain is a steep, rocky hike, which might not be the best idea if you’re traveling with young children—but it's definitely a gorgeous hike with friends or a loved one (we can see the Instagram opportunities now).
Photo via isle_ofskye/Instagram.
4. Mirror Lake
Located in Lake Placid, home to the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics (you know, “Miracle on Ice”), Mirror Lake is a lovely place to visit. In the summer, you can stay at the right-on-the-water resort Mirror Lake Inn or try one of the many small country bed and breakfasts around. Then, indulge in whitewater rafting, rock climbing, fishing, boating, bikinig, hiking, and even bird watching. The whole family will have something to do.
Photo via captainparkert/Instagram.
5. Lake Placid
The main area around Lake Placid is gorgeous in the winter, too. Stay at the gorgeous (and huge) Whiteface Lodge, where you can cozy up to a fireplace or try their outdoor hot tub. For some winter-time fun, everyone who knows the area heads over to Whiteface Mountain for a day of skiing or snow boarding. If that’s not for you, you can also enjoy a spa day at Whiteface Lodge or even the Mirror Lake Inn.
Photo via gjenks44/Instagram.
6. Finger Lakes
The Finger Lakes region of upstate New York is known for the natural beauty of the multiple small lakes—as well as for making some of the world’s best riesling. A popular thing to do here is take a wine tasting tour along one of the Finger Lakes wine trails. This “adults only” trip is idea for a girl’s weekend or a romantic couples getaway. Stay at a luxurious bed and breakfast or spa, and the pampering will continue all day.
Photo via lastmountainman79/Instagram.
At the very end of East Hampton stands the Montauk Point Light, which is the first lighthouse in New York State and the fourth oldest lighthouse in the U.S. It’s worth visiting Montauk just for that, but there’s plenty to do in this little town. In the summer, there’s plenty of surfing and fishing going on, lots of great dining options (seafood!), fun cruises for family and kids, and lots of great landsports like horseback riding and tennis.
Photo via rosebomm/Instagram.
8. Barton Mines
Located in Lake George, Barton Mines is where the world’s largest garnet deposit lives. If you’re a fan of the red little stone, you can take a Garnet Mine Tour from late June through Labor Day. If that’s not really your thing, then simply head over to one of the inns or cabins on Lake George, or try the Dude Ranch or camping options. There’s lots to enjoy any season of the year, including the Six Flags Great Escape Lodge & Indoor Waterpark.
Photo via davidbbracken/Instagram.
The Catskill Mountains are one of the most beautiful parts of the state, but there’s more to do in the Catskills than simply hike. Stay at the Emerson Resort & Spa and you’ll have a weekend to unwind at their spa, have a nearby picnic, hop on the Catskill Mountain Railroad, try whitewater rafting at Town Tinker Tube Rental, ride horses at the Ashokan Riding Club, listen to music at the Woodstock Playhouse or even check out art at The Arts Upstairs. Insider Tip: The Spa at Emerson offers trendy Indian inspired beauty treatments like "Nirvana", which combines Shirodhara, a third eye facial massage with Bindhi, a relaxing herbal exfoliation wrap treatment.
Photo via dgrreen/Instagram.
The Hamptons, a group of villages and hamlets in the South Fork of Long Island, New York, are a popular seaside resort where many vacation over the summer. The area, also known for the gorgeous beaches, is ideal for any kind of break—whether you’re going on a romantic getaway or a family trip. There’s great dining and fun nightlife, too, if you’re planning a trip with friends. The ideal place to simply relax? Definitely.
Photo via nysurfgirl/Instagram.
11. Athens, NY
Located along the Hudson River, this historic little river village has been around since 1805. If you’re a history buff, then this is the place to go. The town has more than 300 buildings on national and state historic registers, making it feel as if you’re walking through a museum of American architecture. Plus, the small and friendly community has plenty of artisans that are worth checking out if you’re in the area.
Photo via mattyzeephotography/Instagram.
12. Long Island
Besides Montauk and the Hamptons, Long Island has plenty more to offer for visitors. In the summer, head to the beach or try one of the winery tours. You can listen to concerts at Jones Beach or enjoy the ferry to Fire Island. The best part, though, is strolling through one of Long Island’s many villages and small towns, which offer one-of-a-kind shops, boutiques and even restaurants serving local food.
Photo via alice_in_new_york/Instagram.
Known for the famed race course, which is fun to check out, Saratoga has a lot to offer. The city of Saratoga Springs has fun shopping and cute restaurants, including Circus Cafe which is known for its fresh cotton candy (yum!) and live entertainment at night. There’s also fun things like hot air balloon rides, casinos, art galleries, farms that you can visit, kayaking in the summer and snowboarding in the winter, and so much more.
Photo via bridgette_322/Instagram.
14. North Creek
Another beautiful little town in the Adirondacks, North Creek is a great place to relax and unwind. Stay at The Copperfield, where you can enjoy dinner in their restaurant or head over to the nearby Garnet Hill Ski Lodge for a great meal. During the day, tour the Hyde Collection art museum for a view of a beautiful home, American art and seasonal exceptional exhibitions. In the winter, head to Gore Mountain for ski time.
Photo via ljgillis13/Instagram.
Homeplace to The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, big baseball fans will definitely want to visit this treasured historic site. Set on Otsego Lake, which many people love for swimming and fishing, the beautiful town also has The Farmer’s Museum and The Fenimore Art Museum, a historic Main Street and a vast choice of restaurants. Stay at the beautiful Otesaga Resort Hotel and go on a candlelit ghost tour at night.
Photo via jjellis267/Instagram.
16. Southern Tier
This region refers to the counties of New York State that are west of the Catskill Mountains and along the northern border of Pennsylvania. One of the best reasons to visit this reason is for the South Tier Brewing Company located in Lakewood, NY. They have tours, live music and many more fun events throughout the year. If you’re a true beer fan, head over to taste some of their different types of brews, ales and seasonal beers.
Photo via t0nyiii/Instagram.
17. Howe Caverns
It isn’t a trip to upstate New York without a look at this beautiful cave, the Howe Caverns, which you can tour and see all of the natural underground beauty. You can also try some of their high adventures, like a 4 tower zip line or the rock wall. They even have overnight packages, some of which are set seasonally to summer or autumn, as well as packages for families, couples and foodies. Is there a better way than this to explore such natural beauty?
Photo via kaccorsi/Instagram.
Located in the area known as South Tier, Binghamton is a fun little city to visit. There are a surprising amount of cultural activities, including art museums, a science center, a philharmonic and more. There’s also pretty city parks and carousels, a baseball field, a golf course, a zoo and many seasonal events that often draw big crowds. The best is their First Fridays art walk, which features 30-40 rotating venues downtown and is “the place to be gorgeous”.
Photo via williamferrante/Instagram.
Almost nobody knows about this tiny little city located at the mouth of the Oswagatchie River on the bank of the St. Lawrence River. The cute little town is so close to Canada that you can practically throw rocks to the next country. Instead of crossing the border, though, explore the local marina, restaurants, Frederic Remington Art Museum and do some shopping—or simply walk around and soak in the town’s history.
Photo via lizdeno/Instagram.
20. Buffalo, NY
The Japanese Gardens in this New York State city aren’t the only reasons to visit. Set on the eastern shores of Lake Erie and at the head of the Niagara River, Buffalo features architectural masterpieces by Frank Lloyd Wright and others, world class modern art at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and Grammy Award-winning music at the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and touring Broadway productions at Shea’s Performing Arts Center.
Photo via honeyb1481/Instagram.