Can fall in New York get even more colorful? Besides the changing leaves, come experience award-winning state parks, epic outdoor adventures, family-friendly farms, historic sites, and so much more! Whether you’re sipping locally made wines or fall-themed craft beers, picking your own apples, hiking to scenic summits, or looking for new ways to celebrate Halloween, this season will surpass your expectations. Get ready to breathe in that crisp air—fall in New York is a time to create vivid memories. Remember to social distance and wear a mask as required by state guidelines. Call ahead and check websites and social media to make sure attractions are open and available.
Discover incredible fall foliage
Credit: Jim Vallee
From breathtaking mountain vistas and treetop vantage points to forested hiking trails and picturesque waterfalls, there are a multitude of places to find brilliant fall foliage in New York State. Fly high over the “Grand Canyon of the East” and its majestic waterfalls with a hot air balloon ride in Letchworth State Park (pictured). Look for shades of red, orange, and yellow on a gondola ride at Whiteface Mountain or Gore Mountain, overlooking the Adirondack Mountains. Interested in exploring on foot? Walk through centuries-old rock formations, around giant tree roots, and past hidden caves surrounded by trees with brightly colored leaves at Panama Rocks Scenic Park in Panama. If a waterfall hike piques your interest, Watkins Glen State Park in the Finger Lakes is the place to go! With 19 waterfalls and 200-foot cliffs, the two-mile Gorge Trail tends to be busiest in the spring and summer, making fall a perfect time to visit.
Fly amongst the treetops on a zipline
Credit: Beautiful Destinations
Follow your adventurous side ziplining above and through the season’s changing leaves as you take in the beautiful views of the Delaware River. Tours are available through October, and reservations are recommended. New York Zipline Canopy Tours at Hunter Mountain (pictured) will exhilarate you as the fastest, highest, and longest zipline canopy tour in North America. Tours are offered daily, and reservations are strongly recommended here as well.
Choose, chuck, carve, or just admire the perfect pumpkin
Credit: Tom Nycz for Historic Hudson Valley
How do you choose your jack-o'-lantern pumpkin? Do you go for the biggest pumpkin in the patch, or maybe one with interesting features? Find your pumpkin at Old McDonald’s Farm in Sackets Harbor and then enjoy hayrides and a corn maze. Fall activities are running from September through Halloween, so you’ll have plenty of time to join the fun! Pick out a pumpkin and interact with farm animals at Pumpkinville in Great Valley from September 11–October 31. Visit the Great Pumpkin Farm in Clarence from September 18–October 31 to get pumpkins, gourds, and mums to pump up your fall spirit. The Great Pumpkin Farm also hosts a pie-eating contest, pumpkin slingshots, a pumpkin drop, and a petting zoo. See pumpkins fly through the air at Clayton’s Punkin Chunkin on October 16, when teams compete to see how far their pumpkins can soar using trebuchets and catapults. Watch pumpkins light up the night at the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze (pictured) in Van Cortlandt Manor, September 17–November 21. More than 7,000 carefully carved jack-o’-lanterns will be featured in unique sculptures of a 25-foot-tall Statue of Liberty, signs of the zodiac, and more, thanks to a team of more than 1,000 volunteers and professional artists.
Satisfy your taste buds at food festivals
This fall, enjoy a plethora of food festivals, including the Lewiston Harvest & Hops Festival held September 25–26. Home to more than 130 food and craft beer, wine, and distilled liquor vendors, along with a farmers’ market, this is not to be missed. For a unique experience you’ll never forget, visit the October 2-3 in Saugerties. Normally held in August, Binghamton’s Spiedie Fest returns October 8-10. What started out as a tribute to the region’s beloved marinated meat specialty has grown into a hot air balloon rally and concert festival, but of course, you’ll find plenty of spiedies to sample from local vendors who come out every year!
Sample farm-fresh produce at a farmers market
If a laid-back trip to a farmers market is more your style, pick up some fresh off-the-farm goodies to take home from the famous Ithaca Farmers Market (pictured) located right on Cayuga Lake. While you’re there, be sure to try the breakfast burritos or a variety of global cuisine ranging from Sri Lankan to Korean while you listen to live music. Or visit the Union Square Greenmarket to pick up ingredients for the perfect fall picnic where New York City’s top chefs do their shopping.
Travel the Path Through History
Credit: @heyjeremey on Instagram
With 13 themes covering everything from the Revolutionary War to New York’s leading role as a beacon for civil rights, New York State has plenty for history buffs to discover. Explore the oldest continuously occupied military site in North America at Old Fort Niagara (pictured), or visit the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum to see the “I Love Lucy” set in living color and learn about how Jamestown, NY native Lucille Ball went on to become the first woman to own a major television studio. October 9-11 is Path Through History Weekend, which makes it an especially good time to visit the many historic and cultural destinations across the state.
Spend the day with New York’s most adorable animals
Kids of all ages will love spending the day cozying up to bunnies, llamas, and more at family-owned and operated Springside Farm. Zoos from Buffalo to the Bronx all offer visitors the opportunity to see different species of animals while highlighting the importance of conservation. See epic fall foliage and exotic animals on a monorail safari tour at the Bronx Zoo (pictured) or celebrate Halloween at the Buffalo Zoo. Central New York’s Animal Adventure Park houses more than 250 animals including African lions, squirrel monkeys, aquatic slider turtles, as well as new tigers Bao and Ming. If you want to get up close and personal, book an unforgettable African lion or kangaroo encounter. Looking for a more active experience? Spend the night and take advantage of 500+ acres of horseback riding at the all-inclusive Rocking Horse Ranch Resort.
Find your way through a corn maze
Credit: @rbkbagel on Instagram
Test your problem-solving skills during the back-to-school season by navigating through a corn maze. In Ballston Spa, try the Amazing Maize Corn Maze at Ellms Family Farm, which takes about 90 minutes to complete. Bringing younger kids? Have them follow along the Kiddie Maze, where there is no getting lost! At Long Acre Farms, outside of Rochester, navigate the five-acre logic cornfield where you’ll have a gameboard, and staff members stationed throughout the maze to keep you from getting lost.
Credit: @dhheck on Instagram
See the incredible colors of fall as you explore Storm King Art Center, a 500-acre outdoor museum in the Hudson Valley. Check out “The Fifth Season” by Sarah Sze, a 50-foot long immersive installation running until Nov. 8 Tickets are currently available for visits through Sept. 20. Art Omi, located in Ghent, features paintings, drawings, as well as sculptures and architectural pieces by several different artists both in a gallery and across more than 100 acres. The Farmers’ Museum (pictured) in Cooperstown will take you back in time with a mix of demonstrations, hands-on activities, and exhibitions showcasing rural life in the United States, featuring more than 20,000 artifacts. The museum is open through October 31.
Credit: @vivid_aerial_photography on Instagram
Live like you’re in a fairytale at one of New York State’s majestic castles. The Thousand Islands’ Singer Castle is an impressive structure with detailed architecture and furnishings—on your visit, try to find one of the castle’s many secret passageways! Venture to the Hudson Valley’s Bannerman Castle (pictured) to learn about the significant history of the Scottish-style castle. Both guided and self-guided tours are offered through October. For a self-guided tour, board the Estuary Steward boat from Beacon or Newburgh to get to the castle. Long Island’s Gold Coast is home to OHEKA Castle, a historic mansion built 100 years ago. Take a tour of the estate and gardens, or perhaps spend a night or two in one of the castle’s lavish guest rooms.
Hike short-but-scenic trails
Credit: Gerald Berliner
Head to the mountains to experience the brilliant colors of fall. Explore natural land and miles of trails at the Mohonk Preserve (pictured), located in the Shawangunk Mountains. For an Adirondack hike with scenic summit views of mountains filled with fall foliage, try Mount Severance in Schroon Lake, which is approximately 2.4 miles round trip.
Test your bravery during spooktacular happenings
Credit: Jim Logan, Courtesy of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
Looking for a spooky activity this Halloween season? New York State has you covered! Venture to the Hudson Valley’s Sleepy Hollow Cemetery (pictured) to learn the history behind the well-known cemetery, but don’t let the Headless Horseman get you! Make your way through five creepy haunted houses at Frightworld in Amherst. Bring your family to Fright Fest at the Great Escape & Hurricane Harbor in Queensbury, select days Oct. 2-31. Family-friendly activities such as trick-or-treating, a costume contest, and a scream contest will be held during the day. If you’re looking for more fright, walk through the park after 5 pm to explore a blacklight maze and halls filled with zombies. For even more spooky fun, explore the attractions on the Haunted History Trail of New York State.
Say cheers to harvest season
Atwater Estate Vineyards, Finger Lakes | Credit: Walter Arnold
Wine lovers rejoice! Harvest season is underway in New York State, which means it’s time to tour Long Island Wine Country and Finger Lakes Wine Country. Sample red, white, sweet, dry, and dessert wines at Duck Walk Vineyards while overlooking 30 acres of vineyards in the Hamptons. In the Finger Lakes, drink a glass of wine while taking in the sunset over Seneca Lake from the deck at Atwater Estate Vineyards through Columbus Day. Sample world-class wines during a tasting experience at the Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery along Keuka Lake. Venture to nearby Heron Hill Winery to enjoy live music throughout the fall months.
Find the apple of your eye
McIntosh, Empire, Fuji, Red Delicious, Macoun—the list of New York-grown apples goes on and on. Pick your own apples or purchase them in the Apple Barn at Beak & Skiff (pictured) in Lafayette. While you’re there, taste-test the orchard’s 1911 ciders, spirits, and wines. Find apples in the Capital Region at Indian Ladder Farms in Altamont, where you can also get homemade pies, cider, produce, and more. For freshly made cider donuts, head to Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard in Cooperstown, Cider Belly Doughnuts in Albany, and Mayer Brothers Cider Mill and Bakery in West Seneca.
Sample seasonal New York State beer
Try unique seasonal beers or stick to year-round favorites like Rare Vos or Witte at Brewery Ommegang (pictured) in Cooperstown. The Adirondacks’ Lake Placid Pub and Brewery always has six house beers on tap, and pub food options to choose from. For a seasonal beer, try the Pumpkin Ubu Ale, Lake Placid Festbier, or Autumn Rye. Brooklyn Brewery, located on the north side of the borough, offers Brooklyn Oktoberfest and Post Road Pumpkin Ale during the autumn season. As the temperature begins to fall in the Capital region, Druthers Brewing Company features their Oktoberfest and Harvest Apple beers.
Cheer on runners or participate in seasonal races
Credit: Saratoga Bridges
Fall is a perfect time for running—cool temperatures, crisp air, and a beautiful backdrop of changing leaves. Walk, run or ride a 5K or 10K between October 16-31 for the Great Pumpkin Challenge (pictured). Encourage your family and friends to join in and register for $25. See spectacular foliage as you run through the village of Rhinebeck at the Fall Foliage ½ Marathon & 5K on October 10. The half marathon begins at 10 am and the 5K starts at 10:15 am. Additionally, be inspired by more than 50,000 runners at the New York City Marathon on November 7! Runners from around the world will test their stamina as they run 26.2 miles through the five boroughs of New York City while the entire city cheers for them on the sidelines.
Binge on cinema at a film festival
‘Tis the season for film festivals. Watch incredible films and celebrate talented filmmakers at the 59th New York City Film Festival September 24–October 10. Some of this year’s films include “Dune” an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal novel by filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, “The Tragedy of Macbeth” by Joel Coen, and more. Single tickets go on sale on September 7 at noon. Attend the Woodstock Film Festival Sept. 29-Oct. 3 to see independent film premieres, listen to panel experts and connect with other film lovers. See more than 100 independent films with varying perspectives at the 29th Annual Hamptons International Film Festival October 7–13 in the Hamptons. In addition, you can attend the Adirondack Film Festival, October 14–17 in Glens Falls.
Find tranquility while camping
Truly disconnect from your daily routine with a fall camping trip. Pack your gear and get on your way! Allegany State Park-Red House Area in Salamanca is open year-round, with cottages and cabins available any time and campsites available through the end of October. Relax as you take in the views of fall foliage by walking or biking through the park. Camping at Hither Hills State Park in Montauk is available through mid-November with campgrounds right near the ocean! Looking for something that's rustic yet luxurious? Try glamping at Posh Primitive (pictured) in the Adirondacks. With queen-size beds and a wood stove in each cabin, it’s the perfect location to relax after a day of fall hiking.
Get hooked on fall fishing
Credit: Destination Niagara USA
Cast a line into fish-filled waters this fall. The Catskills are considered the birthplace of American fly fishing, so it’s no surprise there’s an abundance of excellent fishing spots throughout the mountains. Head to the region’s Delaware River or Esopus Creek, where you can find a variety of fish including brown and rainbow trout. If you’re looking to catch a big one, try the main stem of the Upper Delaware River. Fishing season for trout runs through October 15. Spend a day on a fishing charter along the St. Lawrence River with the Alexandria Bay Fishing Guides Association. Home to Muskellunge, better known as “Muskies,” St. Lawrence is a top place to visit during the fall season. The Muskie season runs through the end of November. Additionally, try the picturesque Lower Niagara River (pictured), where Smallmouth Bass season is September and October, Chinook and Coho salmon season runs from September through November, and the Steelhead show up in November and December.
Cheer on your favorite New York sports teams
Credit: Buffalo Bills
Deck yourself out in your team’s colors, grab some nachos, and get ready to watch your team win! With three major sports seasons overlapping, you’ll have no problem finding a game to attend this fall! Football Sundays (and Saturdays for college games) are some of the best things about the weather changing. Catch a professional game at Highmark Stadium watching the Buffalo Bills (pictured) or wear your orange to the Carrier Dome at a Syracuse University football game. Finish out the baseball season at a New York Yankees or New York Mets game in New York City. Can’t wait to be sitting against the glass? Watch the puck drop at a New York Rangers, New York Islanders, or Buffalo Sabres professional hockey game, as the season starts at the beginning of October.
Make a splash at indoor water parks
Think water parks are only for the summer? Not in New York State! The Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark (pictured) in the Catskills is the state’s largest indoor waterpark. With winding water slides, a lazy river ringed with waterfalls, and an air temperature of 84 degrees all year long, Kartrite can feel like a tropical oasis on colder days. Head to the Adirondacks’ Six Flags Great Escape Lodge & Indoor Waterpark for a day of adventure. Whether you prefer to splash through water fountains, speed down a water slide, or relax along the lazy river, there is something for all swim levels. Also, test your boogie board surfing skills at the wave simulator or take a stand-up surf lesson with a trained instructor. With two themed hoops and a 1,000-square-foot “court” in the water, challenge your family and friends to a game of basketball in the Cove at Greek Peak Mountain Resort in the Finger Lakes. Not into basketball? The Whitewater Wave Pool, the Rapids, and Big Bear Falls will keep you busy!