Sights & Attractions | Tourism | 10 Best Places to Visit in New York State in Winter

10 Best Places to Visit in New York State in Winter

Skiing, sledding, snowboarding, wine tasting and ice skating while sipping on hot chocolate are just some of the activities to enjoy in winter, like enjoying winter food specialities.

Snow days can have a new meaning now with these winter day trips or weekend trips. Skiing, sledding, snowboarding, wine tasting and ice skating while sipping on hot chocolate are just some of the activities to enjoy in winter, like enjoying winter food specialities. Here are the 10 best places to visit in New York State in winter with your family, lover, friends or even alone. 



During the winter, explore the mountains with a hike (that you can do with snowshoes) or cross-country skis. With about 200 miles of trails, snowmobile enthusiasts will find plenty of space to enjoy speeding along snow-covered lanes, including Lake George and Lake Champlain.

There are also a bunch of winter festivals in the quaint towns and villages of the Adirondacks. Lake George celebrates its winter carnival throughout February. Ice sculptures, great food, and a polar plunge highlight the events. Other communities celebrating winter include Brant Lake, Indian Lake and Inlet.

Small town shops feature unique foods and products, including maple syrup, cheese, meats, and crafts. These shopping experiences may be there through the year but some of the products may be seasonal to winter.

The Catskills

The Catskills have been described to look like a pristine quilt that is white as snow covers its rolling hills, mountains and forests. With outstanding ski resorts, as well as lodges and bed and breakfast inns, the area is ripe for a winter getaway. From skiing and snowboarding spots to trails for fun cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, the Catskills is a winter enthusiast’s paradise. Rev up the snowmobile and enjoy racing along mountain trails.

But, if you are not in the mood for winter sports, how about farm life? The Catskills are home to farm stays, where people can spend a weekend staying on a working farm and help with chores, such as milking cows and feeding animals. It provides an opportunity to learn firsthand what goes into farm living.


Cooperstown is known for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. While you can visit this anytime, in winter you can reserve a custom tour that focuses on your favorite team. The tour features memorabilia and exhibits specific to your team. New York Yankee fans may have to plan a whole day to tour their team’s accomplishments. While you are there visit the Fenimore Art Museum and its courtyard looking out to Lake Otsego.

Otsego Lake is beautiful no matter the time of year. During the winter, grab some skates and go ice skating on the lake (weather permitting, of course). Cooperstown may be best known for baseball, but the area is home to outstanding areas for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snow tubing.


Finger Lakes

With lakes in the region’s name, you know that ice fishing has to rank as one of the fun things to do in Finger Lakes during winter. Drilling a hole in one of the frozen lakes and taking part in a favorite winter activity is perfect for the Finger Lakes. Rainbow trout, bigmouth bass and perch are the fish most commonly caught during winter. You need a New York State fishing license.

Ganondagan State Historic Site features about 500 acres that are perfect for snowshoeing. As you walk across the snow, be on the lookout for wildlife such as foxes or deer. You may also want to explore the park’s history, including the Seneca Bark Longhouse, a 17th- century tribal home.

Since the Finger Lake area is known for its wine, create your own winter wine trail, with stops at any of the dozens of wineries open year-round.

Chautauqua County

Hugging Lake Erie along in western New York, Chautauqua County sees lake effect snow often during the winter (when you hear “Buffalo got snow” on the national weather station, it is usually here in ski country), creating a white canvas waiting to be explored via snowmobile, cross-country skis or snowshoes. With more than 25 ski slopes and trails available, as well as five challenging terrains, Peek ‘n’ Peak Resort offers great winter activities such as skiing and snowboarding. With hiking trails giving way to snow-covered paths, cross-country skiing fans and snowshoe enthusiasts will find the trails inviting for their winter adventures.

Find your way out of a locked room experience with Escape Rooms Jamestown. A locked room experience challenges you to solve puzzles and answer clues that lead your team to a safe exit from your room within the allotted time limit. You can also unwind with a glass of beer or sip a wine at Jamestown’s wineries or breweries.


Letchworth State Park

Known as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” Letchworth State Park offers a bounty of outdoor activities to warm you up during winter. Situated about an hour south of Rochester, the park has more than 60 miles of trails that can be used for snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. Or even snowshoeing. The park also features excellent terrain for snow tubing. Considered one of the nation’s best state parks, Letchworth State Park’s trails are perfect for exploring nature year-round.


Lake Placid

Best known as the spot of the USA’s 1980 Olympic gold-medal winning hockey team. Winter Olympic sports and Lake Placid go together and thus is a must visit in the season.

Home to the Lake Placid Olympic Museum, you can learn about the history of the winter sports. Possibly even more fun would be taking a luge or bobsled ride down the same runs as Olympians. If Olympic sports may be too fast or challenging, grab a pair of skis and head out for some cross-country skiing or try snowshoeing area trails. The Lake Placid area is perfect for the activities. Sledding is fun anytime, but there is something special about sledding at Lake Placid. Avid skiers and snowboarders can enjoy a challenging course down Whiteface Mountain.

If you just want a relaxing weekend at Lake Placid, check out area spas, museums, and art galleries.


Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is beautiful in the winter. Its frozen version is quite a sight. 

Niagara Falls State Park is simply breathtaking in the wintertime. Enjoy the lightshow, the view from the Observation Tower, and walk the trails on Goat Island and Three Sisters Island. After a half-day spent walking the park, you can enjoy some of the Niagara County regional wines, including the season’s best, New York State Ice Wine.



When you’re considered the snowiest city in the United States with more than 100 inches annually, you can either hide away for three months or embrace all-things snow. Syracuse grabs winter by the horns and owns it. The home of Syracuse University basketball is also home to Winterfest. For 10 days and nights in February, the city welcomes locals and visitors to celebrate the area’s food, cocktails, and attractions such as ice sculptures, skating, and a treasure hunt! With local attractions open for visits, including the Erie Canal Museum and the Onondaga Historical Association museum, where you can learn about the area’s history as well as enjoy special exhibits.

Try ice skating at Clinton Square or Meacham Park. Located about a 30-minute drive south of the city, Song Mountain Resort offers excellent skiing options. Strap on your skis and enjoy cross-country skiing or snowshoeing along trails in Syracuse parks, including Beaver Lake Nature Center, Highland Forest, and Onondaga Lake Park. Snowmobiling fans will enjoy zipping along Highland Forest Park, as well as nearby Oneida Shores Park and Erie Canal towpath.


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In this article:   New York State | Upstate New York | Adirondacks | Winter | Snow | Skiing | Ice Wine |
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