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New York Nature

Make this summer in New York State memorable while learning more about nature. You may even check some activities off your (sand) bucket list.

Long Island is a premier destination for sailing, sunning and swimming. But did you know there’s a rare barrier island beach here? Visit this protected dune environment and meet many of the creatures that call it home. You could also go saltwater fishing with the Montauk experts, or take a “floating classroom” cruise.

Bicyclists can ride across the harbor with NYC Water Taxi. It’s fascinating to kayak or canoe around some of the city’s most beautiful bird sanctuaries, tidal marshes and inlets. Take your curiosity to Staten Island and explore the flora, fauna, fish and birds that live in Blue Heron Park.

City folk can experience a remote wilderness, miles of hiking trails and old growth forest at Mianus, less than 40 miles from Manhattan. Continue on to Bear Mountain for pleasures both indoors -- Sunday brunch with great views -- and en plein air, where hiking trails, fishing and other outdoor pursuits await. Landscape painting, perhaps?

From there, it’s just a few more miles to the Shawangunks for world-class rock climbing or mountain biking; it’s always a good time tubing on the Esopus, and you can find impressive waterfall views throughout the state. Camp overnight in the Catskill Preserves or enjoy the picturesque comforts of Mohonk Mountain House.

Have you ever seen a rare Karner blue butterfly? You may spy them while hiking or horseback riding in the Albany Pine Bush Preserve. And, with a quick trip up the NYS Thruway to Saratoga, enjoy a soak in their famous rejuvenating mineral spas.

The Adirondacks and Thousand Islands are overflowing with summer water fun. Go fishing, boating, or try a new water sport; hike in stunning Gorges; explore island shorelines on foot. There are more than a dozen zoos statewide, but nothing compares to a wildlife sighting when you’re camping, white water rafting or otherwise exploring the North Country.

Glimmerglass State Park on Otsego Lake is a beautiful place to spend the day; the entire Finger Lakes region offers many outdoor pleasures, from windsurfing to an elegant dinner cruise in wine country. In Buffalo, a boat tour reveals how the Buffalo River and the Erie Canal shaped the “Queen” city, and summertime is definitely the time to enjoy the wonders of Niagara Falls.

In the far western regions of New York, beautiful natural landscapes surround you, from peaceful bird watching ponds to busy marinas. Do all nature lovers eventually visit the Roger Tory Peterson Institute in Jamestown? They should.

NEW YORK CITY (NYC)

New York Water Taxi -- Bike & Boat 
Several locations along the Hudson and East Rivers
The ultimate NYC water adventure -- novel day-trips through waterfront parks!

Blue Heron Park & Nature Center
Amboy Road, Barclay Avenue, Hyland Blvd. and Bertram Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10312
Over 200 acres of meadows; six glacier-formed ponds, streams & woodlands; water trails; teeming with marine life, herons, kingfishers, & other native species

New York City Water Trail
Launch sites, all five NYC boroughs
Paddle 160 square miles of rivers, bays, creeks, inlets and ocean; skyline panoramas, riverside parks, bird sanctuaries, tidal marshlands & more!

LONG ISLAND (LI)

Long Island Aquarium
Atlantis Explorer Tour Boat
431 East Main Street
Riverhead, NY 11901
A hands-on “floating classroom” reveals ecological wonders of Long Islands’ waterways & Peconic Estuary

Saltwater Fishing 
MOVIN On Sport Fishing Charter Service
85 Benson Drive
Montauk, NY 11954
Knows the best spots for canyon fishing, trophy striped bass, tuna, shark & more

Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center 
Jones Beach State Park
Wantagh, NY 11793
Barrier island beach; variety of marine habitats; many activities on protected dune environment & indoors too

HUDSON VALLEY (HV)

Bear Mountain Inn and Overlook Lodge
Bear Mountain State Park

55 Hessian Drive
Bear Mountain, NY 10911
Hikes, Sunday Brunch, lodging, fishing, swimming, biking, a museum and zoo

Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park 
2957 Crompond Road
Yorktown Heights, NY 10598
Swimming, boating, fishing, pools, concessions, sports, trails

Mianus River Gorge
167 Mianus River Road
Bedford, NY 10506
Five miles of old-growth hemlock forest hiking trails; remote wilderness less than 40 miles from Manhattan

THE CATSKILLS (CT)

Kaaterskill Falls
Route 23A
Haines Falls, NY 12436
Highest cascading waterfall in NYS; popular & spectacular summer destination

Minnewaska State Park Preserve 
5281 Route 44-55
Kerhonkson, NY 12446
On dramatic Shawangunk Mountain Ridge; waterfalls, lakes, forests, world-class rock climbing, miles of carriageways & footpaths; stunning!

Mohonk Preserve
Four trailheads (1 in Northern Preserve & 3 in Southern Preserve)
New Paltz, NY 12561
8,000 acres; rock climbing, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking & many events; study and enjoy nature

CAPITAL-SARATOGA (CS)

Albany Pine Bush Preserve
195 New Karner Road
Albany, NY 12205
Rare inland pine-barrens ecosystem; home to endangered Karner blue butterfly; extensive trails for hiking, bicycling, horseback riding; numerous events

Farm and Fiber Tour (April)
Dozens of participating locations throughout Washington County, NY
Learn about raising alpacas, bunnies, goats, sheep, llamas & more; farm-to-farm tours

Saratoga Spa State Park
19 Roosevelt Drive
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Hiking, biking, swimming, certified running courses, nature trail, mineral spas, more at this National Historic Landmark

THE ADIRONDACKS (AD)

Adirondack Water Ski and Wakeboard School 
Chic’s Marina
4782 Lake Shore Drive
Bolton Landing, NY 12814
Certified instructors make water sports fun & safe; all levels of lessons

Ausable Chasm 
2144 Route 9
Ausable Chasm, NY 12911
Breathtaking destination since 1870; oldest natural attraction in the US; rafting, tubing, hiking, horseback riding, camping

Ausable River Two-Fly Challenge (May)
West Branch, Ausable River
Wilmington, NY 12997
Annual rite-of-spring event; fishing; fly tying demos; Saturday dinner with awards, silent raffle

THOUSAND ISLANDS-SEAWAY (TI)

Clayton Island Tours
428 Riverside Drive
Clayton, NY 13624
Scenic, historic boat tours of Rock Island Lighthouse, Boldt Castle, Eel Bay, and more

Old McDonald’s Farm
14471 County Route 145 (North Harbor Road)
Sackets Harbor, NY 13685
1200-acre working dairy and crop farm; kids of all ages love the animals!

Sandy Lake Island Beach State Park 
3387 County Route 15
Pulaski, NY 13142
Only significant freshwater dune site in the northeastern US; lovely respite for bird watching, fishing, swimming and paddling about

CENTRAL-LEATHERSTOCKING (CL)

Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park
60 Morgan Road
Binghamton, NY 13903
Wooded paths, naturalistic exhibits, 100+ different species; Ice Cream Safari (July) & Feast with the Beasts (August)

Glimmerglass State Park
1527 County Highway 31
Cooperstown, NY 13326
Popular Nature Explorer Children’s Program (ages 5-12); Beaver Pond, abundant wildlife, woodland trails, beaches, camping and more

Wintergreen Park & Canajoharie Gorge (Memorial Day to Labor Day)
Carlisle Road
Canajoharie, NY 13317
Natural beauty, picnic areas, scenic trail, overlooks 45’ high Canajoharie Falls

FINGER LAKES (FL)

Finger Lakes Lavender Festival (July)
Lockwood Lavender Farm
1682 West Lake Road
Skaneateles, NY 13152
Two-day annual event; pick your own lavender

Canandaigua Sailboarding
11 Lakeshore Drive
Canandaigua, NY 14424
Gear & lessons for windsurfing, kayaking, scuba, paddleboards & more

Esperanza Rose 
481 Mill Street
Branchport, NY 14418
Elegant Keuka Lake cruises on majestic 65’ vintage yacht; enjoy views & a meal

GREATER NIAGARA (GN)

Buffalo Harbor Cruises
79 Marine Drive
Buffalo, NY 14202-4225
Sightseeing cruises & historic Buffalo River tours, including Lake Erie, Niagara River & Black Rock Lock & Canal

Niagara Gorge Discovery Center 
24 Buffalo Avenue
Niagara Falls, NY, 14303
Virtual reality fun, climbing walls, whirlpool rapids adventure hike, hiking trails

Wendt Beach
7676 Old Lake Shore Road
Derby, NY 14047
Romantic, historic beach; shoreline tranquility, nature watching, and lovely swimming; breathtaking sunsets too

CHAUTAUQUA-ALLEGHENY (CA)

Alma Pond 
County Road 38 (Fourmile Road)
Alma, NY 14708
Fishing, canoeing, boat launch, bird & wildlife watching

Onoville Marina
704 W. Perimeter Road
Steamburg, NY 14783
Bald eagle & osprey watching; camping, swimming, boating

Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History
311 Curtis Street
Jamestown, NY 4701
Art, film, study skins & more; nature-based learning, events, exhibits

 

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