From the tranquil shores of Long Island to the raging whitewater crush of the mighty Niagara Falls, there is no shortage of natural wonder to behold in the great state of New York. The Empire State boasts more than 180 State Parks within its boundaries, and the possibilities for historical education and outdoor adventure are virtually innumerable.
Most often, when the term “New York” comes to mind, images of the Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square, and the Chrysler Building spring to mind. However, New York has some of the most diverse topography of anywhere in the Northeastern U.S.
Containing parts of the Appalachian and Adirondacks mountain ranges, the state also hugs the shores of the Great Lakes while simultaneously holding famed smaller bodies of water like Lake Champlain, Lake George, and the Hudson River. There is no shortage of destinations for the nature lover visiting the home state of the Big Apple.
Whether it’s Rockaway Beach, Coney Island, the Catskills, or the Erie Canal, New York State — as it’s commonly referred to differentiate itself from its titular city — is open for business.
It welcomes all seeking adventure, education, or tranquility within the friendly confines of one of its many diverse State Parks.
Below are some favorite sites that must rank right at the top of every would-be visitors’ list:
Niagara Falls State Park: One of the world’s great natural wonders, the area home to the mighty falls is America’s Oldest State Park! A truly magnificent, humbling sight to behold, Niagara Falls and the park that preserves it sits on the border between the U.S. and Canada, with each country owning a piece of the famed tourist destination. The State Park on the American side offers miles of hiking trails and overlooks but don’t sleep on the surrounding area and town. Kitschy, obscure, and downright strange (and wonderful!) attractions welcome visitors to Niagara, NY, with open arms to explore the falls, the businesses, the restaurants, and the nightlife all at once. This spot is even more than advertised and can’t be missed!
Chimney Bluffs State Park: A geological oddity awaits sojourners to this site along the shores of Lake Ontario near Wolcott, NY. The massive bluffs that dot the landscape here are unlike anything visitors are likely to see in this region, and the park offers a myriad of trails and overlooks from which to take them in. Camping, fishing, hiking, and snowmobiling are popular activities at this site in the Finger Lakes region of the state. Or simply enjoy one of the many beaches along the shores of the easternmost Great Lake.
Lake Erie State Park: One might be mistaken in thinking they’d taken a wrong turn somewhere and ended up not on the shores of the mighty Atlantic Ocean when pulling into this destination located in Chautauqua County. Lake Erie State Park preserves miles of the shoreline of the Great Lake that gives it its name and is a haven for campers, boaters, hikers, and daytrippers. The high, bald bluffs provide stunning panoramic views of the lake and the surrounding area. Strap up the kayak or canoe, toss the tackle box in the car, and pack a sleeping bag for a night under the magical stars for days worth of adventure!