Make 2024 a year of new opportunities, and most important of all, new travel experiences! If you’ve been gazing wistfully at the stars wondering where on Earth you’ll set foot this year, you’re in luck! We’ve compiled a list of must-see trips can’t-miss events to add to your calendar for 2024. So what are you waiting for?! Start planning your trip today.
Masks are encouraged, but optional in most settings per New York State guidelines. Individual businesses or attractions may require mask-wearing. Call ahead and check websites and social media to make sure attractions and amenities are open and available.
1. Experience the Total Solar Eclipse (Multiple Regions)
Credit: @rocsolareclipse on Instagram
A total solar eclipse is truly a once in a lifetime experience and New York State will be at the center of it all for this rare cosmic event on April 8, 2024. Commencing shortly after 2 p.m., this celestial spectacle will unfold within a 124-mile-wide path stretching from Chautauqua-Allegheny to Greater Niagara, Finger Lakes, Thousand Islands-Seaway and the Adirondacks. With incredible viewing spots from historic Olympic sites to beautiful state parks, and thrilling festivals and events including Roc the Eclipse and a celebration in Niagara Falls that’s so big even NASA will be there, there’s no better place to witness totality than New York.
2. Celebrate 100 Years of NYS Parks (Multiple Regions)
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There’s never been a better time to get outside and appreciate New York’s natural beauty than 2024 — which will mark 100 years since the establishment of the beloved state parks system. From the serene shores of Long Island to the mighty Niagara Falls, New York's parks and historic sites offer exciting adventures from ziplining at Jones Beach to hot air ballooning over Letchworth’s waterfalls to drinking from Saratoga’s mineral springs to exploring dramatic landscapes of the Chimney Bluffs. Celebrate this major milestone at special events happening throughout the year across New York’s parks and historic sites and participate in the Centennial Challenge for a chance to win prizes!
3. Celebrate Pride in New York (NYC)
The birthplace of the modern LGBTQ rights movement and home to one of the largest LGBTQ populations in the country, there’s no better place to celebrate Pride than in New York State. June comes alive with festivals and events in every corner of the state from Albany, to Buffalo, to Watertown, but the biggest party of all happens in New York City, which every year hosts the iconic Pride March and Pride Island. In 2024, New York will also celebrate the opening of the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center in the West Village (this will be the first LGBTQ+ visitor center within the National Park Service). Visitors will learn about the legacy of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising and the LGBTQ+ movement through immersive experiences including in-person and virtual tours, lectures, exhibitions, and visual art displays.
4. Embark on an Enlightening Retreat at the Chautauqua Institution (Chautauqua-Allegheny)
CREDIT: @CHQ1874 VIA @TOURCHAUTAUQUA ON INSTAGRAM
Looking for an adult version of summer camp where you can immerse yourself in arts and culture while enjoying lakefront recreation? Book a stay at the renowned Chautauqua Institution (pictured), which blossoms every summer with nine enriching weeks of programs and events, including dance, opera, concerts, author lectures, theater, and more. The Chautauqua Institution will celebrate its 150th anniversary between June 22 and August 25, 2024 exploring themes ranging from “The Evolution of the Modern Presidency” to “The AI Revolution.” More than 100,000 people attend the seasonal events and activities each year, so plan your visit now! Accommodations can fill up quickly, so make sure to book your stay early at the historic Athenaeum Hotel or rent a lake house near the grounds of the institution. Daily gate passes are available during the summer season, with free admission on Sundays.
5. Reach New Heights and Try Tasty Bites in Binghamton (Central New York)
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If you’re looking for high flying fun and fantastic food then make your plans to head over to “Bing” for the 40th anniversary of the annual Spiedie Fest & Balloon Rally. What started as a friendly competition to settle the score on who had the best Spiedie recipe (small pieces of marinated meat that can be skewered and then grilled) has transformed into a beloved Binghamton tradition that draws over 100,000 attendees each year. The event at Otsiningo Park features five hot air balloon launches, concerts, celebrity guests, an antique car show, 5K run, cornhole tournament, and, of course, a Spiedie cooking contest.
6. Experience the Beauty of “The Queen of American Lakes” (Adirondacks)
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Lake George is known as the birthplace of the American vacation. In the mid-1800s when a Boston preacher penned a book about his adventures in the Adirondacks wilderness, city dwellers flocked to the woods to experience the joys of hiking, camping, and fishing. A vacation paradise ever since, Lake George attracts visitors to its glistening waters and 109 miles of coastline year-round, but especially in summer. The possibilities for fun are endless. Take a relaxing paddleboat cruise with the Lake George Steamboat Company (pictured), camp under the stars on a secluded island (make sure to book your site early!), go up, down, and all the way around at Six Flags Great Escape and Hurricane Harbor, see life-sized dinosaurs in the Magic Forest, experience history at Fort William Henry, and more! Lake George holds some of the biggest events in the Adirondacks including Americade, the Adirondack Food & Wine Festival, and Lake George Music Festival. Don’t miss frosty fun at the annual Winter Carnival and foliage cruises in the fall.
7. Stay Overnight in a Real-Life Castle (Thousand Islands-Seaway)
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Be the King or Queen of your very own Gothic castle for the night at Singer Castle. Built in 1905 by the fifth president of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, the grand 28-room castle sits on Dark Island, a 7-acre island accessible by boat several times a day. When you book an overnight stay, You and your royal party get an entire wing for your overnight stay, a catered cold plate dinner and continental breakfast that can be served in your room of choice, and a private tour. Explore the castle's medieval entranceway lined with Knights of Armor, secret passages, hand-carved furnishings and decor, and more. If you're only in town for the day, a 45-minute tour and narrative of the history of Singer Castle are available.
8. Dance the Night Away at the World’s Largest Disco (Greater Niagara)
Credit: @mike_demaria on Instagram
Get ready to boogie at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center as it’s transformed into the World’s Largest Disco! Buffalo’s grooviest Thanksgiving weekend tradition, being held November 30, features the largest dance floor in New York State with 500,000 watts of sound and lights. Tickets typically go on sale in early August, so be sure to buy yours as soon as possible as this event sells out every year (all 7,000 tickets were scooped up in 15 minutes in 2023!). The event raises money for Camp Good Days and Special Times, an organization that offers services and residential programs to families and individuals affected by cancer.
9. Attend a Day at the Races (Capital-Saratoga)
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Saratoga's motto is "health, history, and horses,” and it's no wonder why. Famous for its mineral baths, artisan stores, and historic sites, Saratoga also has horse racing sewn into the town's DNA. Since 1863, The Saratoga Race Course (pictured) has been welcoming thousands of locals and tourists from all across the globe to its historic grandstand, especially in the summer months. Witness history in 2024 as the world famous Belmont Stakes comes to Saratoga for the first time ever, with the third leg of the Triple Crown being held on June 8. If you're in town in August, be sure to see the prestigious Travers Stakes (also called the Midsummer Derby), the most popular racing event of the year. For upcoming races and full stakes schedules, visit NYRA Saratoga.
10. Visit the Home of Baseball (Central New York)
Credit: @gocooperstown on Instagram
Get a dose of Americana and celebrate all things baseball in the picturesque village of Cooperstown. Fans of the sport can witness magical moments frozen in time through exhibitions, archive collections, and special events at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. With an idyllic setting amid rolling hills, Doubleday Field (pictured) plays host to more than 350 baseball games each year, ranging from youth baseball to collegiate tournaments and senior leagues. Main Street also embraces its baseball roots with shops selling memorabilia, rare collectibles, souvenirs, and merch. In July, don't miss the jam-packed Hall of Fame Weekend filled with events like the Parade of Legends, Induction Ceremony, and Legends of the Game Roundtable. Remember to book early as hotels sell out well before the event!
11. Celebrate the Bronx Zoo’s Milestone Birthday
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Embark on an extraordinary journey through the Bronx Zoo's 125 years of conservation, education and wildlife preservation as it commemorates this momentous milestone in 2024. Visitors can immerse themselves in the wonders of nature while traversing the park's expansive 265 acres, home to more than 10,000 captivating creatures from every corner of the globe. The zoo will also unveil an engaging half-mile exhibit trail with awe-inspiring, eco-conscious sculptures that chronicle its remarkable legacy. Weekends will come alive with a dazzling array of festivities including vibrant parades, exciting performances, hands-on crafting workshops, delectable specialty foods, exhilarating scavenger hunts, guided tours and the interactive Wildlife Theater. While in the Bronx, pay a visit to Yankee Stadium, Arthur Avenue, the birthplace of hip hop, and more.
12. Book a Beachside Cottage (Long Island)
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Get your dose of sand and sun with a unique glamping experience along Great South Bay at the cottages at Heckscher State Park in East Islip. With 1,600 acres to explore featuring picnic spots, fields to play sports, and paved trails for walking, there’s a fun activity for each day of your vacation! Each waterfront cottage can accommodate two to six people and feature a living room, bedroom(s), kitchen, bathroom, and a screened porch. Don’t wait to book, make your reservations (Note: A minimum 7-night stay is required during the peak season). Prefer tent camping? Heckscher State Park has that too! Hither Hills State Park in Montauk also has oceanfront campsites accommodating RVs and tents. Book your vacation now before your desired dates are taken. Camping season typically runs from April—November.
13. Find Your Awesome at LEGOLAND (Hudson Valley)
Build memories that will last a lifetime at LEGOLAND®️ New York in Goshen! With more than 50 rides and attractions spread across 150 acres in the heart of the Hudson Valley, it’s the ultimate theme park destination for kids ages 2–12 and their families. Ride the dragon coaster, become a firefighter, master the art of “Spinjitzu,” and more at the park’s seven “lands.” If all that fun makes you hungry, there's no shortage of delicious eats from tacos to burgers and sweet treats like Granny's apple fries and more! Make it a true LEGO weekend and stay at the 250-room LEGOLAND hotel featuring pirate, ninja and other themed rooms, a free breakfast buffet, and in-room treasure hunts (vacation packages and deals are available). Check out LEGOLAND’s seasonal events including the 4th of July Red, White & BOOM, Brick-or-Treat, and Holiday Bricktacular.
14. Follow a Wine Trail in the Finger Lakes (Finger Lakes)
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Named one of America's greatest wine regions, you'll find award-winning wines around every corner in the Finger Lakes. Nestled between the scenic Keuka, Seneca, Canandaigua, and Cayuga lakes, the region is home to more than 120 wineries producing renowned cool climate wine varietals. Sip world-class wines beside picturesque, glacially-designed lakes and rolling hills at wineries in Finger Lakes Wine Country at one of its three distinct wine trails: Cayuga Lake Wine Trail, Keuka Lake Wine Trail, and Seneca Lake Wine Trail.
15. Go Glamping in the Woods (Catskills)
Credit: Jordan Layton
Take your camping trip in the Catskills to the next level. Go the retro route and stay in a decked-out classic Airstream at AutoCamp Catskills in Saugerties or TreeTopia in Athens. The Old Game Farm in Catskill has luxury tents set up with all the fixings on sites that meet your camping needs. Kick things up a notch with a stay in a luxurious Tiny House overlooking Catskill Creek in South Cairo or in a Scandinavian-style cabin at Eastwind Hotels in Windham and in the heart of the Oliverea Valley.
16. Stay in a “Great Camp” (Adirondacks)
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Visit (and spend the night in) the grandiose summer homes of New York’s late 19th-century jet setters, including Gilded Age magnates Rockefeller and Vanderbilt. Where American craftsmanship meets Swedish chalet design, these classic family cabins in the Adirondacks are the epitome of a relaxing lakeside vacation in the heart of the wilderness. Great Camp tours, lakeside activities, and overnight stays are available at The Point, White Pine Camp, Great Camp Sagamore, Lake Kora, and more. Find out more about Adirondack Great Camps at Visit Adirondacks.
17. Explore New York State History (Capital-Saratoga)
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Embark on a journey through time exploring Albany’s history spanning more than four centuries— from its humble beginnings as a small Dutch settlement to the vibrant capital city it is today. Start at the French chateau-style New York State Capitol (pictured) and see how many faces you recognize out of the 300 portraits hand carved into the stone of the “Million Dollar Staircase.” Catch breathtaking views of Corning Tower and Albany’s uniquely-shaped performance space, the Egg, as you stroll across Empire State Plaza’s marble walkways. The New York State Museum takes you all the way back to the Ice Age while the Albany Institute of History & Art displays works by influential artists from New York and beyond. If you plan to visit in the spring, don’t miss one of the Northeast’s biggest and most beloved annual events: the colorful Albany Tulip Festival in Washington Park during Mother’s Day Weekend.
18. Laugh It Up in the Home of Comedy (Chautauqua-Allegheny)
Laugh your socks off in Jamestown, home to two museums entirely dedicated to comedy greats past and present. Tour over 50 immersive exhibits, explore the lives of legendary comics, or try your hand at working the room like a professional on the stage at The Stand-Up Lounge at the National Comedy Center. “I Love Lucy” fans can learn about the iconic TV couple at the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum (pictured), see props, costumes, and other artifacts from the show, and snap a photo in Lucy and Ricky Ricardo's New York City apartment and their Hollywood hotel suite, both of which have been recreated and brought to life in the museum. Plan a trip in August for the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, featuring special events and a line-up of today’s biggest names in comedy.
19. Get Up Close to a Wonder of the World (Greater Niagara)
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Dubbed the "Honeymoon Capital of the World'' in the late 1800s for its romantic grandiosity, Niagara Falls sees more than 12 million visitors each year. Get closer to the waters of Niagara Falls than you thought possible at the Cave of the Winds experience--a tour through the Niagara Gorge and wooden walkways that bring you just 20 feet from underneath the waters of Bridal Veil Falls. Ride along the gorge and under the falls on the iconic Maid of the Mist journey, and feel the thrill of Devil's Hole class 5 whitewater rapids and the magnitude of the Whirlpool at Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours.
20. Experience Fine Dining at America's Best Culinary School (Hudson Valley)
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What do Anthony Bourdain, Michael Mina, and Roy Choi all have in common? They studied at The Culinary Institute of America, the Le Cordon Bleu of America. Book a table at one of The CIA's New York restaurants and be wined and dined by students and faculty chefs. At their Hyde Park campus, there are three restaurants available for a dine-in experience, each with a unique focus: American Bounty Restaurant (contemporary and traditional seasonal American cuisine), The Bocuse Restaurant (re-imagined French classics), and Ristorante Caterina de' Medici (authentic regional Italian cuisine). There’s also a brew house serving elevated gastropub fare and a cafe with sweet and savory selections.
21. Splash Around at Kartrite Resort & Waterpark (Catskills)
CREDIT: THE KARTRITE RESORT & INDOOR WATERPARK
Find the best of the beach in the middle of the mountains on an ultimate family getaway to this 324-suite resort that’s home to the largest indoor water park in New York State! Surf the perfect wave on the Endless Summer Flowrider, take a wild ride down the Krakken and Nor’Easter water slides, or float along the lazy river. The impressive indoor park also features a pool that is accessible for visitors with disabilities and several smaller slides and play sections for the wee ones. Once you dry off, enjoy s’mores outside by the fire, find everything from a buffet feast to fine dining to a hopping bar scene at the resort’s restaurant options, and discover more family fun activities from bowling to rock climbing.
22. Buckle Up for The Go Bowling at The Glen (Finger Lakes)
Experience NASCAR’s annual race in the Finger Lakes at Watkins Glen International. The Go Bowling at The Glen will be September 15 and features some of the top NASCAR drivers. Get your tickets early as the reserved grandstand tickets sell out quick! During your visit, explore downtown Watkins Glen, less than five miles from the race track. Looking for a place to stay? Book a travel package or check out nearby Blackberry Inn Bed & Breakfast, Idlwilde Inn, Catharine Cottages, and Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, to name a few. Prefer to camp? There’s on-site camping available at The Glen.
23. Get a Taste of the Gilded Age (Long Island)
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The North Shore of Long Island is home to America’s historic Gold Coast, where grand estates once frequented by society’s elite during the Roaring Twenties are now open to visitors who wish to relive history. You can stay overnight at OHEKA Castle, a majestic estate on the highest point of Long Island. Old Westbury Gardens features an extravagant English-style house as well as 200-acres of formal gardens featured in HBO’s “The Gilded Age”. It’s not a trip to the Gold Coast without a little American history. Enjoy a tour of Sagamore Hill National Park, home to President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt’s summer residence, dubbed the “Summer White House,” as well as 95 acres of forest, tidal salt marsh, and bay beach.
24. Antique Boat Museum and Tour (Thousand Islands-Seaway)
Set a short walk from the charming seaside village of Clayton, the Antique Boat Museum features the largest collection of antique and classic boats on display in North America! While visiting the museum you can learn about boating history on the St. Lawrence River, row a St. Lawrence skiff in French Bay, tour George Boldt's 1903 106-foot houseboat, and take a speedboat ride through the islands in a triple cockpit runabout. Many of the boats are works of art in themselves, and the museum celebrates the craftsmanship, dedication, and history in ways that make a visit fun for the whole family.