The world's most celebrated metropolis too often overshadows the sublime natural landscapes of New York State. Whether it be the crashing of the largest falls in Northern America or the sound of the Atlantic's waves on the state's beaches, there are plenty of oases to escape to within range of the Big Apple. Visit national historic landmarks and snowshoe through the unfettered wildernesses of this mountainous winter wonderland.
From skipping beneath waterfalls on scenic hikes to strutting along coastal boardwalks, ice cream in hand, New York's state parks are the perfect option for a day trip. Here are some of the state's most exciting outward bound activities to enjoy with your family:
Kids are delighted by the nineteen waterfalls that cascade down the gorge sides in this stunning park. Hike beneath the curtains of the falls, visit caves and swim in an Olympic sized swimming pool. Families can also fish for rainbow trout at Seneca Lake or Catherine Creek.
Jones Beach State Park is world-famous for its sublime beaches, which run for seven miles along the Atlantic. Fish, enjoy an ice cream on the boardwalk or play a round of miniature golf. Concerts animate the beach's theater but just surfing and sunbathing on the sand are blissful. There are also a number of playgrounds to explore.
Lofty mountains embrace this entertainment-packed state park, where you can paddle along the Hudson River or relax in a swimming pool. Visit the park's Trailside Museums and zoo, where geology exhibits, local history and live animals like turtles and salamanders fascinate the little ones. Ride the vintage merry-go-round, with its hand painted scenes of the park, or go wildlife watching and see bobcat, Canada goose and deer. An outdoor ice rink is a picturesque place to enjoy holiday cheer between October and March.
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Best New York State Parks for Hiking
You will never forget your guided hike along the verge of North America's largest waterfall. Nor are walks through the National Historic Landmark listed attractions of Saratoga Spa likely to leave your memory for some time. Here are the best parks in the state for stretching your legs in:
Two hundred miles of walking trails rise up to meet you in Harrian State Park, which is is home to 31 lakes and reservoirs. Wander along the two beaches or go wildlife watching on nature trails to lookout points. Circumnavigate glittering lakes like Welch, Sebago and Silvermine, or embark on informative guided hikes.
The breadth and thundering volume of North America's largest waterfall will take your breath away. Look across the river to Canada on guided hikes to the falls, or take a boat ride on the famous Maid of the Mist to peek behind the falls' curtain. There's no more thrilling activity on hikes than spotting rainbows in the water vapor and learning about the falls' history.
This National Historic Landmark is laden with geocaches for you to find on your hiking tour. Home to multiple points of historic interest, such as the National Museum of Dance, Automobile Museum and Little Theater, the park's Creekside Classroom offer guided hikes and snowshoe walks in winter. Don't miss the certified running courses and 12 miles of cross country skiing trails.
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Best New York State Parks for Adventure Sports
There are few adventure sports you can't enjoy in New York's State Parks. Whether you are white water rafting along the Genessee River or floating on the surface of Seneca Lake in a fishing boat, here are the best parks for adventurers:
Known as the 'Grand Canyon of the East', not one but three vast waterfalls greet you as the Genesse River rushes over the rocks. Sixty six miles of hiking trails greet the enthusiastic hiker but you can also come horse back riding, snowmobiling and cross country skiing at this dynamic park. White water raft in the summertime, kayak or even ascend over the park in a hot air balloon.
Explore extensive caves when you hike through hemlock and hardwood forest in Allegany State Park. Play at the baseball fields or tennis, basketball, and volleyball courts. Paddle about on the water and go wildlife watching. Don't miss the historic Quaker store and Park Museum.
Two thousand acres on the banks of Lake Seneca are your playground. Come fish, hunt, golf and swim at this recreational treasure house. Basketball and volleyball courts beckon, while sandy beaches provide a launchpad for kayaking and windsurfing on the water.
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