Did you know that there are over three dozen parks in the Capital Region? With so many to explore, it would take almost a year to visit one park each week!
Are you into biking, boating, or snowmobiling? Maybe concerts and picnics are your thing? Or perhaps you consider yourself more of a nature-loving sort? Whatever your preferred activity, these area parks have something for adventurers of all ages.
While summertime may be the most popular season for outdoor recreation many of these parks offer activities year-round.
Below we break out some of our favorite parks and activities in the region.
Thacher State Park
1 Hailes Cave Road, Voorheesville, NY 12186
This family favorite is positioned along the expansive Helderberg Escarpment. The picturesque landscape features two breathtaking waterfalls and boasts being “one of the richest fossil-bearing formations in the world.” While the impressive views are more than enough to occupy a day, there are numerous other features that make this such a popular destination.
Volleyball courts, ball fields, playgrounds, picnic areas, and 80-foot zip-lines offer hours of family fun.
There are numerous hiking opportunities on the Indian Ladder Trail or any of the additional 25 miles of trails. During the winter, these trails can be used to cross-country ski, snowshoe and snowmobile.
Thompson’s Lake Campground features 140 campsites and lake access for boating, fishing and swimming.
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center offers attractions including a live honeybee observation hive, a bird observation center and hands-on collections of fossils and furs.
The new Pear Orchard playground, with ample climbing-opportunities and slides, is sure to be a hit with the kids.
FUN FACT: The caves in Thacher house one of eight hibernating sites for Indiana bats in New York!
Madison Ave, Albany NY 12203
At the heart of downtown Albany and always bustling with life, Washington Park is an oasis in the city. Created in the late 1800s, this historic 84-acre park really does have it all.
FUN FACT: The footbridge over Washington Park Lake is the last remaining original structure.
Saratoga Spa State Park
19 Roosevelt Drive, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
A national landmark recognized by its classic architecture, this vast park is a cultural haven in the Capital Region. The park encompasses the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the Spa Little Theater, the National Museum of Dance, the Saratoga Auto Museum, the Gideon Putnam Resort, Roosevelt Baths and Spa and a number of recreational activities.
FUN FACT: There are 68 acres of protected habitat for the endangered locally indigenous Karner blue butterfly.
BONUS FUN FACT: Originally, the key purpose of the park was for people to experience the healing benefits of the mineral springs.
Peebles Island State Park
1 Delaware Ave, Waterford, NY 12188
Situated where the Mohawk and Hudson rivers converge, this gem of a park offers 191 acres of protected wilderness. This is a must-visit park for nature enthusiasts.
FUN FACT: Peebles Island State Park was “the site of a Revolutionary War battle.”
Grafton Lakes State Park
100 Grafton Lakes State Park Way, Cropseyville, NY 12052
This park is spans nearly 2,500 acres and is located between the Taconic and Hudson Valleys. With plenty of activities on both land and water, Grafton Lakes is sure to keep outdoor enthusiasts busy all year.
FUN FACT: There are educators available on staff to provide information on resident fauna, animal tracking, amphibian protection and numerous other topics.
Mine Kill State Park
161 Mine Kill State Park, North Blenheim 12122
Mine Kill State Park can be found within the scenic Schoharie Valley. This site really is a water-lovers dream but there is plenty to do for landlubbers too:
FUN FACT: This Park houses one of the largest nesting bald eagle populations in New York State!
BONUS FUN FACT: The oldest tree fossils in the world can be seen at this park.
500 Iroquois Way, Schenectady, NY 12309
Central Park is a true jewel that is nestled in the city of Schenectady with features that will appeal to the whole family.
Take the time to stop and smell the roses! The tranquil Rose Garden is arguably the city’s best-kept secret. Enjoy the serenity and splendor of this lush garden when in bloom.
Fun Fact! The Rose Garden is one of Schenectady’s most popular backdrops for Wedding Photos.
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