Planning a visit to New York state? Whether you are looking for a city vacation or lots of outdoor space, New York state has something for everyone. These are our picks for the best New York State attractions for families.
A family vacation to New York state will give you more than enough things to see and do. With New York City, Niagara Falls, and some of the best outdoor places to explore, you can’t go wrong with a New York State vacation.
Narrowing down my favorite places to visit in New York state was difficult because I wanted to include so many places. I decided to pick my top 12 things to do in New York state that you don’t want to miss.
12 Best New York State Attractions for Families
In no particular order here are our favorite places to visit in New York state.
Niagara Falls State Park
Niagara Falls State Park is located in New York State. From here you can view the American side of the falls as well as the Canadian side.
Three sisters island is a must see inside the park. Here you can walk the bridges over the rapids and get a close look of the rapids before the falls.
There is also a restaurant on-site and walking trails throughout the park.
Corning Museum of Glass
Corning Museum is a day trip for us in Rochester, NY but we have visited for a weekend away too. The small village of Corning is a great area to enjoy window shopping and dinner out.
The Corning Museum of Glass is the highlight of the area. It offers world class glass exhibits that are pretty incredible. For young kids there is an interactive scavenger hunt through the museum.
I also suggest watching one of the daily glass blowing shows.
New York City
New York City is an obvious choice on the list of places to see in New York State but as a New York state resident we didn’t visit as a family until 2021.
I was very nervous about driving into the city and all the other logistics of visiting NYC but I am so happy we made the trip! Of course there is so much to see and do in NYC.
We spent most of our time walking around and just taking in the sites. For our next visit we will be including a Broadway show to our visit. Kids will also enjoy the FAO Schwartz Store, the Statue of Liberty, and Times Square.
- New York in 2 Days: Tips for First Time Visiting NYC with Kids
- Where to Stay in New York City: Westin New York Times Square Review
Letchworth State Park
Letchworth State Park is not called the Grand Canyon of the East for nothing. With it’s stunning gorge views and waterfalls, this massive park is worth a visit. There is a public pool as well as an all new autism friendly nature trail.
Strong Museum of Play
The Strong Museum of Play in is one of the best things to do in Rochester, NY. It is a children’s museum but all ages will love this museum.
For younger kids check out the Sesame Street area and the Reading Adventure Land. Older kids and adults will enjoy the new ropes course as well as the National Toy Hall of Fame.
We visited often when my kids were small and like to plan a visit a few times a year now that they are grown.
Learn More: The Best Things to See at Strong Museum of Play
The Adirondacks is the largest park in the United States. It covers 1/5 of New York State and is three times the size of Yellowstone. It encompasses many little villages and towns.
The best time to visit is the fall when the New York state foliage is at its peak. Winter can be a beautiful time to visit too. Honestly there is something to see during any season.
We have visited the Adirondacks for a few different trips. Each one has offered a little bit of a different experience. We’ve always visited during the off-season giving us a different perspective than a typical summer visit.
- Planning a Weekend in Lake George with Kids
- Exploring the Wild Center in Tupper Lake NY
- Things to Do in Utica NY with Kids (Oneida & Herkimer County Weekend Getaway)
Watkins Glen State Park
Watkins Glen State Park is home of my favorite hike in all of New York State. The Watkins Glen Gorge trail allows guests to walk along the glacier formed gorge passing over 16 waterfalls.
It is an incredible hike for families with older kids. Crowds can get very busy during the summer and fall. Arrive at opening if you can. We recommend staying overnight at the Harbor Hotel to arrive early. Check prices here.
LEGOLAND New York
Did you know the largest LEGOLAND park is located in New York state? LEGOLAND New York opened in 2021 after a delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
It has 7 different lands and an on-site LEGOLAND Hotel with themed rooms. We finally got to visit LEGOLAND New York. Read about it below.
Learn More: Everything Guide to LEGOLAND New York
Panama Rocks Park
Panama Rocks Park might be the most least know New York State attraction on this list but one of the best places to visit in New York state.
Located in Panama, New York, Panama Rocks Park is a hiking place that guests can explore caves, caverns, and rock formations. It is a very unique place that we really enjoyed visiting.
Cooperstown is home to the Baseball Hall of Fame and worth a visit, but it is also nestled on Lake Otsego, offering a gorgeous weekend getaway spot for families.
If you are looking for some relaxing family time and family fun activities Cooperstown is a great option.
Chimney Bluffs State Park
Chimney Bluffs State Park is along Lake Ontario and another unique park in New York State. When you visit you can hike along the cliffs of the park with amazing views of the Lake.
The hike is geared toward older kids. There is not a guardrail and the trail can be poorly marked at times.
I’ve included an overview of the Finger Lakes because there is a lot to see and do in that area for families. We have made visits to Ithaca, Canandaigua, and Watkins Glen.
If you enjoy wineries, most are family friendly and offer some of the best wine in the country. Most have outdoor spaces and areas for kids and adults.
A few of our favorites places in the Finger Lakes are:
- Things to Do in Ithaca New York for a Day Trip
- Fun Things to Do in Canandaigua, NY for a Day Trip
- Best Things to Do in Watkins Glen (Family Weekend at Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel)
As a New York resident we try to discover new places to visit in NY each year. Our list of best New York state attractions will continue to grow but I hope you make a point to plan a New York state vacation for your family.
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