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Upstate New York must visit attractions


Listing all of the amazing things to see and do in upstate New York would take up a great deal more space than I have here, but here are some of my must sees, based on many happy trips there. Have I included your favorite spot?

Mention ‘New York’ to most people who do not live there and they will immediately think of New York City. As amazing as the Big Apple is though, it is just a very tiny part of New York State and in the 54,556 square miles that make up the state there is a lot to see and do.

Anywhere located outside of Westchester, New York is usually considered ‘upstate’ New York. Upstate New York covers an awful lot of very varied territory though, from the green splendor of the Catskill Mountains, to the elegance of Saratoga Springs to the majestic Finger Lakes and of course, the New York side of the Niagara Falls.


Niagara Falls 

Niagara is possibly one of the most famous waterfalls in the world, thanks in large part to it strong presence in pop culture. Niagara Falls is more than just the huge and majestic waterfall though, it is a real town in New York State, where small local businesses mingle with the big resorts and casinos to create an atmosphere on the US side of the Falls that is rather unique.

The Finger Lakes 

The Finger Lakes are are a set of lakes located in the western part of upstate New York that get their name from the fact that, well, they look like fingers when viewed on a map or from above.

There are eleven Finger Lakes in all – Otisco Lake, Skaneateles Lake, Owasco Lake, Cayuga Lake, Seneca Lake, Keuka Lake, Canandaigua Lake, Honeoye Lake, Canadice Lake, Hemlock Lake, and Conesus Lake – although a much smaller twelfth lake, Casenovia, is considered by some to be a part of them as well. The two largest of the lakes – Cayuga Lake and Seneca Lake – are two of the deepest in the US, both descending well below sea level.

The entire region has been a huge draw for tourists for decades. The beautiful scenery, the watersports and the vast array of shops, restaurants and cafes are all great reasons to visit.

Saratoga Springs 


Saratoga Springs is an elegant town, home to the Saratoga Spa State Park and beautiful hotels, as well as to the very famous racetrack. It is also however a place filled with history and a visit to Saratoga Springs offers a fascinating glimpse into life in New York centuries ago.

If you do visit the area, stopping at the Saratoga Spa State Park really is a must though. In addition the spa baths you will also find the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the Spa Little Theater, the National Museum of Dance and the Saratoga Automobile Museum as well as dozens of different outdoor recreation experiences to be had.

The Catskill Mountains 

The Catskill Mountain region is an amazingly beautiful one to visit at any time of year. It is however especially wonderful in the Fall, when people literally come from all over the world just to drive around and admire the beautiful colors of the changing leaves. There is however a lot more to do in The Catskills than just take great pictures though.

The Catskill Mountain Region encompasses four counties: Delaware, Greene, Sullivan and Ulster. Each has something a little different to offer but wherever you go in the region you will find wineries, fine dining restaurants, great watersports along the Delaware River, farmers markets, quaint art galleries and much more. The area is also a huge draw for hunters and boasts several excellent ski resorts to boot.

Melanie Evans