New York isn’t just known for its skyline or Broadway shows, in fact, many people are completely unaware that there are plenty of adventures to be had just north of the Big Apple. If you’re looking for that perfect outdoor adventure getaway from the city, here are some of the most incredible New York State nature playgrounds. From ziplining across treetops or getting drenched in the Black River – there is something for every adventure enthusiast with these New York adventures.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls State Park in New York State is the oldest park in the United States, with a view that never gets old. This awe-inspiring view attracts about 8 million people from all around the world every year. But outdoor enthusiasts will love Niagara Falls for the thrilling adventures and immersion in nature on offer – with all the opportunities for hiking, biking and jet boating.

Niagara Jet Boat adventure

Photo: Niagara Jet Adventures

Jet Boat Adventures

There’s one thing at Niagara that will surely get your heart pounding, besides the Falls themselves, of course. As millions of gallons of water pour over the falls, it creates a whirlpool in the Gorge. The ‘Devil’s Hole’ Rapids and Class V white water rapids can be experienced in a variety of ways but the best way to feel the rush is on a jet boat tour.

Niagara Jet Adventures: Enjoy 60-minute guided tours with thrilling 360 degree spins, named the ‘Cowboy’, at speeds of 60 mph that will get your adrenaline pumping. Make sure you bring a towel as the hour-long adventure through the raging rapids promises a wet ride. Open all four seasons!

Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours: The  fully guided tour starts on the lower River, heads into the 11-km long Gorge in a Wet Jet or Jet Dome (dry trip) at 55 mph.  Take in the gorgeous scenery and feel the rush of the turbulent rapids and the famous whirlpool on this triple turbo diesel water jet-powered 60 minute exhilarating ride!

Niagara jet Boat Adventures

Photo: Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours

New York To Niagara Falls Tour would make for an unforgettable adventure.

Hiking on the Gorge Trail System

Not much of a water person? No worries, there is plenty of outdoor adventure in Niagara Falls minus the water. Enjoy the scenic and historic landscape as the mighty River allows hikers and bikers to take in the breathtaking views, including the Gorge trail system that stretches from the Falls to Lewiston. Hikes are conducted on a regular basis into the Gorge and bike paths are available throughout the county, especially along the River.

In addition to the Falls State Park, there are plenty of counties and state parks which are excellent for exploring the region. There are nearly 20,000 acres of land waiting to be discovered at The Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge and Tonawanda State Wildlife Management Area.

Hiking on the Gorge Trail System Niagara Falls USA Niagara Falls New York Hiking New York Outdoor Adventures

Photo:  Niagara Falls USA

1000 Islands

1000 Islands is an adventure seeker’s paradise and a must-visit destination for those looking for an authentic outdoor vacation. An archipelago of islands located along the border between Northern New York State (United States) and Southeastern Ontario (Canada), 1000 Islands is a region of endless shorelines, unique culture and boundless adventure.

Whitewater Rafting

Engulfed in rain, the Black River in Northern New York State’s 1000 Islands region has been whipped up into a raging whitewater frenzy this spring – making it your go-to destination for a whitewater adventure. The Black River offers 7-miles of Class III-IV rapids, ideal for whitewater rafting and kayaking. Although the Black River caters to all skill levels from the months of May to October, this spring, the Black River is the place for true adrenaline junkies looking to get wet. 

Adirondack River Outfitters: Experience the heart-stopping, adrenaline pumping rapids on the Black River with Adirondack River Outfitters. For 34 years, they’ve been providing white water trips with staff that ensures your safety, entertains your family and cooks up a delicious BBQ.

Black River Outfitters: Tackle the summer heat and the white water rapids of the Black River, while enjoying amazing views of the surrounding upstate New York area with BRO. With the newest, most up-to-date rafting center,  grab an unforgettable experience while battling the rapids and a free ice-cream for your efforts.

Whitewater Challengers: If you are looking to add some excitement to your summer, Whitewater Challengers dares you to take on the Black River head on! The trip ensures pounding thrills of rapids, with all the fun of a summer beach party and a hearty BBQ dinner at the end.

B.O.B. Rafting: Starting in Watertown, you’ll experience the summer time beauty of the surrounding New York area as you tackle white water rapids. The folks at B.O.B Rafting ensure a thrilling, adventurous time with a professional crew and a solid safety record. Gear up for an adrenaline rush of a lifetime!

1000 Islands NY Outdoor Adventures New York Paddling Whitewater Rafting/Kayaking on The Black River

Photo: Visit 1000 Islands

Flatwater Kayaking

1000 islands gets its name from the 1,864 islands in the area, with narrow coves and hidden bays aplenty, making it a perfect place for flat water kayaking. You can stick to the shallow waters and gaze at fish, waterfowl and other marine life in the crystal clear waters of the St. Lawrence River. The more adventurous kayakers can venture to the islands further out and get up close to the Boldt Castle on Heart Island and the Rock Island Lighthouse.

Boomerang Kayak & Bicycle Rental: Offers guided kayaking and cycling tours in the 1000 Islands starting from the centrally located Wellesley Island. The kayak tours offer majestic views of the local shipping channel and the flatwater bay, and includes a stop at a private island for refreshments. 

1000 Islands Flatwater Kayaking NY Outdoor Adventures New York Paddling

Photo: Visit 1000 Islands

Wreck Diving

Want to explore the underwater world at 1000 Islands? Head to the St. Lawrence River towns of Alexandria Bay and Clayton in New York, where diving outfitters can prep and lead you on wreck dives. Diving outfitters will help diving amateurs with training and rebreather support, while more experienced divers can check in with an outfitter learn about wreck depths, rent diving equipment and hit the waters!

1000 Islands Wreck Diving NY Outdoor Adventures New York Paddling

Photo: Visit 1000 Islands

Lake Champlain

Paddling on Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain in New York State is full of rich US history. Valcour Island, located on Lake Champlain, saw one of the first naval battles of the American Revolutionary War, and one of the first fought by the United States Navy. Apart from the rich history, it is also a great place to explore the great outdoors. As you paddle the waters of the lake, you may get a glance of gunboats. Also, being a primitive island, the area remains unspoiled – a treat for nature lovers!

NY Outdoor Adventures Paddling Lake Champlain

Photo: Jorn Eriksson via Flickr

Windsurfing on Lake Champlain

If you are looking for more adventure on Lake Champlain, try windsurfing here. Cumberland Bay State Park, the Plattsburgh City Beach, and Ausable Point State Park offer adventure enthusiasts the opportunity to show off their tricks on the waves of Lake Champlain.

NY Outdoor Adventures Windsurfing on Lake Champlain

Photo: texaus1 via Flickr


The Adirondack Coast of New York State offers perfect conditions for cycling with wide shouldered roads and city bike lanes that permit bikers to pass through scenic trails, parks, and hamlets – all of which offer majestic views of the surrounding mountains and lakes. The Adirondack Coast offers trails for all skill levels that vary from difficulty and duration that would appeal to any cyclist.

NY Outdoor Adventures Cycling Lake Champlain

Photo: francois schnell via Flickr


Experience An Obstacle Course in the Tree Tops

Soar over the Chautauqua trees in the Western New York State region. The Aerial Adventure Course will challenge adventurers to cross 60 obstacles and 8 different courses, all varying in difficulty while navigating through the tree tops.

New York Chautauqua Zipline NY Outdoor Adventures Experience An Obstacle Course in the Tree Tops

Photo: Ed Bernik

Zip line through the Mountains With a Friend

The Giant Dual Zipline allows adventurers to navigate the tree tops with a friend while taking in the New York State countryside. Get fantastic views as you speed 2,000 feet down the mountain’s tree top canopy with a buddy.

Chautauqua New York Zipline NY Outdoor Adventures Zip line through the Mountains With a Friend

Photo: Peek’n Peak Resort

Segway Scenic Adventures 

Navigate your way through the Chautauqua hills and valleys on a Segway tour. Each tour includes 15-minute training session to ensure each adventurer is aware how to properly and safely operate the Segway. Segway tours are a unique and a fantastic way to get the most out of your scenic adventure.

New York Chautauqua Segway NY Outdoor Adventures Segway Scenic Adventures

Photo: Chris Street via Flickr


There’s no place like the Adirondacks for an outdoor adventure getaway in New York State. From ziplining, to mountain biking, rafting to rock climbing, thrill seekers can find their rush here.


Get your adrenaline pumping as you glide 30 feet in the air across 8 zipline courses as you get a fantastic view of the Adirondacks. The course was built to be environmentally friendly, meaning it was built in a way to not damage the surrounding trees and landscape. Instead of bolts, wooden wedges are employed for stability and causes little harm to the environment.

Adirondack NY New York Outdoor Adventure Ziplining

Photo: Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST)

The Wild Walk

Trek on an elevated pathway that leads to the treetops of the Adirondack forest at The Wild Center’s Wild Walk. The Wild Center has 54,000 square feet of wildlife exhibits that include a full-sized bald eagle nest. The elevated path navigates you through a four-story tree house, a spider web you can hang from and swinging bridges.

Adirondack NY New York Outdoor Adventure The Wild Center The Wild Walk

Photo: Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST)

Island Camping

Just outside of the village of Saranac Lake, spend the day reading in a hammock, paddling, swimming and enjoying the sunset next to an evening campfire. On the isolated island, there are 87 campsites and the island is only accessible by water. This uninhibited lake region is a fantastic site to take in the New York night sky filled with stars.

Adirondack NY New York Outdoor Adventure Island Camping

Photo: Roy Saplin via Flickr

Explore The Gorge

Explore the Ausable Chasm, also known as the Grand Canyon of the East. The 150-foot deep gorge is filled with adventure trails, rock climbing, and river rafting. Explore the upper chasm which is not accessible by the trail, so grab a harness and get ready to climb. Additionally, the river is fully equipped with climbing routes that include edge walks. After a day of adventure, cool off in a raft and float two miles on the Ausable River.

Adirondack NY New York Outdoor Adventure Explore The Gorge Ausable Chasm

Photo: Darren Meyer via Flickr

Westchester County

Bird watching in the Edith G. Read Wildlife Sanctuary

During the winter time, over 5,000 ducks migrate to the 85-acre lake within the Edith G. Read Wildlife Sanctuary and make it their home until the weather warms up. The 179-acre sanctuary is located on the Long Island Sound and is full of diverse marine life which can be seen through the year. Even better, the sanctuary has 3 miles of trails through its forest to allow you to spot the many birds within the wilderness that surrounds the saltwater lake. Additionally, the sanctuary features a Nature Center that is open all year long and features exhibits of the some of the ecosystem’s wildlife.

New York Outdoor Adventures Bird watching in the Edith G. Read Wildlife Sanctuary

Photo: Tim Regan via Flickr

Camping in the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is the largest park in the Westchester County. With 4,315 acres of land and 35 miles of trails, it would be hard to crowd someone’s space when camping. With a varied terrain and landscape, it is the perfect camping destination and the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is full of wildlife such as hawks that fly above the tree tops. Also, you may even get to see bluebird nests as 60 bluebird boxes are scattered through the reservation.

New York Outdoor Adventures Westchester County Camping in the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

Photo: Visit Westchester NY

Hiking in the Teatown Lake Reservation

The Teatown Lake Reservation is one of the best places in New York State to explore and hike. The reservation has diverse terrain spread over 1,000 acres. With 15 miles of hiking trails, there are lakes, waterfalls, swamps, meadows and forests that any hiker will enjoy. Prepare to be amazed by the many wonders on the Teatown Lake Reservation!

Hiking in the Teatown Lake Reservation New York Outdoor Adventures

Photo: Visit Westchester NY

Visit NY State Tourism for more information.

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