Adventurous Things to Do in New York State

surfing in montauk

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Escape the urban jungle this summer and explore what New York State has to offer thrill seekers on a budget. If you fancy getting out into some fresh air, there are ample opportunities just beyond the city. Here are five quintessential NY adventures that are only a few hours from Manhattan.

1. Surf on Long Island

surfing long island

A relative hop and a skip from the gridlocked metropolis of the city, Long Island is a surfers’ paradise. Long Beach and Ditch Plains in Montauk are most popular, with constantly changing conditions meaning beginners and seasoned pros can find different challenges every day. Go to Air and Speed shop in Montauk for rentals, lessons, wetsuits, and stand up paddle boarding. To rent a surfboard: $40/Day. To rent a beach cruiser bike: $25/Day.

2. Bike or Ski in the Catskills

catskills mountain biking

You can visit Belleayre Mountain in the Catskills for year-round fun. Relax at Pine Hill Lake or Belleayre Beach, explore nature trails, and enjoy mountain biking for free at any of the Upper, Lower and cross-country routes. When snow dusts the slopes in winter, children can go skiing for free, and there are runs for beginners and intermediates, as well as more experienced skiers. The mountain is just two and a half hours from Manhattan, making this friendly, unpretentious and affordable resort a cool option for a weekend getaway.

3. Canoe at Lake Placid

canoeing lake placid

The home of the 1980 Winter Olympics, Lake Placid in the Adirondacks has plenty to offer visitors year-round – including canoeing on the water itself in summer. Great for families, you can chose to canoe, kayak or paddleboard, and there are a wealth of connecting rivers and channels for exploring the region further afield. From Lake Placid you can also easily drive along route 86 to other Adirondack lakes, including Saranac and Oseetah in Ray Brook. A great adventure for water babies. If you’d rather not drive, the Placid Xpress offers a free shuttle service around various hot spots in the area, including Lake Placid Village, Olympic Center, the Lake Placid Train Station/Historical Society Museum, and several hotels. Take out a canoe from Mirror Lake Boat Rental for $25/hour.

4. Ride a Rollercoaster at Greek Peak

Greek Peak RollercoasterIt’s a roller coaster… on a mountain! At Greek Peak Resort in the Finger Lakes, you can ride along 4,300ft of track wrapped around verdant mountain peaks and dips, 365 days of the year. Taking the scenic route through forest land and across gorges, the views are spectacular and the ride’s a thrill, with cars traveling at up to 28 miles an hour. The mountain coast leaves from the resort’s Adventure Center, which also has a bungee cord, zip lines, a rope challenge course and tubing lanes. The Mountain Coaster costs $10/ride or $49/day.

5. Hiking and Biking at Hunter

hunter mountain summer

The rugged and steep terrain of Hunter Mountain makes it the perfect challenge for intrepid hikers. Elevations range from 600-4200 feet (making for absolutely stunning views), and there are miles and miles of trails to follow on different routes. If you love camping under the stars, spotting wildlife like porcupines, racoons and even bears, this getaway’s for you. Summer is the best time to hike, when the weather is mild and parties—like the Mountain Jam Fest, German Alps Festival, International Celtic Festival—not so much. is the web’s premier resource for hostel booking and is an easy, fee-free service to use when planning a budget-conscious getaway. Check out their worldwide listings and articles on everything from Geek Travel Tips to the most unusual hotels. 

Photos: dpstyles, gabriel amadeus, dvs, Greek Peak, Bear Mountain Ziplining, Hunter Mountain, New York Kayak Company