Discover Uncommon Activities and Gems in Upstate New York

Escape the ordinary and uncover the extraordinary in Upstate New York with these hidden gems!


Hi there! As a travel enthusiast and long-time resident of Upstate New York, I am beyond excited to share my local knowledge with all of you. Upstate New York is a true gem, with its natural beauty, diverse activities, and unique attractions. Unfortunately, many tourists tend to stick to the well-known tourist destinations and miss out on some of the area’s hidden gems. That’s why I wanted to put together this article, to showcase all of the unique and off-the-beaten-path activities, tours, and gems that have captured my heart over the years. I hope my passion for this area inspires you to visit and experience it for yourself.

So without further ado, let’s dive into 42 Unique Things to Do in Upstate New York + Hidden Gems!

Uncommon Outdoor Activities

As a travel enthusiast and resident of Upstate New York, I have discovered some unique and off-the-beaten-path outdoor activities that are often overlooked by tourists. One of my favorites is birding. Upstate New York is home to a diverse range of bird species, and there are plenty of opportunities to observe them in their natural habitat. One of the best spots for birding is the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, which hosts a variety of waterfowl and shorebirds.

Another activity that I love is horseback riding. Upstate New York is known for its beautiful countryside, and there’s no better way to explore it than on horseback. One of my favorite places to go riding is the Adirondack Park. With over six million acres of protected land, the park offers some of the most breathtaking scenery in the region.

If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, I highly recommend paddleboarding. Upstate New York is home to some amazing bodies of water, like Lake George and the Finger Lakes, which offer perfect conditions for paddleboarding. There’s nothing quite like gliding across the water on a calm, sunny day and taking in the beautiful scenery around you.

No matter what outdoor activity you choose, Upstate New York has something for everyone. So why not step off the beaten path and try something new? You might just discover a hidden gem that you never knew existed.

Unique Tours and Services

As I’ve explored Upstate New York over the years, I’ve come across some truly unique tours and services that I believe are worth sharing with others. One of my favorite experiences was taking a hot air balloon ride over the Finger Lakes. The views were breathtaking as we soared high above the rolling hills and sparkling lakes. I also highly recommend checking out the local farm tours, where you can learn about the region’s agriculture and even pick your own produce.

For those interested in history, I suggest checking out the Erie Canal cruises. Not only will you learn about the canal’s impact on the region, but you’ll also get to enjoy the scenery and wildlife along the way. Another unforgettable experience was taking a guided tour of the abandoned buildings at the former Seneca Army Depot. The guide was incredibly knowledgeable and the eerie atmosphere of the abandoned buildings made for a unique and haunting experience.

If you’re looking for a more active adventure, I recommend booking a whitewater rafting trip. The rapids can be intense, but the scenery and adrenaline rush is well worth it. Finally, for those seeking a more relaxing experience, I suggest checking out the local wineries and breweries. Upstate New York is home to some excellent vineyards and craft breweries, and many offer tours and tastings.

Overall, Upstate New York has a lot to offer beyond the typical tourist attractions. I hope that my suggestions inspire others to venture off the beaten path and experience the beauty and unique culture of the region for themselves.

Personal Experiences

– Share personal stories and experiences related to the topic
– For example, describe a memorable hike or a favorite hidden gem that you discovered
– Offer insights and tips based on your own experiences to help readers make the most of their trip to Upstate New York

Local Events and Festivals

I absolutely love the diversity of events and festivals in Upstate New York. One of my favorites is the annual Garlic Festival, which takes place in September in the town of Saugerties. The entire town is filled with the scent of garlic, and vendors from all over the state sell garlic-themed foods such as garlic ice cream and garlic popcorn. I once tried garlic fudge, which was surprisingly delicious!

Another event I recently attended was the Hot Air Balloon Festival in Dansville. It was a breathtaking sight to see dozens of colorful hot air balloons taking off at once, and even more amazing to ride in one myself. The views of the surrounding countryside were stunning, and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Upstate New York.

If you’re looking for a unique experience, I suggest checking out the Ithaca Apple Festival in October. The downtown area is filled with vendors selling all things apple-related, such as apple cider and apple pie. There are also live music performances and a carnival, making it a fun event for the whole family.

No matter what time of year you visit Upstate New York, there is always a festival or event to attend. I love exploring the different towns and experiencing the local culture through these events.


As someone who has explored Upstate New York extensively, I can confidently say that there is so much more to this region than just New York City. My favorite part of Upstate New York is the abundance of uncommon activities and hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

One of my most memorable experiences was taking a cheese-making tour in York. It was fascinating to learn about the history of cheese-making in the region and to see the process firsthand. Plus, the tasting at the end was absolutely delicious.

Another highlight for me was discovering the hidden parks throughout Upstate New York. One in particular, which I stumbled upon by accident, had a beautiful waterfall and hiking trails that led to stunning views of the surrounding mountains. It was a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

And let’s not forget about the local events and festivals. The garlic festival I attended was a sensory overload of delicious food and unique vendors. I even tried garlic ice cream, which surprisingly wasn’t as bad as it sounds.

Overall, Upstate New York has so much to offer for those willing to venture off the beaten path. Whether it’s trying new foods, exploring hidden parks, or attending local events, there’s always something new and exciting to discover. So, pack your bags and come explore this beautiful region for yourself.