New York – The Empire State
The Finger Lakes region in New York is an outdoor wonderland, spreading over 9,000 square miles of beautiful landscape with eleven sparkling long, narrow, roughly north to south Finger Lakes and gorgeous waterfalls. The Finger Lakes region of central New York is known for several remarkable state parks, including Letchworth, Watkins Glen, and Taughannock Falls. The region is an outdoor paradise full of recreational activities, excellent hiking trails, water sports, boating, fishing, and food/wine touring. Although anytime is a great time to visit the Fingerlakes region, the best time to visit the Finger Lakes is May through September (late spring through fall). Finger Lakes is a relaxing and joyful getaway for tri-state residents with amazing outdoor recreational activities. For more info check on the official website.
These photos are from Fall 2014 and Summer 2016.
Best Things To Do
Location: Conesus Lake, Finger Lakes Region, New York, USA.
Date and Time: Around 7:30am on October 11, 2014.
Location: Somewhere on Groveland Road – Route 44, Finger Lakes Region, New York, USA.
Date and Time: Around 6pm on October 11, 2014.
Location: Taughannock Falls Overlook View Point, Taughannock Falls State Park, Finger Lakes Region, New York, USA.
Date and Time: Around 3:30pm on July 3 , 2016.
The Thousand island region is a 50 mile stretch in the St Lawrence River bordering northern New York state, USA and southeastern Ontario, Canada region. The Thousand Islands is the official name for a group of nearly 2000 attractive islands with beautiful endless shorelines. The region is a popular tourist destination that offers not only breathtaking views but also surprises with rich history and unique culture. Cruising through this region mesmerizes with its fairytale castles, historic lighthouses, and impressive mansions. Thousand Islands is definitely an outdoor paradise and water wonderland for those who love outdoor vacation.
These photos are from our visit to Thousand Islands on July 4th weekend of 2010. After visiting Letchworth State Park, New York, we drove and stayed overnight at Alexandria Bay. The next morning we took a Singer Castle tour that stops at Boldt Castle from Uncle Sam Boat Tours and it was a wonderful trip!!
Quick Facts and Tips
- Best time to visit: June to early October
- June to mid August: Peak Season, Warm Temperature
- Late August to Early October: Shoulder season, Cooler temperature
- Fly Into:
- Syracuse Airport: Closest and almost 1.5 hours drive to Thousand Islands
- Buffalo Airport and Toronto: Nearest major airports. It takes more than three hours on the road to reach Thousand Islands and there are shuttles, trains and buses from airports to Thousand Islands, but they take longer.
- Clothing: Weather is warm, so pack light casual t-shirts, shorts, sundresses, tank tops, capris, skirts, sunscreen, hats, comfortable footwear, rain gears and a light jacket.
- Accommodation: Lodging in the region offer many options like rent private island homes, stay in waterfront inns, bed-and-breakfast or full-service hotels, and thousands of campsites
- New York, USA: Alexandria Bay, Clayton, Watertown
- Ontario, Canada: Gananoque, Kingston, Brookville
- Make sure if you need a passport and visa (US or Canada) before you book any tours.
- It is worth to include Thousand Islands in the trip plan if you are around the Finger Lakes region or Buffalo (New York, USA) or Toronto (Ontario, Canada)
- The only way to visit the islands is by boat/cruise. The boat/cruise tours are available from both sides of the United States and Canada. A boat ride from Alexandria Bay, New York, is about 20 minutes and it takes about 30 minutes from Gananoque, Ontario, Canada.
- Private boats are also permitted
- Booking a boat/cruise tour can be done in advance or tickets can be purchased at the ticket booth of the boat/cruise company (like Uncle Sam Boat Tours in Alexandria Bay, Clayton Island Tours in Clayton, New York and City Cruises Gananoque, Kingston 1000 Islands Cruises in Ontario, Canada)
- Tour companies offer cruises that take visitors to fantasy castles, historic lighthouses and majestic mansions. Choose an appropriate tour that best suits your interest.
- Open deck seating in the cruise is always better to get the best views
- Best Things to do
- Take any scenic cruise/boat tour that takes you between islands, through channels, under bridges and narrates the history of the region. Tours depart from both sides of the USA Canada border
- Visit and take a stroll through German-style Boldt Castle on Heart Island. Boldt Castle is open to the public only during the day between mid May and mid October. There are no facilities for overnight accommodations. There will be an entry fee for the castle. Tickets can be purchased at the Ticket Booth of the tour company or at Heart Island for the same rate
- Embrace the beauty and the history of Singer Castle on Dark Island with its Gothic windows and secret passageways. Singer Castle is open daily to the public seasonally from mid May to mid October. A 45-minute guided tour of Singer Castle on Dark Island beautifully describes the history of the castle
- Visit and enjoy the 360-degree views of the Saint Lawrence River from the top of Rock Island Lighthouse. Take a stroll through the museum, climb the stairs of the lighthouse and enjoy a bird’s eye view from the lantern room. The island is open from mid May to September and opens daily during the summer and on weekends during the shoulder season.
New York is home to many impressive state parks, but only a few are as incredible as Watkins Glen State Park located in Watkins Glen village. Watkins Glen State Park, in the Finger Lakes region of New York, is a natural jewel with amazing views. The Park features a series of waterfalls, a flowing stream, steep cliffs and scenic gorges. The glen stream descends through the scenic deep gorge and generates 19 waterfalls. Hiking the winding Watkins Glen Gorge trail along the Glen creek over and under the waterfalls is a truly magnificent experience. Everyone’s favorite, the Gorge Trail at Watkins Glen, offers the most iconic Rainbow Fall, classic stone staircases, idyllic bridges, zigzagging Glen creek, a pretty gorge, and of course views of some of the most gorgeous cascades in the Finger Lakes region.
These photos are from Fall 2014.
Quick Facts and Tips
- The park is open year round, but the popular Gorge Trail is seasonal.
- Best time to visit: Spring through Fall
- Check for trail and road closures at the park’s Website
- There is a $10 fee per vehicle.
- There is a $5 per person shuttle service that runs daily from mid June until Labor Day and only on weekends between mid May and mid June. The shuttle runs every 15-20 mins between the three entrances – Main, Upper and South.
- Start early on weekdays for best photo op and more elbow room.
- The popular Gorge Trail is about 1.5 mile one way with 832 stone steps. This picturesque trail goes along with Glen Creek and reaches the base of a 400 feet deep gorge. The trail is open from mid May to late october.
- You can hike the Gorge Trail either from the top (Upper Entrance) or bottom (Main Entrance) of a gorge. It is easier to climb down the stone steps by choosing the Upper Entrance and returning back by taking a shuttle from the Main Entrance.
- Bring plenty of water
- Wear waterproof clothes and shoes as you walk very close to and under the waterfalls
- The cell phone service is weak/no coverage in the park.
- The Park offers campsites and cabins. There are restrooms, hot showers, dumping stations, food concessions, gift shops, rental pavilion, picnic tables & grills, playing fields, swimming pool and playgrounds
- Enjoyable and peaceful getaway for tri-state residents
Gorgeous waterfalls, deep scenic gorge, roaring river, and a lush forest… what a majestic beauty the Letchworth State Park is! No wonder why Letchworth State Park is known as “Grand Canyon of the East”. Letchworth State Park is one of the most magnificent state parks in the Finger Lakes region in the state of New York, USA. Letchworth State park is roughly 17 miles long and spreads over 14,427 acres of beautiful lush landscape. The Genesee river roars and runs through the deep scenic gorge and cliffs as high as 600 feet. The park offers over 66 miles of excellent marked hiking trails with jaw dropping views of stunning waterfalls surrounded by lush forests. The picture perfect Upper Falls is 70 feet high and gives an impression of a picture framed by an active railroad. The largest and most spectacular among the three falls is the 107 feet high, about 285 feet wide curtain like Middle falls. Though the 50 feet Lower Falls is not easily accessible compared to other two astonishing waterfalls, the trail provides excellent views of deep scenic gorge along the hike to the viewpoint. The park looks amazing in every season, but the park turns into a colorful masterpiece in fall. The 17 mile road runs through the park making it easy to access the amazing vista points that offer different angles of impressive gorge and picturesque waterfalls.
These photos are from Fall 2014 and Summer 2010.
Quick Facts and Tips
- The park is open year round.
- Best time to Visit: Summer and Fall. Be prepared for the crowd in Summer to Fall.
- Check for road closure and trail condition at The Park’s Website.
- Lodging options are limited as the Letchworth State Park is located in a rural area. But, the park offers hundreds of campsites and cabins.
- There is a $10 entrance fee per vehicle.
- There are four entrances to the park. The Portageville and Castile entrances are closest and provide the best access to the waterfalls and the gorge views.
- The Upper Falls is easily accessed by the Falls Area parking lot and heading upstream a short distance.
- An easy, paved 7 mile Gorge Trail is the most popular and offers amazing views of Upper and Middle falls at the overlooks.
- A half mile descending 127 stone steps trail to a stone footbridge leads to the viewpoint of beautiful Lowe Falls. Take caution as the trail can get muddy and very slippery.
- Inspiration Point Overlook offers the breathtaking view of both the Upper and Middle Falls.
- There is very limited cellphone service in the park.
- There are amenities like a pool, playground, athletic fields, restaurant, gift shop and restrooms.
- The park hosts seasonal activities like festivals, cultural events, history and performing arts programs, guided walks, whitewater rafting, hot-air ballooning, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.