Occasionally, when I tell people I’m from New York, their reaction is something along the lines of, “But you don’t sound like you’re from New York.” I wonder, have they forgotten there’s a whole state beyond the Big Apple?
But upstate New York, with its majestic mountains, abundance of lakes, and charming small towns, is anything but forgettable as anyone who has been to the region knows. For those who haven’t yet visited, or want to see more of it, here are 20 of the best places to visit in upstate New York.
Conesus Lake is the westernmost Finger Lake, drawing crowds every year for its July 3rd Ring of Fire, when 10,000 flares are lit along its periphery as fireworks explode overhead. Nearby, the tiny hamlet of Lakeville is home to the Little Lake Brewing brewery, one of the stops along the new Livingston Libation Loop that maps out wineries, cideries, and craft microbreweries around the county. While there, don’t miss the recently installed street murals and art along the 90-mile self-guided Inspirations Trail.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame is just one of the notable attractions worth visiting in this quaint New York village. The Fenimore Art Museum, built on land once owned by novelist James Fenimore Cooper, features an impressive collection of American art, and the Glimmerglass Festival, held each summer, lures opera lovers from far and wide. Visitors to nearby Howe Caverns (about 38 miles east), can go caving or spelunking at New York state’s second-most visited natural attraction.
Letchworth State Park
Known as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” Letchworth State Park features an impressive gorge carved out over centuries by the Genesee River. You’ll find dozens of camera-ready waterfalls where the river dramatically crashes down along shale, limestone, and sandstone cliffs that rise 550 feet at their highest point. A recently built Autism Nature Trail, the first in the country designed for people on the autism spectrum, includes eight marked sensory stations spread across a one-mile loop.