Home Tourist attractions This summer, visit tourist destinations near you –

This summer, visit tourist destinations near you –

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Summer is here. And people are starting to travel again. However, in recent weeks, tens of thousands of travelers have found themselves stranded at airports due to flight delays and cancellations. And for almost everyone, rising gas prices and travel costs in general have become a major obstacle to taking that dream vacation.

Luckily, upstate New York families can get away to budget vacation destinations that aren’t so far away that they devastate an already dwindling bank account. There are many amazing and some world class places to visit locally. Whether you crave an adventurous getaway, a relaxing lakeside beach, unparalleled fishing, great entertainment, or a few days of luxurious living, you can make just about any vacation summer you want here. And you can enhance your travel experience by researching local destinations in advance.

Sometimes we forget that we live in an area with literally millions of acres of publicly accessible land. We have amazing parks, recreation areas and stretches of state land nearby, many with inexpensive campsites, and a few that still offer free backcountry camping.

Adirondack Park alone covers over 9,000 square miles and contains approximately 3,000 lakes, 30,000 miles of rivers and streams, and 2,000 miles of hiking trails. Hikers can climb one of 46 mountain peaks above 4,000 feet or enjoy several short trails leading to magnificent views and hidden natural wonders. And throughout the region, there are also hundreds of towns and villages to explore.

There’s no need to travel great distances, when we live in an area known around the world for its majestic mountains, scenic rural landscapes and world-class outdoor recreation. In fact, the Adirondack North Country is not just a place where people go, it’s a place where people experience relaxation, as well as exhilarating activities, delicious restaurants, a exciting nightlife, intriguing points of interest and a wealth of opportunities to discover the off-the-beaten-path places where the locals go.

Vacationers can hike, drive or boat through scenic landscapes in and around Adirondack Park or along the St. Lawrence River and/or Lake Ontario, as well as Lake Champlain and/or Lake George . And what about canoeing or kayaking on one or more of the countless other lakes, ponds, rivers and streams that are here to enjoy.

Cornell University students hiking in the Adirondacks. (Picture Cornell University)

There are countless tourist sites and museums in the area for tourists and history buffs to explore (eg Ausable Chasm, Fort Ticonderoga, The Wild Center and Wild Walk, Lake Placid Olympic Museum, John Brown Farm, Uihlein Sugar Maple Research and Extension Field Station, Almanzo Wilder Homestead, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake (Adirondack Experience), The Saranac Laboratory Museum (Trudeau Laboratory), North Creek Depot Museum, The Alice T. Miner Museum, Hyde Collection Art Museum and Historic House, Akwesasne Cultural Center Museum, Adirondack Sky Center and Observatory).

For less thinking and more fun, there are casinos offering games, meals and live music. There are summer music series and festivals featuring everything from bluegrass to jazz, chamber music to zydeco (e.g. Songs on Mirror Lake, Norwood Village Green Concert Series, Alexandria Bay Summer Concert Series, Potsdam Community Performance Series, Lake George Music Festival, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, County Fairs, The Great New York State Fair).

There are also water parks and amusement parks nearby (eg Enchanted Forest Water Safari, Six Flags Great Escape Lodge and Indoor Waterpark, Thunder Island Amusement Park, Lake George Expedition Park, Santa’s Workshop).

The variety of food and beverage businesses in the region is vast and diverse. You can discover great craft beverages from North Country microbrewers, winemakers, and distillers, chat with artisan owners about their operations, see up close how great beer, wine, and spirits are made, and buy directly from producers. .

Or, you can enjoy their mindfully crafted products with a meal at a local restaurant. Almost every town has at least a few local restaurants and/or restaurant bars. Look for those that use local ingredients. Also select these places for takeout. And while you’re there, check out the locally made baked goods. And buy your produce and meat from local farmers. Buying food locally is one of the best ways to support local economies.

Visit and shop at local businesses. Check out local galleries. And, before you leave, take home a souvenir made by a local artist or artisan.

Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) recognizes the value of building and maintaining strong, vibrant communities across the state. And CCE educators always strive to improve the quality of life for those who live and work in the counties they serve. They know that where and how we choose to spend our hard-earned dollars can actually dictate whether we strengthen local economies, resulting in more prosperous communities; or reduce opportunities for small business growth and development, which inevitably devastates local economies over time.

As a retired CCE educator, I would like to encourage everyone to vacation locally this summer. And to support local small businesses and, in doing so, play a part in building and maintaining strong, vital and vibrant local communities that work well for everyone.

Top photo: Climbing in the Adirondacks. (Picture Cornell University)