Find the Best Small Towns in New York for a weekend or a day trip. New York is home to incredible small towns that offer travelers a unique opportunity to explore the charming culture and beautiful nature. When you visit small towns in New York, you will find plenty of sights and activities to keep you distracted. From incredible dining experiences to scenic lake views, here are the best things to do in some of the most charming small towns in New York.
1. Take a Stroll Through the Village
Take a walk through the charming village of Skaneateles, taking in the unique architecture of the shops and homes that line the streets. Make sure to stop at one of the many antique stores or boutiques for some unique souvenirs.
2. Ride the Minneola Steamboat
Take a ride on the historic Minneola Steamboat, which plies the waters of Skaneateles Lake. This Titanic-inspired steamer is a great way to get a stunning view of the lake and the surrounding scenery.
3. Enjoy a Delicious Meal
Skaneateles is known for its cuisine, offering visitors an array of dining options to choose from. Sample local favorites like fresh seafood dishes or enjoy a cozy brunch at one of the many quaint cafes.
4. Take a Cooking Class
Learn to cook like a local in one of the classes offered by the Skaneateles Town Kitchen. With a variety of classes to choose from, there is something for everyone—from beginner classes to expert classes!
5. Check Out the Farmer’s Market
Stroll through the farmer’s market for locally-sourced produce and handmade goods. The farmer’s market is open every Thursday from mid-May to mid-October and is a great way to get to know the local community.
1. Enjoy a Performance at Crandell Theater
The Crandell Theater is one of the oldest theaters in the Hudson Valley, having been in continuous operation since 1926. Catch a movie or live performance at this charming theater, which is decorated in the art-deco style of the era.
2. Explore a Historic Farm
Take a tour of the historic Thomas Cole House and farm for a unique look into the area’s past. Learn about the history of the house and its original owner and admire the stunning views of the surrounding Catskills.
3. Shop at the Local Boutiques
Discover unique items at the local boutiques around Chatham. From antique shops to vintage stores, there is something for everyone! If you’re looking for the perfect souvenir, you’re sure to find it here.
4. Visit the Guggenheim Estate
Visit the Guggenheim Estate to experience the beauty and grandeur of this mansion. Take a guided tour or explore on your own to learn about the history of the estate and the Guggenheim family.
5. Take a Hike
Head out on a hiking trail in the scenic countryside around Chatham. There are a variety of trails to choose from, ranging from easy strolls to challenging treks, so you’re sure to find one that suits your level.
Visit Saranac Lake
1. Explore the Village
Take a walk through the charming village of Saranac Lake. Stroll past the boutiques and galleries, take a selfie in front of a historic building, and be sure to sample the local flavors at a popular restaurant.
2. Visit the Wild Center
Head to the Wild Center for a unique look into the area’s ecology. This museum and nature center features an interactive exhibition and a picturesque butterfly garden, perfect for a fun family outing.
3. Go Fishing
If you’re an angler, don’t miss the chance to go fishing in Saranac Lake. Try to catch some brook trout, perch, or bass at one of the many fishing spots around town.
4. Enjoy a Performance at Pendragon Theatre
Head to the Pendragon Theatre to see a live performance of one of the plays they have on their schedule. This theater offers an array of plays, ranging from classics to contemporary works.
5. Take a Paddlewheel Cruise
Take a scenic paddlewheel cruise on the Sagamore Queen. This one-hour cruise takes you through Saranac’s waterways, allowing you to take in stunning views along the way.
1. Take a Tour of the Talley Ho Inn
Visit the Talley Ho Inn for a unique look into the area’s past. Take a tour of the historic inn and admire its stunning architecture from the 1800s.
2. Explore the Local Nature
Head out on a hike or a bike ride to experience the lovely nature around Westfield. You’ll find plenty of trails with stunning views of waterfalls and lush greenery.
3. Visit the Historic Jail
The Westfield Historic Jail is a fascinating glimpse into the area’s past. Take a guided tour and explore the jailhouse to learn about 19th-century criminal justice and the life of the former prisoners.
4. Shop at the Local Market
Discover unique items at the local market in Westfield. From local produce to handmade crafts, you’re sure to find something special to bring home as a souvenir.
5. Sample Local Wines at Belhurst Castle
Sample local wines at Belhurst Castle’s wine bar. Enjoy an afternoon of wine tasting and then make your way to the castle’s stunning garden for a leisurely stroll.
1. Explore the Beacon Historical Society
Pay a visit to the Beacon Historical Society for a look into the area’s past. The museum is open on select days and offers interactive exhibits and guided tours.
2. Go On a Brewery Tour
Take a tour of some of Beacon’s best breweries. Sample unique craft beers, learn about the brewing process, and enjoy a fun afternoon.
3. Shop at the Local Shops
Visit the shops and boutiques around Beacon for unique items. From art galleries to vintage stores, you’re sure to find something special to take home with you.
4. Take a Walk in the Woods
Head out on a walk in the woods to enjoy the lush nature of Beacon. Take a photographic journey or simply have a leisurely stroll under the canopy of pines and oaks.
5. Visit the Mount Gulian Historic Site
Head to the Mount Gulian Historic Site for a look into the 17th-century Dutch culture. Go on a guided tour to learn about the area’s past and explore the beautifully preserved site.
1. Visit the Baseball Hall of Fame
Take a trip to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum to learn about the history of America’s favorite pastime. From interactive exhibits to stunning memorabilia, there is something for everyone at the museum.
2. Visit the Fenimore Art Museum
Visit the Fenimore Art Museum for a unique look into the area’s past. This museum features a variety of American folk art from the colonial period, perfect for the art enthusiast.
3. Enjoy a Meal at Brewery Ommegang
Enjoy a meal at Brewery Ommegang, a welcoming restaurant and brewery. Sample locally brewed ales and indulge in an array of delicious dishes made with fresh ingredients.
4. Take a Tour of the Glimmerglass State Park
Take a tour of Glimmerglass State Park and admire the stunning scenery of the area. The park has a variety of activity options including fishing, hiking, biking, and camping.
5. Stop at Otsego Lake
Stop at the stunning Otsego Lake for some amazing views. Whether you’re out for a stroll or taking part in one of the water sports available, you’re sure to enjoy your visit.
1. Take a Tour of Casa Larga Winery
Visit the Casa Larga Winery to sample some of their delicious wines. Take a guided tour and learn about their wine-making process before indulging in some tasting samples.
2. Go for a Hike
Head out on a hike in one of the many trails around Canandaigua. From easy strolls to challenging treks, you are sure to find something to suit your level of fitness.
3. Shop at the Canandaigua Farmers Market
Visit the local farmers market for unique crafts, homemade treats, and locally-sourced ingredients. Shop for some souvenirs or simply take in the local charm of the market.
4. Visit the Sonnenberg Gardens
Visit the stunning Sonnenberg Gardens to take in the beauty and grandeur of the area. This 35-acre estate is home to a 19th-century mansion, stunning views of Canandaigua Lake, and a variety of gardens.
5. Take a Boat Ride on Canandaigua Lake
Take a boat ride on Canandaigua Lake to admire the scenery and take in the tranquility of the area. Whether you’re out on a fishing trip or just sightseeing, you’re sure to enjoy your time out on the lake.
1. Visit Alfred University
Take a tour of Alfred University and learn about the history of this prestigious institution. Visit the campus and catch a glimpse of the student life at Alfred.
2. Check Out the Local Art Scene
Check out the local art scene in Alfred for some unique items. From galleries to antique stores, the city has plenty of options to explore.
3. Take a Stroll Through Downtown
Take a stroll through downtown Alfred and admire the charming architecture. Stop by the local boutiques or grab a quick bite at one of the many eateries around town.
4. Visit Letchworth State Park
Take a trip to Letchworth State Park and take in the stunning views. With activities like hiking, canoeing, and rock climbing, there is something for everyone here.
5. Explore Porcupine Pat’s Garden
Head out to Porcupine Pat’s Garden for a unique look into the local wildlife. From baby animals to exotic plant species, the garden offers a fascinating glimpse into the natural world.
1. Go Shopping
Browse the local boutiques in Rhinebeck for unique items. Visit one of the many antique stores or designer shops and you’re sure to find something special to take home with you.
2. Tour Clermont Historic Site
Take a tour of the Clermont Historic Site and learn about the area’s past. This 18th-century estate is home to splendid gardens and stunning Hudson River views.
3. Check Out the Local Breweries
Be sure to check out the local breweries in Rhinebeck for some delicious craft beers. Sample their creations and explore the different brewing processes.
4. Visit the Omega Institute
Visit the Omega Institute for a unique look into the area’s arts and culture. This educational center offers a variety of classes, workshops, and activities, perfect for a fun family outing.
5. Head to Omega Space and the Rhinecliff Bridge
Visit Omega Space and Rhinecliff Bridge for some stunning views. Take a leisurely stroll over the bridge or explore the walking trails at Omega Space and admire the scenery around you.
Visit Sleepy Hollow
1. Ride the Sleepy Hollow Trolley
Climb aboard the Sleepy Hollow Trolley and take a journey through the town’s history. This trolley tour takes you to some of the most iconic sites in Sleepy Hollow and offers an array of interesting facts about the area.
2. Try Some Dutch Treats
Indulge in some local Dutch treats at the Dutch Marketplace. Sample homemade cookies, bread, and other delicious snacks.
3. Take a Hike in Hammond Hill Nature Preserve
Head out on a hike at the Hammond Hill Nature Preserve for some stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Explore the trails to take in the sights and observe the local wildlife.
4. Visit the Old Dutch Church and Burying Ground
Pay a visit to the Old Dutch Church and Burying Ground to learn about the area’s history. This oldest house of worship in the county is open to visitors and offers insight into the 16th century.
5. Check Out Washington Irving’s cottage
Visit Washington Irving’s cottage to learn more about the author’s life and work. This picturesque cottage is a great spot to take some photos and admires the charming architecture.
1. Explore Seneca Lake State Park
Head out on a hike or a bike ride at the Seneca Lake State Park and admire the stunning views. Explore the trails to take in the sights and observe the local wildlife.
2. Visit Bella Aquila Winery
Visit the beautiful Bella Aquila Winery for an afternoon of wine tasting. Sample their delicious selection of wines and explore the vineyard for a fun day out.
3. Check Out the Geneva Historical Society Museum
Take a tour of the Geneva Historical Society Museum and learn about the area’s past. The museum showcases artifacts and documents from the area’s history, giving visitors an insight into its development over time.
4. Shop at the Geneva Market
Visit the Geneva Market for some unique items. This weekly farmers market has a selection of fresh produce, artisanal products, and local crafts.
5. Visit the Smith Opera House
Head to the Smith Opera House to enjoy a live performance. This 19th-century theater showcases plays, musicals, and dance performances during different seasons.
New York’s small towns are full of unique sights and activities for travelers. From exploring historic sites to indulging in local cuisine and wine, there is no shortage of things to do when visiting these charming towns. So the next time you’re in New York, head out and explore the best of small-town life.