The Great Outdoors of New York State

Beautiful beaches, magnificent mountains, shimmering lakes and wondrous waterfalls. Across New York discover awesome places to refresh and connect!
By: Empire State Development

Photo By: Darren McGee, NYS Dept. of Economic Development

Photo By: Darren McGee, NYS Dept. of Economic Development

Photo By: Darren McGee, NYS Dept. of Economic Development

Photo By: Darren McGee, NYS Dept. of Economic Development

Photo By: Darren McGee, NYS Dept. of Economic Development

Photo By: Darren McGee, NYS Dept. of Economic Development

Photo By: Darren McGee, NYS Dept. of Economic Development

Photo By: Darren McGee, NYS Dept. of Economic Development

Photo By: Darren McGee, NYS Dept. of Economic Development

Photo By: Darren McGee, NYS Dept. of Economic Development

Photo By: Darren McGee, NYS Dept. of Economic Development

Located on the Lake Ontario shore southwest of Watertown, N.Y., Southwick Beach State Park is known for outstanding swimming and sunning on its long, sandy beach. Campers and day-users enjoy picnicking, hiking, and games on the park’s playing fields. The park is adjacent to the Lakeview Wildlife Management Area, and visitors are welcome and encouraged to use its nature and hiking trails.

A fixture on Lake George since 1817, the Lake George Steamboat Company offers a variety of cruises on three large cruise ships, The Minne-Ha-Ha, an authentic Paddlewheeler, The Mohican (seen here) and the Lake's largest cruise ship, The Lac du Saint Sacrement. Cruises range from one-hour excursions to the only complete tour of historic and scenic Lake George, The Queen of American Lakes.

In Roxbury, NY, Plattekill Mountain has built an outstanding reputation for mountain biking through a firm commitment to the sport and racing. The 2012 season marks the resort's 18th -- Plattekill began mountain biking in 1995 and was one of the first lift-served mountain bike centers to open in the Northeast. Plattekill has become known as a rider’s mountain, one in which you experience your bike, your ride and pushing yourself to new levels.

Rafting the Hudson River Gorge in North Creek, NY, is one of the top 10 rafting trips in the U.S. The Gorge is the most dynamic stretch of the mighty Hudson, which runs from the highest peak in the Adirondack Mountains all the way to New York City. Spring trips offer challenging World Class Rapids through the Adirondack Wilderness. In the summer and fall the Hudson is perfect all ages and ability levels, and one of the best ways to view New York’s magnificent fall foliage!

A hiker traverses the scenic Stag Brook Falls Trail on Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks. Exploring the Adirondack woods is a memorably refreshing experience. Get a licensed guide, lace up a pair of good shoes, apply some bug repellant and go exploring along the banks of the West Branch of the Ausable River. Your walk, suitable for hikers of all ages, ends gloriously at a rushing waterfall, with cool Adirondack water cascading down mossy rocks and ledges -- a serene scene you won't soon forget.

Zoar Valley, in both Erie and Cattaraugus counties, is an amazing collection of valleys and deep gorge canyons carved out by Cattaraugus Creek as it winds its way across western New York to Lake Erie. For rafters, whitewater rafting on the mighty Cattaraugus through Zoar Valley is the perfect springtime activity, with views of rugged cliffs hundreds of feet high, waterfalls, nesting bald eagles and the finest whitewater west of the Adirondacks.

Known as the "Crown Jewel of the Erie Canal," Fairport, NY, thanks to building of the canal and arrival of the railroad in the 19th century, was one of the leading centers of transportation and industry of its time in all of Upstate New York. Today, the great packet boats and barges of an earlier era have been replaced by recreational boaters, canoes, kayaks and tour boats, while the old towpath serves the leisure-time interests of bikers, joggers and walkers alike.

The 23.5 acre Buffalo Zoo has the distinguished honor of being the third oldest zoo in the United States (est. 1875), and home to some of the world's most exotic and endangered wildlife. At the Zoo, animals move freely in large and modest enclosures with trees, streams, pools, and other natural-like features. It’s home to a wide variety of animals representing all corners of the earth, including an occasional traveling koala or white alligator.

On Long Island, Jones Beach State Park is a world-class swimming destination with surf bathing along 6.5 miles of ocean beach, one-half mile of bay beach for stillwater bathing, and two swimming pools. The west end of the park provides wonderful surf fishing, a boat basin and undeveloped areas that are home to a variety of migratory birds and native plants. The park is also home to the Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center, which includes environmental, educational tours and programming for all ages.

Home to what is sometimes referred to as the "Eighth Wonder of the World," Niagara Falls State Park, the oldest state park in the nation, provides breathtaking observation points from which to view the might falls, including a walk beneath the cascading Niagara River at the Cave of the Winds and an elevator ride to the base of the cataracts. In addition, the Maid of the Mist boat ride carries spectators to the base of the falls for a thrilling and unforgettable experience.

Boldt Castle is home to a tragic love story. In 1900, millionaire George C. Boldt arranged the construction of a castle on Heart Island in Alexandria Bay as a display of his love for his wife, Louise. Sadly, Louise died before the castle could be completed and Boldt halted construction never to return to the island. The castle remained unfinished until 1977, when the Thousand Island Bridge Authority acquired the land to complete Boldt’s loving tribute to his wife for all generations to enjoy.

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