Beyond the dazzling lights of the world famous metropolis, the state of New York is a playground full of surprises waiting to be discovered by discerning travellers.
This is the state where the Great Gatsby thrived, Prohibition speakeasies boomed and the Woodstock Festival aimed to change the world; where Niagara Falls is a sight to behold and the Great Appalachian Trail first broke ground; where American Founding Fathers Alexander Hamilton and George Washington wrote history and the Women’s Rights movement was born; and where hidden gems abound, such as Heart Island’s Boldt Castle and Letchworth State Park, affectionately known as the ‘Grand Canyon of the East’.
New York State is home to 11 distinct regions: New York City is located at its southern tip; Long Island lies east; while the remaining nine regions, commonly referred to as ‘upstate New York’, form a vast area extending to the borders with Canada in the north and framed by New England in the east and the Great Lakes in the west.
Away from the bustling urban centres – state capital Albany and Buffalo, New York’s second largest city, make great city breaks – the state is rich in spectacular scenery, such as the Adirondack Park, the largest park in the ‘Lower 48’ states, which covers an area larger than Yosemite, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon National Parks combined.
You can explore much of the state on a scenic train journey (or a short connecting flight) but New York is made for self-drives: pick up your car at the airport and within a couple of hours you can reach the fashionable Hamptons, Catskills or Hudson Valley, New Yorkers’ favourite weekend getaways for decades.
Packed with so many visitor highlights, it is little wonder that New York State is a four-season destination.
Come in autumn and it will welcome you with enormous pumpkins, delicious apple cider doughnuts and an impressive palette of red, orange and yellow hues in one of the longest foliage seasons in the USA.
The state is steeped in winter sports history – it has hosted the Winter Olympics twice – so once snow falls on the ground, it transforms into a winter playground, with more ski areas than any other US state.
As one of the USA’s biggest wine-producing areas, spring is the perfect time to walk through the lush vineyards, discover artisanal craft breweries, sample exquisite farm-to-table cuisine and immerse yourself in the charms of its small, quaint towns.
With pleasant temperatures across the state, summer is for exploring the great outdoors. Long Island boasts some of America’s finest beaches and most historic lighthouses, while ‘upstate New York’ features an unparalleled variety of landscapes: mountains, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, valleys, forests – just take your pick.
Many visitors rarely venture outside the Big Apple; but those who choose to stay and explore New York’s playgrounds are richly rewarded. Whether for a day or two or as part of a longer trip, the state of New York has something for everyone. The iconic city is just the start!