New York. The very name evokes visions of the grandiose. From expansive outdoors, to arts and foods from around the world, to the most famed, internationally-influenced city in the world: New York is one giant of a state to explore.
When it comes to the great outdoors in New York, there’s hardly a rival in the nation. With the dazzling beauty of the state’s wildly diverse landscapes, there’s always something new to see. New York has four mountain ranges, hundreds of state and national parks, and pristine natural preserves such as the Adirondacks and the Catskills. Along with over 6,700 natural bodies of water and thousands of miles of shoreline, there are plenty of places in New York for active adventures, including hiking, camping, fishing, canoeing and kayaking, just to name a few. From the dunes of Long Island's Montauk beaches to the rolling hills of Chautauqua-Alleghany, and from the lakes and rivers of Thousand-Island Seaway to the majestic Niagara Falls, New York abounds with scenic drives and excursions that connect travelers with its many natural wonders. And when it snows, many of the same places are great for skiing and winter sports.
Fun and thrills – for children or adults, alike – are part of the New York landscape. Amusement parks (both contemporary and classic) feature excitement for all ages. With the iconic Wonder Wheel and Cyclone wooden roller coaster, the motley mix of rides at New York City's Coney Island is the definitive New York amusement experience, though thrill seekers with a staunch constitution might also enjoy the roaring rides at Six Flags Great Escape in the Adirondacks.
A major player in world events for centuries, New York has a rich and fascinating history. Extraordinary events that happened here have been portrayed in books and films from James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans to the documentary Woodstock. In New York, visitors can step right into history at colonial villages, canal towns, covered bridges, battlefields, grand estates, humble homesteads, halls of fame, presidential sites, and many other landmarks, museums and historic sites, from the Montauk Lighthouse on the eastern tip of Long Island to Old Fort Niagara in the west. From the Native American period to the Revolutionary War to modern day events: there’s no end to history in New York.
The creativity and skill of New York artisans is legendary. The many unique styles of arts and crafts the visitor will see in New York reflect regional heritage, natural resources, and landscapes. Some are functional, like pottery, household items, or furniture, while others are purely decorative. Great works are on display (and often for sale) throughout the state, from New York City's Museum of Arts and Design to East Aurora's Roycroft Campus, a pioneering community in the Arts & Crafts Movement of the early 1800s. Great art museums, too, are a part of the state’s heritage. New York’s diversity of landscape and culture has been inspiring and sustaining generations of artists from the early Native Americans to the Hudson River School masters to countless others. View some of these legendary works at two of the largest museums in the nation – The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum of Art – as well as countless smaller museums such as MOMA, the Guggenheim, and the Whitney.
And no exploration of the Empire State would be complete without a visit to New York City. Visitors have a litany of famous locations to explore, such as the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Yankee Stadium, Chinatown, The Bronx Zoo, and in the heart of it all, world-famous Central Park. Discovery history among the buildings, streets, piers, and sidewalks of this vast metropolis. With its exceptional array of museums, world-class accommodations, Broadway theatrical performances, and virtually unlimited shopping, New York City – the crown jewel of American metropolises – is not so much a place as it is an experience. The Big Apple’s incredible diversity of people, cultures, and ethnic regions offer dining, artistic, and architectural experiences that one would otherwise have to travel the globe to find.
And all this is just the beginning: there’s simply no way to whittle a New York vacation experience down into a brief synopsis. Take this to heart; there will always be something new to see or do in the unmatched expansiveness of New York.