This winter, give yourself the gift of an escape when you need it most. Be it a weekend long road trip or a train ride for a few hours in a new city, winer travel opportunities are a plenty in the Empire State. Below, we’ve rounded up the best weekend getaways in upstate New York where you’ll find a winter wonderland.
Planning an escape? These are the best weekend getaways in upstate New York
1. Lake Placid
Nestled in the heart of Adirondacks is Lake Placid, a geographically beautiful area with access to all things outdoors. If you’re a skier or snowboarder, this is the place for you. Lake Placid has hosted not one, but two, winter Olympic games, and many athletes still train here today. There’s no shortage of things to do: Take a dog sled ride around Mirror Lake, go ice skating in an actual Olympic oval, or ski the slopes of Lake Placid’s crown jewel: Whiteface Mountain.
Where to stay: If you’re feeling fancy, check out the Lake Placid Lodge, rated a world’s best hotel by Travel+Leisure. Or, if you’re looking for something a little more charming, book a room at the Stagecoach Inn, which happens to be the oldest building in area. It’s the perfect spot for a romantic getaway or just some R&R from everyday life.
A stone’s throw from Syracuse, this lakeside village is considered the, “Jewel of the Finger Lakes” for good reason. Between the crystal clear lake, idyllic downtown streets, and overall Hallmark-movie feel, it’s no wonder Skaneateles has landed itself on just about every upstate weekend getaway round-up there is. If you make it there before Christmas, you can might catch the annual Dickens holiday celebration. If not, no worries. There’s plenty to do downtown, plus it’s a short drive from vineyards, distilleries, and other cool spots that make it worth the trip.
Where to stay: Splurge on a luxurious stay at the Mirbeau Inn & Spa, a 34-guest room retreat in a French manor house. Just don’t go without pampering yourself at the spa, which offers unbelievably luxe treatments, massages, and facials to leave you totally relaxed. Or, book a few nights at the 2W Lake, a lakeside B&B that’s a stroll from downtown shops, restaurants, and more.
If you live in New York City, you’ve surely heard of Beacon or, at the very least, seen it in one of your friends Instagram stories. The artsy Hudson Valley city is just 60 miles from NYC, so if you can’t spend a whole weekend away, it’s close enough for day-trips, too. Don’t go without visiting the Dia:Beacon, which is home to the Dia Art Foundation’s collection of contemporary art. After that, check out another gallery, pop into a local brewery, or catch a set at the Towne Crier Cafe.
Where to stay: If you consider love food, the Roundhouse is the spot for you. The boutique, historic hotel is also home to the Roundhouse Restaurant which serves a menu entirely sourced from local farms, wineries, and distilleries. If you want to go the B&B route, check out Beacon Bed & Breakfast, which doesn’t skimp on the good food, either. Each morning, they serve dessert-style stuffed French toast and pancakes, which you can enjoy on the wrap-around porch overlooking Main Street.
4. Lake George
In the summer, Lake George is another hotspot in the Adirondacks, thanks to its large, gorgeous lake. But there’s much to do in the winter, too—especially if you like the outdoors, Lake George plenty, from your classics like winter hiking and snow tubing, to not-so-traditional experiences, like ice fishing and dog sledding. You’re also a short drive from more skiing at Gore Mountain, so be sure to pack your gear.
Where to stay: Scroll through any Lake George travel guide and you’re sure to see The Sagamore somewhere. This luxury, 4-diamond resort overlooks the lake and is fully-loaded with amenities, including a golf course, restaurants, a spa, and in the winter, an ice bar and lounge. Or, tuck in at the Cornerstone Victorian Bed & Breakfast, which offers a 5-course breakfast in serene surroundings you’ll never want to leave.
5. Thousand Islands
Like the salad dressing except way better. The Thousand Islands is an archipelago of more than, well, 1,000 islands in the St. Lawrence river between the U.S. and Canada. It’s a coastal dream with hundreds of pristine lakes, rivers, and waterfalls to explore. Expect all the coastal usual suspects, like fishing, hiking, boating, and more. General sightseeing will not disappoint—the islands are known for their stunning array of lighthouses, castles, and Gothic cottages, so there’s plenty to see.
Where to stay: You can’t go wrong with the Harbor Hotel, which overlooks the St. Lawrence river and offers a convenient location for exploring the Thousand Islands region. However, with so much charm and character, you also can’t go wrong with an AirBNB. The Cozy Cottage Rental is located on the water a bit North of Clayton and has winter-friendly amenities like a fire pit for relaxing and roasting marshmallows. Or, this Apartment in downtown Cape Vincent, which is conveniently located 15 minutes from the action in Clayton and is across the street from an island ferry for off-shore adventure.
New Yorkers know “Ithaca is Gorges”—the tagline celebrating Ithaca’s famous gorges. The cute city sits on Cayuga Lake, right at the heart of the Finger Lakes region. If you’re into all-things outdoors, this is the place for you. The area is stocked with trails (many of which lead to waterfalls), like Taghannock Falls State Park and Buttermilk Falls State Park. After your hike, pop into Ithaca Beer Co. for a Flower Power, or cozy up with a mug of hot cider at South Hill Cider.
Where to stay: If you want access to downtown dining, shopping, and entertainment, we recommend staying at The Hotel Ithaca. The location is a vantage point for everything, whether you want to stay close to town or go explore. Downtown is also a hotbed of cute AirBNBs loaded with character, like the Studio in Downtown Ithaca and the Chic Downtown Charmer, both of which are steps away from all the action.
7. Saratoga Springs
Saratoga Springs is known for its race course, but that’s certainly not the only thing to do here—especially come winter. Saratoga Spa State Park—which is known for its architecture and natural mineral springs—offers over 12 miles of pristine powder perfect for snow-shoeing and Nordic skiing. Saratoga Springs is also a short drive from the Southern Adirondacks, meaning if you want to venture up to Lake Placid or Lake George, not to mention Whiteface or Gore Mountains, you’re only a short drive away.
Where to stay: Local legend has it the mineral springs surrounding the area had healing properties. If you’re looking to do some healing, The Gideon Putnam has got you covered. Here, you can soak in the effervescent mineral springs and experience the healing powers of hydrotherapy for yourself. If a spa isn’t on the top of your to-do list, check-out one of the surrounding inns, like the Saratoga Dreams B&B or The Springwater B&B.
When you need to get out of the city in a pinch, check out Tarrytown. This quaint hamlet is located in Westchester County, so it’s out of the city without requiring a long drive. It’s also next to Sleepy Hollow, the real-life inspiration for Washington Irving’s spooky short-story. As expected, both places are loaded with legendary landmarks, including the Headless Horseman Bridge and Sculpture, Kykuit (the Rockefeller estate), and Rockefeller State Park Preserve.
Where to stay: Like we mentioned, Tarrytown + Sleepy Hollow are both located only 30 miles North of the city, making a day-trip totally do-able. If you do want to stay overnight, however, The Tarrytown House Estate features 19th century mansions turned into guest rooms, making it an ideal romantic getaway or girl’s trip.
Chances are, “Woodstock” conjures up images of tie-dye and peace signs. While the actual Woodstock festival was located about a mile away in Bethel, that doesn’t mean the town isn’t worth a visit. Unsurprisingly, the village is a goldmine for all things arts and culture, offering everything from sculpture gardens and galleries, to the world’s largest kaleidoscope. Since its located at the foot of the Catskills, it’s also a great spot to do some hiking and leaf-peeping before the leaves turn.
Where to stay: Skip the chain hotel and opt for the one of hundreds of cool AirBNBs or home stays the area has to offer. Need some ideas? This Cozy Woodstock Cottage screams “anniversary weekend” and promises peace and quiet in a secluded setting. Artists can get some respite in the Rock City’s Writer’s Studio, too, and for an experience unlike anything else, escape to the Former Church on the Hill, which is literally a converted church.
10. Watkins Glen
Another Finger Lakes gem is Watkins Glen, an outdoor wonderland for avid hikers and nature enthusiasts. Of course, there’s Watkins Glen State Park, which was ranked the best New York State Park by Traveler. But don’t forget to check out the countless wineries, orchards, creameries, breweries, and farms in the area, too. And a stroll along Seneca Lake is a must, too.
Where to stay: For deluxe accommodations close to everything, stay at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, which, true to its name, overlooks the harbor. Or, take advantage of the off-season vacation rental scene for a home-away-from-home. This Lakeview Cottage provides unbelievable views of the water and overlooks a waterfall, while this Guest House includes a covered deck for snowy mornings accompanied by a mug of hot cocoa.
Snow-lovers—you’d be remiss not to head up to Hunter for a weekend. Nestled in the Northern Catskills, this mountain town gives you access to premiere skiing, snowboarding, and apres at Hunter Mountain. Afterwards, schedule some time for recovery at the Mountain Club Spa, which is located on the mountain in the Kaatskill Mountain Club. Perfect for soothing sore muscles and rejuvenating for another run on the slops.
Where to stay: For convenient ski access, stay at the Hunter Mountain Resort, which offers ski-in-and-out accessible rooms and packages on lift tickets and gear rentals. If you want to stay off-mountain, Hunter Inn offers charming amenities and convenient access to downtown shopping, dining, and nightlife.
Minutes from Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake is Trumansburg, an adorable village begging for a holiday visit. The weekend of Dec. 4, catch the local Winterfest, a community celebration of all-things wintery. When you’re not shopping or drinking cider, you can enjoy snow-shoeing, cross-country skiing, and sledding available in the local trails and parks.
Where to stay: Indulge your outdoorsy side at the Inn at Taughannock Falls, which overlooks Cayuga Lake and offers premium hiking access to a 215-foot waterfall. Or, relax in luxury at the Gothic Eves Inn & Spa, which features two dreamy outdoor hot tubs and fine dining in walking distance.
You might think Catskill is only an outdoor paradise—it’s also an artist’s paradise. It’s tucked in on the banks of the Hudson River, which has served as the muse for greats like landscape artist Thomas Cole, painter Frederic Edwin Church, and writer Washington Irving. When you visit, be sure to walk across the Hudson River Skywalk and take a picture in the exact spot Rip Van Winkle was said to nap.
Where to stay: Mountain Brook is actually in Tannersville, a short drive from the village of Catskill. However, this Adirondack-style lodge is the perfect mountain getaway and even offers private cabins when you really need some R&R.
14. Saranac Lake
Saranac Lake is actually next-door neighbors with Lake Placid, so if you’re up in the area, you can feed two birds with one scone and double-down on the winter adventure. In addition to access snow sports, the town hosts its famous 10-day Winter Carnival every February, complete with a full-blown ice castle. For a mid-winter trip, it’s worth checking out.
Where to stay: You can’t go wrong with the Hotel Saranac. The historic hotel was built the Roaring 20s, and is now a downtown landmark that’s loaded with amenities, including a salon and spa, a restaurant, and two bars. Or, rent your own cabin on Lake Flower, which is minutes from downtown Saranac Lake dining, shopping, and entertainment.
15. New Paltz
This mountain town is about a two hours drive from the city in the Hudson Valley, making it doable for day-trips and weekend excursions alike. Be sure to pack your hiking boots—the Mohonk Preserve offers more than 70 miles of mountain trails for running, Nording skiing, snow-shoeing and more. You’ll likely want to wait until the ice melts to check out Mohonk’s Lemon Squeeze, a rock scramble that leads to stunning views of the Hudson Valley.
Where to stay: Rather than staying at hotel, we recommend getting an Airbnb, like this funky Modern Tudor right in the heart of New Paltz. Or, embrace tiny home life at Le Petit Abris, a cabin in the Shawangunks mountain range.
Last, but definitely not least, is the town of Hudson, which is conveniently situated on the Hudson River. It was a major whaling port in the 1700s, and many of the same historic architecture remains today, making it great for history buffs. If sights aren’t your thing, that’s fine, too. Take a stroll downtown and pop into one of the many local retailers and restaurants, or check out the Park Theater for pop-up arts and events.
Where to stay: Ahoy, history buffs—the Nautical Nest is calling. This boutique hotel celebrates the port cities rich whaling history with its seafaring design in downtown Hudson. Or book a weekend at the, which provides a cozy place to rest after a day of adventuring.
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