If you are visiting New York and looking for refuge away from the city, you really don’t have to travel far. The state of New York actually has 24 National Parks plus 215 state parks and historic sites that encompass 350,000 acres.

Each park in itself is exceptional and definitely worth the time to getaway and explore.

From the renowned beaches or Long Island to massive Niagara Falls, New York state offers a great richness of escape for everyone. Moreover, some of the best sites to visit are the least popular such as Fire Island, Gateway, Governors Island, the Appalachian Trail; to name a few.

Then again, even the most visited parks are worth seeing, for they are extraordinaire.

Fire Island National Seashore

Patchogue, Long Island

120 Laurel St, Patchogue, NY 11772

Fire Island or the “island with no roads” has been a special place for centuries. It is renowned for its wide diversity of plants and animals.

Moreover, the pristine beaches offer the perfect habitat for delicate flora and fauna.

Take the ferry to the beach, then walk to the shore and set up your spot among the high dunes. The rhythmic waves alone will offer solitude plus soothe and renew your spirit.

After a bit of rest you can venture through the ancient maritime forests or visit some of the historic landmarks. If you are lucky, you will glimpse some of the wildlife like red fox, cottontail rabbits, white-tailed deer, Fowler’s toads, Monarch butterflies (fall migration), grey catbirds and rufous-sided towhees (a large sparrow).

Gateway National Recreation Area

Staten Island, New York City

212 New York Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10305

The Gateway National Recreation Area encompasses 27,000 acres with sites in Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island. The recreation area includes three geographic units -Jamaica Bay, Sandy Hook, New Jersey and Staten Island, New York City (NYC).

The NYC units consist of

  • Fort Tilden
  • Riis Park in Queens
  • Floyd Bennett Field
  • Canarsie Pier in Brooklyn

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

Moreover, Staten Island has Miller Field, Great Kills Park and Fort Wadsworth. These sites and a few others constitute the 27,000 acres of Gateway, one national park.

The Gateway National Recreation Area offers an array of recreational activities that includes beaches, cultural resources and natural areas. For instance, on the bay Sandy Hook is great place for kite-boarding and windsurfing.

Horseshoe Cove is prevalent with recreational boaters. Overnight camping is also available.

Other outdoor opportunities are fishing, bird watching, swimming, boating, bicycling and hiking.

Governors Island

New York, NY

Governors Island is a 172-acre island in Upper New York Bay. It is located about 800 yards (2400 feet) from the southern tip of Manhattan.

From 1794 to 1966, the island was a full-service military base for the US Army, then for the coast guard. Today, the Governors Island is a lively summer spot for art, performance and cultural exchange.

The first 30 acres of the park includes a sunny six-acre plaza; rolling pathways that weave through a 10 acre grove of hammocks and trees; and 14 acres of Play Lawn which has two ball fields. The newest landmark on the harbor is called the Hills which rise 70 feet above sea level.

The Hills offer green overlooks, plush rolling landscapes, amazing views and thrill-seeking slides. The public can visit the island from May 1st to Oct 31st.

Appalachian Trail

One of the most enjoyable getaways in New York is the Appalachian Trail (A.T), especially if you love hiking. The trail is actually around 2,200 miles long.

It expands from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. The A.T. travels about 90 miles through New York State.

The trail actually passes 30 miles to the north of NYC which is largely populated, yet the Appalachian Trail keeps a remote sense of nature.

The lowest point of the A.T. is through the Bear Mountain Zoo in front of Trailside’s bear den exhibit at an elevation of 124 feet. The trail also passes through other various state parks like:

  • Harriman State Park
  • Sterling Forest State Park
  • Bear Mountain State Park
  • Hudson Highlands State Park
  • Clarence Fahnestock State Park

You can also find various campgrounds in Clarence Fahnestock and Harriman State Parks. In addition, there are eight shelters along the New York (NY) Appalachian Trail.

Heading north you will find Wildcat Shelter (north of NY 17A) on the Bellvale Mountain trek.

The next shelter is Fingerboard in Harriman State Park, close to Lake Tiorati. Harriman State Park also provides West Mountain and William Brien Memorial Shelters if you need a break.

Although the West Mountain Shelter is a little of the main trail, it is definitely worth stopping for the amazing view of the Manhattan skyline. The highest point of the trail in NY is at Prospect Rock on Bellvale Mountain with an elevation of 1433 feet.

Just west of the Taconic State Parkway is the RPH Shelter. Close to Depot Hill and west of NY 55 crossing is Morgan Stewart Memorial Shelter.

West of the NY 22 crossing after Nuclear Lake is Telephone Pioneers Shelter. And near the Connecticut state line is Wiley Shelter.

Hiking the A.T. is a great way to escape the chaos of big city life. You will be amazed at the solitude of nature and the remarkable views along the hike.

For an incredible journey, it’s best to do some exploring along the way. It is highly recommended that you purchase the Appalachian Trail Guide to New York-New Jersey for the ideal experience.

The best time to hike the A.T. is late April through early June and also September and October.

Saratoga National Historical Park (Saratoga Battlefield)

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Today’s #georgianjanuary theme is traveling, and while I was tempted to post a photo of a carriage or a riding chair I kept coming back to these. For most of the 18th century, one of the best conveyances was your own feet. It was certainly true that the men and women who belonged to the army walked hundreds of miles, carrying with them anything they might need. Also, I couldn’t help but add the requisite pre-event full trunk photo, because I find it ridiculous that it takes so much for us to get ready to time travel. 📸 first photo Lee Gugino; second photo Lila Howlett, third photo @thestarsdaughter . . . #eighteenthcentury #revolutionarywar #followingthearmy #saratoganationalhistoricalpark #saratogabattlefield #findyourpark #nationalparkservice #campfollower #belongingtothearmy #tagragandbobtail #reenactment #reenactor #livinghistory #walking

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Stillwater, Capital-Saratoga

648 Rte 32, Stillwater, NY 12170

Saratoga National Historical Park is located in the town of Stillwater, forty miles north of Albany. The park preserves the site of the Battles of Saratoga which was the turning point of the Revolutionary War.

You can drive, hike or bicycle while you journey through history. The park is composed of three units:

  • The Battlefield and Visitor Center in Stillwater
  • Saratoga Monument in the nearby village of Victory
  • General Phillip Schuyler House, 8 miles north in Schuylerville

The park has numerous activities and attractions throughout the year. A favorite is the walk through Victory Woods where you can hike the trail through 22 acres.

It was the location of British General John Burgoyne’s final encampment before his surrender on October 17, 1777.

Another highlight is the Neilson’s house, a delightful red farmhouse. The house contains numerous war artifacts such as candles, travel boxes and other personal items that belonged to the soldiers.

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Savoring every moment with these two ✨. One of the main reasons I started my oily biz was so that I could spend as much time as possible with them before they grow up and leave me 😩. Working from home isn’t always the easiest but it’s totally worth it • • • • •#motherhoodsimplified #adventureisoutthere #habitandhome #naturalwellness #nontoxicliving #inbeautyandchaos #knowbetterdobetter #lifeunscripted #aromatherapy #prettylittlesquares #untoldvisuals #thisparentlife #workfromanywhere #realnotperfect #littleandbrave #bohemianmama #wildandfreechildren #healthyhome #momadvice #younglivingessentialoils #thebloomforum #whole30 #momlife #saratogabattlefield #memorialdayweekend #familylife #motherhoodunplugged

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The land in Saratoga National Historical Park is not just a historical treasure but it is incredible. The view from the Freeman Farm Overlook alone is quite breathtaking.

You can imagine what the soldiers seen. In fact, the stunning views of ravines, hills and the tree lines haven’t changed much in over 242 years.

National Parks in New York

There are numerous National Parks in New York State to choose from when you want to getaway. In fact, you could easily spend the entire summer exploring just a handful of amazing parks.

Additional great options include the world’s largest kaleidoscope at Mount Tremper, the lush and rich Hudson River Valley or other scenic parks and gardens. Nonetheless, there is no better way to relax and getaway than to explore the many National Parks in New York.