With its fiery fall foliage and scenic overlooks, picturesque small towns, quaint bed and breakfasts, eclectic cuisine, and wineries that are a source of local pride, Upstate New York is without a doubt one of the best regions to visit in the fall. Here are just a few of the most popular places to visit in upstate New York.
Also known as “The Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks,” Ausable Chasm in the majestic Adirondack Mountains is a bit like Disney World for outdoor sporting enthusiasts and nature lovers. Hike, raft, canoe, kayak, rappel, tube and camp to your heart’s content in one of New York State’s most breathtaking locales.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade and a half, you’ve probably seen those t-shirts which proclaim cryptically that “Ithaca is Gorges”. Well, it turns out that Ithaca, located in the Southern Tier-Finger Lakes region of New York on the southernmost shore of Cayuga Lake, is actually quite a bit more, although its gorges are nothing to sneeze at (Ithaca is home to over 150 waterfalls). As the site of both Ithaca College and Cornell University, Ithaca is an educational center with a small town heart. The city boasts a thriving art and theater scene and lively nightlife, not to mention a bevy of local wineries and breweries.
New Paltz in the Hudson Valley is another quaint college town that has become a mecca for hikers, bikers and nature enthusiasts from all over the region. It is also home to luxuriously rustic Mohonk Mountain House which was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986, and has consistently been lauded by critics as among the best resorts in the country, as well as the Shawangunk Wine Trail which is comprised of 12 local wineries that collectively trace the history of winemaking in the area.
The city of Elmira is probably best known for its association with the writer and humorist Mark Twain who is buried in the city’s Woodlawn Cemetery along with most of his family members. The Clemens Center, Elmira College, and the Arnot Art Museum, are just a few of the places to visit in Elmira which is also the site of the Eldridge Park Carousel, which at a speed of 18 miles per hour is the fastest carousel in the world.
Lake Placid, the site of the 1980 Winter Olympics, remains a popular destination among outdoors enthusiasts for its breathtaking vistas, hiking and cycling trails, small lakes, and rivers. Shopaholics will love it for its antique shops and small family owned businesses and eateries.
Located just north of Albany, Saratoga Springs is known primarily for its natural springs and its horse races. The Saratoga Performing Arts Center is also located there, and its ornate old homes, as well as a bustling downtown section, with great shopping, bars, and a range of fine dining options make Saratoga Springs a great destination for an autumn getaway.
Located in the Finger Lakes region, Skaneateles is an upscale community situated along the wooded shore of the Skaneateles Lake. This is a great place to consider if you’re in the market for a vacation rental. It’s striking distance from several other small towns and hamlets of note that are worth a visit,and the bucolic Skaneateles Lake is the perfect place to jet ski or throw caution to the wind and try windsurfing for the first time!
Woodstock, NY is a little town with a big name that has something for everybody. An eclectic music and art community, idiosyncratic small town charm, brooks, hills, a proud rock and roll history and raucous nightlife set Woodstock apart from the rest. Shoppers will appreciate the variety of antique shops and the Mower’s Flea Market; nature lovers will fall in love with Kaaterskill Falls and Shawangunk Mountain, both a short car ride away.
Letchworth State Park, located in Livingston and Wyoming counties, was named “Best National Park” of 2015 by USA Today. The national park follows the course of the Gennesee River for 17 miles, the main attractions of which are three large cascading waterfalls and approximately 50 smaller waterfalls that feed into the river via tributaries. The river itself has cut a gorge over 500 feet deep which has inspired the nickname, “the Grand Canyon of the East.” Activities offered within the park include hiking, kayaking, fishing, biking and birding, and Letchworth State Park is the perfect place for a camping trip with friends or family.