Most people view upstate New York as the entire northern part of the state above New York City and its boroughs. In this area, there are large cities and small towns. This area includes lakes, farmland, and forested areas with opportunities for wine tasting, hiking, boating, and horseback riding. Finding a place for you and your family to enjoy a long weekend or a week’s vacation comes down to what you want to spend your free time doing. Each place you visit has its own vibes and quirks along with an array of activities and attractions. Here’s a quick overview of the top 12 places in Upstate New York for vacation rentals. Find Rochester vacation rentals.

1. Rochester

rochester skyline
Source: Flickr/Ryan Hyde

Find a vacation rental in the city of Rochester in one of the downtown neighborhoods to enjoy all the amenities of a major city. While in town, check out the largest copper-plated statue in the United States, a Winged Mercury that stands an impressive 21 feet. At night, enjoy the music scene or stop in at one of the pubs near the bridge that crosses into the business district. For some great eats, stop and have dinner at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, a restaurant on the bridge.

2. Kingston

uptown kingston
Source: Flickr/rik-shaw (reflect first)

Stay in the state of New York’s first capital city and explore the state’s rich history. Spend a day walking around Kingston’s beautiful waterfront area with its great selection of shops, boutiques, art galleries, cafes, bars, and restaurants. If the weather turns dark, make your way inside the Hudson River Maritime Museum to learn more about the town’s history, or stop by the New York Trolley Museum.

3. Corning

market street
Source: Flickr/Brian Holland

Feel like you’ve stepped back in time or onto a picture set with a visit to the downtown area. Take in a movie at the Palace movie theater that still features its Art Deco lights on the marquee. Do a little shopping at the local farmer’s market to enjoy a home cooked meal at your vacation rental, or dine at one of the trendy restaurants in town. Visit the Corning Museum of Glass to learn more about the art and production of glass.

4. Ithaca

waterfalls
Source: Flickr/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region

Enjoy a young and hip vibe in the college town of Ithaca with its cool bar scene and live music almost every night. Explore the local downtown area for its eclectic array of shops, cafes, and eateries. Gather the family in the car for the short ride to the local Buttermilk Falls State Park for some hiking, fishing, and splashing around in the cool pools of water.

5. Hammondsport

hammondsport
Source: Flickr/See1,Do1,Teach1

Escape the crowds in the small town in Upstate New York of Hammondsport. It’s in the Finger Lakes area with lots of opportunities for boating, fishing, hiking, and biking. In the small downtown area, check out the quaint shops with unique items and enjoy a meal at one of the local mom and pop restaurants. Just outside town, visit the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum. This museum offers the history of one of the town’s locals, Glenn H. Curtiss, who was a contemporary of the Wright Brothers.

6. Naples

naples patio
Source: Flickr/Visit Finger Lakes

This area is famous for the grape growers in the area, and along with a modest and comfortable vacation rental, you’ll find many shops dedicated to grapes and wines. You can even enjoy a piece of grape pie in one of the local cafes and bakeries. Head out to tour a couple of the local vineyards and wineries to explore your palette and find a new wine to enjoy. Don’t forget to buy a couple of bottles to take home.

7. Jamestown

jamestown
Source: Flickr/Doug Kerr

Check out one of the best celebrity museums in the country when you stay in Jamestown. This quaint town was the hometown of Lucille Ball, so you must make time to visit the Lucy-Desi Museum, dedicated to this comedian’s genius. Take an evening stroll at Bergman Park along the paved walking paths, and visit when the park hosts one of the town’s festivals.

8. Albany

albany
Source: Flickr/Ron Cogswell

As the state’s capital city, Albany offers a variety of vacation rentals from condos to family homes in varying neighborhoods. In the summer months, the town hosts the Alive at Five concert series each week. Learn more about New York’s history at the New York State Museum, and get your sea legs on the USS Slater, one of the last remaining World War II destroyer escort ships.

9. Alexandria Bay

alexandria bay
Source: Flickr/Doug Kerr

Nestled along the shores of the St. Lawrence River sits the town of Alexandria Bay. Here, you can spend a day ducking in and out of the trendy little shops with tacky souvenirs and get a bite to eat at one of the local restaurants. Visit Thousands Islands to tour some of the mansions and castles that date back to the Robber Baron era.

10. Cooperstown

otsego lake
Source: Flickr/Ron Cogswell

Known as “America’s Most Perfect Village,” Cooperstown has a lot to offer your family vacation. At the Farmers’ Museum, explore what farm life was like in the 1840s and enjoy the staff dressed in period costumes. Learn more about the history of America’s favorite past time at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Check out the collection of Native American artifacts and landscape paintings at the Fenimore Art Museum.

11. Phoenicia

catskill mountain
Source: Flickr/Russ Nelson

Explore the Catskills with a vacation rental in the small hamlet of Phoenicia. Time spent in this part of the state includes hiking, fishing, biking, cross-country skiing, and canoeing. On Main Street, spend an afternoon looking in the stores and finish it with a take-out pie from Brio’s Pizzeria. In the summer, take the kids to Tinker Town Tube Rental and rent tubes to spend a day floating down the Esopus Creek.

12. Watkins Glen

watkins glen
Source: Flickr/Andy Arthur

Fresh air and time spent outdoors rule the day with a vacation rental in Watkins Glen. In the Watkins Glen State Park, you and your family can spend the day hiking and visit the Rainbow Bridge and Falls with its gorgeous views. Visit the local race car track that hosts Formula One Grand Prix racing, plus NASCAR series racing and IndyCar Series racing. In the off-season, drive your car out on the track at the “Drive the Glen” experience.