Welcome to New York, the Empire State!
New York is located in the northeastern quadrant of the United States, bordered by Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Canada and shares a maritime border with Rhode Island.
This is the 27th largest state by area and home to New York City (NYC), the most populous city in the United States.
Capital City: Albany
Population: About 20.2 million
Time Zone: Eastern Standard Time (EST)
New York Highlights
While NYC is the major highlight of New York state, drawing in almost 70 million visitors each year, there is far more to the Empire State than just New York City.
Head up to the Adirondacks to hike Mount Marcy, the tallest peak in New York before driving west to the Finger Lake region for a wine tour and explore stunning State Parks filled with dramatic gorges and waterfalls.
Even further west, you will find the world famous Niagara Falls which should certainly be on your travel bucket list.
There are no National Parks in New York state, but there are many National Monuments, Scenic Trails, Historic Sites and State Parks worth visiting.
Use our detailed guides below to help plan your trip to the Big Apple and beyond.
Popular Parks In New York:
- Letchworth State Park
- Buttermilk Falls State Park
- Robert H. Treman State Park
- Bear Mountain State Park
- Niagara Falls State Park
Popular Places To Visit In New York:
- New York City
- Finger Lakes Region
- Hudson River Valley
New York City
The Big Apple is often referred to as the cultural, financial, media and entertainment capital of the world. New York City is the destination our readers always ask about and it is easy to see why.
This city will always hold a special place in our hearts because this was the first city we lived in as a married couple (a big deal for full time travelers).
We spent many months endlessly exploring everything this famous city has to offer. While we no longer live here, we make it a habit to return several times a year.
There is just something special about New York City. It gets under your skin and never leaves. We recommend you visit NYC at least one in your lifetime.
Best Of NYC
Below you will find the very best the city has to offer.
- Comparison Of NYC Passes – This detailed comparison guide has been written by us (people who have actually used each NY pass in the city). Which New York City pass is best for you?
- Best Museums In NYC – A guide to the ten must-see museums in New York.
- Best Pizza In NYC – Twenty two unmissable pizza places in New York City.
- Best New York City Bagels – Where to find the perfect bagel in NYC.
Whether you are a first time visitor or a returning visitor to NYC, there is nothing like soaking up the skyline from a high vantage point.
- Edge At Hudson Yards – New York’s highest outdoor sky deck with an optional City Climb experience taking you 1,200 ft above Manhattan.
- Empire State Building – The most iconic observation deck filled with history and glamour. The 360 degree view of surrounding concrete buildings is stunning, but it’s the most expensive option.
- One World Observatory – The tallest observation deck with a different perspective to the others. But while you are closer to Brooklyn Bridge and Statue of Liberty, the sunset is much less impactful.
- SUMMIT One Vanderbilt – The newest addition to New York City’s high vantage points. But this is more than just an observation deck, it’s an entire experience.
- Top Of The Rock – The shortest and unglamorous option from the outside, but in our opinion, the observation deck with the best view in all of New York City.
- Top Of The Rock vs Empire State Building – Which observation deck is better to visit?
New York Travel Planning
Visiting NYC can be extremely overwhelming. Where do you stay, what attractions do you see and what can’t you miss when visiting the city?
Use our popular guides to help you draft a NYC itinerary.
- Best Things To Do In NYC – Everything you should do when visiting NYC including free, cheap and fun things to experience.
- 4 Days In New York Itinerary – How to plan the perfect trip to New York City.
- Where To Stay In New York City – The best places and hotels for all types of budgets.
- Statue Of Liberty – Complete guide to visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
- Lower Manhattan – 18 awesome things to do in Lower Manhattan for every budget.
Heading to NYC? Use our NYC guidebook to plan your entire trip.
If you are just looking for some New York inspiration? We are sure these next guides will inspire you to start packing your bags as soon as possible.
- Best Photography Locations in NYC – Over 60 of the best photo locations including tourist classics and hidden spots.
- Brooklyn Bridge – A sunrise walk featuring the best photography locations near this iconic landmark.
- Helicopter Ride in New York – Everything you need to know before you fly over New York.
- Afternoon Tea – Our 5 star service at the Whitby Hotel in Midtown Manhattan.
- New York City Quotes – A collection of famous New York Quotes to fuel your wanderlust.
Upstate New York
Like we mentioned before, there is so much more to beautiful New York State than New York City. Upstate New York is considered to be the geographic area anywhere north of New York City.
As you can imagine, that is a pretty big region to explore. But Kristen grew up in Upstate NY, specifically the Finger Lakes area, as well as completed her Bachelors Degree in Buffalo, NY and Masters Degree in Rochester, NY.
So you can consider us experts when it comes to this region. We will show you the best hikes, places to visit, things to do and even a few stellar restaurant recommendations.
The Adirondack Park was created in 1892 by the State of New York and is protected by state law. This park is located in northern NY about 5 hours north of Manhattan.
With over six million acres, the Adirondack Park is the largest park in the contiguous United States which covers one-fifth of the entire state.
Popular places in the Adirondacks include Lake Placid, Lake George, Saranac Lake and Plattsburg.
- Best Things To Do In Lake Placid – A complete guide to hikes, waterfalls, scenic rives and stunning views.
- High Falls Gorge – An easy hiking trail featuring a gorgeous waterfall in Lake Placid.
- Hiking Mount Marcy – A stunning hike up New York’s highest peak in the Adirondacks high peaks region.
Finger Lakes Region
We are truly saving the best for last with the Finger Lakes region. The Finger Lakes refers to the 14 counties between Lake Ontario and Pennsylvania with Buffalo to the west and Syracuse to the East.
This area is a hidden gem featuring a group of 11 long narrow lakes perfect for endless outdoor activities ranging from golf and hiking to skiing and snowboarding.
If you are a wine lover, this would be the perfect spot for you because the Finger Lakes region is home to over 100 wineries. Wine tours along Canandaigua, Keuka, Seneca and Cayuga lakes are extremely popular.
Our favorite activity in this region is hiking. Explore the best trails below:
- Buttermilk Falls State Park – Don’t miss the popular Gorge and Rim trail featuring stunning waterfalls, jagged gorges and natural beauty.
- Letchworth State Park – Known as the Grand Canyon of the East, this State Park was dubbed the most stunning State Park in 2015.
- Robert H. Treman State Park – Follow twelve waterfalls along the stunning stone staircases as you pass into the depths of Enfield Glen gorge.
- Taughannock Falls State Park – The State Park featuring the tallest single drop waterfall East of the Rocky Mountains.
- Watkins Glen State Park – The extraordinary crown jewel of New York’s Finger Lakes region.