August long weekend was the perfect time to head south to go camping in New York state!
Our first out of three stops was Buffalo
Although Buffalo doesn’t have any major tourist attractions (other than shopping), the downtown is has quite a few old, historic buildings, which are nice to see.
They also have an amazing brewery called “Big Ditch Brewing Company.” The food here is delicious, not to mention the different kinds of beer!
Buffalo also has a really nice waterfront path with different vendors selling lemonade and shaved ice (first time ever having shaved ice!!!).
From here you can also see some great views of Lake Erie.
The waterfront area also has some very interesting and unique pieces of art, most notably, Shark Girl!
While staying in Buffalo, we stayed at the “Adam’s Mark” hotel. This hotel was nice minus the terrible internet and the really slow elevators.
After Buffalo we headed to Watkin’s Glen State Park for 3 nights. The actual size of this park is not very big, in fact 2 nights would’ve been sufficient to see everything in the park and the small town that it’s in.
The great thing about this park is that the entrance is right in town so it’s really easy to “be one with nature” and also only be a 5 min drive away from access to all the basic needs of life (including the Wal-Mart which offers a free wi-fi!). There are two main trails in the park, easily hike-able in a day.
The first trail goes into the gorge and is made up of stairs, a few tunnels and waterfalls.
The second trail is the Gorge trail that goes along up top. Not many stairs here and it’s a dirt path the whole away among the trees.
Although there is no lake to swim in at this park, they do have a giant swimming pool, complete with a few diving boards I might add!
Since we were able to experience the park and the town in the first two days, we took a day trip on the third day to Robert H Treman State park. One great thing that we discovered was that if you pay to go to one state park, you get access to all state parks! Similar to Watkins Glen they too had one path that went down through the gorge and one that went above the gorge.
In this park there are various areas where you can actually go down into the river and go swimming
You will also see ALOT of waterfalls!
Most notably, Lucifer Falls
The landscape in this park is unreal, at times it felt like we weren’t in North America anymore.
Although this park didn’t have a giant swimming pool, they did have a waterfall to go swimming in!
I would definitely recommend visiting this park, it’s also perfect for a day trip as its easy to see everything in one day.
On the way back we saw “historic covered bridge” signs and stopped to take a quick peek.
Check out from Watkin’s Glen was at 11am on the Wednesday and check-in at the second state park that we were camping at wasn’t until 3pm so we decided to take a day trip to Utica.
This city has a nice downtown to take a little walk around.
Utica is also known for the location of Cornell University, spending an hour walking around this campus wasn’t enough time. It seemed endless!
Our last stop before leaving Utica was to stop at a Nature Museum. Let me just say that this was a result of seeing this “amazing treehouse” being talked up in a post on Pinterest. Sad to say that when we actually arrived here, it was a bit of a let down. “Amazing treehouse” made us think, amazonian jungle, swiss family Robinson style treehouse! Ya no, definitely not.
We said good-bye to Utica and headed to our last stay of the trip, Letchworth State Park for two nights.
This park is MASSIVE. It’s definitely worth at least a 3 night stay to see everything in this park.
This park is known as “The Grand Canyon of the East,” and as soon as you drive into the park it’s easy to see why (insert jaw drop here).
When we first got into the park the sun was setting and we really weren’t sure where we were going. After about 10 minutes of driving through the park, we felt really lost, having not seen any signs anywhere for camping. Luckily, there was a giant board with a huge map of the park in one of the empty parking lots we passed! We realized that although we had already drove 10 minutes into the park, we still had a ways to go before we would reach the campgrounds (again, this park is huge!).
Luckily, we made it!
Can I just point out one really great thing about camping in the State Parks? Flushing toilets everywhere!!! No outhouses! You really don’t realize how much of a good thing this is until you’re actually there.
We spent a full day exploring this park. Because it is so big, you pretty much have to drive between all of the major spots. Starting at the top of the park we worked our way back.
We were lucky to get perfect weather all week and even luckier that this park also had a huge sized swimming pool to cool off in cause it was hotttttt!
This park is definitely one that I would return to. With SO MUCH to see, not to mention the friendly wildlife (while sitting by the campfire we not only got a visit from a very nosy raccoon but also a very friendly skunk – not to worry we didn’t get sprayed!).
C’est la vie!
Vacations always go by so fast. It’s important to always take little moments, take a breath, look around and take it all in. It’s remembering these tiny moments and having them to look back on when you return to the day-to-day grind that make traveling so worth while.
Until my next trip!