Credit: @bethelwoodscenter on Instagram

Summer will be here before you know it, and now is the time to start booking tickets and accommodations for some of the state’s hottest activities and attractions. Don’t wait until the last minute! Here are 10 summer trips to start booking now.

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.

Originally published: 3/28/22

1. A Hamptons Beachside Vacation (Long Island)

Main Beach in East Hampton on Long Island

Summer rentals and resorts fill up fast here, so now’s the time to make sure you have your Hamptons place in the sun. You’ll find popular hotels on and close to the beachside, including the Southampton Inn, The Topping Rose House, Barons Cove, The American Hotel, The Quogue Club at Hallock House, and Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa.

With your reservation set, you can start planning your vacay. Pristine sandy beaches may be all the doctor ordered for your ultimate Hamptons getaway, but this ritzy enclave has plenty more to explore, with outdoor activities such as surfing, horseback riding, and fishing for outdoor enthusiasts; as well as cultural institutions, like the Parrish Art Museum, and the Pollock Krasner House & Study Center (opens May 2, 2024), and wineries like Wolffer Estate and Duck Walk Vineyards. Discover even more great things to do in the Hamptons here.

2. Reserve Your Saratoga Race Season Tickets (Capital-Saratoga)

A horse race in action at Saratoga Race Course

A great New York State tradition gets underway in July in Saratoga Springs with the historic Saratoga Race Course hosting its annual summer meet. Special events this meet include the Belmont Stakes (for the first time in Saratoga history) and the 155 running of the $1.25 million Travers Stakes. Don’t miss out on the action - book your stay in Saratoga Springs now at top-rated lodgings like The Gideon Putnam, reopening May 2024, which presents classic hospitality surrounded by the serenity of Saratoga Spa State Park; or the downtown Adelphi Hotel, which focuses on luxury and modern design while carrying on the spirit of a historic and charming retreat.

3. Book Your Glimmerglass Festival Tickets (Central New York)

Glimmerglass Festival

Start planning now for this summer’s 2024 Glimmerglass Festival and a riveting visit to Cooperstown! This internationally-acclaimed festival has always been a home for new and exciting productions of opera and musical theater, presenting both familiar and rarely performed operas in a magnificent setting overlooking Otsego Lake. Book a “Night at the Opera” experience for previews, tours, a chance to meet the performers, and picnic meals on spacious lawns. You can choose from 40 performances taking place in July and August, including The Pirates of Penzance, La Calisto, Pagliacci, and Elizabeth Cree. The 2024 Festival will also feature the world premiere of the youth opera Rumpelstiltskin and the Unlovable Children. Tickets recently went on sale and are selling quickly, so purchase yours now! Hot tip: purchase tickets to multiple shows for the best discounts.  

4. Stake Your 4th of July Fireworks Viewing Spot (New York City)

A vibrant fireworks display at Macy's 4th of July Fireworks in New York City
Credit: @clickforthekingdom on Instagram

In New York City, the annual Macy's 4th of July Fireworks will light up the night over the East River! Make reservations as soon as they become available at peak viewing spots and rooftop bars across Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn. Or see the fireworks from the water on the Circle Line’s Fourth of July Fireworks Cruise. You’ll also find public viewing spots for free, but make sure to lay out your picnic blanket and claim your spots early (Roosevelt Island and Domino Park in Brooklyn typically offer great views of the show over the East River). Stay tuned for details on this year’s fireworks spectacular!

5. Hop Aboard North America’s Largest Mountain Coaster (Adirondacks)

A blue mountain coaster riding along the tracks with views of the mountain and surrounding forest in summer

The largest mountain coaster in North America is ready to thrill you this summer with amazing Adirondack mountain views around heart-pounding curves! Formerly a bobsledding track used in the Winter Olympic games, the Cliffside Mountain Coaster at Mt. Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid runs for 1.4 miles and is set up so you can drive your own car along the track, controlling the speed. Race your family and friends alongside the 1980 bobsled track to the bottom! The coaster opens for the season on May 17. Tickets, which go fast, can be booked here. (Pricing for 2024 not yet available)

6. Book a Private Overnight Stay at Singer Castle on Dark Island (Thousand Islands-Seaway)

The exterior of Singer Castle on Dark Island from the water surrounded by green trees with a few clouds in the sky
Credit: @rbbramlett on Instagram

Rich in history and beauty, Scottish-inspired Singer Castle on seven-acre Dark Island in the St. Lawrence River invites you to explore its intricate architecture and puzzling secret passageways! Be King or Queen of Singer Castle for the evening when you book the Royal Suite, an entire wing of the castle that can sleep up to six people. Your reservation also includes a catered dinner in the evening and an extended private personal tour. Inside and outside the castle, you’ll discover 28 rooms, a five-story clock tower, four-story boat house, heated squash court, pergola, and rose garden, as well as hidden passageways into almost every room and outbuilding.

7. Make Your Camping Reservations Now (Statewide)

Two cabins at Herkimer Campground

Camping is one of the best and most affordable family vacations. Whether you like to rough it, follow historic pathways or live luxuriously, New York camps have something everyone will love. With camping season officially opening on May 17, campsite reservations are already starting to flood in. Many private campgrounds can be booked through Public campgrounds are operated by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and the Department of Environmental Conservation. New reservations for all available State Parks sites—including tents, trailers, RVs, cabins, yurts, and cottages—can be made by calling 1-800-456-CAMP or reserved online.

8. Buy Your Chautauqua Institution 2024 Season Pass (Chautauqua-Allegheny)

The yellow and white facade of the Chautauqua Institution

Every summer, thousands of artists from all across the globe flock to the truly unique cultural center that is Chautauqua Institution for its nine-week summer celebration of the arts, education, religion, and recreation, and renowned morning lecture series. This summer’s program, marking the 150th season, is taking place June 22 - Aug. 25, with scheduled entertainment including Jurassic Park Live in Concert, Paul Taylor Dance Company,the All-Star Dance Gala, and the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. Located on beautiful Chautauqua Lake near Jamestown, the institution also boasts sporting activities and on-grounds accommodations. Online sales of gate passes and tickets are on-sale now. You can book a room at the historic Athenaeum Hotel or rent a lake house near the grounds of the institution.

9. See NASCAR Action at Watkins Glen (Finger Lakes)

Several cars racing around the track at Watkins Glen International

Since 1956, Watkins Glen International has hosted road racing events of nearly every class, including Formula One, World Sportscar Championship, Trans-Am, Can-Am, the International Motor Sports Association, and the IndyCar Series. The top racing series of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, the NASCAR Cup Series, returns to Watkins Glen International on September 11th, 2024 for the NASCAR Go Bowling at The Glen, the only NASCAR event in New York State. Order your tickets now and be there to experience this thrilling event on this historic road course! Stay overnight at the nearby Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, a gorgeous resort on Seneca Lake featuring fantastic lakeside views, and also in prime proximity to the gorgeous Watkins Glen State Park.

10. Get Tickets or Season Passes to One of New York’s Outdoor Performance Venues (Statewide)

A crowd gathering on the fields of Bethel Woods Center for the Arts festival in the Catskills
Credit: @bethelwoodscenter on Instagram

Get ready for a music-filled summer in New York State!

In the Hudson Valley, Caramoor's 2024 summer season returns in early June through late August, celebrating music's power to unite people, heal divisions, and inspire discovery. This year’s lineup will be announced March 1, but recent performers included Yo-Yo Ma & The Knights, Las Cafeteras, Lara Downes, Pedrito Martinez, and many others. 

In the Catskills, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts presents a summer concert season that offers a diverse mix of performances, exhibits, festivals, and art programs. Upcoming summer shows include Hootie & the Blowfish, Alanis Morissette, Jason Mraz, Impractical Jokers, and Hozier. Don’t miss out on your favorite performers; get your tickets now.

One of the pre-eminent “jewel in the crown” summer music and arts festivals in North America for over 50 years, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) will present the return of its resident companies, the New York City Ballet, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Saratoga Jazz Festival this summer. The season will also feature a diverse line-up of artists including Earth, Wind, and Fire & Chicago, Dave Matthews Band, Third Eye Blind, Lainey Wilson, Hozier, and The Doobie Brothers. Don’t miss out; order your tickets now!

11. Hudson Valley Havens

The Victorian castle style-resort Mohonk Mountain House perched above Lake Mohonk
Credit: @chandler__anderson on Instagram

Head to New Paltz and drive up a long, winding driveway where a Victorian castle awaits you. The Mohonk Mountain House (pictured) is a unique resort positioned along the banks of Lake Mohonk, surrounded by carefully landscaped gardens and pristine wilderness. Relax and renew at the spa, or indulge in one of the many outdoor activities like rock climbing and hiking—or even golfing on the on-site course. The Mohonk Mountain House is great for family vacations, a trip with friends, or a quiet, restorative weekend alone.

One of the most beautiful spots to see all that the Hudson Valley has to offer is the Hudson House. Located in Cold Spring, it perfectly blends luxury with nature. You can feel like high society at this getaway right on the water, so you'll be tempted to stay put. But be sure to take some time to explore local hiking options as well as Cold Spring's charming main street.

Consider yourself a history buff? Soak in the summer air at the Beekman Arms, America's oldest continuously operated inn. The village inn is in the center of Rhinebeck, so you can walk to restaurants, antique shops, theaters, and stores right from your room. Explore the Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site while you're nearby for a glimpse into the president's life and legacy. Get a fresh taste of that NYS homegrown fare at the Rhinebeck Farmers Market, opening May 5, where local growers and producers bring their finest produce, honey, meats, and more.

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