10 Best National & State Parks in New York for the Whole Family

Published Friday, Aug 06

National and state parks are a great way to get outside in the fresh air, enjoy nature, and spend quality time with your family.

With so many national and state parks to choose from, it can be difficult deciding which national or state park is right for you.

The national and state parks in New York are some of the best places to visit for national heritage, hiking, waterfalls, scenic overlooks and more.

This blog post will help you decide by presenting 10 of the best national and state parks in New York!

And if you’re looking to travel a bit further, we’ve also put together a list of the top seven national parks for families of all ages for you to check out here!

1.  Niagara Falls State Park

Niagara Falls State Park

The national park that most people think of when they hear “Niagara Falls” is the Niagara Falls State Park.

Established in 1885, it’s one of New York’s oldest state parks and boasts a beautiful gorge carved by natural forces over thousands of years.

The Gorge Trail takes visitors on an easy paced walk along the banks overlooking American Fall (the largest waterfall), Bridal Veil Falls, and more!

There are many things for families to do at Niagara Falls including hiking, swimming and fishing.

There is also a playground for the kids to play on!

Niagara Falls also has many other attractions like the Niagara Falls Aquarium, the Cave of the Winds and the Hurricane Deck!

Niagara Falls boasts amazing views and unique sites unlike any other!

There are things here for the whole family to enjoy, but make sure you come prepared to get wet!

2.  Hudson River Valley

 Hudson River Valley

One national park with a lot of beauty to offer is the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area.

The national heritage area preserves more than 500 miles of scenic landscapes and historic sites in New York, Massachusetts and Vermont.

The Hudson River Valley National Park offers many beautiful hiking trails that are perfect for people who enjoy being outdoors!

There’s even one trail dedicated solely to birdwatching which will entertain visitors at all levels of expertise!

If you prefer biking instead, there are also plenty of great mountain bike routes as well.

One fun family activity would be stopping by the Indian Ladder Trail where hikers can look down on what looks like an ancient staircase carved into the outcropping rock over two thousand years ago during the Woodland Indians period.

If you’re looking for a national park that has it all then this is the one to visit.

There’s something here for everyone including historic buildings, great hiking trails and beautiful views of some of New York’s most treasured landmarks.

3.  Letchworth State Park 

Letchworth State Park 

Letchworth State Park has been nicknamed the Grand Canyon of the East, and for good reason!

Letchworth is home to some of the most impressive views in upstate New York.

The spectacular gorge provides visitors with breathtaking sights like Horseshoe Falls, Lucifer Falls and Bridal Veil Falls that you won’t soon forget!

Letchworth State Park is a great park for families because there are so many different activities available including hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking and more.

There’s also plenty of ways to keep your kids entertained at this national park such as golf courses or horseback riding lessons!

Letchworth has something for everyone to enjoy making it one of the best state parks in all of New York.

4.  Rockefeller State Park Preserve

Rockefeller State Park Preserve

For national parks with a lot of history, Rockefeller State Park Preserve is a great place to visit.

Established in 1954 by John D. Rockefeller Jr., this park has the world’s most comprehensive collection of landscapes from different geological periods including the Triassic Period and more!

This state park also boasts one of New York’s largest petrified forests (the Storm King Petrified Forest) that offers visitors an amazing look at some ancient trees preserved for thousands of years!

You can even come across fossils here as well from animals such as giant ground sloths or saber-toothed cats so make sure you pack your camera because there are all sorts of cool things to take pictures off here!

There are many trails available at Rockefeller State Park Preserve that will entertain any age.

A great option for families with younger kids would be the Petrified Forest Trail or a small waterfall on the Hopewell Valley View Trail while those more adventurous types might prefer to hike in one of the park’s mountainous areas like Mount Saint Anthony, Storm King Mountain or even Bearfort Ridge!

The best part is that this national preserve offers so much without having to leave New York state and there are plenty of options available at all different levels of difficulty making it perfect for people visiting from out-of-state who want to see what our region has to offer.

5.  Buttermilk Falls State Park 

Buttermilk Falls State Park 

This state park is one of five different properties within the Catskill Forest Preserve that make up the largest protected area east of the Mississippi River!

There’s something for everyone to enjoy including fishing, hiking or even just relaxing on shores by these magnificent falls which have been admired since they were first discovered back in 1786 when Alexander Hamilton visited this national treasure.

Buttermilk Falls also provides its visitors with some fantastic views from high above so bring your camera because you won’t regret it!

The best part about visiting this park is that there’s never overcrowding thanks to only being a short drive from the New York State Thruway which helps to make it one of the best parks in all of New York.

Buttermilk Falls is also one of the best camping sites in the area!

With campsites for every type of camper, there’s always a spot available so you won’t have to worry about being turned away if it gets too busy.

6.  Allegany State Park

Allegany State Park

Allegany State Park is one of the oldest state parks in New York, being honored as a national monument back in 1909 and then finally upgraded to its current state park status.

This beautiful state park offers visitors some spectacular views that are perfect for both amateur photographers or professional nature lovers who want to catch an area untouched by pollution with all different types of terrain including scenic overlooks, waterfalls, forests and more!

If you love fishing there’s no better place than Allegany State Park where you can fill your bucket with trout from surrounding ponds after just a few casts!

In fact, this national treasure has been ranked highly among anglers world-wide because it’s so abundant during certain times of year making it not only a national treasure but also an international one!

Allegany State Park offers more than just fishing, it has plenty of recreational activities for all ages including camping (which is available year-round), picnicking and wildlife viewing.

There’s even a visitor center that will give you information on the park as well as some great souvenirs like T-shirts and postcards to take home with you so make sure to stop by before heading out.

7.  Bear Mountain State Park

Bear Mountain State Park

The Bear Mountain State Park is located east of New York City and it’s the perfect place for anyone who wants to escape the city life without having to travel too far.

Visitors can enjoy horseback riding on trails which meander through thick forests at one moment then lead you out into open fields with beautiful vistas in the next, while there’s also an impressive campground where people come year-round so no matter when you’re traveling just make sure you plan ahead!

Campers will be able to choose from different types of sites for tents and RVs including some with full hook-ups!

If you’re looking to explore the park’s vast landscape there are plenty of trails that crisscross through it, from easy walks to more challenging hikes.

You can also take advantage of both scenic overlooks and historic places like Bear Mountain Inn which is located on top of Sunnyside Hill in the heart of this national treasure.

Bear Mountain State Park is a great place for young families as well! It has museums, a zoo, and a merry-go-round that the kids with love!

8.  Saratoga National Historic Park

Saratoga National Historic Park

Saratoga National Historic Park is one of the national treasures that has helped shape our nation’s history.

Some of this national treasure’s most popular attractions include a museum where you can see artifacts from Saratoga in 1777, some reconstructed barracks to get an idea about what it was like to be on campaign during those years and even a cannonball embedded into rock so visitors will have something tangible they can touch.

If all of these just make your head spin there are guided tours which last for about 45 minutes or less depending on how many things you want to experience.

Visitors may also choose between different types of hikes including easy walks through forest landscapes as well as more challenging treks across open fields with rugged terrain.

The national park is also a great place for young families as well with plenty of activities that children will find both entertaining and educational.

The history here is fun to learn about but the park also offers plenty of natural beauty as well, including a beautiful lake where visitors can enjoy both hiking and fishing.

9.  Harriet Tubman National Historic Park

Harriet Tubman National Historic Park

If you want to learn more about Harriet Tubman, her life and the national historic park that was named after this famous hero then make sure to visit Harriett Tubman National Historical Park.

Tubman may have been a slave but she eventually became one of the most famous abolitionists in American history for helping more than 300 slaves escape via the Underground Railroad.

The national park features two different sites: The former home of Rev.

Moses Myers which is now part museum with displays on his time as well as being an important stop along the Underground Railroad; also, visitors can stay at Catfish Point Campground where they will be able to camp or rent RV site overnight if desired plus there’s plenty of space for tents too.

If you’re looking to explore the national park there are plenty of hiking trails that will take you through a number of different ecosystems.

If fishing is more your thing, then head on over to Penns Creek which features some rapids and deep pools for the anglers who want an adrenaline rush!

The historic park also has free admission, so what’s stopping you from exploring it?

10. Minnewaska State Park Preserve

Minnewaska State Park Preserve

Minnewaska State Park Preserve has a lot to offer with plenty of activities for people of all ages.

If you’re looking for a more challenging hike then head on over to Hurricane Mountain where there are steep slopes, high ridges and stunning views! If you would rather explore things at a slower pace, then take your time exploring the many different trails in this park including some through forests as well as clearings in open fields offering beautiful vistas across the landscape below.

The state park also features unusual rock formations which visitors can come see up close by taking either easy hikes or even longer treks though rugged terrain if desired but be sure not to forget about its waterfalls too: Minnewaska Falls is one of the most famous in all of New York State and visitors will be able to see it from different perspectives as they hike including a higher vantage point or close up by walking behind it.

If you’re looking for something more educational, then stop by the Nature Center where there are interactive exhibits that help explain what life was like in this national park during various time periods!


New York has so much to offer! The parks are each unique and fun in their own ways!

That’s why it is important to know your options before planning a trip to ensure you find the best fit for you!

Explore some of the natural beauty that is available to you by visiting one today!

And be sure to check out Destinations Travel Guide for all your future vacation needs!


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