When you’re enjoying a vacation in New York, it’s tempting to spend all of your time in the heart of New York City. However, if you venture out beyond the Big Apple, you can find a variety of fascinating hidden gems. Whether you want to relax by the water or get out into the wilderness, there’s something for everyone. As you plan your itinerary, look for New York vacation rentals near these fantastic secret spots.
1. Newtown Battlefield State Park, Elmira
Walk in the footsteps of Revolutionary War soldiers at Newtown Battlefield State Park. Once the site of the 1779 Battle of Newtown, the park is now a beautiful, peaceful resting place. Be sure to head up to the overlook deck to learn about the historic battle and see stunning views of the Chemung River Valley. The park is open year-round; you can find plenty of vacation rentals in nearby Elmira.
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2. Bannerman Castle, Pollepel Island
New York might be the last place you’d expect to find the ruins of a castle, but on Pollepel Island, you can do just that. The ruins of Bannerman Castle grace this small island on the Hudson River, creating a stunning sight. Check out the castle from the shore at Sunset Rock, paddle past in a kayak, or hop aboard the Estuary Steward for a boat ride and a walking tour of the island. Tours are available from May through October; stay nearby in Cornwall-on-Hudson or Cold Spring.
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3. Watkins Glen State Park, Watkins Glen
See one of New York’s most beautiful wilderness area at Watkins Glen State Park. Head straight for the Gorge Trail, which takes you past 19 waterfalls that cascade through huge pools and over steep cliffs. Wear sturdy shoes and bring your phone, as the gorge makes for spectacular photos. The best local vacation rentals are located along Seneca Lake to the north; book early, particularly in the summer. The park is open year-round, but the Gorge Trail closes in the winter.
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4. Wild Walk, Tupper Lake
Stroll through the treetops from spring through fall on the Wild Walk, an elevated hiking trail at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake. Climb a four-story staircase inside a tree, sit in a giant bird’s nest to look at the view, or brave the Spider’s Web rope net, far above the forest floor. The trail is accessible for wheelchairs and strollers, so it’s a fun outing for the whole family; don’t miss the rest of the interactive nature center and museum. Vacation rentals in Tupper Lake are just a few minutes away.
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5. Lower Falls, Ithaca
Swim under a waterfall at Robert H. Treman State Park. The Lower Falls run steadily over a rock face, creating a safe, gentle spray of water during the summer months. A large, roped-off swimming hole sits at the base of the falls, and convenient bathroom and bathhouse facilities make it easy to spend a few hours or a full day. While you’re in the park, try the excellent Gorge Trail or Rim Trail before your swim. The park and waterfall is a quick drive from vacation rentals in Ithaca.
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6. Whiteface Mountain, Wilmington
Take in spectacular views of the Adirondacks during the summer and fall from the summit of Whiteface Mountain, a tall peak near Lake Placid. The mountain is famous for the stone steps that lead from the summit parking area to the top; challenging and strenuous, they are a serious workout. Don’t feel like walking? There’s also an elevator. At the summit, enjoy the scenery and climb around the rocky terrain. If you’re planning to stay in the area, both Wilmington and Lake Placid offer beautiful properties.
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7. Martin House, Buffalo
Get a glimpse at the genius of Frank Lloyd Wright at the Martin House. Built in the early 1900s, the house looks nothing like other structures of the time; the crisp angles and clean lines are decades ahead of their time. The house, which is actually six interconnected buildings, is open for tours year round. Book early to gain access to the fascinating interior and learn about the history of the complex. Stay in downtown Buffalo, which is just five miles south.
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8. Museum at Bethel Woods, Bethel
Explore the site of the legendary 1969 Woodstock Music and Arts Fair at the Museum at Bethel Woods. This charming, colorful museum is dedicated to the 1960s and Woodstock itself, offering insight into the origins, musicians, and traditions. Don’t miss the brilliantly colored school bus and the interactive music exhibits, and be sure to stop into the photo booth for a fun souvenir. Stay in a lovely waterfront vacation rental at nearby Kauneonga Lake or Black Lake. The museum opens from spring through fall and closes for the winter.
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9. Hyde Hall Bridge, Cooperstown
Hidden away in Glimmerglass State Park lies Hyde Hall Bridge, the oldest covered bridge in the United States. This tiny, charming bridge, which has stood since 1825, sits in the center of a grove of trees. Enjoy a stroll through the structure, or walk down the creek for a perfect photo opportunity. The bridge is open all year, but it’s particularly beautiful when surrounded by fall leaves. Stay nearby in Cooperstown or on the shores of Otsego Lake.
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10. Berlin Wall, New York City
As the divide between East Germany and West Germany came to an end, artists in Berlin painted the structure. Today, you can see five of those works of art in New York City – on pieces of the wall itself. One of the easiest sections is visible year-round in the lobby of 520 Madison Avenue; another sits in the garden near the United Nations building. Both pieces are easy to reach from vacation rentals in Manhattan.
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