Traveler’s Guide to Exploring New York State: 5 Destinations you Must Explore


New York State is brimming with endless and delightful diversity, offering much more than NYC’s glitzy lights and big-city adventures. When you’re done exploring the City that Never Sleeps, you must take the road less traveled and venture deep into the heartlands of New York State.

Whether you have a love for the wilderness and cascading waterfalls or wish to immerse yourself in American winemaking traditions, New York won’t disappoint. The state is home to some of the most picturesque and adventurous national parks and outdoor spots, including the Adirondacks, Hudson Valley, and the Thousand Islands.

Families and honeymooners can explore world-famous holiday destinations like The Hamptons, The Catskills, and Lake Placid. Read on to explore some of the best destinations for a rewarding adventure through New York State.

1.    Thousand Islands

The stunning archipelago of Thousand Islands is a must-visit spot for nature lovers and couples looking for a romantic retreat in an idyllic setting. Nestled across the US-Canada border, Thousand Island opens up a delightful treasure trove of experiences, ranging from relaxation and rejuvenation to recreation and adventure.

The numerous islands, approximately 1,864 in total, create a spellbinding cornucopia of scenic spots and majestic landscapes, culminating in a stunning landscape at the junction where Lake Ontario melts into the St. Lawrence River. Travelers have much to do and explore here, such as hiking, rock climbing, nature walks, and exploring historic villages.

You can stay at one of the many opulent holiday homes and divide your time between nature reserves and historical heritage. Vacationers who want to splurge on luxury might want to check out the opulent suites at historic mansions on the private islands. Singer Castle and Boldt Castle offer an exclusive taste of old-world charm with their elegant furnishings and tasteful display of rare antiques.

2.    The Hamptons

Do you want to fly into New York and party like the Kardashians? Head over to the Hamptons, the ultimate destination for wealthy New Yorkers and celebrities looking to relax and play. The Hamptons is home to some of the most expensive properties in the United States, sprawling country clubs, and exclusive beachfront residences.

Vacationing in the Hamptons is all about hanging at eclectic bars, shopping at high-end luxury boutiques, dining at Michelin-starred restaurants, and partying at exclusive yacht clubs. Naturally, all these exclusive and opulent experiences will put a massive dent in your pocket, but if you want an epic Hamptons experience, we suggest cutting corners elsewhere.

For instance, booking your tickets in advance and choosing an emerging airline like Cathay Pacific will help you save on airfare. Travelers bound for New York from Mumbai can explore airlines with competitive rates and compare packages to save hundreds of dollars to splurge on their luxury vacation.

The Hamptons is also home to Mother Nature’s most breathtaking glories, including verdant farmlands and pristine beaches running along the Atlantic coast. Adventurers can explore an abundance of rip-roaring outdoor adventures at one of the many state parks in the Hamptons.

3.    Griffis Sculpture Park

Do you have an obsession with art and history? If yes, the Griffis Sculpture Park is a wondrous site you don’t want to miss. Revered as a historic site, Griffis is one of the oldest sculpture parks in the United States. It is home to some of the finest masterpieces created by celebrated American and international sculptors.

The park boasts a collection of 250 sculptures contributed by over 50 artists, including the iconic steel sculptures by celebrated artist Larry Griffis, Jr. Walking through the woods and trails lined with awe-inspiring works of stone and steel makes a truly unique and inspiring experience, combining art and nature with utmost splendor.

4.    The Catskills

The Catskills invite nature lovers and serenity seekers to venture deep into the wilderness and experience the rural side of New York State. Home to spell-binding beauty, the Catskills will introduce you to a rugged and wild mountain range brimming with innumerable secluded spots.

Suppose you want to bask in the serenity of Mother Nature and carve out a secluded spot to relax and feast your eyes on a stunning backdrop. In that case, the Catskills will leave you spoilt for choice and yearning for more. Adventurers and alpine enthusiasts will find it challenging to get off the scenic hiking trails, for the verdant valleys and lush forests are reeking of rip-roaring adventures.

Are you planning a hiking adventure in the Catskills? The area is brimming with forest campsites, and you can explore outdoor activities like river rafting, fishing, and wildlife spotting. The Catskills are also famous for their quaint little villages and towns. We strongly suggest a trip through Windham to check out the amazing eateries.

5.    Watkins Glen State Park

Nestled at the southern end of Seneca Lake, the Watkins Glen State Park is the ultimate treasure trove for waterfall lovers. The park is home to 18 stunning waterfalls and mesmerizing natural salt wells, making it one of the most popular hiking sites in New York State.

Seasoned hikers and rock climbers might want to embark on the legendary Watkins Glen Gorge Trail – the ultimate route to test your mettle with steep, rocky steps. The 180-step Jacob’s Ladder is undoubtedly the most nerve-racking segment of the trail, marking a dangerously steep ascent that will leave you gasping for breath. But the trail is worth every second, as it will take you deep into the heart of the wilderness, surrounded by majestic views.

Watkins Glen is also home to mesmerizing rock formations, soaring to the astounding height of 300 feet and a 165-feet-high bridge.

Final Thoughts

This round-up is by no means exhaustive when it comes to must-visit destinations to explore in New York State. New York is one of the most gifted states to explore the breathtaking beauty of the United States, laden with incredible and awe-inspiring diversity.

Where it offers an abundance of scenic landscapes and serenity spots, it is home to recreational gems like Coney Island and the prestigious Metropolitan Museum of Art. We strongly advise New York-bound vacationers to do their homework and create an action-packed itinerary covering the best of everything the state has to offer.