The six-million acre park, in the northern part of the New York state, was created in 1892; nearly half of the Park is constitutionally protected as a forest reserve that will remain ‘forever wild’. It encompasses hills, forests, rivers and lakes, villages and a variety of recreational facilities, and is a popular outdoor destination covering several counties. You can go on hikes in the Adirondack Mountains; the highest peak, Mount Marcy, is home to the lake Tear of the Clouds, from where the Hudson River originates. There are over 2000 miles of designated high peaks hiking trails. The Park encloses popular destinations such as Lake George and Lake Placid. www.adirondackexperience.com/.
Central Park, New York
The quintessential attraction of New York, the Central Park is a world unto itself. The lake is a haunt of paddlers in summer (and skaters in winter). Art works and other attractions cater to a large number of interests -- the Central Park Zoo, the Conservatory Garden, the Strawberry Fields, the Great Lawn, the Reservoir are a few of the major attractions. While entry to the main park is free, many of the attractions charge an entry fee.
Stretching between Lake Ontario and the Pennsylvania border, to the west of Syracuse, this group of 11 lakes looks like the splayed fingers of a hand and hence the name. According to an Iroquois legend, it is the impression of the fingers of the Great Spirit. Go hiking or biking along the numerous trails (the Cayuga Trail, the Seneca Lake Trail, etc.) or boating in the lakes. And if you are looking for some indulgence, pay a visit to the wineries located here.
Fire Island National Seashore
Take a relaxing vacation amid the beaches of Fire Island. The Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness area at the eastern end of the island is home to local fauna; you can obtain a special permission and camp here. The Fire Island Lighthouse is located on the west end of Fire Island, adjacent to Robert Moses State Park and may be accessed year-round by vehicle. You can drive to the Fire Island Lighthouse or to the Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness on either end of Fire Island National Seashore, but you can't drive the length of the island. Mid-island attractions like Watch Hill, Sailors Haven, and Fire Island communities may be accessed by passenger ferry or private boat. Water taxis run during the season and are a means to get from one place to another on Fire Island. The year-long 50th anniversary celebration of the Fire Island National Seashore will conclude in September 2015. A word of caution: Mosquito repellent and protective gear a must in summer. www.nps.gov/fiis/index.htm.
Part of the Adirondack Park, the town (also called Lake George) on the southern end of the 32-mile long lake, is a popular summer resort. The Million Dollar Beach draws the biggest crowd with its picnic facilities, swimming and volleyball courts. A few of the lake islands offer camping opportunities. Sightseeing cruises available. You can see the lake and its surroundings from the top of the Prospect Mountain; if you don’t want to hike, there is a tram going to the top. Drop in at the Lake George Battlefield Park and the Fort William Henry Museum for a dose of history. It has been decided that passengers who want to take the Saratoga & North Creek Railway tourist train, can avail the Lake George trolley to reach Thurman.
Better known as a winter sports destination (it hosted the Winter Olympics in 1932 and 1980), this lake at the foot of the Whiteface Mountain, is also a charming place in summer. You can make a journey along the historical Adirondack Scenic Railroad as Lake Placid is part of the northern Adirondack region. Complement your exploration of the hills and lakes with an exploration of the town’s restaurants and shops.
Letchworth State Park
Just the place that any outdoor person will love. You can camp in the park or rent a cabin. Three waterfalls descend into the Genesee River Gorge. You can go hiking or horseback riding in the surrounding forests. Kayaking, rafting, hot air ballooning are some of the popular summer activities while in winter people have the option of snow tubing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and going on horse-drawn sleigh rides.
Niagara Falls State Park
A network of decks, boats, vista points and trails ensure that you get the best views and feel of the gorgeous Niagara waterfalls. America’s oldest state park, the Niagara Falls State Park, is located about 17 miles northwest of Buffalo. The Maid of the Mist boat will take you close to the waterfalls. You can also go hiking, visit the aquarium, ride the Niagara Scenic Trolley, catch the Niagara: Legend of Adventure movie, and take a break at the restaurants. Coloured spotlights illuminate the Falls every evening (check the monthly schedule for exact timings). Every Friday and Sunday night (10pm, weather permitting), May through August, a fireworks display is held over the Falls. You can buy tickets to the park online.
Located in the borough of Brooklyn, the park is known for its open-air concerts and sports events held in summer and ice-skating opportunities in winter. The 585-acre park includes forested areas, wildlife areas, waterbodies and plenty of recreational opportunities such as jogging, biking and angling. The Long Meadow is said to be the longest continuous meadow in any American park. Brush up your knowledge about the native tree species as you walk by the green ash, red maple and American elm in Brooklyn’s only remaining natural forest. You can also visit the Prospect Park Zoo. There is also a Dog Beach to take your dog swimming.
Watkins Glen State Park
Part of the Finger Lakes, it is open year round and camping is allowed between May and mid-October. The state park is well-known for its rock formations; the glen’s streams descend along the cliff faces, creating 19 waterfalls along the way. The Watkins Glen International automobile race track located in the Glen sees a lot of activity in summer.
General information: Most parks have their own rules for pets. So please check before you take your pet along.