By Marie Frankson
Summer is a time for fun. The academic year is over, or at the very least you’re taking summer classes that aren’t as intense as your regular classes may be, so you have time to kick back, relax, and spend some time with your friends and family in the beauty of Upstate New York. I grew up in Upstate New York, and the summer has always been my favorite time of year because there is so much to do and see. Here is my top ten things to do in Upstate New York to have a blast this summer.
Visit Lake George Village
There is so much to do in Lake George Village, from shopping on Canada Street or at the outlet mall to going on a dinner cruise around the lake (for $45 per ticket) to miniature golf, going to the House of Frankenstein Wax Museum, Alien Encounter, and more. Lake George is also home to Adventure Family Fun Center that houses an arcade, go karts, bumper cars, a rock wall, paintball, and “Star Wars” theme laser tag; as well as the Great Escape and Splashwater Kingdom (a Six Flags theme park) and the Great Escape Lodge.
Go on a Geological Adventure
Upstate New York is home to some amazing natural geological creations such as Ausable Chasm in Ausable Chasm, Natural Stone Bridge and Caves Park in Pottersville, and Howe Caverns about 40 miles west of Albany. Each of these offer amazing views of natural wonders and fun for everyone. For an artificial geological treasure, visit the frozen “North Pole” in Wilmington, N.Y., at Santa’s Workshop.
Tubby Tubes in Lake Luzerne (about 20 minutes south of Lake George) offers lazy river tubing down the Hudson and Sacandaga Rivers, as well as rafting and kayaking. Tubby Tubes also has a slide park.
Adirondack Extreme Adventure Course in Bolton Landing is an outdoor obstacle course with more than 130 obstacles and two ziplines. There are color coded trails for varying fitness and age levels. You must call 518-494-7200 for ticket prices and to make reservations.
See a Concert
Saratoga Springs is also the home of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, also known as SPAC. During the summer, one can see performances by the New York City Ballet, as well as events like Jazz Fest and concerts by bands of all genres. You can go to www.spac.org to see what shows are playing this summer and to buy tickets.
Go to a Fort or Museum
Upstate New York is a very historic area and numerous forts and museums dot its landscape begging visitors to learn something new. Fort William Henry in Lake George, Fort Ticonderoga in Ticonderoga, Rogers Island Visitors Center in Fort Edward, Saratoga National Battlefield Park in Schuylerville, and the Old Stone Fort Museum in Schoharie County will all educate visitors about the French and Indian War and the American Revolutionary War eras. The Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake exhibits about 200 years of life in the Adirondack Mountains. The Iroquois Museum in Howes Cave (near Howe Caverns) is a museum located inside a longhouse where visitors can learn about the history and customs of the Iroquois peoples. In Albany, visitors can go to the Albany Institute of History and Art, which displays many exhibits from mummies to life in colonial Albany; visitors can also go to the New York State Museum, which displays many exhibits portraying various aspects of New York’s archaeology, geology, history, and more.
Take a Hike…Literally
Upstate New York is full of mountains and hiking trails that the whole family will enjoy hiking. Crane Mountain (Johnsburg), Hadley Mountain (Allentown), Prospect Mountain (Lake George), and more offer scenic views and exercise. Make sure to bring plenty of water and healthy snacks!
Go to Cooperstown
Cooperstown, NY, was named after Judge William Cooper, who was the father of famed author James Fenimore Cooper who wrote The Last of the Mohicans. Cooperstown in located near Otsego Lake in Otsego County and there is a lot to do there. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Doubleday Baseball Field, the Farmers Museum, the Fenimore Art Museum, and the Glimmerglass Opera are all located in the village of Cooperstown. Make sure to stop in at Sal’s Pizzeria at 110 Main Street for a slice of pizza or a calzone…you will not be disappointed.
Go to the Beach
Upstate New York may not be anywhere the ocean, but that doesn’t mean you can’t relax on a beach. Lakes and rivers all over Upstate New York offer areas for people to swim, go boating or sailing, or to just relax in the sand with a good book. Corinth and Lake George have great beaches used for these purposes. Keep in mind that if you choose to go boating in Lake George, your boat will be subject to a quick inspection before it goes in the water to prevent the spread of various pervasive species from being spread from other bodies of water to the lake.