New York is full of state parks, national heritage areas, historical parks, a national seashore, and other parks. All of which provide visitors with an escape from the city and a chance to explore natural wonders, discover historic sites, and take part in a wide variety of recreational activities, such as hiking, boating, camping, biking, and wildlife viewing.
1.Allegany State Park
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Allegany State Park consists of the Red House Area with its tudor-style historic Administration Building, Thunder Rocks, and the Stone Tower. The Red House Area, centered around Red House Lake, provides five miles of paved trails for bikes, bike rentals, boat rentals, a sandy beach for fishing and swimming. Visitors can also find opportunities for a game of volleyball or tennis, horse shoes, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or just walking. The Administration Building houses a gift shop and natural history museum. The Stone Tower offers expansive vistas of the mature forests and rolling hills, while Thunder Rocks is an interesting bedrock city.
2373 ASP, Rte 1, Salamanca, NY 14779, Phone: 716-354-9121
2.Bear Mountain State Park
The Bear Mountain State Park is located within the rugged mountains near the Hudson River’s west bank. The state park features trails for cross-country skiing, biking, and hiking, as well as the Trailside Museums and Zoo, a swimming pool, access to river and lake fishing, shaded picnic areas, and a large field for playing. From around late October until the middle of March, there is an outdoor rink in the park for ice skating. Bear Mountain State Park is also home to the Perkins Memorial Tower with its amazing views, lodges, and a Merry-Go-Round with hand-carved animals and hand-painted scenes.
Palisades Parkway or Route 9W North, Bear Mountain, NY 10911, Phone: 845-786-2701
3.Belmont Lake State Park
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The Belmont Lake State Park is a day-use state park encompassing approximately 463 acres, bisected by Belmont Lake and Carll’s Creek. The park is visited primarily by families looking for informal sports activities, picnics, and outdoor gatherings. A biking and hiking trail can be found along Carll’s Creek, while a similar path encircles Belmont Lake, giving the park 7.6 miles of trails for nature observation, biking, walking, hiking, and cross-country skiing (weather permitting). Horseback riding is possible through Babylon Riding Center, and rowboats and pedal boats can be rented to be used on the lake during the summer.
Southern State Pkwy Exit 38, North Babylon, NY 11703, Phone: 631-667-5055
4.Fair Haven Beach State Park
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The Fair Haven Beach State Park is situated on the eastern shoreline of Lake Ontario in upstate New York. The state park is considered to be one of the region’s finest public lakefronts with its adjoining hilly woodlands, sandy beaches, and towering shoreline bluffs. The sandy beach stretches approximately 1,500 feet and includes six hundred feet of guarded area for swimming. Within the rolling woodlands are cabin areas and campgrounds with centralized restrooms, while boating and fishing opportunities can be found in abundance on the Little Sodus Bay and Lake Ontario. Campgrounds include both non-electric and electric campsites.
14985 State Park Rd, Fair Haven, NY 13064, Phone: 315-947-5205
5.Fire Island National Seashore
The Fire Island National Seashore immerses visitors in an enchanting collection of history and coastal life, with its wildlife, historic landmarks, ancient maritime forests, high dunes, and rhythmic waves. The barrier island beaches provide spiritual renewal, camaraderies, and solitude away from the hustle and bustle of the nearby city. The area is the only federal wilderness area in New York, offering park ranger programs, wildlife viewing, hiking, sightseeing, beachcombing, and much more. Sites include Talisman, Watch Hill, Sailors Haven/Sunken Forest, and Fire Island Lighthouse. Passenger ferries or private boats are needed to reach some sites at Fire Island National Seashore.
120 Laurel St, Patchogue, NY 11772, Phone: 631-687-4750
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Fort Stanwix is known well as "the fort that never surrendered.” In August of 1777, the fort successfully repelled a long siege by British, Canadian, American Indian, Loyalist, and German warriors and troops. Guests at the Fort Stanwix Monument are recommended to being their visit at the Willett Center. The fort itself is encircled by three rather short trails, one of which follows a section of the area’s Oneida Carrying Place. The remaining two trails help interpret the events that took place at the fort in 1777. A museum area and living history programs can be seen in the fort.
112 East Park St, Rome, NY 13440, Phone: 315-338-7730
7.Gateway National Recreation Area
The 27,000-acre Gateway National Recreation Area is made up of three different geographic units: Staten Island and Jamaica Bay in New York City and Sandy Hook, a barrier beach peninsula, in New Jersey. These areas include Fort Wadsworth, Miller Field, and Great Kills Park on Staten Island; Canarsie Pier and Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn; and Riis Park, Fort Tilden, and the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens. Jamaica Bay features historic forts, restored grasslands, marinas, sports fields, and ocean beaches. The Gateway National Recreation Area offers fishing, hiking, windsurfing, birding, and more throughout the year.
210 New York Ave, Staten Island, NY 10305, Phone: 718-354-4606
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8.General Grant National Memorial
The General Grant National Memorial is the final resting place of both President Ulysses S. Grant and Julia Dent Grant, his wife. It is North America’s largest mausoleum. The Visitor Center is home to an exhibit gallery that highlights significant events in the life of Ulysses S. Grant, as well as a gift shop, public restrooms, and a media room that shows the twenty-minute “Ulysses S. Grant - A Legacy of Freedom” film. The General Grant National Memorial contains the Mausoleum houses Ulysses and Julia Grant’s remains and two reliquary rooms, and the Memorial Grounds as well.
Riverside Dr and W. 122nd St, New York, NY 10027, Phone: 646-670-7251
9.Golden Hill State Park
The Golden Hill State Park is home to the Thirty Mile Lighthouse, which was decommissioned in 1958 by the United States Coast Guard and is now available to rent throughout the year. This lighthouse landmark features a rich history that visitors in the state park can enjoy. The Golden Hill State Park provides opportunities for nature walks, picnicking, shoreline hiking, boating, fishing, and camping. Visitors can also take a walking tour of the lighthouse. Snowmobile trails and snowshoeing are also available during the winter season. Many special event take place in the park as well during the summer months.
9691 Lower Lake Rd, Barker, NY 14012, Phone: 716-795-3885
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The United States Army was part of New York City’s economic, political, and social tapestry on Governors Island from 1794 until 1966. The island today is a vibrant venue for performances, culture, and art during the summer season against a backdrop of military heritage and the city skyline. Visitors can join free guided tours at Governors Island as well. These tours are available on a “first-come, first-serve” basis of up to 35 guests. Tours of Castle Williams are offered at 11:30, 1:30, and 3:30 daily. Tours of Fort Jay are only available at noon and 2:00 on the weekends.
10 South St, New York, NY 10004, Phone: 212-825-3054
11.Harriet Tubman National Historical Park
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The Harriet Tubman National Historical Park commemorates the life of a woman guided by a deep devotion and faith to community, freedom, and family. The historical park is located about 1.5 miles away from Auburn’s city center on South Street and consists of three different buildings. Visitors can take a look around the visitor center, explore the Tubman Home for the Aged, and take a stroll through the grounds of the Harriet Tubman Residence. Harriet Tubman’s gravesite and the church she attended for over twenty years can also be seen just a short distance from the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park.
180 South St, Auburn, NY 13021, Phone: 315-882-8060
12.Hither Hills State Park
The Hither Hills State Park provides visitors with fireplaces and scenic areas for picnics, a playground, playing fields, a sandy beach on the ocean, and sport fishing. The park is also home to a campground with 189 campsites along the ocean. Fishing is allowed throughout the year, with permits available for fishing at night. Other park features include bridle paths and trails for cross-country skiing, biking, nature exploring, and hiking. The eastern border of the Hither Hills State Park contains the Napeague Harbor with its unique “walking dunes,” as well as woodlands consisting of pine, shad, oak, and Russian olive trees.
164 Old Montauk Hwy, Montauk, NY 11954, Phone: 631-668-2554
13.Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt
The Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt in Hyde Park, New York is the home of the President of the United States to be elected for four terms. Franklin D. Roosevelt also established the country’s first U.S. Presidential Library at this site. Visitors can explore the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Presidential Library and Museum to learn more about the life of one of the country’s most famous presidents. A tour of the historic home lasts around one hour, starting at the Henry A. Wallace Visitor Center, and is the only way that visitors are able to explore the house.
114 Estates Lane, Hyde Park, NY 12538, Phone: 845-229-5320
14.Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area
The Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area is an expansive area stretching from Albany to New York City. The resources of the area highlight the role of dignity and freedom in the history of the Hudson River Valley, as well as the contemporary and historical role of commerce. Landscape interpretations, gardens and scenic parks, famous residences, and stories of the Revolutionary War all contribute to the wealth of resources and beauty of the valley. The Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area was established in 1996 by Congress and is now one of the country’s forty-nine National Heritage Areas.
625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12210, Phone: 518-473-3835
15.Letchworth State Park
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The Letchworth State Park is often referred to as “the Grand Canyon of the East,” and is thought to be one of the eastern United States region’s most scenically magnificent areas. The Genesee River can be heard roaring in the park over three waterfalls found between cliffs and through the gorge, surrounded by the area’s lush forests. The state park is also made up of sixty-six trails for hiking, with trails also open to cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, biking, and horseback riding. Letchworth State Park also provides a swimming pool, kayaking, whitewater rafting, guided walks, and even hot air ballooning.
1 Letchworth State Park, Castile, NY 14427, Phone: 585-493-3600
16.Moreau Lake State Park
The Moreau Lake State Park features a lake amidst the rocky ridges, pine stands, and hardwood forests of the area. Picnic areas are shaded by groves of tree, with a pavilion located on the grounds as well that overlooks the lake. The park also includes secluded and quiet campgrounds, including areas for groups and campsites for both trailers and tents. Two pavilions and a tent measuring 20 feet by 30 feet can be reserved. A sandy beach and opportunities for ice fishing, fishing, and boating can be found in the parks, as well as trails for cross-country skiing, hiking, and nature observation.
605 Old Saratoga Rd, Gansevoort, NY 12831, Phone: 518-793-0511
17.Niagara Falls National Heritage Area
The Niagara Falls National Heritage Area stretches thirteen miles along the Niagara River in upstate New York. Established in 2008 by Congress, the national heritage area reaches from the start of the Niagara River at Lake Ontario to the western border of the town of Wheatfield, New York, and includes the communities of Lewiston, Youngstown, and Niagara Falls. The Niagara Falls National Heritage Area is home to historical sites of national significance, rich cultural traditions, and natural wonders. The area consists of many recreational, cultural, and historical activities and sites that are waiting to be explored by visitors.
18.Sampson State Park
The Sampson State Park encompasses a little more than two thousand acres along the Seneca Lake’s eastern shore and offers boating and camping as its primary recreation activities for visitors. The state park features 309 campsites, consisting of 64 basic campsites and 245 electric campsites. The marina at Sampson State Park is made up of just over one hundred boat slips, as well as an expansive multiple boat launch site. Other activities possible at the park include a scenic trails, playgrounds, guarded swimming at the sandy beach, biking, hiking, fishing, volleyball, wildlife viewing, tennis, geocaching, basketball, and more.
6096 Route 96A, Romulus, NY 14541, Phone: 315-585-6392
19.Saratoga National Historical Park
The Saratoga National Historical Park is the site of a battle during the American Revolution in 1777 in which American troops fought and defeated a British force. This battle is known as the first time in the history of the world that any British army surrendered. It was a significant victory that helped to secure necessary foreign support and recognition, instigated worldwide wars, and affirmed the independence of the United States. The Saratoga National Historical Park hosts a variety of activities and special events year-round, such as the the August Music Series, History Walks, and the Frost Faire.
648 Route 32, Stillwater, NY 12170, Phone: 518-670-2985
20.Saratoga Spa State Park
© Saratoga Spa State Park
The Saratoga Spa State Park is a National Historic Landmark distinguished by the classical architecture. It is also noted for having diverse recreational, aesthetic, and cultural resources. Along with several traditional opportunities for recreation, the park is also home to the Roosevelt Baths and Spa, the Gideon Putnam Resort, the Saratoga Automobile Museum, the National Museum of Dance, the Spa Little Theater, and the nationally-recognized Saratoga Performing Arts Center. The Peerless Pool Complex contains a zero-entry pool, a slide pool, and a wading pool with a fountain for children. The Historic Victoria Pool is smaller with arched promenades surrounding it.
19 Roosevelt Dr, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866, Phone: 518-584-2535
21.Taconic State Park
The Taconic State Park stretches sixteen miles along the Taconic Mountain Range and shares a border with Connecticut and Massachusetts. The Rudd Pond and Copake Falls areas provide a rather extensive system of trails, featuring terrain that ranges from easy to difficult and amazing views. During the winter trails are available for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, along with five miles of trails for snowmobiling. An extensive campground consists of three cabin areas, thirty-six sites for trailers, twenty-five platforms for tents, and forty-five tent campsites, providing a total of eighteen cabins and 106 campsites, with campsites varying in size.
253 Route 344, Copake Falls, NY 12517, Phone: 518-329-3993
22.Taughannock Falls State Park
The Taughannock Falls State Park is named after its namesake waterfall and is one of the Northeast region’s outstanding natural attractions. The Taughannock Falls waterfall plunges down 215 feet past the park’s rocky cliffs towering almost four hundred feet over the gorge. Cabins and campsites overlook the Cayuga Lake with a beach, boat launch, and marina nearby. A multi-use trail for cross-country skiing and hiking winds past natural skating ponds and sledding slopes. The Taughannock Falls State Park also offers organized tours and activities.. Including summer concerts at the lake and tours of the Taughannock Gorge.
1740 Taughannock Blvd, Trumansburg, NY 14886, Phone: 607-387-6739
23.Thomas Cole Historic Site
© Thomas Cole Historic Site
The Thomas Cole Historic Site offers visitors with a chance to tour the studio and home of Thomas Cole, founder of the Hudson River School. Activities available at the historic sites includes a film about the artwork of Thomas Cole, guided tours of his art studio and home, stroll through the house’s flower gardens, and viewing special art exhibitions. Guests can also take in sweeping views of the nearby Catskill Mountains at the Thomas Cole Historic Site. The site also provides lectures about the famous Hudson River School and a short drive away are several places that can be seen in Cole’s paintings.
218 Spring St, Catskill, NY 12414, Phone: 518-943-7465
24.Watkins Glen State Park
The Watkins Glen State Park is perhaps the most famous of New York’s Finger Lakes State Parks and has a bit of a reputation for leaving its guests spellbound. Within just two miles, the stream of the glen descends down four hundred feet past cliffs measuring two hundred feet and generating a total of nineteen waterfalls along the way. Visitors can hike along the rim trails in Watkins Glen State Park to get a viewpoint overlooking the gorge. The park also includes an Olympic-size pool for both day-use visitors and campers, both trailer and tent campsites, fishing opportunities, and picnic facilities.
1009 N Franklin St, Watkins Glen, NY 14891, Phone: 607-535-4511
25.Wellesley Island State Park
The Wellesley Island State Park is home to the largest camping complex within the region of the Thousand Islands. The park can be described as a bit of a rustic paradise with excellent fishing opportunities available, particularly for muskie, pike, and smallmouth bass. Three boat launches and full-service marina are also available to accommodate visitors with boats. The sandy beach provides opportunities for sunbathing and swimming, while the Wellesley Island State Park is also home to a nine-hole golf course, and arcade, a laundromat, and the Camp Store. The Minna Anthony Common Nature Center is one of the park’s main attractions.
44927 Cross Island Rd, Fineview, NY 13640, Phone: 315-482-2722
25 Best New York State & National Parks
- Allegany State Park, Photo: Zack Frank/stock.adobe.com
- Bear Mountain State Park, Photo: demerzel21/stock.adobe.com
- Belmont Lake State Park, Photo: Joe Trentacosti/stock.adobe.com
- Fair Haven Beach State Park, Photo: Thaut Images/stock.adobe.com
- Fire Island National Seashore, Photo: viii/stock.adobe.com
- Fort Stanwix, Photo: Zack Frank/stock.adobe.com
- Gateway National Recreation Area, Photo: wjbruzek/stock.adobe.com
- General Grant National Memorial, Photo: kmiragaya/stock.adobe.com
- Golden Hill State Park, Photo: smiltena/stock.adobe.com
- Governors Island, Photo: PhotoSpirit/stock.adobe.com
- Harriet Tubman National Historical Park, Photo: Zack Frank/stock.adobe.com
- Hither Hills State Park, Photo: swoodie/stock.adobe.com
- Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Photo: lightningboldt/stock.adobe.com
- Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, Photo: deberarr/stock.adobe.com
- Letchworth State Park, Photo: Zack Frank/stock.adobe.com
- Moreau Lake State Park, Photo: spectrumx86/stock.adobe.com
- Niagara Falls National Heritage Area, Photo: Rosana/stock.adobe.com
- Sampson State Park, Photo: James/stock.adobe.com
- Saratoga National Historical Park, Photo: jiawangkun/stock.adobe.com
- Saratoga Spa State Park, Photo: Saratoga Spa State Park
- Taconic State Park, Photo: Nigar/stock.adobe.com
- Taughannock Falls State Park, Photo: haveseen/stock.adobe.com
- Thomas Cole Historic Site, Photo: Thomas Cole Historic Site
- Watkins Glen State Park, Photo: haveseen/stock.adobe.com
- Wellesley Island State Park, Photo: pixs-sell/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Zack Frank/stock.adobe.com