“Familiarity breeds contempt” is what I thought when I entered the New York portion of the U.S.A. pavillion of The 2018 New York Times Travel Show that I attended as a member of the press. I have lived in NYC for over half of my life so sometimes I forget how amazing the state of New York truly is! To my shame, I have visited all four spots that stood out to me at the show but I haven’t thoroughly explored any of them with my family. Due to my renewed respect for this region, that will change. I am sharing these 4 best family vacation spots in New York State for your reference…and mine!
My family had an amazing time glamping at Camp Orenda back in 2011 in the Adirondacks. The hiking, canoing, fishing and eating were all so much fun. We learned to pitch a tent and had the most amazing sleep – by a brook under a canopy of stars. At the show, I learned that there is much more to explore in the Adirondacks – museums, dude ranches with horesback riding and cattle drives and the like.
There really are fun options for all four seasons. Hiking, swimming, biking, whitewater rafting, and skiing are just some of the options. The presentations for the Wild Center in Tupper Lake, NY, a nature immersion center, and the Adirondack Experience, the museum on Blue Mountain lake, were especially compelling. The Lake George area of the Adirondacks was well represented at the show. It seems to have a wide range of vacation hotels and resorts with rooms or resort cabins/lodges. There are even campgrounds in the area if you prefer to go on a camping family vacation. Lake George is also popular for its “Million Dollar Beach” and the snow trails at Gore Mountain.
2. Hudson Valley
Westchester was the area that seems most inviting overall. I have been to Westchester to meet up with a girlfriend to go to the spa before. Reggie and I also took the boys to Rye Playland when they were younger. There are still several other things that we can experience in this family-friendly area. The waterfronts (the Hudson River and Long Island Sound), parks, nature centers, farms, golf courses, trails, museums, cultural and historic site and events, variety of restaurants and special annual events are just a sampling of what Westchester has to offer. My family has also made wonderful memories at Rockland County’s Bear Mountain and skiing, riding horses, and snow tubing at Ulster County’s Rocking Horse Ranch was a favorite family trip.
3. Long Island
We are often in Long Island to meet up with friends. Besides a trip to the Hamptons in 2007, I have never really thought of it as a vacation spot though. There are so many cool things to do in Long Island. In addition to enjoying their famous beaches, the Long Island Aquarium and several amusement parks (including Splish Splash water park) are there. Fishing, surfing, kayaking, and biking are other popular options. (On a related note, go to the Hamptons off-season for the best rates. You’ll be amazed at the prices that you can get if you go just a week after Labor Day!)
I don’t know why we have not brought the kids to the Poconos area yet. Reggie and I have visited the area a few times with friends (pre-kids) and for a couples getaway at Mount Airy Casino in 2016. There really is something for families to do every season in this area. Warm-weather attractions include swimming, golfing, horseback riding, and zip lines. Hiking, fairs, festivals, and various snowsports are options when the weather is colder. Of course, the beautiful mountain scenery is an additional year-round treat too.
I was able to receive so many wonderful recommendations at the travel show. I’m definitely looking forward to experiencing some of these new things with my family in the months and years to come!