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Viewing point at Niagara Falls State Park in Upstate New York

New York

Great Places for Boating, Fishing, Paddling and Beach Fun in New York State

By: Idoia Gkikas

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  • States:
    New York

Although it’s not an island, it might as well be.

New York State has countless waterways with almost unlimited options for adventures in, on or near the water.

Freshwater, Saltwater and (Very) Cold Water Fishing

The Finger Lakes and Great Lakes regions offer bass, salmon, walleye and several types of trout. Fly fishing for smallmouth, largemouth and striped bass on the Hudson, Delaware, Saint Lawrence, Niagara and Mohawk Rivers and in the Catskill Mountains (where fly fishing was invented) is excellent. In winter, you’ll find ice fishing an offbeat, exciting alternative.

While not the only way to fish in New York, fly fishing in the state’s mountain regions is one of the most popular.

While not the only way to fish in New York, fly fishing in the state’s mountain regions is one of the most popular.
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Kayaking and Canoeing in the Adirondacks

With more than 48,000 kilometers of rivers and streams, not to mention 3,000 lakes and ponds, the Adirondack Mountains are a haven for paddlers of all experience levels. The Saint Regis Canoe Area, the state’s only designated Canoe Area, offers an abundance of paddling opportunities. If you’re an experienced kayaker looking for adrenaline-pumping adventure, check out the Opalescent River. 

Spend a day paddling serene Heart Lake in the Adirondack Mountains.

Spend a day paddling serene Heart Lake in the Adirondack Mountains.
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Boating and Sailing

Did you know there are island castles in New York State? Tour the Saint Lawrence River and the Thousand Islands to stop at the magnificent Singer and Boldt Castles. Nearby, the Antique Boat Museum offers rides in classic watercrafts. Further south, try renting a boat for a few days to explore the famed Erie Canal. In western New York, camp out at Lake Erie State Park, then charter a sailboat for a relaxing day on the water.

Rent or charter a sailboat for a spectacular day on the waters of New York.

Rent or charter a sailboat for a spectacular day on the waters of New York.
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Niagara Falls

No matter where you explore in New York State, a trip to Niagara Falls should be included in your itinerary. Feel the misting waters of Horseshoe Falls during the Maid of the Mist boat tour. Hear, see and feel the thunderous power of Bridal Veil Falls on the Hurricane Deck at Cave of the Winds. For an extreme water experience, take a jet boat tour of the Niagara River whirlpool and rapids. 

Get up close and personal with the famed Niagara Falls on the Maid of the Mist boat tour.

Get up close and personal with the famed Niagara Falls on the Maid of the Mist boat tour.
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Beachside Getaway on Long Island

In less than an hour, you can go from the endless energy of New York City to the tranquil sands of a beachside town. Long Island’s beaches are replete with activities, from scuba diving and surfing to beach camping and boardwalks. Both Coopers Beach and Main Beach have garnered national attention as premier USA beaches. The world famous Hamptons offer swanky shopping and dining, and the Montauk Point Lighthouse provides stunning views.  With so many beach areas to choose from, there’s truly something for everyone.

Main Beach is one of New York State’s classic East Hampton beaches.

Main Beach is one of New York State’s classic East Hampton beaches.
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Water Views Without the Wet

If you prefer to enjoy water views while staying dry, take a tour of the Finger Lakes wine country and sip a Riesling as the sun sets over the water. Walk over the Hudson River twenty stories up via the Walkway Over the Hudson, the world’s longest elevated footbridge, at more than two kilometers long. Stay at a beautiful waterside resort, from Lake George to Otsego Lake to Chautauqua Lake. Or explore the towns, villages and recreational activities of the 835-kilometer Great Lakes Seaway Trail, a National Scenic Byway adjacent to the Saint Lawrence Seaway. 

Sip wine on dry land among the charming vistas of the Finger Lakes.

Sip wine on dry land among the charming vistas of the Finger Lakes.
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Getting There

Fly into New York State via John F. Kennedy International in New York City and Newark International in New Jersey. Use Long Island MacArthur, Stewart International, Albany International, Syracuse Hancock International, Greater Rochester International and Buffalo Niagara International airports for one-hour connections to destinations statewide. Amtrak rail, rental cars or a combination of any of the above will also take you around the state.

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