Ithaca Is Gorges: The 8 Best Outdoor Activities in Upstate New York

watkins glen state park
Image courtesy of TripAdvisor
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* Ithaca, New York, is home to some of the most beautiful sights in the country
* Take advantage of the cooler fall weather by going on an outdoor adventure
* Take a stroll through Ithaca’s wine country or enjoy an evening overseeing the mountains

As the locals will say, there’s no better time to visit Ithaca than in the fall. With an abundance of state parks, trails and waterfalls, this upstate New York town makes for a perfect getaway or weekend retreat.

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Not sure where to start? No problem. We’ve done the legwork by curating the eight best outdoor activities to see in Ithaca, all backed by hundreds of positive reviews on peer-to-peer review site, TripAdvisor.

1. Taughannock Falls State Park

Beautiful sights and sounds await at this state park. This 750-acre state park is one of the most beautiful in the northeast, and at the center lies the Taughannock Falls, a gorgeous waterfall that plunges a whopping 215 feet. The park is open all year, but the sights are best viewed in the fall.

Taughannock Falls State Park Image courtesy of Taughannock State Park

Visit: Taughannock Falls State Park


2. Treman Falls and State Park

This 1110-acre park is nestled in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of New York. Packed with tons of scenic views, this state park offers a perfect camping spot or a great day trip with the whole fam. Hiking to one of the many waterfalls is a must.

 Treman Falls and State Park Image courtesy of TripAdvisor

Visit: Treman Falls and State Park


3. Buttermilk Falls and Hikes

With moderate hikes and tons of natural beauty, Buttermilk Falls features 10 different waterfalls and the famous Gorge Trail, which is not nearly as scary as it sounds. Playgrounds, camping spots, cabins and more are ready and available to visit and rent.

buttermilk falls Image courtesy of Buttermilk Falls

Visit: Buttermilk Falls & hikes


4. Finger Lakes Wine Tours

Not only are there breathtaking waterfalls and mountains in the Finger Lakes, the area also offers some of the best wine tours this side of the Mississippi. Choose from a sensational smorgasbord of wine tasting options. Other options: from guided van tours to scenic boat rides, you really can’t go wrong with any option.

crush farms wine tour Image courtesy of Crush Farms

Visit: Finger Lakes Wine Tours


5. Finger Lakes Beer Tours

Not a wine drinker? No problem. The Finger Lakes is also home to dozens of great beer tours. From guided trips to day tours and more, the Finger Lakes has it all. The Hopshire Farms Brewery, in particular, offers some delicious brews in an iconic old-fashioned setting.

Hopshire Farms and Brewery Image courtesy of Hopshire Farms

Visit: Finger Lakes Beer Tours


6. Finger Lakes Boat Tours

One of the best ways to truly experience all the beauty Ithaca’s rivers have to offer is by boat, and there’s simply no better boat tour than Schooner Excursions. Climb aboard a vintage 1926 John Alden Malabar VII Schooner and see the Finger Lakes in style. Most tours last around two hours.

finger lakes boat tour Image courtesy of Schooner Excursions

Visit: Finger Lakes Boat Tours


7. Finger Lakes Balloon Tours

And if you’re feeling extra adventurous, a balloon tour is a fun and unique way to experience all the sights and sounds of upstate New York. Hovering around Tompkins County, flights usually last around 70 minutes with a celebratory Champagne toast at the end.

ithaca balloon tour Image courtesy of Southern Tier Balloon Tours

Visit: Ithaca Balloon Tours


8. Watkins Glen State Park

Opened in 1863, the gorgeous state park has some of the best sights and sounds around. With beautiful forest trails and 19 waterfalls, you’ll have no problem getting lost in all the natural beauty. Don’t forget to stop by the Cavern Cascade.

watkins glen park Image courtesy of World Atlas

Visit: Watkins Glen State Park

And don’t forget to book your stay a few days (or weeks) in advance.

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