Albany, NY is an amazing city located within the beautiful northern part of New York’s countryside. For visitors, there are so many incredible experiences and attractions for everyone, but there are also many places within a day’s drive that will make you want to get in the car and go. Most of the places are close enough to explore two or more per day. Some places require most of the day to even get through all the awesome events and things to do. Wherever you decide to go first, you can count on there being more to discover on your next day off when you feel like taking a relaxing road trip.
© Visit Hudson NY
Hudson, NY, is an amazing town with so much to do for the entire family. The locals describe the city as a place that is “driven by the creative spirit.” Kids can create beautiful art at one of the galleries and play at the many parks. Shopping is a unique experience at all the cool galleries, clothing stores, boutiques, antique stores, and more.
Hudson is a place that has so many restaurants and eateries, from farm-to-table to street food, everyone can enjoy their favorite meal. Take a walking tour with historical experts, explore an old factory now used as a multi-art studio, check out the theater, and visit Club Helsinki for live music. Hudson is only about a 45-minute drive from Albany.
Lenox is a multi-cultural town located within The Berkshires in Western Massachusetts. The entire region has over a hundred cultural locations, and Lenox holds many of them. People come from all over to attend the festivals, restaurants, perfect weather and scenery, unique places to shop, and local businesses are what makes it spectacular.
Lenox is known for the arts and entertaining guests. Galleries, theaters, art shows, and art festivals are abundant. Outdoor activities are frequent and vary depending on where you go. The choices for lodging are vast, from staying in secluded cabins to fine hotels that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. A rich American history made Lenox a place known for historical sites and exciting museums to visit. Lenox is only about a 45-minute drive from Albany.
Lenox Chamber of Commerce 4 Housatonic Street Lenox, MA 01240, Phone: 413-637-3646
3.Rochester’s National Museum of Play
© Rochester’s National Museum of Play
Get the kids out of the house and head to Rochester’s National Museum of Play, The Strong, where the exhibits are interactive and encourage children to learn about their world through play. The National Museum of Play is notably one of the biggest history museums in the country and currently holds the world’s largest collection of artifacts related to the history of play.
The Museum includes the National Toy Hall of Fame, World Video Game Hall of Fame, International Center for the History of Electronic Games, Woodbury School, American Journal of Play, and the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of play.
One Manhattan Square, Rochester, NY, 14607, Phone: 585-263-2700
© Discover Saratoga NY
Saratoga Springs is best known for the Saratoga Race Courses, but the Eastern New York county is also home to exquisite mineral springs, horses, and fine dining. Saratoga Springs is only a few minutes from Albany and the perfect place to stay all day and enjoy outdoor recreation like taking a lake cruise, exploring Howe Caverns, enjoying the wineries and gourmet food, or catching a hockey game.
Saratoga is also the host of several major annual festivals including Winter Fest, Frost Faire, Hattie’s Annual Mardis Gras Party, Chowder Fest, Saratoga Tattoo Expo, Saratoga Comic-Con, Brewfest, Saratoga Balloon, and BBQ Fest, Harvest Festivals, and many others.
60 Railroad Place, Suite 301, Saratoga Springs, NY, 12866, Phone: 855-424-6073
5.Adirondack Park Region
This region is packed full of perfect North American nature and over a hundred communities, both large and small, that welcome all visitors to their beautiful lands. The Adirondack mountains run through the region, which provides opportunities for hiking, climbing, extreme adventures, skiing, and much more.
The Adirondack Park is around 4 hours away from Albany, so there is a bit of a drive. The Adirondack Mountain region explorers love to visit the communities, do some activities like hiking, fishing, or other great things, and still have time to be back just after sunset. You can go back and accomplish even more on your next day trip because there is plenty to do.
1704 Lake Ozonia Rd, St. Regis Falls, NY 12980
6.Catskills Scenic Trail
© Reid Dalland/stock.adobe.com
This incredible trail is located within Delaware County and is approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes from Albany. The trail runs along the Delaware River and into the countryside that offers breathtaking views that can only be found at the trail. There are several entrances and exit points along the 26 miles of trail.
Visitors are encouraged to walk their dogs, ride bicycles, run the paths, and hike the trail into the country. If you are feeling adventurous, take the horses out on the trail to stretch their legs. Or, in the winter, you can get the cross-country skis out to navigate the trail.
153 E Main St, Stamford, NY 12167
7.Columbia County Tourism
Columbia County is a large area full of amazing adventures, thrilling events, and exciting places to visit. It is also a place that people visit to relax and enjoy the wonderful countryside and scenery, the unique dining and lodging, art, and historical places. Columbia County is about 35 minutes from Albany.
The smaller towns are filled with artisan shops, which offer unique paintings, sculptures, and other art from around the world. If you’re thirsty, visit the Artisanal Beverage Trail, where you can experience all kinds of different kinds of drinks while immersing yourself in the gorgeous scenery. The thrill-seekers can take some time to unwind at the zip lines at the Adventure Park. Farms, orchards, and gardens will keep you fed, and the historical sites will give you knowledge. People of all ages find many things appealing within Columbia County.
401 State Street Hudson, NY 12534, Phone: 518-828-3375
© Kenneth Sponsler/stock.adobe.com
This famous town is widely known for being one of the few places where baseball became a beloved national sport. The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is located in Cooperstown. The town has much more to offer, though. Here, you can find camping and outdoor lodging, outdoor activities and events, and some great fishing in one of the beautiful lakes.
Within the city, there are many fine hotels, dining, and shops that always have a welcoming atmosphere. Naturally, there are a ton of places to watch baseball and have your favorite drink. But there are also many other places to take the entire family out to enjoy some fun and adventure. Visitors can travel to Cooperstown, NY from Albany in about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
20 Chestnut Street Cooperstown, NY 13326, Phone: 607-322-4046
9.Corning Museum of Glass
© Corning Museum of Glass
Glassmaking is a fine art practiced by millions all over the world. This museum is a dedication to the hardworking people who create everything from art to more practical items out of glass. Visitors can see the experts make glass pieces and learn how the process works. The exhibits feature incredible glass pieces from all over the world that are tiny, large, and even huge.
There is a special kid’s section that has glass pieces that depict famous characters and other child favorites. The entire museum is filled with the knowledge of glassmaking and how it evolved throughout the world. The museum is around 3 hours and 15 minutes away from Albany.
One Museum Way - Corning, NY 14830, Phone: 800-732-6845 or 607-937-5371
, Michigan beaches
This battlement was built just before the revolutionary war began so that the American patriots could fend off the British at the strategic location. The Fort sits on over 2000 acres of gorgeous countryside. Today, volunteers and other citizens have brought the Fort back to life by becoming blue-coat soldiers to actively display what life was like for those brave people of all ages in those times.
Reenactments are very frequent, complete with firing cannons, muskets, and other historically accurate depictions. The Fort has plenty of activities for the whole family, too. They have boat tours, history tours, activities just for the kids, gardens, battlefield tours, and the Heroic Corn Maze. Fort Ticonderoga is about 2 hours away from Albany.
102 Fort TI Road Ticonderoga, NY 12883, Phone: 518-585-2821
11.Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks
© Focqus, LLC/stock.adobe.com
The Adirondack mountain range has too many amazing features to count, but there is one canyon that is quite hard to ignore. This geological marvel is also known as the Ausable Chasm. People come from all over to explore the massive chasm. A river flows through the channel, which slowly degraded the land over millions of years, into what people enjoy so much now.
Guided tours are available in many forms. River tours are the most popular, where you can float down the calm waters on a raft, boat, canoe, or kayak to see all the amazing rock formations from the very bottom of the chasm. There are also adventure trails and plenty of spots for climbing. Amateurs and professionals alike love to climb up the tall cliffs of the chasm. They also offer lantern tours to explore the wonderful views at dusk and winter tours when the waters freeze. The Ausable Chasm is about 2 hours and 20 minutes from Albany.
2144 Route 9, Ausable Chasm, NY 12911, Phone: 518-834-7454
12.Herkimer Diamond Mines
© Björn Wylezich/stock.adobe.com
While you can’t find actual diamonds here, the place itself is quite the gem. Herkimer Diamonds are not diamonds, but quartz crystals that are over 500 million years old. What is great is that every visitor is welcome to mine for the Herkimer Diamonds for free, and everyone gets to keep whatever they find.
The place has unique lodging such as treehouse cabins, regular cabins, and campsites for both tents and RVs. The local gift shop and jewelry store have unique items that are made from Herkimer Diamonds and other jewels and gems. There is also some fantastic dining at multiple restaurants that offer many kinds of food. The Herkimer Diamond Mines are only around 1 hour and 30 minutes from Albany.
4626 State Route 28 Herkimer, NY 13350, Phone: 315-891-7355
This wonderful attraction has so many activities; it will be tough to get through them all in just a day. Kids and families can explore and learn all about cave systems and the area’s history. Adults can enjoy the cave in different ways and are even able to partake in the Naked in a Cave tour that promotes body positivity.
People may find certain rocks and minerals and are allowed a clear plastic bag to fill up. Others can mine through the sluice trough to find some cool stuff. There are a ton of other activities and events throughout the year for people of all ages. The Howe Caverns is only just under an hour’s drive from Albany.
255 Discovery Drive Howes Cave, NY 12092, Phone: 518-296-8900
© Sue Smith/stock.adobe.com
Johnstown is a place with a lot of history and a ton of great attractions, unique dining, and fantastic people who love to have fun. Wildlife Sports and Education Museum is an exciting place to learn and explore fishing, hunting, trapping, and other outdoor sports activities and the history behind them. Relax with a game of golf at Fox Run.
For animal lovers, the Adirondack Animal Land is open for people to come and see over five hundred animals and to hang out with some of them up close in the biggest petting zoo in the area. If you need a place to stay, the Olde Knox Mansion offers respite with bed and breakfast services while you immerse yourself in grandiose Victorian-style architecture. Johnstown is about one hour away from Albany.
These gorgeous falls are located in the Hudson Valley near Hunter, NY. The waterfall is a part of the lower trailhead that stretches along the valley where many people from all over come to walk, hike, run, and bike. The path is paved and provides a good amount of shade for the hotter months.
The waterfall is just over 260 ft. tall and cascades down over two sections of rock. The water that flows down is Spruce Creek, which hugs the entire trail and travels with you downhill into the valley. On the same trail, just a bit further is Bastion Falls, which is a multi-level waterfall about 120 ft. tall. The Kaaterskill Falls is about an hour and 15-minute drive from Albany.
Lake George in the Adirondack Mountains was one of the first places to ever be called an American vacation destination. The lake is pristine and massive, with enough shoreline to house over a dozen hotels, a few amusement parks, cabins, and boat rental shops, adventure guide tourism businesses, swimming beaches, enormous camping areas, and docks for the huge steamboats that ferry people around the lake.
Six Flags Great Escape & Hurricane Harbor is located right on the waterfront. Fishing, hunting, and camping are second-to-none. The hiking trails give people views others only dream of. Winter sports like skiing are extremely popular on Gore Mountain that overlooks Lake George. The lake is about one hour from Albany.
1340 State Route 9 Lake George, NY 12845, Phone: 800-95-VISIT
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There aren’t giant alligators here, but there is a ton of amazing things to do, amazing places to eat, and lovely places to stay. Lake Placid is nestled within the gorgeous Adirondack Mountains and gives visitors a truly unique outdoor experience. There are miles upon miles of hiking, shoreline for swimming, boating, camping, and fishing, and cliffs to climb to see the views from way up high.
Activities are alive and well in every month of the year with lake and exploration activities in the summer and skiing, ice fishing, and even winter Olympic sports venues open to the public in the colder months. Among the active attractions, there are plenty of historical sites, museums, and learning centers both indoors and outdoors that are great for the whole family. This beautiful lake is about 2 ½ hours away from Albany.
Manchester is truly a picturesque town full of fun things to do for the whole family, like taking back-road tours, visiting the museums, participating in the unique local festivals every year, hiking The Shires of Vermont, and seeing amazing musical performances, sports events, or getting in on the action skating on the ice at the civic center. The types of eateries and restaurants are vast and offer many styles and cultural experiences on a professional level.
Manchester has historic mansions, 16th-century bed and breakfast homes, great affordable hotels, and some fancier lodging for the ultimate relaxing getaway. The mountains surrounding Manchester provide many outdoor activities for the nature enthusiast. This beautiful town is located only 1 ½ hour from Albany.
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19.Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology
© Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology
The name can be a mouthful, so most call this amazing place of discovery and learning “MoST.” This museum is a place that provides opportunities for learning many things in a very fun way for both adults and kids. The exhibits frequently change, so the site is fresh for each day trip. The IMAX theater shows all kinds of documentaries and other fun films that instruct people about all the incredible things in the world.
Space isn’t too far away when visiting the MoST Planetarium, which has their own exhibits and shows that change all the time. Special events are happening all the time, and it is easy to catch one when you plan your day trip. MoST is located in Syracuse, NY and are roughly 2 hours and 15 minutes away from Albany.
500 S. Franklin St. Syracuse, NY 13202, Phone: 315-425-9068
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20.Natural Stone Bridge & Caves
You can find a natural wonder of the Adirondack Mountains at the Natural Stone Bridge & Caves where visitors can enjoy summertime self-guided tours on the natural trails and learn the about the incredible geology of the Adirondacks. Some of the caves on tour are lighted, and visitors are welcome to explore these above ground caves and caverns where they can find raging waters and spooky, dark pools.
For the adventurous traveler, there are half-day spelunking adventures with expert cave guides that include a float trip through the beautiful mountain caves. An expansive disc golf course is also on site, and everyone is welcome to hang out and roast marshmallows over a bonfire. During the wintertime, families will have fun snowshoeing.
535 Stone Bridge Road, Pottersville, NY, 12860, Phone: 58-494-2283
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Just under the Shawangunk Ridge is a beautiful town where visitors can enjoy outdoor recreation on glacial lakes, bike, run or walk along the scenic Valley Rail Trail, or spend the day drinking wine and apple picking in the orchards. New Paltz is a historic town that features stone homes dating back to 1700s but is best known for its outdoor attractions that are great for families or thrill-seeking adventurers.
New Paltz also has a thriving arts culture and is home to the State University of New York where you can take in live music, dance, and explore the world-class Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art. There are also many options for fine dining, farm to table restaurants, and the iconic Hudson Valley wines.
Chamber of Commerce, 257 Main Street, New Paltz, NY, 12561, Phone: 845-255-0243
© Facto Photo/stock.adobe.com
This incredible place is a Natural Wonder of the World and one of the places on nearly every traveler’s bucket list. Niagara Falls offers outdoor adventure for the entire family with acres of well-managed trails to explore and some of the best orchards and wineries in upstate New York.
Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest state park in the United States and is open 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. To get up close and personal with the falls, consider viewing from Prospect Point, or taking a boat tour at the base of the falls. Cave of the Winds is another popular vantage points, and in the evenings, a fireworks show lights up the falls.
10 Rainbow Boulevard, Niagara Falls, NY, 14303, Phone: 877-FALLSUS
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There is no shortage of mountains in New York State, but the Shawangunk Mountains also called “the gunks,” are a local favorite just west of New Paltz. Many visitors don’t realize that the gunks have more trails, waterfalls, cliffs, and swimming spots than any of the other outdoor recreation parks in the state.
Thousands of people hike in the gunks every weekend, To get away from the crowds, Lake Awasting in Minnewaska State Park, The Mohonk Preserve, or the ice caves in the wintertime, are great places that offer more solitude. Adventure seekers love the gunks for their incredible climbing and rappelling opportunities. Visitors that want a leisurely experience in the Shawangunk Mountains and drive the scenic byway.
© West Point - The U.S. Military Academy
The U.S. Military Academy at West Point is considered the most prestigious private military academy in the world, with a goal to develop leaders in the military and society through physical development, military leadership, academic excellence, and character development.
Non-Department of Defense officials, and non-students, or nonfamily of students must stop at the visitors center to ask for a Local Area Credential card, and all visitors must be escorted by a qualified person during their visit to West Point. There are guided bus tours that visitors may sign up for in advance as well.
2107 New South Post Road, West Point, NY, 10996, Phone: 845-938-2638
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25.Woodlawn Beach State Park
The Woodlawn Beach State Park in Blasdell is on beautiful Lake Erie near the Buffalo New York Metropolitan area. The sandy beach is naturally made and stretches a mile with diverse wildlife and some of the most romantic sunsets in New York State. The beach features a picnic area and playground, volleyball nets and nature trails and is perfect for families that want a low-key, relaxing day in the sun on the beach.
If you want to get out of the sun, a nature center is connected to the beach via the natural boardwalk. This interpretive trail highlights the natural history and geology of the beach. Exhibits are featured in the nature center, which is also where visitors find the bathhouses. Woodlawn Beach is pet-friendly.
S-3580 Lakeshore Road, Blasdell NY, 14219, Phone: 716-826-1930
25 Best Weekend and Day Trips from Albany, NY
- Hudson, Photo: Visit Hudson NY
- Lenox, MA, Photo: lspi138/stock.adobe.com
- Rochester’s National Museum of Play, Photo: Rochester’s National Museum of Play
- Saratoga Springs, Photo: Discover Saratoga NY
- Adirondack Park Region, Photo: frank1crayon/stock.adobe.com
- Catskills Scenic Trail, Photo: Reid Dalland/stock.adobe.com
- Columbia County Tourism, Photo: brandtbolding/stock.adobe.com
- Cooperstown, Photo: Kenneth Sponsler/stock.adobe.com
- Corning Museum of Glass, Photo: Corning Museum of Glass
- Fort Ticonderoga, Photo: Matt/stock.adobe.com
- Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks, Photo: Focqus, LLC/stock.adobe.com
- Herkimer Diamond Mines, Photo: Björn Wylezich/stock.adobe.com
- Howe Caverns, Photo: bjphotographs/stock.adobe.com
- Johnstown, Photo: Sue Smith/stock.adobe.com
- Kaaterskill Falls, Photo: jgorzynik/stock.adobe.com
- Lake George, Photo: David/stock.adobe.com
- Lake Placid, Photo: alpegor/stock.adobe.com
- Manchester, VT, Photo: steheap/stock.adobe.com
- Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology, Photo: Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology
- Natural Stone Bridge & Caves, Photo: kellyvandellen/stock.adobe.com
- New Paltz, Photo: Osaze/stock.adobe.com
- Niagara Falls, Photo: Facto Photo/stock.adobe.com
- Shawangunk Mountains, Photo: demerzel21/stock.adobe.com
- West Point, Photo: West Point - The U.S. Military Academy
- Woodlawn Beach State Park, Photo: kaisorn/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: David/stock.adobe.com