When the green summer leaves turn yellow and orange in the fall, the great outdoors in central New York couldn’t be a better place to take in the natural beauty. From waterfalls to parks to farms, the region has plenty of outdoor activities to offer.
A small town about 40 minutes from the Syracuse University campus offers all visitors stunning lake views and a quaint downtown. The drive itself is a scenic drive through the forestry of central New York. The town sits on the north shore of Skaneateles Lake, one of the Finger Lakes, and offers beautiful views of the water. Skaneateles Marina offers visitors the opportunity to rent boats or kayaks to enjoy time on the pristine waters.
Aside from the views, Skaneateles also has a quaint shopping district near the water with local shops selling everything from antiques to sweets. The streets are lively as people rush in and out of stores like Drooz and Company, a general store, and Vermont Green Mountain Specialty Co., a local candy store.
If you’re looking to save some cash, a stroll through Skaneateles’ historic districts can be refreshing. Many of the houses are magnificent and exemplify classic northeastern architecture.
The Syracuse area is surrounded by waterfalls, including Buttermilk Falls, which is 40 minutes outside of town. The waterfall is named for its source, Buttermilk Creek, and terraces down to Lake Cayuga, giving it a distinctive feel.
The park also offers a variety of amenities, including hiking, campgrounds, fishing, hunting, and lodging, according to the New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Agency. Hiking in this park can be a bit difficult as hikers have to climb a lot of stairs to get to the top of the falls. But it’s worth the effort in the end, as hikers can overlook the trailhead and marvel at the meandering waterfall.
For those less willing to climb all the stairs, the lower part of the park still offers a quiet spot with picnic benches and a small pool of water to provide visitors with a peaceful place to eat and relax.
To enter the park, cars must pay a $9 fee from 6:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Camping in the park is also available for $15-$19 per night.
For more waterfall adventures, check out The Daily Orange’s top picks.
If you’re looking for something a little different this fall, try a tour of Sweet Farm in Himrod, NY, about an hour and a half from campus. The farm is “the world’s first non-profit sanctuary dedicated to addressing the global climate impact of factory farming on animals, plants and the planet,” according to Sweet Farm’s website.
Guided tours of the sanctuary are offered every Saturday and Sunday, allowing visitors to see rescued farm animals and over 150 different crops being grown. The tours highlight Sweet Farm’s mission, which is to create a more sustainable way to farm and produce.
To book a tour visit their website and tickets are $15.
Watkins Glen State Park
For more ambitious explorers, Watkins Glen State Park, voted Best State Park in the USA TODAY Readers’ Choice Poll, is a great trip south of Syracuse. Located about an hour and 45 minutes from campus, this park follows Glen’s Stream for two miles while descending 400 feet and containing 19 waterfalls.
The park’s path takes visitors above and below the falls for a truly immersive experience in the nature around them. The creek flows through intricate rock pools, adding an exciting element to any hike through the gorge.
Watkins Glen offers visitors the opportunity to hike, fish, or camp on site and allows pets on site. Entry to the park is $10 per vehicle and base campground rates are $18-$30 per night.
Published August 31, 2022 at 11:02 p.m