Fun — and pretty cheap — vacation getaways in downstate New York

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By Julianne Mosher

Campus News

Bored college students are home from school and claim that their hometowns have nothing to do. They miss their roommates and the parties that their hall’s had to offer and resent living with mom and dad.

But luckily for New Yorkers, the five boroughs, Westchester County and Long Island all have tons of fun and different things to do that don’t require a lot of money and are accessible with a little bit of public transportation or a quick road trip with some friends that plenty of people take for granted.

Community College Campus News gathered up some of the most fun and interesting places to visit this summer downstate that will definitely keep you interested and entertained while you relax from class and take a breather before school starts up again.

Long Island

Bayard Cutting Arboretum
Located in Great River right off of Montauk Highway, the Bayard Cutting Arboretum is a beautiful and peaceful park to walk around and take pictures in. The estate once belonged to Long Island royalty, William Bayard Cutting, and his home – along with the acres upon acres of landscape – is one of the last remaining estates on the South Shore of the island. In it you can find a secret river, dozens of different plants, trees and flowers and a café that serves teas, coffee and pastries. There is no fee to walk around outside of the mansion but requires a vehicle entrance fee of $8.

Fire Island
One of Long Island’s most popular spots is the beach located across the Great South Bay of the South Shore. A twenty-minute ferry ride from Sayville or Patchogue can take you to miles of beaches that also hold restaurants and bars on a beautiful waterfront view.  For generations, Fire Island has been a beachgoers dream with its historic and beautiful scenery.

Port Jefferson
Port Jefferson is located on the North Shore of Long Island directly across from Connecticut. Main Street holds some of Long Island’s hottest nightlife with its bars and restaurants that every 21-year-old on the island goes to. The strip also houses several shops and ice cream stores perfect for sitting by the ferry docks and watching the boats go by.

Montauk Lighthouse
In 1792, George Washington gave a gift to the island… a brand new lighthouse at the very end in Montauk. Used for its helpful navigational ability to prevent boaters from crashing into Montauk’s rocky shore, the lighthouse still stands 200 years later helping out ocean dwellers. Montauk is great because – despite the far drive – the beaches are gorgeous and different compared to Fire Island. At Montauk, you can visit the lighthouse, walk along the rocky shore or simply take a tourist picture at the very end of Long Island.
 
New York City
 
Brooklyn Bridge Movies
Starting July 10 – and once a week from every week forward until August 28 – the City of New York plays different films in the very scenic and beautiful Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy. The park overlooks the East River and the Lower Manhattan Skyline while playing several different films – for free! This years lineup includes films like “Sharknado,” “Beetlejuice” and “The Birds.”

Shakespeare in the Park
The Delacorte Theater in Central Park performs its legendary Shakespeare in the Park performances every summer – also free! Every day, except for Mondays, the cast of the Public Theater performs classic Shakespeare plays outdoors in beautiful Central Park. Tickets are available online for the performances.

Staten Island Ferry Rides
Rosalie Tinelli, a recent New York University graduate, says that she and her friends when they were bored in Manhattan would to take the ferry from the city to Staten Island. A sly trick, this commute is free and allows its passengers to boat past the Statue of Liberty and view the Freedom Tower downtown. While on it, you can also view the Hoboken skyline and then just take the ferry back home. Two scenic trips for free!

Walking Across the Brooklyn Bridge
For free, people often walk from the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge across into Brooklyn. The walk is great because it’s not far, it’s beautiful and full of historic imagery and accessible to ice cream right at the end!

Westchester

Bear Mountain
Dani Johnson, a pre-law major at University of Tampa, grew up in Westchester County and gave great insight of fun and outdoorsy places to go to. She suggests hiking up Bear Mountain to view the scenic Hudson River. They also have car shows that would be great to visit with your family and friends – especially the car enthusiasts.

“The Cliffs”
Located in the Somers/Mahopac area, Johnson says there is a great spot hidden in the woods that kids call, “The Cliffs.” Within it, you can find rope swings tied to trees and water to swim in… if you’re lucky enough to find it.

Croton Dam
One of Johnson’s favorite spots to picnic is Croton Dam. Located by the New Croton Dam, the parks surrounding it create a calming and pretty atmosphere perfect for relaxing or hanging with some friends.

White Plains
“White Plains is a good place to go if you want to go out to a bar, go shopping or just sit by the fountains with coffee,” Johnson says. This tiny city is the urban hub of Westchester County that is full of restaurants, shops and tons of different things to do.

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