12 Most Underrated Places To Visit In New York State In 2023

Most Underrated Places To Visit In New York State In 2023

New York State covers a vast amount of land, is home to a wide range of geographical features that range from ocean beaches to mountain ranges and offers attractions that range from the beautiful to the absurd. There’s just about something for adventurous travelers who want to explore the lesser-known destinations found throughout the state. 

The following destinations offer something for everyone in that they consist of an interesting feature, structure, or landscape. Consider adding them to an itinerary, or make it a point to travel to one on a day trip. All are a slice of the pie that’s called New York State and are part of what makes the state interesting and unique.

The Wild Center

Nestled within the serene embrace of Tupper Lake in the Adirondack Mountains, The Wild Center stands as a beacon of natural exploration and discovery. This captivating institution offers a gateway into the heart of the Adirondacks, where visitors can embark on a remarkable journey of ecological understanding.

The Wild Center’s architectural marvel harmonizes with the surrounding wilderness, creating a seamless blend between human ingenuity and the natural world. Inside, an array of interactive exhibits and immersive displays bring the region’s vibrant ecosystems to life, allowing guests to delve into the interconnectedness of flora and fauna.

The centerpiece of the center is its awe-inspiring “Wild Walk,” an elevated trail system that winds through the treetops, granting visitors a unique perspective of the forest canopy and its inhabitants.

The Tepee – Cherry Valley

The Teepee is a 50-foot-tall structure that’s located just outside of Cherry Valley. It was originally built in 1954 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Originating in an era that predates the interstates, the TeePee consists of a gift shop and food stand for travelers to stop and rest for a while as they explore the state by car. 

Grimes Glen – Naples

Grimes Glen is a triple waterfall trail that consists of a one-mile walk alongside a creek trail. Park at the trailhead and enjoy the hike past the first two falls, one known as French Hills Falls. Hikers who aren’t in the best of shape may wish to take a pass on reaching the third fall as it requires a more intense effort to reach.

Cornell Botanical Gardens – Ithaca

The Cornell Botanical Gardens are found near Cornell University and cover 25 acres. A further 150 acres are part of the F.R. Newman Aboretum.

The gardens were created somewhere around 1850 and are dedicated to highlighting native plants, trees, and shrubs. There is no fee to enter the park, and visitors can spend the entire day exploring the exhibits if they so desire.

Bannerman Castle – Pollepel Island

Pollepel Island is an island located on the Hudson River and is easily reached by boat. It’s home to the ruins of Bannerman’s Castle, which was built as a military warehouse by Francis Bannerman.

After Bannerman’s passing, the castle was partly destroyed when tons of ordinance being stored on the site exploded. The structure has been slowly decaying since. 

Whiteface Mountain Steps – Wilmington

The steps on Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington make it relatively easy to get to the top of the mountain. Inexperienced climbers can take advantage of the steps by climbing at their own pace.

Make sure to turn around after reaching the top to enjoy the incredible views of the surrounding valley, lakes, and nearby peaks. 

Stonecrop Gardens – Cold Spring

Stonecrop Gardens in Cold Spring is a recent addition to the list of public gardens located throughout the state. It features water gardens, a conservatory, a woodland, and unique structures that accentuate the landscape.

The garden is about 15 acres in size and was once the private residence of Frank Cabot, an avid horticulturalist. It was opened to the public in 1992 and is open year-round.

Southwick Beach State Park – Henderson

Source: FB Southwick Beach State Park

Southwick Beach State Park is notable for its coastal barrier environment located along Lake Ontario. The beach itself is about 3,500 feet long and is full of interesting natural formations.

It’s open year-round and is open for winter and summer activities. Visitors can camp in a tent or trailer, and take advantage of picnic areas or explore the trails.

Storm King Art Center

Storm King Art Center stands as a testament to the harmonious fusion of art and nature. Envisioned as an open-air museum, this sprawling 500-acre sanctuary is a haven for contemporary sculpture and outdoor installations that captivate the imagination and stir the soul.

The center’s expansive grounds provide a canvas for monumental sculptures, carefully curated to interact seamlessly with the surrounding environment, creating a dialogue between artistic expression and the ever-changing natural elements.

Watkins Glen State Park

Watkins Glen State Park, located in upstate New York, is a natural wonderland waiting to be explored. This picturesque park is renowned for its stunning gorge trail, which meanders alongside cascading waterfalls, intricate rock formations, and lush greenery.

It’s a hiker’s paradise, offering captivating scenery at every turn. Visitors can venture through cool, misty tunnels and over stone bridges while taking in the sheer beauty of this geological marvel.

Sodus Bay Lighthouse – Sodus Bay

The Sodus Bay Lighthouse is a historic lighthouse located on Sodus Point. The current structure was built in 1869, but a lighthouse has been on the point since 1834.

The lighthouse was permanently shut down in 1901 and the town of Sodus Point has made it a point to preserve the structure for future generations.

Albany, the capital of New York State

Albany, the capital of New York, often flies under the radar when it comes to New York State travel, but it’s a hidden gem worth discovering. This historic city boasts a rich heritage, with stunning architecture, including the iconic New York State Capitol building.

Visitors can explore the vibrant arts scene, savor diverse culinary delights, and stroll along the scenic Hudson River. Albany’s museums, like the New York State Museum and the Albany Institute of History & Art, offer engaging cultural experiences. Plus, its central location makes it an ideal base for exploring the rest of the state.