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Top 15 Family Getaways in New York State

When I think about places that I have traveled to and where I also want to take my son someday, New York is at the top of the list. This is a geographically diverse place with America’s largest city, impressive natural wonders, fall foliage drives, and lots of opportunities for family fun.

Whether you live in this part of the country or are looking for a unique trip with the kids, here are some of the top family getaways in New York to choose from.

Niagara Falls Niagara Falls, New York
Credit: Niagara Falls, New York by © | Dreamstime.com

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is one of the most impressive natural wonders in the world and a popular family vacation destination. This bucket-list destination offers boat tours for up-close viewings of the iconic waterfalls, entertainment complexes with attractions for kids, and local resorts that welcome families with children. You can fly to the Buffalo airport and drive in via Interstate 90 to reach the falls area before exploring downtown Niagara Falls, checking out the Aquarium of Niagara, and hiking a local trail to see the rapids.

Saratoga Springs Congress Park, Saratoga Springs, New York
Credit: Congress Park, Saratoga Springs, New York by © Bratty1206 | Dreamstime.com

Saratoga Springs

One of the most charming towns in Upstate New York, Saratoga Springs has a lot to offer vacationing families, including Saratoga Spa State Park, the Peerless Pool, and Congress Park, which has a historic carousel. If you visit in the fall, you can pick apples at a nearby orchard and enjoy a petting zoo. You and your family can learn about the history of the region at Saratoga National Historical Park, a Revolutionary War battlefield, and watch horse racing at the Saratoga Race Course, which typically hosts races between July and September. Downtown Saratoga Springs is fun to walk around and do some window-shopping, while other options include the Saratoga Automobile Museum and the Children’s Museum at Saratoga on days when the weather doesn’t cooperate with outdoor plans.

Finger Lakes Watkins Glen State Park in Upstate New York
Credit: Watkins Glen State Park in Upstate New York by © Mihai Andritoiu | Dreamstime.com

Finger Lakes

The Finger Lakes region of New York is family-friendly and filled with outdoor adventures just waiting to be explored. This western New York destination is known for its waterfalls and hiking trails. Visit Letchworth State Park, Watkins Glen State Park, Taughannock Falls State Park, and Shequaga Falls to introduce your kids to the beauty of New York’s wild and beautiful environment. To live the “lake life” for a while, you can rent kayaks or stand-up paddleboards together, and there are many small towns full of charm that are worth exploring. There are also numerous museums in the Finger Lakes region that kids will enjoy, including the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester and the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York.

Cooperstown Cooperstown, New York
Credit: Cooperstown, New York by © Kenneth Sponsler | Dreamstime.com

Cooperstown

Cooperstown, New York is one of the most beautiful small towns in the U.S., best known for being home to the Baseball Hall of Fame. It’s an essential place to visit for any baseball fan and a place where you can really dive into your passion for the sport with visits to Cooperstown Dreams Park, Doubleday Field, the Heroes of Baseball Wax Museum, and the Cooperstown Bat Company store. Aside from baseball, Cooperstown is a great destination for outdoorsy families that want to kayak or canoe on Otsego Lake or take a boat cruise down the Susquehanna River. Brewery Ommegang is in Cooperstown and is a family-friendly brewery that serves food and has a public, nine-hole disc golf course that is free to play.

Lake Placid Welcome Sign in Lake Placid, New York
Credit: Welcome Sign in Lake Placid, New York by © Jiawangkun | Dreamstime.com

Lake Placid

There are some excellent family-friendly resorts in Lake Placid, New York, which is among the beautiful Adirondack Mountains. Some resorts to consider for your stay include the Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa, Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort, and the Placid Bay Hotel. This is a fun destination for families because of the toboggan chute that you can ride in the winter and ample snowshoeing and cross-country skiing opportunities. Take the kids ice skating at Olympic Oval and hike to the High Falls Gorge to admire the stunning waterfalls.

Lake George Lake George, Northwest Bay
Credit: Lake George, Northwest Bay by © Newport287 | Dreamstime.com

Lake George

There are lots of great accommodation options for families in Lake George, New York, including the Six Flags Great Escape Lodge with its own water park and a beach-themed hotel at Surfside on the Lake. Considered to be a gateway to the Adirondacks, the Lake George region offers theme parks, outdoor adventure centers, lazy river tubing, and farms to celebrate the fall season. In the winter, you can sign your kids up for skiing and snowboarding lessons or enjoy ice skating and ice fishing with them too.

Chautauqua Chautauqua, New York
Credit: Chautauqua, New York by Bigstock.com

Chautauqua

Chautauqua is an Upstate New York family getaway destination where you can enjoy hiking trails and winter fun in Allegany State Park during all four seasons. Families enjoy visiting the Audubon Nature Center, Barcelona Lighthouse, and Bemus Point – Stowe Ferry, which transports guests across the scenic Chautauqua Lake. The freshwater lake typically has calm waters that are nice for swimming. The region is also popular for visiting farmers’ markets, fishing, hiking, and paddling.  

Rochester Pont De Rennes Pedestrian Bridge in Rochester, New York
Credit: Pont De Rennes Pedestrian Bridge in Rochester, New York by © Paul Brady | Dreamstime.com

Rochester

The city of Rochester, New York is a top place to visit among families because of all the attractions here that make vacation planning easy. This is where the Strong National Museum of Play and RMSC Museum and Science Center are located, as well as the Seneca Park Zoo and Seabreeze Amusement Park. You and your kids can learn a lot at the Genesee Country Village & Museum, a living history museum, and get your adrenaline pumping with a whitewater rafting trip in the area. Families also enjoy the Parkside Whispering Pines Miniature Golf Course, which is the oldest mini-golf course in the U.S.

Montauk Montauk, New York
Credit: Montauk, New York by © Haveseen | Dreamstime.com

Montauk

To do a family-friendly getaway in Montauk, New York, start your planning with a hotel or vacation rental that has a swimming pool and/or beach access. Montauk is on the east end of Long Island and is a relaxing place where you can view a lighthouse, take surfing lessons, and go fishing and camping together. Spend your days on the white-sand beaches of Montauk while looking for seashells and sea glass. Learn about World War II history at Camp Hero State Park, charter a boat to fish or admire the scenery, and rent a bike to pedal around the area at a leisurely pace.

New York City Central Park during autumn in New York City
Credit: Central Park during autumn in New York City by © Sean Pavone | Dreamstime.com

New York City

New York City is an exciting place to visit with kids because of all the iconic places to visit, such as the Statue of Liberty, Yankee Stadium, the Empire State Building, and Central Park. Older children may enjoy seeing a Broadway musical, while hop-on/hop-off bus tours provide families with young children a convenient way to see the highlights of the city. The American Museum of Natural History, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum are family-friendly attractions, and experiencing the bright lights of Times Square is a must-do for any first-timers to NYC.

LEGOLAND New York Resort and Goshen So much fun for Lego fans of all ages
Credit: So much fun for Lego fans of all ages by legoland.com

LEGOLAND New York Resort and Goshen

Kids love visiting the LEGOLAND New York Resort in the town of Goshen, which is about 60 miles northwest of New York City. This is a theme park and hotel where you can plan a day trip or stay overnight. The hotel offers a really special experience for kids because of the LEGO-themed rooms and resort-style pool. There’s a water playground at LEGOLAND with slides and plenty of room to splash around. Single-day theme park tickets and family vacation packages are available here. Otherwise, in Goshen, it is fun to see the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, horse farms, and perhaps even take a horseback riding lesson.

Southampton Southampton beach, Long Island
Credit: Southampton beach, Long Island by © Jptinoco - Dreamstime.com

Southampton

The Hamptons is a popular family vacation destination that includes Southampton, one of the largest hamlets in the region. This place is known for its extravagant homes and shopping, but it is also a lovely spot to enjoy some time at the beach with your family. Coopers Beach is among the best beaches here. Visit the Children’s Museum of the East End in this area with kids. There are some family-friendly spots to dine and enjoy some sweet treats too, including The Fudge Company, a family-owned business established in 1973, and Sip ‘N Soda, which has been serving delicious ice cream in the Hamptons since 1958.

Thousand Islands Boldt Castle and Alster Tower on Heart Island, Thousand Islands region in Upstate New York
Credit: Boldt Castle and Alster Tower on Heart Island, Thousand Islands region in Upstate New York by © Jiawangkun | Dreamstime.com

Thousand Islands

For a unique New York experience, plan to visit the Thousand Islands with your family. This region is known for boat rides to historic Boldt Castle, fishing charters, and scenic boat tours. You and your kids can explore the quaint town of Gananoque, hike in Thousand Islands National Park, and bike along the multi-use pathway along the St. Lawrence River. It’s also fun to plan a paddling adventure with kids in this area, and there are guided kayaking tours available for beginners.

The Catskills Fall in the Catskills New York
Credit: Fall in the Catskills New York by diana_robinson via Flickr

The Catskills

For a family getaway filled with outdoor recreation, look no further than the Catskills. There are top-rated family resorts in this part of New York that make vacation planning a breeze, including Baumann’s Brookside in Greenville, the Sunny Hill Resort & Golf Course in Greenville, and Christman’s Windham House in Windham. You can arrange for a farm stay in the Catskills to slow down the pace of life or take a winter vacation in the Catskills to get in some skiing. Camping is a great option here for many families, and the Skyway Camping Resort in Greenfield Park is a recommended camping spot because of its family-friendly amenities.

Sleepy Hollow Mill house in Sleepy Hollow
Credit: Mill house in Sleepy Hollow by © Miroslav Hlavko | Dreamstime.com

Sleepy Hollow

Another option for your New York adventures with kids is Sleepy Hollow, which is especially popular during the Halloween season. There is an extensive calendar of events filled with Halloween and fall activities to check out on the town’s website. This Hudson Valley destination is charming and historic with its legendary cemetery, the Dutch Reform Church, and Headless Horseman Bridge and Sculpture. You can also enjoy a bit of nature at the Rockefeller State Park Preserve, tour historic mansions, and listen to live music performances in local parks and at the Tarrytown Music Hall.

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