For city-dwellers like myself, it’s essential to get a good dose of nature every so often in order to stay sane. If you’re overdue for some much-needed trees and fresh air, here’s where to get your nature fix in upstate New York!
1. HUDSON VALLEY
Hudson Valley can be great year-round, but it really shines in the fall. Head up in September or October, then take your pick of orchard for apple picking (Wilklow Orchards or Wilkens Farm are both good options) and check out the vibrant colors of changing trees while you’re at it.
If you’re keen for some hiking, then Bear Mountain State Park is a top place to start your adventure. This map will show you all the hiking options, which even includes a part of the Appalachian Trail.Where to stay: Overlook Lodge at Bear Mountain
The Hudson Valley also has a bunch of super cute small towns filled with boutique shops, art galleries, and antique stores. Check out Beacon, Cold Spring, or Hudson.
2. CATSKILL MOUNTAINS
The Catskill Mountains are great to visit in any season. The summer months offer a huge range of activities, and during fall you’ll see a spectacular range of colors. The mountains are also a fabulous winter destination. There are 4 major ski resorts to choose from: Windham Mountain, Hunter Mountain, Belleayre Ski Center, and Plattekill Mountain.
For a weekend trip to the Catskills, check out our weekend guide to Woodstock which includes hikes to do, waterfalls to visit, cafe suggestions, and a few other activities.Check out our weekend guide to Woodstock
Albany might seem like an odd choice for nature seeing as it’s the state capital, but the city is actually one of the country’s best places to see flowers in the spring.
If you head to Albany in early May, you’ll be treated to tulips of every color imaginable at the Albany Tulip Festival in Washington Park. This space may have a fair few people in it, but it’s still a relaxed way to spend a weekend upstate.Where to stay: The Washington Park Inn
4. THE ADIRONDACKS
The Adirondacks are a fair hike upstate from New York City, so you’ll definitely need to spend the weekend here. It’s well worth the trip – you’ll have a grand choice of beautiful lakes, spectacular hikes, and downhill ski areas. There’s also a surprising number of breweries and wineries, if that’s your thing.
If you want a weekend on the lake, this is the place to go! Take your pick from Lake George, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, or Lake Placid.See our activities guide to the Adirondacks
5. FINGER LAKES
Finger Lakes are a set of 11 lakes that are fed from Lake Ontario. If water sports are your jam, then you’ll be able to go fishing, swimming, boating, or kayaking here. This region also features New York State’s wine trails. Take your pick of winery and do a tasting while you admire the surrounding scenery.
A visit to Finger Lakes is included on this 2-day Finger Lakes Tour from New York.Where to stay: The Inns of Aurora
6. LETCHWORTH STATE PARK
Letchworth State Park has some of the best natural scenery on the east coast, including massive waterfalls, canyons, cliffs, and rivers. Choose a campsite or cabin to base your stay, and spend a weekend getting your nature fix.Where to stay: Allegiance Bed and Breakfast