Discover the Great Outdoors of New York State

Discover the great outdoors of New York State – top 5 parks to visit this summer

Camping in New York State

There’s no better time to visit the USA than this summer and New York State boasts an impressive collection of parks and green spaces where nature is waiting to be experienced in its truest form.

New York State features 11 beautiful regions with exciting attractions that span from landmarks such as Niagara Falls, and Allegany State Park to family friendly treasures like the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and the Museum of Glass in Corning.

Here are the top 5 parks to visit this summer:

1. Letchworth State Park

Great Bend at Letchworth State Park

Known as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” Letchworth State Park is one of the most scenic parks in the state. Earlier this year, the park was awarded the USA TODAY Readers’ Choice Award for Best State Park in the United States 2015 from a list of more than 6,000 parks across the USA. Located 35 miles southwest of Rochester, it features three major waterfalls with The Genesee River running through. These waterfalls are surrounded by lush forests and cliffs reaching heights of 600 feet. A wide variety of trails and activities are available for adventure goers including 66 miles of hiking trails, biking, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, kayaking, a swimming pool and its most unique offering; hot air ballooning.  Additional activities are offered in winter months such as cross-country skiing and snow tubing.

2. Adirondack Park

Covering approximately 6.1 million acres, The Adirondack Park in northern New York State is home to a vast array of nature. The park has more than 10,000 lakes, 30,000 miles of rivers and streams and diverse habitats including wetlands and forests. Mostly privately owned, the area contains 102 towns, villages and farms. The park is known for its 46 mountain peaks, 20 of which do not have a trail and those who have successfully climbed these are part of a ‘Forty Sixers’ club. Visitors can enjoy rock climbing and ice climbing in some parts of the park as well as watersports including flatwater and whitewater canoeing and kayaking.

3. Catskill Park

Opus 40 is a large sculpture created in an old quarry by sculptor Harvey Fite a professor at Bard College. All the stone is from the quarry and all the work was done by hand.

The Catskill Park can be found in the Catskill Mountains covering 700,000 acres of land across four counties; DelawareGreeneSullivan, and Ulster. The park is governed so that wilderness areas have been recognised with the aim of minimizing human impact on the land. These areas are Slide MountainBig Indian-BeaverkillIndian Head and West Kill wildernesses. The park is predominantly used for hiking, hunting and birding. Wildlife includes some 400 black bears and there are numerous campgrounds covering 300 miles.

4. Bear Mountain State Park

Bear Mountain Bridge & Hudson River from Bear Mountain State Park

Bear Mountain State Park is situated in jagged mountains rising from the west bank of the Hudson River. The park has lots on offer for the whole family such as a large play field, picnic areas, lake and river fishing, swimming pool, trailside museums & zoo, hiking, biking and cross-country ski trails. Visitors will find The Perkins Memorial Tower at the top of Bear Mountain where spectacular views of the park, the Hudson Highlands and Harriman State Park can be enjoyed. The Bear Mountain Inn and Overlook Lodge offers picturesque views and breath-taking hiking along the Appalachian Trail.

5. Buttermilk Falls State Park

Taking its name from the foaming cascade formed by Buttermilk Creek as it flows down the steep valley side toward Cayuga Lake, this charming park features a small lake, hiking trails through woodlands, picnic areas and playing fields. The lower park has a campground, pool and playing fields, beyond which is Larch Meadows. Larch Meadows is a wetland area through which a nature trail winds.

Whether it’s stimulating outdoor activities, culinary wonders or the rich history and culture of one of the 13 original colonies, New York State offers diverse and dynamic activities and attractions for all travellers. For more information visit

By: Silvia Striani