The best state parks in New York are home to some of the most amazing natural wonders in the world. Whether you’re looking for a place to relax on your vacation or to experience something new, there’s a park for you.
Niagara Falls, Robert Moses State Park, and Bear Mountain State Park are some the best state parks to visit in New York. Many also enjoy visiting Robert Treman State Park, Buttermilk Falls State Park, and Gantry Plaza. There are dozens of parks in New York, from swim beaches to hiking trails.
The rest of this article will go over 18 of the most beautiful state parks in New York. Remember that there are over a hundred in the state, so if none of these are appealing, chances are there’s still one out there that’s perfect for you.
1. Robert Treman State Park
When you see Robert Treman State Park, you’ll be transported into a whole other world; you may not even believe you’re still in New York anymore!
Robert Treman State Park is located in Ithaca, New York, home of Cornell. It’s in the Finger Lakes region, and the lakes are fully displayed when you visit. On your hike through, you’ll see more than ten waterfalls. During the summer, those who wish to cool off can dip in the stream-fed pool beneath a waterfall!
This park is also perfect for camping. Among its amenities, you’ll find:
- Lifeguard support pools
- Accessible waterfalls
Not only are there cabin sites, but RV campers and tent lovers alike can find a spot here.
2. Saratoga State Park
Saratoga State Park is a beautiful park in Saratoga Springs open year-round for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Additionally, the park is open for cross-country skiing, ice skating, and ice hockey in winter.
The golf course at Saratoga State Park has been ranked among the top 100 golf courses in the country since then. If you’re looking for a place to play golf or just breathe fresh air, this is the place to be!
How can one place have so much to offer? Check out this video to see:
Additionally, you can cool off on a summer day at the incredible Peerless Pool Complex sits. Their pool has a slide, mushroom fountain, and a wading pool for the kids. Their Victorian Pool is also quite the site to see.
Lastly, the four-seasons nature center at the Saratoga State Park center called the Creekside Classroom. Be sure to check in on their events before visiting!
3. Watkins Glen State Park
Watkins Glen State Park is one of the most beautiful state parks in New York. In fact, it was voted the third-best state park in the United States!
It’s located in Watkins Glen, New York, and is known for its natural beauty. The park has a lot of activities available to visitors:
- Hiking trails
- Canoeing and kayaking on the gorge
- And many more
The park has many beautiful waterfalls; 19, to be exact! It’s also near the Cavern Cascade, a gorgeous waterfall that can cool you down on summer hikes.
Additionally, this park allows some hunting. Remember, you’ll need updated New York State hunting licenses before attempting a hunt.
4. Robert Moses State Park
Venturing out near Long Island? You’ll want to visit Robert Moses State Park, which has a location in Babylon (the Long Island location) and Massena (Thousand Islands).
The Thousand Islands location is better for boat goers, but there’s still some recreation. It serves as a marina and boat launch for water sports but also has tents and cabins for campers. The Long Island location is a beach with lifeguards during the on-season. What makes it even better? It’s all wheelchair accessible!
If beach-going, grilling, and relaxing on the beach isn’t enough, then you may find Pitch & Putt Golf Course suitable. This field, along with a few others, even has free wifi for guests.
Not convinced? Long Island is a fantastic place to spend a day. You’ll find plenty of fun things to do and see, whether you’re looking for a family-friendly outing or just want to go out with friends.
5. Niagara Falls State Park
Ever heard of a little waterfall called Niagara Falls? Well, of course, this one makes the list!
In New York, the best state parks are those that offer a unique outdoor experience. If you’re looking for a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of life and enjoy the peace and quiet of nature, look no further than the famous Niagara Falls State Park.
Located along the Niagara River between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario in New York and Ontario, this park is home to one of nature’s most impressive sights: the iconic waterfalls that made Niagara Falls National Park famous.
The park is known for its hiking trails, including three scenic trails that run along the gorge of the falls.
Niagara Falls State Park has camping and lodging options available year-round (with electricity), including showers and other basic amenities like laundry facilities and vending machines; there’s also a gift shop where you can pick up souvenirs like postcards or t-shirts.
6. Sunken Meadow State Park
Sunken Meadow State Park in Kings Park, New York, is one of the most beautiful parks in the state. It’s a great place to go for a walk and enjoy nature, but it also has a lot of history behind it. The park sits on a peninsula that juts out into Long Island Sound, which means there are two sides to this park: one side that faces Long Island Sound and one side that faces the Atlantic Ocean.
Besides the gorgeous atmosphere and views, you’ll find:
- 27-hole golf course
- Swimming beach
- Equestrian trails
- And many more!
Sunken Meadow State Park hosts the tiny tot program on most Thursdays and has seasonal events from time to time. This park also has dozens of events. Kings Park, New York, is a small town with a lot of heart.
It’s a great place to visit if you’re looking for a quiet getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life. However, it’s still close enough to all the action if you want to take a day trip into the city.
7. Bear Mountain State Park
Bear Mountain State Park is a favorite of locals and tourists alike. Located in Bear Mountain, New York, it’s just a short trip away from New York City, making it the perfect place for a day trip or weekend getaway. There’s even a zoo!
There’s plenty to choose from if you’re looking for things to do in Bear Mountain State Park. Whether you’re into hiking, biking, swimming, or just relaxing with friends at the beach—you’ll find something here!
You can stay on the property to take in the Merry-Go-Round, wild animals, and beautiful trails. Additionally, you can find three gorgeous lodges: Bear Mountain Inn, Overlook Lodge, and Stone Lodges.
Take advantage of the many bird-watching opportunities along the trails and streams if you explore on two feet instead of four wheels (or two feet and wings).
8. Thacher State Park
Thacher State Park is a beautiful, quiet place to spend the day. It’s in Voorheesville, New York, just a short drive from Albany. The park has:
- Hiking trails
- Picnic areas
- A waterfall (that’s perfect for swimming in!)
- And many more!
This park has a rich history, too, nicknamed the “Cliffs Higher Than the Palisades” when it was first erected in 1914. It’s been used for geological research and recreation alike.
Thacher State Park is just one of the many state parks in New York that are great for families. If you’re looking for something fun to do with your kids this summer, take them on an adventure at Thacher State Park!
9. Point Au Roches State Park
Point Au Roche State Park is located in Plattsburgh, New York. It’s a beautiful park with a spectacular view of Lake Champlain.
It has lots of activities that you can do there, such as hiking, biking, fishing, and boating.The park also has an interpretive center where you can learn about the park and its history.
The park is open year-round, but the best time to visit is during the spring or fall seasons when the leaves are changing colors because they give the park a fantastic backdrop that makes it look even more beautiful than ever before!
10. Gantry Plaza State Park
Want a park that can also show you the Manhattan Skyline? Come visit Gantry Plaza State Park!
If you’re looking for a place to relax, Gantry Plaza State Park is the place to be. Located in Long Island City, this park is not only beautiful but also has several activities that make it a great spot for families and friends to spend time together.
There are several places to sit at this park, including benches and picnic tables, so you can have a meal or enjoy the scenery.
There’s also plenty of open space so your family can play ball or Frisbee while you watch them from one of the comfortable seats nearby. You can even fish!
Additionally, if you’re looking for something more active, there are two playgrounds where kids can run around and play with their friends until they get tired of all the fun!
11. Montauk Point State Park
Do you like to hike? Do you like to camp? Do you like to observe nature and wildlife in their natural habitats? Do you like the beach? If you answered yes to any of these questions, I’ve got the perfect place for you: Montauk Point State Park.
Located on the easternmost tip of Long Island, this park is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in New York State. It’s also home to an extensive trail system that runs throughout the park, so you can hike all day long if that’s your thing.
Additionally, the oldest lighthouse in New York State resides at this park, commissioned by George Washington himself!
12. Beaver Island State Park
You wouldn’t guess it by its name, but Beaver Island State Park looks straight out of a Monet painting.
Beaver Island State Park is a beautiful place to visit, with plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful hike through the woods or want to go swimming in the pond, this park has it all.
The park also offers a variety of educational programs and events throughout the year, including children’s activities during school breaks, summer camps, and nature walks for adults.
Visitors can enjoy:
- Biking or hiking trails
- Fishing at Beaver Island Pond (with a valid license)
- Campfires along the shores of Beaver Island Lake or in one of several picnic areas.
Additionally, in the winter, you can go:
- Cross-country skiing
13. Buttermilk Falls State Park
Buttermilk Falls State Park is located in Ithaca, New York, and is a great place to visit if you’re looking for some beautiful scenery.
The park is famous for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. It’s also home to several waterfalls and nature preserves, providing plenty of photography opportunities.
Suppose you’re looking for something more relaxing. In that case, Buttermilk Falls also has picnic areas, playgrounds, and camping facilities for those who want to stay overnight.
And for all the dinosaur lovers out there, did you know that Grey Petaltail Dragonfly flies at the Buttermilk Falls State Park? This species was around when the dinosaurs were around!
14. Wonder Lake State Park
Wonder Lake State Park is a gem. Located in Holmes, New York, this park has all the amenities you need to enjoy a relaxing day outside. Its trail touches four states: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. There are plenty of activities for people of all ages, including fishing, hiking, and hunting.
The lake is also absolutely beautiful—you can see the water almost anywhere on the property. It’s clear blue and full of fish that will bite if you’re lucky enough (and skilled enough) to catch them!
The area is also great for birdwatching; there are plenty of trees around the lake where birds like woodpeckers and cardinals often nest. It’s beautiful—so make sure you bring your camera!
15. Devil’s Hole State Park
Looking for fishing and no fuss? The Devil’s Hole State Park might be for you. Don’t be intimidated by the name–this park is a fantastic place to visit because of the surrounding nature and amazing views.
The Devil’s Hole State Park is a beautiful place to go for a hike or just sit and relax under one of its many trees. This park is located in Niagara Falls, New York, and it has about two miles of trails for hiking and biking, as well as picnic tables and other activities for families. It’s a great place to go if you want to see some amazing scenery!
16. Knox Farm State Park
Want something historical, even fairytale-like? Knox Farms State Park is the place! It’s located in a historic village called East Aurora, where the Roycroft Arts & Crafts movement first began.
The park features miles of hiking trails that wind through acres of woods. The trails are well-maintained, so you can count on them being straightforward and easy to follow. And if you’re looking for more of an adventure, several challenging trails will take you further into the woods.
If you’d rather stay on dry land and enjoy the view from above, there are plenty of places where you can do that: hammocks, swings, benches, and more! You’ll also find picnic tables scattered throughout the grounds, so you can bring your lunch or dinner.
Many activities at Knox Farm State Park are fun for people of all ages—so bring your whole family along!
17. Brookhaven State Park
Brookhaven State Park is a beautiful place to visit. It’s located on the shores of Long Island Sound and has a long history of being used as a research facility, which was established in the 1970s.
So when you visit Brookhaven State Park, you’ll be able to see many different types of wildlife and enjoy nature at its finest. You’ll also be able to visit the laboratory that was once used for research, which is great for those wanting to view nature but also enjoy learning a bit about the history of the area.
18. Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve
Find yourself looking for nature in Staten Island? Look for the Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve! This is the only state park located on Staten Island. The park is very popular among bird watchers and locals alike, so if you’re in the Staten Island area and wanting to go out in nature, this is the best option for you.
You can also visit the newly opened Interpretive Center at Clay Pit Ponds, which has art and history focused on the beautiful park.