The state of New York is home to 215 state parks and historical sites stretching over 4 million acres of park, beaches, rivers, mountains and forests. If you’re looking to explore the beautiful wonders of nature, New York is a great place to do so. While it may be home to the concrete jungle of New York City, there are plenty of natural scenes to be taken in and here are some of the best state parks to visit in New York.
Best New York State Parks
1. Watkins Glen State Park
Watkins Glen State Park is an obvious choice here located in the Finger Lakes region. The park is known for the 400-foot deep gorge cut through rock by Glen Creek, which created 19 waterfalls from 200-foot rock cliffs in this breathtaking scene of nature. The upper part of the park is open woodlands to be explored on three different trails that run through Watkins Glen. The Southern Rim trial and Indian Trail go through the wooded areas and the Gorge Trail runs close to the stream and along the park’s stone bridges where you can see the waterfalls. You’ll undoubtedly enjoy your trip throughout this picturesque state park.
Visit Watkins Glen State Park!
2. Letchworth State Park
Letchworth State Park in Wyoming County, New York was voted the best state park by USA Today readers in 2016 and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a stunning park that is nicknamed the “Grand Canyon of the East” with the Genesee River running through a gorge throughout the park offer stunning views. There are over 66 miles of trails for hiking and walking throughout the state park through wooded areas along the gorge. There’s also great kayaking, rafting and canoeing on the Genesee River and visitors can also bike, horseback ride and even hot air balloon through the park. There are three major waterfalls to be observed in the park from rock cliffs as high as 600-feet, making the scenic park one of the best in the country and definitely worth a visit.
Visit Letchworth State Park!
3. Bear Mountain State Park
Bear Mountain State Park is located on 5,000 acres of land on the west side of the Hudson River. The park includes Bear Mountain, Dunderberg Mountain and West Mountain. The park is filled with trails for hiking and walking where visitors explore the nature to be offered and the mountain views to be had. There is also fishing access, boating, biking opportunities, a swimming pool and a zoo located in the park making it a very family friendly state park and a highly visited one.
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4. Minnewaska State Park Preserve
Minnewaska State Park Preserve is a vast, stunning 22,000-acre preserve on the Shawangunk Ridge in southeast New York. The Shawangunk Mountain ridge peak sits at 2,000 feet above sea level and is surrounded by beautiful rocky cliffs and formations. The preserve offers picturesque waterfalls, three lakes and dense forests. Visitors of the park enjoy hiking, walking or biking the 50 miles of trails within the park, or swimming, boating or even scuba diving in the lakes. Take a hike up to Castle Point to overlook the beautiful scenery of the park and it’ll surely be a nature adventure you’ll never forget.
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5. Harriman State Park
Harriman State Park is the second largest park in New York spanning across nearly 50,000 acres. It borders Bear Mountain State Park and it offers over 200 miles of hiking and walking nature trails, 31 lakes and reservoirs, two beaches, and unforgettable views. The scenes from the peaks of various hills and cliffs will take your breath away, overlooking the beautiful landscape of the park and its forests and time will slip away from you during your adventure through this great, well-maintained state park.
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This article was written by Cameron Lafontaine.