Sometimes you need a break from New York City. The crowds become overwhelming; the noise gets to be too much, and you crave some nature and fresh air. In those times of need, escape to upstate New York. With easy access from NYC via trains, buses, or cars, you’re never more than a few hours away from some of the most stunning landscapes in the country. Upstate NY has everything from wineries to waterfalls to ski mountains to some of the best restaurants in the country, and it’s all easily accessible from the big city.
The Skiing Is Some Of The Best On The East Coast
Though it may not compare to the Rocky Mountains, skiing in upstate New York is some of the best you can find on the East Coast. Whiteface Mountain, for example, is an excellent choice for skiing in the Adirondacks. It has the highest peak in the Northeast, and it was even home to the alpine skiing competitions of the 1980 Winter Olympic Games. And if it’s good enough for the Olympics, it’s good enough for you.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
There Are Amazing Wineries
A little-known fact is that upstate New York is the biggest wine producing region in the United States outside of the West Coast. The Finger Lakes region, in particular, is known for its spectacular Rieslings that will rival those found anywhere else in the world. Some favorite wineries to check out are Ravines Wine Cellars, Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard, and Vinifera Wine Cellars. Choose to explore the region spontaneously or follow one of the established wine trails.
There’s No Better Place To See Fall Foliage
Upstate New York is what your fall foliage dreams are made of. All the regions, from Hudson to North Fork to The Finger Lakes to The Catskills and more, are as picturesque as it gets, and even just driving through will make you feel warm and cozy in the crisp air. You could spend days hiking in the Adirondacks, and with the autumn leaves as your backdrop, there’s no better time of year.
The Small Towns Are The Best Escapes From NYC
The towns of upstate NY are probably what you always imagined as your picture perfect, charming town. Places like Cold Spring and Lake Placid are truly idyllic, maintaining small town charm while being surrounded by natural beauty. Plus, there are Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow if you’re into haunted towns, and if not, find a list of the best upstate NY towns right here.
Mohonk Mountain House Might Be The Coolest Place Ever
Mohonk Mountain House is a giant spa/resort/outdoor wonderland worth a trip to upstate New York all on its own. The resort is perched high on a cliff in the town of New Paltz (a great town, by the way). It’s an all-inclusive ‘camp’ or ‘playground’ perfect for all ages, with 85 miles of hiking trails, boating, yoga, tennis, and more. It’s 136 years old, is a member of The Historic Hotels of America, and is constantly at the top of lists for the best hotels in America.
It’s Becoming A Serious Food Destination
Upstate NY is becoming a foodie paradise, and with so many natural resources, it’s easy to see why. Places like Blue Hill at Stone Barns (one of the most well-known restaurants in the world and a pioneer of the farm-to-table movement) may have paved the way, but recently, particularly in Hudson, NY, the food scene is exploding. Check out Backbar for lunch and Fish & Game for dinner – a James Beard award-winning restaurant that’s starting to be known as one of the best restaurants in the country.
Storm King Is One Of The Best And Most Fascinating Museums In The United States
If you’re an art lover, Storm King is one of the most delightful art museum experiences you can have. Located in the lower Hudson Valley, it’s a 500-acre outdoor sculpture garden. Artists from around the world show their work here, and it’s a perfect day trip for anyone looking to be outside and see some art. You can take a bike tour around the grounds, simply wander, or relax in their café.
There Are Swimming Holes
Seeking out swimming holes may not be a thing you typically do, but why not? In upstate New York, there are strangely a lot of them, and they’re awesome. Part of their appeal is that they’re often unmarked and tricky to find – they’re hidden secrets that you have to be lucky enough to stumble upon. But a few to seek out in the Catskills are Kaaterskill Creek, Peekamoose Blue Hole, and Millstream Swimming Hole.
Not To Mention, Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls is one of the most visited destinations in the world, but sometimes people forget that part of it is actually located in New York. If you don’t know, Niagara Falls is a group of three massive waterfalls that have the highest water flow rate of any falls on Earth. More than six million cubic feet of water flows over the crest of the falls every minute, and it’s truly a powerful and awe-inspiring sight.
You Can Still Go To A Drive-In Movie Theater
Unexpectedly, upstate New York has a ton of drive-in movie theaters. While there used to be over 4,000 drive-ins in the United States, now only a few hundred remain. They only operate in the summer months, and many of them allow customers to bring their own food and drink. Some popular choices include Hi-Way Drive-In, The Fair Oaks Drive-In, and the Hollywood Drive-In.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.