Small Towns In New York That Are Worth The Visit

The State of New York has often found its mark on the map for being home to one of the most well-known and iconic cities in the world, New York City. There is many a wonder that comes to mind when you begin to describe the city that never sleeps - towering skyscrapers, the bustling urban landscape, the Statue of Liberty, Broadway, Central Park - there is seemingly no end to the list of landmarks that one ought to visit when in New York City.

While the Big Apple is primarily renowned for being thriving metropolis it is, the State of New York is also home to some lesser known neighborhoods and towns that offer nothing short of a sensory feast for visitors. If you are in search of quietude, away from the hustle and bustle of the urban sprawl, these towns will answer your call.

Tucked away in the quiet corners of the famous New York State, these rather offbeat towns will open your eyes to some of the hidden gems of New York.


1.    Ithaca

Ithaca-small towns in upstate NY

Like any other college town, Ithaca is renowned for being home to some of the well-known institutions in the U.S. But what is lesser known about this low-key town is that its natural environment is a hub for some of the most enthralling adventure activities. Sparkling lakes, gushing waterfalls, serene rivers and vast expanses of lush green parks are but a few natural wonders that will get your adrenaline pumping.  

For all the adventure enthusiasts out there, the diverse topography provides rugged hiking and trekking trails that render an experience unlike any other.

The famous Ithaca Falls, for instance, is truly a sight to witness. Flowing from a whopping height of 150 meters, the falls seem like a gateway to paradise. Another such wonder is the majestic Buttermilk Falls. The sight of this mystical falls is breath-taking enough, but its strategic position accompanied by wooded parklands and sprawling campgrounds make it a perfect getaway from the crowds.

For those nature enthusiasts who prefer making the adventure a high-spirited affair, a hike up the Cascadilla Gorge trail is a must. Surrounded by verdant pastures, wooded forests and flowing streams, the gorge is the perfect trail for an exhilarating experience in the midst of mother nature.

For a rather relaxing experience, Ithaca is also home to many lakes and gardens such as the famous Cayuga Lake and Robert H. Treman State Park where you can unwind and partake in recreational activities.

If you’re up for tasting some local, delicious wine, a tour along the Finger Lakes Wine Trail is a tasty and insightful experience.

2.    Woodstock

Nestled in the heart of the Catskill Mountain range, Woodstock is a natural haven for travelers of all sorts.

The scenic trails of the Overlook Mountain range are ideal for hikes and treks. The trail is moderately strenuous, but the summit rewards hikers with stunning views of the Hudson Valley and the Catskill Mountain spread. A few meters ahead of the trail, hikers can catch a glimpse of the Karma Triyana Dharmachakra Buddhist Monastery which seems like a place straight out of a postcard.

If you’re in for a dose of tranquility amidst nature’s bounty, a trek along the Shawangunk Ridge or a leisurely stroll along Opus 40 are great options.

For all the art aficionados out there, Woodstock has many surprises in store for you. The town’s creative roots find their way in the arts and craft movement rendering it one of the oldest art colonies in the country. For a glimpse into the artistic world of this little town, visit Tinkle Street, Mill Hill Road, and Maverick Colony, they’re a good start. For a rather exquisite art fix, drop by the Elena Zang Gallery or Fletcher Gallery where you can marvel at the works of local artisans and craftsmen.

No Trip to Woodstock is complete without visiting the local farmers market. The Mower’s Saturday Market is one such family-run market where the spread is nothing but produce that is sourced locally. Situated in the heart of Woodstock, the market is great to get your hands on some fresh products while mingling with the locals and listening to their tales.

3.    Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Springs - best upstate NY towns

Arguably one of the most charming towns in the state, Saratoga Springs boasts of scenic environs that will leave you wanting more. From sparkling lakes and extensive race courses to historic museums and relaxing spas, there are plenty of exciting things to do Saratoga Springs NY.

Enriched with a rich tradition and culture, this 19th-century town has many a story to tell. But its untouched rustic beauty is the most alluring feature that attracts visitors from far and wide.

The Saratoga National Historical Park is an ideal place to take a trip down history and learn about the events that made this town the majestic destination it is today.

Apart from this, this town abounds with a plethora of art galleries and museums that will keep art lovers and history buffs on their toes. The National Museum of Dance and Hall of Fame, The Frances Young Tang Art Gallery and Saratoga Clay Arts Centre are a few such places to visit.

If you’re into music, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center is the ideal place to experience the talent of local performers and musicians, which will hit the right note.

For nature lovers out there, there is no shortage of natural attractions in this town. When it comes to the lure of nature, Saratoga Springs has outdone itself. Relax and unwind in the midst of quacking ducks and tranquil ponds at the famous Congress Park. Marvel at the floral spread around the striking Glen Falls. Take a leisurely stroll along the well-maintained Yaddo Gardens.

While there is much more to experience in this quiet town, Saratoga will not disappoint you.

4.    Lake George

Adirondack - best towns in new york

Tucked away in the Adirondack Mountain Range, this small town is a perfect getaway for some family time.

Named after the lake on which it rests, the town is apt for some leisurely shopping, fine-dining and museum hopping.

Beer lovers and food aficionados will find their tongues tingling and bellies bursting with content after relishing exquisite dishes and sipping on some of the finest beer.

Art enthusiasts can also feast their eyes on some of the greatest masterpieces in town at the famous Fort William Henry Museum and the Hyde Collection Art Museum and Historic House.

You will find an abundance of outdoor activities to pursue and keep the fun going. You can hike up the Adirondack Natural Stone Bridge and Caves or indulge in a hands-on experience zip-lining across the mountains. If you prefer toning down the level of adventure while having an exciting experience, the lake also comes with gripping roller coaster rides and water slides where kids can have endless fun and adults can unleash their inner child. The Six Flags Great Escape and Hurricane Harbor are theme parks which come equipped with an array of fun rides to keep your adrenaline pumping all day long.

If you’re ready to let your hair loose and get those dancing shoes on, the Festival Commons at the Charles R. Wood Park is an excellent opportunity to blend in and partake in local festivities.

On the contrary, for those seeking some peace and quiet, you can go on a canoe ride along the crystal-clear waters of the lake is an exhilarating experience.

For a romantic night out, couples can opt for a cruise on the lake under the moonlit sky.

5.    Cold Spring

Hudson Valley - small towns in New York

Basking in the lap of the beautiful Hudson Valley, Cold Spring is a charming old town where art and nature combine to make this town a real-life canvas.  

A hotspot for artists and creative dreamers, the town is a bustling creative hub with a bevy of art galleries and vintages stores that line the main streets.

The downtown Gallery and Bijou Galleries are worth the visit for art admirers who want a look into the world of local artists.

Likewise, the town is also home to an array of museums. An iconic landmark among them would be the West Point Foundry Preserve. Showcasing some of the developments of the American Industrial Revolution, the preserve serves as an outdoor museum that not only takes visitors down the lane of history but also offers great views of the wilderness.

If you’re in the mood for some adventurous activity and fun, visit the Hudson Valley State Park. Its diverse landscape provides trails that range from leisurely strolls to rigorous climbs; however, if you prefer a rather challenging hiking trail, the Breakneck Ridge trail just the answer.

On the other hand, for the rather placid traveler, nature unravels itself in the calm surroundings of the Stonecrop Gardens and Dockside Park. These environs are perfect for some quality time with loved ones or even some alone time amidst nature. Pack a picnic basket and some delicious wine and make merry in the lap of Mother Nature.

6.    Cooperstown

Cooperstown - small cities in New York

If you’re looking to flee from the bustling crowds, Cooperstown provides the perfect village getaway from the big city.

Combining cultural authenticity and natural beauty, this one-of-a-kind destination takes you through a nostalgic romp of an era long gone. Sporting an old-world charm, this small town offers a quintessential boardwalk experience right from its heritage buildings to streets brimming with small vintage stores.

Well known for the Glimmerglass Festival, the town opens its doors to all visitors to experience local theatre shows, breath-taking operas performances and musical shows. Visitors are also free to explore the Fenimore Art Museum, where you can discover some of America’s historical traditions and the unique Farmer’s museum and immerse yourself in the 19th-century local lifestyle.

Home to a large baseball-loving population, when you visit this town, you have ought to stop by the famous Baseball Hall of Fame, it’s an absolute must!

There’s outdoor adventure too - sail through the serene waters of Lake Otsego where you can marvel at the lush green surroundings dotted with ancient houses.

For a unique thirst-quenching experience, follow the Cooperstown Beverage Trail that takes on a new experience where you can visit some of the finest breweries and wineries in town. You will find that Cooperstown Distilleries boast of some delicious award-winning spirits.

7.    Greenport

If you’re in for some fun in the sun, then Greenport is your go-to town. This humble abode is strategically situated, and it serves as one of the most preferred getaway from the city. The endless pristine coasts and temperate weather attracts the affluent and the wealthy, making it a popular holiday destination.

The varied topography and vast landscape make it home to sprawling vineyards, beautiful farms, sandy beaches, and rocky cliffs that promise you an adventure of a lifetime.

On a warm summer day, families can enjoy a picnic amidst blooming vines and breezy farms making on an extensive vineyard, making it the perfect family getaway.

If you’re in for some adventure in the water, Greenport is an ideal place to test your sailing skills. Greenport is home to a picturesque view of the sunset, and there is no better way to marvel at the sun in the far horizon than on a boat while sipping some local wine or champagne.

If sailing a boat in the open waters is not your cup of tea, there is nothing better than a swim in serene ocean waters.

So, for all those who prefer a quiet escape with an intent to unwind and enjoy the scenic tranquility, Greenport is the perfect destination.

Ready To Enjoy The Charm of These Small Towns In NeW York?

It’s more than a getaway; it’s an experience

A glimpse into the hidden gems of these small towns reflects that New York State is more than just tapering towers and a crowded metropolis. Beneath all the pomp and extravagance of city life, there exists an old-world charm that pervades the smaller and lesser-known towns.

So, head on to these towns and experience the best of these destinations around New York that must make your travel bucket list.

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Nice article except for the frequent grammar errors 😕 Some editor fell down on the job. My fourth graders can write better than this.'
    Taiss Nowrouzi

    awesome! Thanks for coming by the blog!

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