5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Trip to Upstate New York

Ways to Make the Most of Your Trip to Upstate New York
Photo from Pixabay.com

New York City may be the greatest city in the world, but Upstate New York might as well be the greatest state in the U.S. There’s a good reason why it’s called the Empire State. The fact that it has played a large role in the expansion and prosperity of the country speaks volumes.

Not only does it hold historical significance, but the state is beautiful in all aspects. Much of this beauty lies in Upstate New York, with its vast valleys and townships that have stood the test of time. While visiting the Big Apple, why not escape the city’s noise and congestion and enjoy the sights and sounds of Upstate New York?

Where Is Upstate New York?

Travelers think about Upstate New York as an area north of New York City excluding the city itself. However, the term has always been a subject of confusion even among longtime residents. Some may agree that towns and cities like Bear Mountain and Newburgh set the demarcating line between the Big Apple and the Upstate area. 

Others think there’s no such thing as a physical boundary. You only need to know if you’re already within upstate territory. The lack of traffic and the feeling of fresh, clean air are some of the signs that tell you have escaped the urban jungle. 

Whichever school of thought you subscribe to, you can just agree that Upstate New York looks and feels different compared to the metropolitan area it’s mostly famous for. It’s a challenge for every traveler to look past NYC and savor every bit of what the Upstate has to offer. Here are some of the best things you can do in Upstate New York that will make for a memorable out-of-town trip.

Take a Tour to Niagara Falls

Consider this in everyone’s list of must-see Upstate attractions, but to be able to view Niagara Falls in person is an altogether magical experience. You will have to be there yourself to believe that the place isn’t just any ordinary natural wonder. 

You can choose walking tour packages offered by different travel guides. These tours will take you across the American and Canadian borders and treat you to a wonderful array of natural attractions. Consider taking a tour of all three waterfalls comprising the area itself, but the most scenic among them has to be Horseshoe Falls. 

Watch this to get a glimpse:


Go Boating in the Major Lakes

If you think boating is a great cure for wellness, then the entire state has some of the best places for you to drift away. Even the city of New York is the 18th most popular boating city in America because of the plentiful waterfront areas littered across the Big Apple.

You know for sure that Upstate New York won’t disappoint because some of the country’s best-looking lakes are found in this vast expanse. A case in point is Lake Seneca. Perfect for swimming, fishing, and water sports like kitesurfing. The Erie Canalway is also a top destination for people wanting to learn more about the area’s shared history with Canada. The canal features a cruise tour that travels 500 miles across all the major lakes in the region. 

If you want to be closer to nature, then consider the Great Sacandaga Lake with its rich wildlife consisting of bald eagles and freshwater fish that includes rainbow trout and rock bass. Be sure to bring along a rod in case you’re in the mood to catch some delicious fish for dinner. 

Watch this video to learn more:


Watch Horse Racing At the Saratoga Race Course

Since the 1860s, the Saratoga Race Course has seen its fair share of major horse races. Located in the sleepy town of Saratoga Springs, the race course is regarded as one of the country’s oldest sporting venues, the top spot being given to the Freehold Raceway in New Jersey.

Being a place to watch horse racing history unfold, the Saratoga Race Course has nurtured a notorious reputation as the place where champion horses either lost big or retired. It was in 1973 that Secretariat was outraced in the Whitney Handicap

Going beyond its moniker as the graveyard of champions, the Saratoga Race Course should be on anyone’s list of attractions to visit in Upstate New York. Make sure to book your trip for August so you can witness Travers Day, one of the country’s most iconic sporting events. 

Watch this video to get a glimpse:


Go Rock Climbing At Ausable Chasm

If watching horses outrace each other isn’t your thing and you gravitate more towards extreme activities, then Ausable Chasm might be the best place to satisfy your hunger for adventure. Situated in the Adirondacks, the chasm features scenic sandstone formations that would remind you of the Grand Canyon.

When it comes to activities, there’s a long list of adrenaline-pumping options for extreme adventurers like you. There are countless hiking trails you can take on foot or by mountain bike. The place is also a great venue for rock climbing and rappelling. If you haven’t tried both, then Ausable Chasm should give you everything you need for a breathtaking experience in Upstate New York. 

Watch this video to learn more:


Visit Bannerman Castle

You don’t have to visit Bavaria in Germany to look at castles that became the inspiration for royal dwellings in famous fairytales. Just drive to Beacon and you will find Bannerman Castle. Sitting solitarily on Pollepel Island in the middle of the Hudson River, the structure isn’t a real castle. It’s an abandoned warehouse used by the military as a storage facility for munitions. 

Today, it’s a major tourist draw in the Hudson River. Walking tours and cruises are available to anyone interested in seeing the structure in all its glory and learning about the importance of preserving heritage buildings. Occasionally, the place is used as a venue for live concerts, film screenings, and canoe tours, with the main structure standing gorgeously in the background.

Watch this video to learn more:



Does a trip to Upstate New York sound like a good idea to pursue next year? Make your plans as early as now with these suggestions. There are numerous surprises waiting for you there.