Tired of the city life? Gridlock got you down? Feel like you’ve exhausted all your options in the city? It might be time for a break from the Big Apple. Whether you are a lifelong resident, or a tourist planning your next visit to New York, there are plenty of appealing destinations in New York outside of NYC. So hit the road, leave your “I ♥ NY” shirt behind, and see what else the great state of New York has to offer.

Niagara Falls

Ok. So this might be the most obvious place on the list, but hey, it’s a popular for a reason. The size and magnitude of the falls can really only be grasped by seeing them for yourself. Pictures don’t do it justice.  But you don’t have to limit yourself to seeing the waterfall from afar. You can take in the power of the falls from below, in a boat that will take you right up to the fall’s edge. Ponchos are included. Other activities around Niagara Falls include touring Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens and Butterfly Conservatory, exploring the the Cave of the Winds, and touring Old Fort Niagara. When you’re all done head over to Inniskillin Winery for some local drinking flavor. Niagara Falls has enough to be the perfect weekend getaway.

Lake George

Located in the Adirondack Mountains, Lake George and its surrounding area has enough variety for everyone. Art lovers can visit the Hyde Collection Art Museum and Historic House.  The museum has artwork spanning a range of six-thousand years, including paintings from masters like Rembrandt and Picasso. If you are more of a thrill-seeker, Lake George is home to Six Flags Great Escape and Hurricane Harbor, one of the best amusement parks in the country. Lake George also has amazing shopping opportunities at the Factory Outlets. Stores include exclusive brands like Michael Kors, Lindt, Van Heusen, IZOD Golf, and Polo Ralph Lauren. Of course, Lake George also has amazing hikes, beaches, and other natural activities too. It’s a perfect blend of nature, culture, and comfort. With so much to do make sure you have at least a few days to explore.

Hudson River Valley

The Hudson River Valley has been inspiration for some of America’s greatest talents. Washington Irving used the valley as his setting for tales like Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Other famous residents past and present include Peter Seeger, Bill Murray, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The scenic beauty of the valley is unmatched, especially during the fall season. Taking a river cruise just as the leaves are starting to change into their brilliant orange, red, and yellow forms can be a once in a lifetime experience.  There might be no better place in the world to see the colors of autumn. With awe inspiring views everywhere you turn, and charming historical towns around every bend, there is plenty to do in the Hudson River Valley. Don’t forget the world-class culinary scene either, defined by small town cafes, diners, and fine-dining alike. The Culinary Institute of America even has its main campus in the Hudson River Valley. Starting in New York City, you can follow the Hudson River all the way to Albany, the state capital, and beyond.

Finger Lakes

One of the most unique geographical areas in the country, the Finger Lakes region of New York is home to beautiful natural scenery and local rural charm. The narrow but long collection of lakes south of Lake Ontario are the result of Ice Age glaciers that receded north thousands of years ago. Left behind were deep glacial valleys that filled with water and became the Finger Lakes. The longest of the lakes is Seneca Lake at just over 38 miles long, yet less than three and a half miles wide. While in the Finger Lakes region, you could stay at the del Lago Resort and Casino to get your gambling fix without having to go to Vegas or Atlantic City. Other highlights include visiting local farms like Lively Run Dairy, an award-winning artisan dairy that is all too happy to have visitors. Take some cheese to-go and hit up some of the local wineries like Lucas Vineyards, which are part of the Finger Lakes AVA. University towns like Ithaca and Syracuse offer scenic lake views and small town charm.

Catskills Mountains

Home of the original Woodstock Festival in 1969, the Catskills Mountains have played host to all sorts of people. Artists and writers have long  frequented this sub-region of the Appalachians to draw inspiration from its serene beauty. Check out the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts for their incredible photo collection of Woodstock and more. While in the Catskills you can enjoy all sorts of outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking, camping, fishing and more. Those looking for more refined experiences will be happy to find world-class and traditional dining at places like Outsiders Kitchen Cafe, Phoenicia Diner, and the Binnekill Tavern. Ranked as one of the top ten regions in the world to visit by Lonely Planet , you want to visit this truly special region of America before everyone else does.

By Aldo Moreno

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