Winter in New York is magical, with dozens of ski slopes, sparkling frozen waterfalls and all sorts of fun activities for the whole family. But summer will be here sooner than you think, and now’s the time to start planning your family’s fabulous warm-weather getaway in New York State! We’ve got a few ideas to get you started:
1. Ride the rapids with North Creek Rafting Company
The Adirondacks are one of America’s most iconic vacation regions -- and it’s easy to see why. The endless natural beauty, cool nights, and tons of fun activities make for amazing summer getaways. For a truly thrilling experience in the wilderness, connect with the North Creek Rafting Company for a river trip! 17 miles of of rapids await you through the Hudson River Gorge, with licensed guides ready to take you on a journey. During summer, most rapids are Class III and suitable for kids age 6 and up. Choose from day or overnight packages: Meals and camping are included. North Creek is also home to the Gore Mountain Lodge, a casual escape situated among the pines. While you’re in town, be sure to stop by the popular lunch joint Marsha’s Family Restaurant for some local eats.
2. Make a splash at Enchanted Forest Water Safari
Kids of all ages will love the largest water theme park in New York State, Enchanted Forest Water Safari, home to more than 50 rides and attractions. Stay-and-play packages at the nearby Water’s Edge Inn and Old Forge Camping Resort mean it’s easy to make a weekend of it. And if you’re looking to do more in the area, Old Forge offers everything from lake cruises to craft breweries.
3. Escape the mainland on Fire Island
Fire Island is a 32-mile-long, car-free barrier island off the south shore of Long Island, and it’s home to more than a dozen summer communities, each with its own distinct personality. Ocean Beach is the largest and one of the most family-friendly villages on the island, and an escape here is all about relaxation. You can frolic in the waves, build sandcastles on the beach, charter a boat for some afternoon fishing, or wander through the mom-and-pop stores around Bay Avenue. For unique day trips, hop in a water taxi (or go on a long hike) to the beautiful Sunken Forest or the historic Fire Island Lighthouse. The Palms Hotel offers a variety of accommodations, from standard guest rooms to cottages, and when mealtime comes, there’s no shortage of cute eateries, including Maguire’s, which offers unforgettable sunset views nightly.
4. Get cultural at the Corning Museum of Glass
The Corning Museum of Glass puts the everyday substance of glass in an entirely new perspective. In addition to seeing exquisite and historic examples of glass art in the museum’s galleries, visitors can watch a hot blob turn into a stunning piece of art at a Hot Glass Show, or even become artists themselves with a Make Your Own Glass workshop. But Corning is much more than just one museum. Known as the Crystal City, Corning is home to dozens of restaurants and bars -- many serving locally crafted Finger Lakes wine -- as well as other cultural attractions, like the Rockwell Museum of American art, which offers programming designed just for kids. Stay at the Radisson downtown to be in the middle of all the action, and you can make it a car-free trip!
5. Have a blast at Darien Lake Amusement Park
Darien Lake has been a hot spot for family fun since 1964. Today the amusement park is home to six world-class roller coasters and the region’s largest water park, complete with a wave pool for the little ones. And it’s super easy to turn a trip to Darien Lake into a full blown family vacation -- without ever leaving the grounds. The park offers multiple lodging options including a full service hotel, RV rentals and camping options. After a day of coasters and water slides, you’ll definitely be working up an appetite so finish with a family dinner at one of the restaurants inside the amusement park. Head to the much-loved nearby ice-cream spot Pink Cow for dessert.
6. Go all in at the Sagamore Resort
With a history dating back to the 1880’s, the Sagamore Resort is known for its stunning views of Lake George and the surrounding Adirondacks. It’s a family friendly destination with amenities like indoor/outdoor swimming pools, an 18 hole golf course, a full service salon/spa and Sagamore Kids Club, where little ones will get to enjoy activities like arts and crafts, hiking, miniature golf, scavenger huts and games. Every night of your vacation you’ll be able to try different kinds of dining at the Sagamore from authentic Italian to American steak-house specialities. But be sure to set at least one night aside to stroll through Lake George Village for classic summer vibes.
7. Go natural (and get speedy) at Watkins Glen
Watkins Glen in the Finger Lakes region is a must-see for nature lovers. With 19 picturesque waterfalls over the course of just two miles, and pathways lead you past, over and even under these natural wonders -- perfect for a summer afternoon cooldown. Also perfect for a cooldown: The Olympic size pool that’s available to all campers and day trippers. Book a campsite soon; they fill up as warm weather approaches. And while you’re in the area, don’t miss the Watkins Glen International Raceway, about five miles from the park. Sign up for the Drive the Glen experience and you can do laps (in your own car) on this legendary course!