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New York State Activities for Every Month of the Year

In honor of traveling where you live and in looking ahead to 2023, today I’m sharing New York State activities for every month of the year.

I’m always interested in exploring more of my home state and especially since the pandemic began I have found it more important than ever to appreciate my surroundings and find joy and adventure closer to home.

Whether you are a New Yorker or not, I hope you’ll find this list helpful and inspiring and can use it to plan for the new year! Some months have multiple suggestions, but this is just a starting point and is by no means an exhaustive list of options. New York is a big state and has a lot to offer! That said, I always find it therapeutic and helpful to spend some time at the end of the year looking ahead to the next one in a positive way and giving myself things to look forward to.

New York State Activities for Every Month of the Year

January: Ice Castles Lake George

Ice Castles is an annual celebration of the winter season that only takes place in five locations across North America, with Lake George being one of them. Attendees can enjoy ice slides, caverns, archways, and crawl tunnels all carved out of ice. A polar pub, mystic light walk, snow igloo village, and VIP experience are all new for 2023. Learn more and reserve tickets here.

February: Dog Sled Rides on Lake Placid’s Mirror Lake

Dog sled rides across Lake Placid’s frozen Mirror Lake begin the day after Christmas and continue through winter, weather depending. Usually offered Friday through Monday, they are available every day of the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day as well as the week of Presidents’ Day, falling on Monday, February 20th in 2023.

Rides are first come, first served and no reservation is required. Learn more here.

March: Museums and Parks

March is a great month to make fun plans as it often feels at this point like winter will never end and you may be getting *really* sick of the dreary weather.

If you’re not quite ready for outdoor activities, there are hundreds of museums to choose from across the state, with topics ranging from fine art and local history to textiles, history, science, sports, and more.

Weather permitting, consider an outdoor sculpture park like Art OMI in Ghent, Storm King Art Center in New Windsor, and Stone Quarry Hill Arts Park in Cazenovia.

March 30th is National Take A Walk in the Park Day, so celebrate the beginning of spring (whether it feels that way or not) by spending some time outside. New Yorkers are spoiled with more than 200 state parks and historic sites to choose from, not to mention local options like community parks and nature centers.

April: Take Me Out to the Ball Game

New York is home to two major league teams – the Yankees and the Mets – but for many it is easier said than done heading to the city to catch a game. Luckily New York also has ten Minor League teams spread across the state from Buffalo to Brooklyn, offering a variety of opportunities to visit a ball park without traveling too far. A Syracuse Mets game is on my list for 2023!

May: Flower Fields and Albany Tulip Festival

May is often the month when New Yorkers finally feel like they’re starting to thaw from a long winter, and it’s the perfect month to enjoy an explosion of flowers across the state.

U-Pick tulips at North Star Orchards, the A.P Saunders Peonies at Clinton’s Hamilton College, and the Cornell Botanic Gardens in Ithaca are just a few of the many places you can bask in the beginning of spring.

Mark your calendar for the Albany Tulip Festival, taking place May 13th and 14th in 2023. Take in a sea of more than 100,000 tulips along with live music, vendors, and food trucks in the state capital’s Washington Square Park. A perfect Mother’s Day weekend activity!

June: Visit the Thousand Islands

The Thousand Islands is a part-Canadian, part-American region comprised of more than 1,800 islands dotting the St. Lawrence River. The river’s west end emerges from Lake Ontario and continues east to the Atlantic Ocean. As it passes between the Canadian province of Ontario and the US state of New York, there’s a stretch of about 50 miles that is home to almost two thousand islands, creating a beautiful and diverse landscape.

Click here for my full post about the region.

July: Take A Hike

Home to three mountain ranges – the Catskills, the Adirondacks, and a section of the Appalachians – it’s almost hard to wrap your head around how much hiking New York State offers.

Formed in 1892, the Adirondack Park is the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United states and spans an area bigger than Yosemite, Yellowstone, Glacier, Grand Canyon, and Great Smokies National Parks combined. With 46 high peaks (mountains with summits of at least 4,000 feet) and over 2,000 miles of hiking trails, you could spend a lifetime exploring the park.

Further south, the Catskills cover 700,000 acres of land and boast their own collection of hikes, lakes, parks, inviting towns, and wildlife.

Just over ninety miles of The Appalachian Trail pass through New York.

Not to mention the myriad trails and parks located outside of these areas!

For more ideas:

August: Sunflowers, Lavender, and The Great New York State Fair

August is peak season in New York for lavender and sunflowers and there are a variety of farms and fields to choose from to enjoy both. Click here for my full post on Wagner Farms in Rome and click here for 12 Flower Fields and Gardens to Visit in Upstate New York This Year, also highlighting Hillcrest Lavender Farm in Sherburne.

And let’s not forget one of New York’s biggest annual events: the state fair! Taking place in 2023 from August 23rd to September 4th, the fair offers thirteen days of festive rides, food, drinks, music, animals, exhibits, and more.

September: Adirondack Balloon Festival, The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, and Luma Projection Arts Festival

Fall is my favorite time of year in New York and I know I am not alone! The changing leaves and crisp-but-still-warm weather is so beautiful, and with a long winter right around the corner I feel especially motivated to make the most of the season.

There are so many options for fun New York activities in September, but three that are high on my list are the Adirondack Balloon Festival in Queensbury, The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze – with options in the Hudson Valley and Long Island – and the Luma Projection Arts Festival in Binghamton.

2023 marks the 50th annual Adirondack Balloon Festival, taking place from September 21st through 24th. This free event features food and craft vendors, live music, a flight of 50+ balloons, and a nighttime Moonglow where dozens of balloons light up the night sky.

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze takes place over several weeks in Croton-on-Hudson in the Hudson Valley and Old Bethpage on Long Island. Each location has a variety of illuminated displays and tunnels crafted out of more than 7,000 pumpkins. The dates for 2023 have not been announced yet but you can keep an eye out for updates on their website.

Binghamton’s Luma Festival will take place on September 8th and 9th in 2023. Projectors and 3D animation transform the city into another world, with past light installations turning City Hall into a gingerbread house and the courthouse into Stonehenge. There is no entrance fee and no ticket is required – just show up and enjoy!

October: Apple Picking, Cideries, and Pumpkins

With fall in full swing, it’s time for New York’s most quintessential autumn activity: apple picking. Almost 700 orchards call the Empire State home, so no matter where you live there is sure to be one within day trip distance – or maybe even just down the street!

Some of my favorites here in Central New York are Windy Hill in Cassville, Sweet Acres in Leonardsville, Beak and Skiff in Lafayette, and Critz Farms in Cazenovia.

If you’re in the Hudson Valley, Golden Harvest Farms is a great option with pumpkins, a farm store, and a bakery.

golden harvest farms valatie ny

While they don’t offer u-pick, Clinton Cider Mill in Clinton and Fly Creek Cider Mill near Cooperstown are great for learning about the cider making process and trying seasonal treats like apple cider donuts.

In the Catskills, Brooklyn Cider House at Twin Star Orchards has a hard cider tasting room and farm stand.

Beak and Skiff, Critz Farms, and Fly Creek also make their own hard cider.

For a fun taproom experience year-round, head to Wayside Cider in Andes.

And if you’re driving along Route 20 – a scenic byway that’s especially pretty in the fall – Tim’s Pumpkin Patch in Marietta is a quick detour.

November: Skiing and Snoeshowing

New York has more than 50 downhill ski mountains, not to mention dozens of options for other winter activities like snowshoeing and cross country skiing.

Since New York weather can go either way in November, it can be a fun hybrid month of enjoying fall while looking ahead to the holidays. If you’re still enjoying the spooky season, The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze continues partway through the month. And if you’re ready for all things Christmas, decorations will start to go up across the state right around Thanksgiving.

December: It’s Christmastime in the City

If you love Christmas, the holiday season is an especially fun time to visit New York City. With decorations and events across all five boroughs, you could spend the entire month of December seeing new things. That said, a short walk around Manhattan will cover a lot of the quintessential activities.

See the tree at Rockefeller Center, enjoy the epic holiday window displays at stores like Bergdorf Goodman and Saks, take in the lights and installations along Fifth Avenue, and browse the holiday markets at Bryant Park and Grand Central Station. Like most of this list, these options only scratch the surface of possibilities for holiday activities in the city. Consider making it an annual tradition and seeing something new each time!

If you can’t make it to the city, don’t worry – towns and cities across the state decorate trees of their own. Some even offer ice skating by the tree, like Clinton Square in Syracuse, pictured here.

What are you looking forward to in 2023? Let me know in the Comments!

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new york state activities for every month of the year

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