Our vast state park system offers millions of acres of nature. Preserves and nature centers put you in touch with flora and fauna, and every turn of the path reveals new natural wonders.
In the Enchanted Mountains, Rock City Park glitters with towering quartz boulders. Adirondack visitors can wonder at Natural Stone Bridge & Caves, Ausable Chasm and High Falls Gorge. Leave some shoe leather behind on 20 miles of year-round trails at Highland Forest, or explore by horseback through mid-autumn. Howes Caverns in Central NY is a cool place to visit and offers more adventure then you may imagine.
Rent a horse at places like Ridin-Hy Ranch in Warrensburg and Bennett's Riding Stable near Lake Luzerne. Schodack Island State Park makes ideal birdwatching for bald eagles, cerulean warblers and blue herons.
Cayuga Lake's Taughannock Falls State Park is home to spectacular views of its 215-foot falls-33 feet taller than Niagara. Falling Waters Preserve lets you explore river-hugging rock ledges past picturesque waterfalls. Or follow scenic trails to high peaks and breathtaking views in the Catskill Forest Preserve.
Fall whitewater provides a fast ride at Adirondack River Outfitters through the Black River and Hudson River Gorges past cliffs and waterfalls. Boat the Thousand Islands through quiet waters and countless species of birds, fish and plant life. Kayak Kayaderosseras Creek, canoe the Champlain Canal or cruise the mighty Hudson. A Discovery Wetlands Cruise from Stony Brook Harbor snakes through an 88-acre wetlands preserve in fall cruises aboard the pontoon boat Discovery. Or crew the legendary Clearwater between NYC and Albany through October as you hoist sails in a hands-on 19th century river cruise.
Explore Jamestown's Audubon Center along manicured trails on a 600-acre wetland preserve through October. Visit distant lands at the Buffalo Botanical Gardens including a Palm Dome teeming with tropical fruit trees and a Tropical House exotic rainforest. Walk the waters of Brooklyn's New York Aquarium to view 350 species of aquatic wildlife. Four miles of flowered nature trails wind through 150 landscaped acres at Oyster Bay's Planting Fields Arboretum, open year round. Kingston's Forsyth Nature Center offers bird walks, nature hikes and a dozen gardens filled with wildlife. New Yorkers find a stroll through Central Park's stunning fall colors irresistible, and kids can pick up a Woodland Discovery Kit to explore the park's North Woods and Ramble.