Cheap weekend getaways in upstate ny: Top 11 magical locations

By Valentina BaturinetsNov 10, 2023 16:18 PMNew York
Cheap weekend getaways in upstate ny: Top 11 magical locations
Cheap weekend getaways in upstate ny: Top 11 magical locations

The northern part of New York is always an attractive vacation destination for tourists, even on a minimal budget. There is a lot of entertainment here, which will cost a symbolic amount or free of charge. At the same time, there are more than enough options for fun. Already intrigued you? Then let's take a virtual journey to find out all the tricks of cheap weekend getaways in upstate NY.

Niagara Falls

A trip to Niagara Falls is always a good vacation idea. This vibrant New York City attraction gives travelers vivid emotions. Here you can walk along winding trails, enjoying amazing landscapes and a breath of fresh winds.

Important! Visiting many observation decks is completely free, so it is definitely worth going here on vacation. Don't miss the opportunity to take advantage of discounts for visiting this location.

You will be pleasantly surprised by the fantastic lighting of Niagara Falls with shimmering lights. It is worth noting that the attraction is illuminated all year round, so you can enjoy beautiful visual effects both in spring and fall.

Cheap weekend getaways in upstate ny: Top 11 magical locations
Travelers enjoy taking a ride on the Niagara Trolleybus. Source: Pixels

A great discount on visiting Niagara Falls State Park can be obtained with the Discovery Pass. With this resource, travelers save up to 30% on viewing the Niagara Aquarium and Discovery Center, Observation Tower and Maid of the Mist.

Travelers get the rare opportunity to ride the original Niagara Trolley or book long-distance tours of the state park to see vibrant scenic sites and architectural structures. On holidays and weekends from mid-May through September, there are spectacular Fireworks Parades.

Washington Park, New York

Among the many budget-friendly attractions in upstate New York, many tourists prioritize a visit to Washington Park. Upon getting here, one is immediately impressed by the park's vast 80-acre area. It is crisscrossed by many walking paths, picturesque ponds and valleys with dense vegetation. The park is decorated with historical monuments, statues and memorials.

It offers long stretches of amazing views of the Adirondacks, the scenic Hudson River and the Catskills. At the Albany Pine Bush Preserve, you can wander along winding paths for long periods of time, breathing in the fresh scents of greenery and flowers.

Historic Columbia Springs, New York

Don't even hesitate - cheap northern New York entertainment can be exciting. If you want to experience a world of natural harmony, visit Historic Columbia Springs in the resort town of Saratoga Springs. It is located in the central part of the Hudson Valley, surrounded by lush vegetation. Here, it's so easy to be tempted to take a dip in the clear waters of the baths.

Saratoga Springs is famous for its mineral springs with excellent therapeutic properties. They have carbon-alkaline or sodium chloride composition and original names, including the surnames of famous U.S. presidents. For example, there are springs named after Roosevelt and Lincoln. Nowadays, the springs have spa centers with the latest equipment and baths.

Cheap weekend getaways in upstate ny: Top 11 magical locations
Saratoga Springs invites you to bathe in hot mineral springs. Source:

If you wish, you can take an exciting tour of the resort area - it won't cost you any money. Saratoga Springs has picturesque gardens and parks where you can take long walks, taking in the spicy aromas of the plants. Another place to visit in the resort town is the farmer's market with a rich assortment of natural products at an affordable price.

In addition, the resort has a hippodrome, which often hosts horse races with the participation of famous jockeys from different parts of the world. There are also regularly organized concerts with performances of talented musicians, as well as bright representatives of ballet and theater art.

Taughannock Falls State Park near Ithaca

There are indeed many scenic spots in upstate New York. Let us now mentally transport ourselves to the southern part of Cayuga Lake in the Finger Lakes region, where dense forests and emerald hills harmoniously neighbor with crystal clear lakes.

Here you can arrange cheap getaways upstate ny vacations including cascading waterfall hopping. Head to Taughannock Falls in a nearby state park to feel the full force of the descending streams.

After a long walk, you can take a weekend feast by visiting the local market. You're sure to be impressed by the huge selection of natural products and flavorful baked goods. Wine tasting and live music always lift the spirits of guests.

If you have always been partial to the stars and distant planets, you will be interested in a walk on the planet Sagan. It is a scaled-down replica of the solar system. Kids have a special treat here, learning about the moon, sun and stars.

Columbia Street, Hudson, New York

Another interesting location for a cheap weekend getaway is Columbia Street - which is located in the heart of the Hudson River. This city is famous for its favorable location on the bank of the picturesque river, developed infrastructure and bustling life with many shades.

Columbia Street harmoniously combines craft boutiques and antique shops, mini-markets and large shopping centers. Here you can buy everything your soul desires, from branded clothes to valuable handmade items.

Cozy cafes and snack bars will definitely not let you go hungry. And if you want to relax in the exquisite atmosphere typical of American establishments, be sure to visit the Fish & Game restaurant, which deservedly received the James Beard Award.

Here you can have a great vacation, even without a large financial reserves. One of the options for a rich leisure time is a hike through the hillsides and mysterious trails of the city. If emotions aren't enough, visit the Thomas Cole National Historic Site. Here, you can learn in detail about this charismatic painter of the United States who favored landscapes.

Rochester Red Wings Frontier Field, Rochester, NY

A cheap vacation in the northern part of New York invites you to organize Rochester Red Wings Frontier Field. This place with magical landscapes, rousing festivals and historical monuments generously shares positive energy and helps to restore mental resources.

An interesting leisure option is to attend a baseball game in Rochester. From April through September, when baseball season rolls around, tickets to Frontier Field are available here inexpensively. Join the locals and support the Rochester Red Wings Major League Baseball team. Play miniature golf at a specialty course if you wish, or take a walk in the parks along the scenic paths. The area of the parks is truly amazing - it is about 12,000 acres.

Here you can make many historical and geological discoveries for yourself. Local landscapes and gardens with amazing plants make for unforgettable walks alone with nature.

When it's warm and clear outside, don't miss the opportunity to visit the Ontario Beach Park, which is located by the lake of the same name. Here you can swim or indulge in some sunshine on the shore. If you wish, rent a boat for one outing to explore the local surroundings. Take a ride on the carousel, where vacationers have been "catching the adrenaline" for over 100 years.

New Paltz, New York

Just two hours away from New York City is a popular location for a tasteful and inexpensive vacation. This is New Paltz, where you can spend the perfect weekend with family or friends. Wander along Lemon Squeeze, one of the long-distance hiking trails. Walks here can last up to 4 hours, and at the end of the trail, hikers are faced with fabulous views of the valley.

For refreshment and a little rest, check out the Main Street Bistro. It serves delicious sandwiches with juicy meats and fresh herbs. If you want to extend your time with nature, organize a picnic on the shores of a picturesque lake in the Mohonk Conservation Area.

The next day, head to Nyquist-Harcourt Wildlife Sanctuary in search of fresh emotions and experiences. Here, you can stop for a while to reassess values and watch graceful birds. Of course, there is always the point of going to the Dressel farms for apple picking. You can fully experience the rustic charm and homey warmth of these places.

Catskills, NY

If you only experience freedom and liberation when surrounded by unspoiled nature, venture to Phoenicia, which is located in the central Catskill Mountains near Esopus Creek.

Here you can fly-fish, go inflatable boating on a turbulent body of water with rapids, or enjoy the magical colorful leaves in the fall. It does not require any financial expenditure, and emotions will definitely cover you with a head.

If fate takes you to these places, be sure to visit the 56-foot tall Kaatskills Kaleidoscope. A kaleidoscope show with colorful visual and sound effects can be safely included in the list of inexpensive and exciting things to do in the Catskills.

If you feel like going to the extreme, head to Mount Tobias, where many colorful discoveries and fun adventures await. For the usual mundane pleasures, stroll around the city center, visiting art galleries and stores with goods for the most discerning tastes. Don't forget to pick up a couple of cute souvenirs to remember your colorful trip.

Walking in Long Beach, New York

One of the best options for cheap vacations in upstate ny is a visit to Long Beach. This 5-mile-long beach not only invites you to bask in the midday sun, but also to enjoy a rousing concert series. The local plaza regularly hosts an enchanting arts festival.

Cheap weekend getaways in upstate ny: Top 11 magical locations
Long Beach is designed for relaxation and fun-filled entertainment for guests. Source: Pixels

On weekends there are fairs with a wide variety of delicious food and handmade items accompanied by live music. Here you can feast on delicious poppy seed buns and apple and cinnamon pancakes, and after a hearty lunch, you can take a stroll along the magical waterfront.

Lake George in the Adirondack Mountains

In the heart of Lake George there is lies Lake George with its clear waters. You can frolic in the water or stroll along Shepherd Park and Asher Park beaches for free here. If you wish, you can stay in a lakeside cabin for a few days to soak up the cozy and warm atmosphere. The beaches regularly host fun concerts with talented artists and live music.

If you're a fan of hiking, pack up Sleeping Beauty Mountain for mesmerizing views. Lake George, with its eye-catching storefronts, is always a welcome sight. Local restaurants, including Taqueria Paloma, offer diners sumptuous menus with a wide variety of great meals and appetizers.


Fine connoisseurs of rustic comfort and tranquility will definitely appreciate Geneva, which is located in the picturesque Finger Lakes. This tiny town with authentic culture and history is surrounded by wooded hills and vineyards. Breweries and wineries blend seamlessly into the architectural composition of the village. Cozy restaurants of Geneva are happy to offer their guests to appreciate the taste of specialties made of natural products with a spicy rural accent.

Seneca Lake State Park is nestled near Seneca Lake. Here you can have fun picnics and splash in the water, ride bicycles or stroll along winding hiking trails.

Young travelers will love the playground or the water spray area with its hundreds of water jets. Historic sites like the Johnston House and Rose Hill Mansion can be strolled here for a nominal fee.

Fans of fine wines always enjoy visiting breweries and wineries with tasting rooms. Here travelers are offered to taste wines from selected grape varieties at a ridiculous price.

We have provided you with a partial list of locations for cheap weekend getaways in upstate ny . Relying on it, you can still plan a cozy weekend getaway with your loved ones. Such locations are ideal for a mental reset and finding the desired peace.

And let traveling fulfill your bold dreams!

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