Whether you’re coming from attraction-filled New York City or somewhere else in the Tri-State Area or New England states, there are lots of great weekend opportunities in New York. This is a diverse state with everything from big cities to small towns, rural areas, island communities, historic sites, and natural wonders. So, if you’re looking for a local getaway without having to take time off work, here are the top weekend getaways in New York.
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Buffalo is well-known for being the gateway city to the world-famous Niagara Falls, but there is a lot more to see and do in town than just that. The city is along the Lake Erie shore and a common home base for Niagara Falls tourists since it’s only about 15 miles from the falls. But Buffalo is also a prime destination for sports fans because this is where the Buffalo Bills NFL team and the Buffalo Sabres NHL team play. Other things to see and do in Buffalo include the Darwin Martin House by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park, and the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens.
Ithaca is one of the top-rated destinations in New York, luring in outdoors enthusiasts throughout the year. Here you can get out on the water with boating and fishing on the lakes. Or in the winter, come here to go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Top things to see and do in the Ithaca area include Robert Treman State Park, Buttermilk Falls State Park, Cayuga Lake, the Ithaca waterfalls, and the Cascadilla Gorge Trail. Ithaca is also home to the famous Cornell University, which has a lovely campus to go for a walk on to see the architecture and natural surroundings.
Lake Placid has been home to the Winter Olympic Games and is another wonderful weekend spot for nature lovers. Here you’ll find opportunities for everything from skiing to ice skating, rock climbing, rappelling, biking, rafting, and hiking. Expect gorgeous views and to be outside and active during your weekend here. To kick back and relax after your adventures, make a stop or two along the Adirondack Coast Wine Trail to sample some delicious and locally produced wines.
As the state capital of New York, Albany has a lot to offer weekenders in terms of entertainment and history. The city is also known for its impressive art scene and architecture. Check out the Empire State Plaza in the downtown area for art installations, shops, and performance spaces nearby. While you’re in Albany, make a point to check out the state capitol building, the New York State Museum, Washington Park, the Palace Theatre, and the Albany Institute of History & Art.
Hudson is also a favorite weekend destination for people in New York because it’s packed with boutique shops, artisan goods, and farm-to-table restaurants. This is an ideal place to visit for foodies on the weekend because of the amazing culinary scene going on here. Enjoy scenic views of the Hudson River, the charming downtown area, and the Thomas Cole National Historic site nearby when you visit for a weekend trip. Antique shopping is also a popular activity in Hudson, so do some browsing and see what you find!
Overall, the Finger Lakes region is worth several weekend trips to see and do everything possible here. The Finger Lakes region is made up of approximately 9,000 square miles of land that serves as a four-season playground. There are 11 glacial lakes and one Great Lake here, and it’s also the largest wine-producing region in the state. You’ll need to pick just one part of the region to explore if you only have a weekend to spend on your getaway. But you can take your pick among opportunities for history at the local museums and historic sites, explore the local food and wine scene, spend lazy days by the winter in a canoe or boat, or take scenic drives through the countryside to take notice of the changing seasons.
If your idea of a perfect weekend is doing nothing at all on a beach, then plan your weekend getaway to Shelter Island. This island enjoys about 20 miles of coastline and has a few public beaches to lounge and soak up the sun. To get more active, you can check out Sylvester Manor, Whale’s Tale with activities for the kids, and the Mashomack Preserve for hiking and biking.
Cooperstown, New York is a beloved destination among baseball fans because this is where the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is located. You’ll find lots of baseball-themed stores and attractions here in the downtown area to fulfill your love of the game as well. Check out a local festival in town if you can. Another top reason to visit this area on your weekend is the Ommegang Brewery, which specializes in Belgian-style ales and has a wonderful outdoor space for relaxing outside while sipping delicious brews.
New Paltz is another great weekend destination in New York if you want to get outdoors and active. You can get here in less than two hours from New York City and hike some of the best trails in the region. Here you’ll find riverside bluffs and luscious trees, as well as historic homes and churches to see. There are also some wineries in the area to visit and picnicking opportunities along Lake Mohonk. The Mohonk Mountain House is a lovely all-inclusive resort here that has lots of offerings for recreation, cocktail tastings, buffet breakfasts, and afternoon tea.
Another island destination worth checking out for your weekend getaway in New York is Fire Island, feel like a place that exists in a whole other time period. This is a place of simplicity, natural beauty, and down-to-earth living. You have to leave your car on the mainland and take a ferry to get here. This is a popular spot for summer home rentals, which are often easier to secure on a weekly or monthly basis. While on Fire Island, visit Robert Moses State Park, the Fire Island Lighthouse, the Sunken Forest, and the Fire Island National Seashore.