Upstate New York is home to numerous historical and adventurous activities. Tourist attractions abound throughout the 52 counties that make up the region. A haven for outdoor adventurers, the upstate area has a variety of mountains, lakes and rivers. Visitors to the area will also find amusement parks, race tracks, speedways, museums and natural wonders of all types.
Utica-Rome Speedway in Vernon is an Upstate New York favorite. With a half-mile red-clay racing track, it offers various types of events including Big Block/Small Block Modifieds, Sportsman, Pro Stocks and Pure Stocks. These events are for the whole family. Coolers are not allowed, but beverages are sold at the track. Races are held every Sunday in the summer at 5:30 p.m. . Utica-Rome Speedway 5591 St Rte 5 Vernon, NY 13476 315-829-4557
The Adirondack Mountain Park comprises 6 million acres; according to Adirondack Regional Tourism Council, you could fit “Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Great Smoky, and Everglades National Parks combined” into the Adirondacks. Aside from just driving by and taking in the breathless views, many visitors love hot spots such as Lake George where they can enjoy hiking, canoeing, whitewater rafting and camping. Another attraction is the Enchanted Forest/Water Safari, which provides fun for the whole family.
Enchanted Forest/Water Safari 3183 Route 28 Old Forge, NY 13420 315-369-6145 watersafari.com
Harsh winters didn’t stop early Americans in 1777 when they defeated the British at Saratoga. Discover how Fort Stanwix played a direct role in this achievement. When visiting, tourists learn about the many day-to-day activities that went on in the lives of the soldiers, their wives and children. These activities include defending the fort, fetching water, washing clothes and keeping warm in New York’s cold temperatures. After touring the fort, stop at the museum and gift shop. The museum has reenactment video studios and displays 18th-century items related to the fort. Fort Stanwix is open all year round.
Fort Stanwix National Monument 100 S James Street Rome, NY 13440 315-338-7730 nps.gov
This tourist attraction is one of historical and geological interest. The cave was first entered by Henry Wetsel in the 19th century; a tour reveals interesting tales about the cavern's history. Visitors to the caverns will find beautiful stalactites, stalagmites and flowstone formations that drape all along the inside. The tour begins with an elevator ride that lowers you down 156 feet below the earth’s surface. You’ll then take a boat ride with a tour guide who explains the various formations. At the end of the tour, visit the museum and stop by the gift shop.
Howe Caverns 255 Discovery Drive Howes Cave, NY 12092 518-296-8900 howecaverns.com
New York State Museum
If you can only visit one place in Upstate New York, visit the state museum, which is located in Albany. It offers numerous exhibits, including the Birds of New York, which offers hands-on interaction. Fire Engine Hall is an exhibit that displays various fire trucks used throughout the years. Before you visit the museum, view some of its online exhibits such as the World Trade Center: Rescue, Recovery Response. Admission is free and the museum is open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. It is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
New York State Museum Cultural Education Center Empire State Plaza Route 20 Albany, New York 12230 518-474-5877 nysm.nysed.gov