Upstate New York in the fall is absolutely spectacular, and with such a wide variety of landscapes to explore – everything from the peaks in the Adirondacks and Catskills, to quaint towns, to amazing farm stands and apple orchards – there are so many thing to do.
I grew up in Upstate New York, and have lived in different regions, and have had lots of fun exploring in the Adirondacks and Catskills. For this post, I’ve narrowed down the absolute best things to do in Upstate New York in the fall season to help you celebrate everything autumn, and take advantage of the gorgeous fall foliage.
When Is The Best Time To See Fall Foliage In Upstate New York?
Generally speaking, the best time to see fall foliage in Upstate New York is between the last week of September through mid-October. However, this can vary greatly depending on what region you’re in. Remember, New York State is rather big, and terrain and average temperatures can vary quite a bit.
If you’re looking to experience peak fall foliage in places like the Adirondacks or the Catskills (basically, higher elevation locations), I would say the first week of October hits the sweet spot, and is generally safe to plan a visit around that time for peak foliage.
In the central and western New York regions (Buffalo, Finger Lakes, Syracuse, Albany), as well as the Hudson Valley, mid-October is typically peak foliage (although it can trend later in October in the Hudson Valley).
In the down state region, including Westchester, New York City and Long Island, peak foliage is usually mid to late October, sometimes coinciding with Halloween.
As with anything nature-related, this can change from year to year depending on weather patterns. It’s good to stay flexible, or if you have to book your trip in advance, know it’s possible you could miss peak foliage time. But just remember, even if you miss peak foliage, you’ll still see lots of fall color everywhere if you come within the general timeframes, so you definitely don’t have to stress too much about it.
Where Is The Best Fall Foliage In New York?
Fall foliage can be seen all over New York State, even in NYC, but there are definitely some areas where the leaves are especially striking. Below is a list of some places with the best fall foliage in New York.
- Finger Lakes
- Hudson Valley
- New York City (while this list is focused on Upstate New York in the fall season, I wanted to mention NYC because there’s something very special about Central Park at peak foliage).
Best Things To Do In Upstate New York In The Fall (2022)
Everyone’s definition of Upstate New York varies, and there is no official defined area for this region. One thing to keep in mind as you go through this list is that I consider everything north of Westchester & Rockland counties to be Upstate New York – so basically, start in Hudson Valley, and work your way up to the rest of the state. But this is a big region spanning hours of driving time, so for each suggestion, I’ve also listed additional things that are close by to allow you to maximize your time in each destination.
1. Explore Watkins Glen State Park
Located in the Finger Lakes region, Watkins Glen State Park is a great destination year-round, I think it’s one of the best things to do in Upstate New York in the fall season because it’ll be covered in fallen leaves. This park has 19 waterfalls to see and miles of scenic walking and hiking trails. You could easily spend a whole day here to admire the foliage views, and have an adventurous day exploring all the waterfalls.
Location Tip: This park is in an excellent location, and close to two other parks on this list, as well as Ithaca (also featured later in this post!). You can easily base yourself in this region, and visit Watkins Glen, Letchworth and Taughannock waterfalls/state parks, and Ithaca.
2. Hike The Indian Head & Rainbow Falls Trail
In the Adirondacks, one of my favorite fall hikes, and one of the best things to do in Upstate New York in the fall is the Indian Head and Rainbow Falls Trail. This trail is really popular in summer and fall, but I think fall is the best time to do it. Clocking in at around 10 miles, this moderately challenging trail makes for an awesome fall foliage day hike.
The first part of the trail is an easy few miles along a scenic carriage path walk through the woods with tons of fall color, and then you’ll start a moderately challenging hike for about 3 miles up to Indian Head lookout. Once you get to the top of Indian Head, you’ll be rewarded with incredible lake views surrounded by colorful fall foliage. You’ll definitely want to budget some time to sit and enjoy the view (and maybe even pack a lunch to enjoy here!).
The rest of the trail is also very enjoyable and scenic, and another great stop is Rainbow Falls, which I recommend doing if time allows.
This is an out and back trail, so you’ll end up right back where you started.
Parking Tip: This trail is very popular, and on weekends, the small parking area fills up quickly. I once arrived for this trail on a Saturday in October at 6am, and the lot was full. There is roadside parking in the area, and you should be able to find a spot as long as you arrive early on weekends. Weekdays will be less crowded.
Location Tip: The Indian Head & Rainbow Falls hike is only about 30-40 minutes from Lake Placid, making it easy to combine these two into one trip. Rent a cozy little cabin (which is later on this list!), and hike all day in the mountains, and enjoy the quaint little downtown in Lake Placid the rest of your time.
3. Head To Letchworth State Park
Another amazing option when planning out what to do in Upstate New York in the fall is to visit Letchworth State Park. This park is often referred to as the Grand Canyon of the East because of its deep gorges and impressive waterfalls. I also think the best time to visit this park is in the fall season, surrounded by foliage.
There are over 60 miles of hiking trails and scenic walks at this park, as well as 3 waterfalls to see. I highly suggest packing a nice lunch to enjoy in the park and making a fall day out of it.
Location Tip: This park is located about 1 hour and 20 minutes from Watkins Glen, and is also close to Ithaca and Taughannock Falls State Park, which is next on this list! You could also easily work in some Finger Lakes wine tasting.
4. Visit Taughannock Falls State Park
Lastly for the Finger Lakes region, Taughannock Falls State Park is another one you should definitely consider when planning your perfect day in Upstate New York in the fall. The main attraction at this park is the 217-foot tall waterfall, which is really exciting to see. The entire park is a bit smaller than the others mentioned in this post at only about 750 acres, but the walk to the waterfall is very easy and peaceful, and will be dripping in fall foliage. It’s definitely worth adding to your itinerary if you’re in the area.
Expert Tip: A great place to hang out before or after your walk to Taughannock waterfall is the park right across the street from the trail parking lot. It’s right on Cayuga Lake, and it’s really lovely and scenic, and worth a few moments of your time.
Location Tip: This park is about 1 hour and 45 minutes from Letchworth State Park, and about 30 minutes from Watkins Glen. It’s also close to Ithaca, making it easy to see all these sites in one trip, and also explore the Finger Lakes wine trail.
5. Drive The Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway
A great scenic drive to consider in Upstate New York in the fall is the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway. The entire drive is just over 50 miles, and it takes you right through the middle of the Catskills region, providing incredible fall foliage views along the way. During the drive, you’ll also pass through four quaint little towns that are worth stopping in: Olive, Shandaken, Middletown and Andes.
The two starting points of the byway are the eastern and western entrances. If you’re coming from south of the Catskills, you’ll want to start the drive at the eastern entrance and you’ll want to get off Exit 19 from the thruway, and drive about 12 miles west (look for signs). If you’re coming from north of the Catskills, you’ll start at the western entrance, and you’ll want to get off Exit 14W on Interstate 88, and drive about 33 miles east (again, look for signs).
There’s also a great audio tour you can download before your drive, which will share history of the area, as well as tips on where to eat and great hikes to take.
6. Taste Locally-Made Hard Cider At Wayside Cider
In the Catskills at the western entrance of the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway, you’ll find Wayside Cider, which is another awesome place to visit in Upstate New York in the fall. This is where you can taste some of the best locally-made cider in the area. While visiting Wayside, you’ll be able to kick back and relax at one of their two renovated barns, where the taproom can be found. They also serve great food with a focus on locally-sourced ingredients and farm-to-table dining.
Location Tip: As mentioned, you can find Wayside Cider along the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway, and it’s also located in the adorable town of Andes, making this an especially great place to stop during your drive. In Andes, you can also swing by Weaver Hollow Brewery to sample the local beer at their taproom.
7. Stay In A Cozy Cabin In The Adirondacks
One of the most fun things to do in Upstate New York in the fall is to rent a cozy cabin and just unplug for a while (and, you know, enjoy the incredible foliage scenery all around you). There are so many amazing little cabins to rent all over the region, and all will be accessible to awesome hiking trails and great restaurants. Below are some suggestions for you, and I usually recommend looking in areas that are about 30 minutes or less from Lake Placid, so you can easily enjoy the cute little downtown there.
This cabin is centrally-located to all the best things to do in the Lake Placid area of the Adirondacks, including Whiteface Mountain, Au Sable Chasm and downtown Lake Placid. You’ll also only be 5-minutes from a great swimming hole and covered bridge. But at the cabin, you’ll have a quiet and secluded getaway in the woods with a fire pit for evening camp fires and s’mores.
This romantic and riverfront cabin is perfect for a couple, and it’s also pet-friendly if you’re hoping to take your pup with you on your Upstate fall getaway. The cabin offers spectacular views of the mountain vistas, and is right on the river. You’ll also have a small deck with Adirondack chairs to admire the foliage views, and a fire pit for evening camp fires and s’mores.
For a larger group looking for the perfect getaway in the mountains with incredible views, this cabin is perfect. It sleeps up to 12, and has a 50-foot wrap-around deck with panoramic mountain views. You’ll even by able to access some of the area’s hiking trails by foot from this cabin, and the location is ideal in the Keene Valley area.
8. Find The Perfect Pumpkin At Pumpkinville
Located in the western part of the state you’ll find Pumpkinville, which is a really fun place to go in Upstate New York in the fall. You’ll easily be able to spend a few hours here not only searching for the best pumpkins, but also eating, shopping and just having a great time. At Pumpkinville, you’ll be able to grab some food from their grill, and also snack on fall favorites like cider donuts, fresh apple cider, caramel apples and baked goods.
You’ll also find shops with all kinds of goodies to take home including crafts, fall decor, homemade jams, maple syrup and tons more. Kids will also enjoy the farm animals and play areas, and adults will be excited to spend some time in the beer garden. It’s really a one-stop shop for everything fall, so it’s worth the journey out here.
Location Tip: Pumpkinville is very close to Ellicottville, and about an hour from Southern Tier (which is the next suggestion on this list). You could easily make a day trip to this region and do all three attractions for a wonderful fall day.
9. Taste The Most Amazing Fall Beer At Southern Tier Brewing
So I’m a little bias because my husband grew up right by Southern Tier Brewing Company, and it’s one of our all-time favorite breweries, but I can honestly say that their Warlock beer is hands down my favorite beer ever, even though it’s a limited release each fall season. If you’re in the area, it’s worth venturing over to their really fun taproom to grab a fresh Warlock imperial stout. While they’re most known for their pumpkin beer, Pumpking, I actually think Warlock is better (although, it’s a close call since both are honestly amazing).
The good news is, these beers are widely distributed all over the country, so you don’t have to visit the taproom to try them. But if you’re in the area, it’s especially fun to swing by and try a fresh batch at an outdoor table on a crisp, fall day.
10. Get Lost In A Corn Maze
There are some great corn mazes to visit in Upstate New York in the fall, and options vary from family-friendly to haunted. Below is a list of the best corn mazes to visit in Upstate New York.
Long Acre Farms Moonlight Maze (Rochester) – For something that’s a little more spooky than a daylight corn maze, but not anything super scary, an awesome option is the Moonlight Maze at Long Acre Farms. In addition to the corn maze, you’ll be able to spend a few hours here enjoying the kid’s playground area, grabbing delicious foods like wood-fired pizzas and cider donuts, going on wagon rides and sampling some of their wine! Of course, you can also tackle the maze during the day.
Location Tip: This corn maze and farm can be combined with a trip to the Finger Lakes region, as it’s only about 45 minutes from Letchworth State Park.
Stoughton Farms (Newark Valley) – An awesome corn maze can be found at Stoughton Farms, and in addition to the maze, you’ll also find hay rides and all kinds of activities for kids, as well as apples, pumpkins, seasonal produce and baked goods.
Location Tip: This corn maze and farm can easily be worked into a Finger Lakes fall trip, as it’s only about 30 minutes from Ithaca and an hour from Watkins Glen State Park.
Kesicke Farm (Rhinebeck) – In addition to their corn maze, you’ll find a fall festival celebration here on weekends from late September through October, which includes kid’s play areas, wagon and hay rides, a petting zoo and, of course, cider donuts.
Location Tip: This farm and corn maze is in Rhinebeck, which is a really lovely little town to visit in the Hudson Valley. This would be an easy day trip from NYC as well, and you could easily do the farm and corn maze, and spend some time in downtown Rhinebeck for a lovely fall day trip.
Tucker Farms (Gabriels) – The Great Adirondack Corn Maze can be found at Tucker Farms, and they also do flashlight maze nights after sunset. After going through the maze, you can sit by a bonfire and roast marshmallows for s’mores. The farm also does pumpkin patch tours, and allows visitors to pick pumpkins right from their farm.
Bonus Option: Scroll down to the best apple picking part of this post for another bonus option in the Adirondacks!
Best Things To Do In Upstate New York In The Fall Close to NYC
If you’re in New York City and looking to plan a fall getaway upstate (or maybe even a day trip), everything on this list is less than 2 hours from NYC. You will need a car to explore most of these options, but I guarantee you, it will be more than worth it.
11. See The Great Jack-O-Lantern Blaze In Croton-On-Hudson (Near Sleepy Hollow!)
One of the most exciting things to do in Upstate New York in the fall is to experience the Great Jack-O-Lantern Blaze in Croton-on-Hudson, which most people combine with a trip to Sleepy Hollow since they’re only about 20 minutes from one another. At the Jack-O-Lantern Blaze, over 7,000 pumpkins are hand-carved by local artisans and illuminated along a walkway for a mystical, Halloween-inspired stroll.
The little town of Croton-on-Hudson is also very charming, and a great place to stop before or after the experience to grab a bite to eat.
Location Tip: This makes for a very easy day trip from NYC, as the event is only about an hour away. You can easily combine it with spending time in Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown, or turn it into a fun overnight getaway from the city.
12. Stay A Night (Or Two!) At Mohonk Mountain House
One of the best splurges to make in Upstate New York in the fall is a stay at Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY. Of course, it’s a great destination year-round, but the fall is especially magical. Mohonk is a Victorian castle that’s surrounded by a stunning lake and over 4,000 miles of forest. Mohonk is an all-inclusive property where meals are included in your stay (some services, drinks and experiences are extra), and it’s the perfect getaway to rest and recharge your batteries.
On-site at Mohonk, you’ll have access to miles of stunning hiking trails, on-site restaurants, a spa, an ice cream shop, outdoor cocktail bars and so much more.
For those looking to visit just for the day, you can also get a guest day pass, with different options for hiking the trails, dining or visiting the spa. And with it being only 2 hours from New York City, it’s a very easy fall escape to make.
13. Hike At Minnewaska State Park
Minnewaska State Park is located in the Hudson Valley in Kerhonkson, and provides over 80 miles of scenic walking and hiking trails, as well as waterfalls, cliffs and sky lakes. During the fall, all of these natural elements are surrounded by gorgeous foliage, making this one of the best things to do in Upstate New York in the fall.
One of my favorite fall hikes at this park is Gertrude’s Nose Trail, which is just under 7 miles long, and makes for a great half-day hike (usually about 4 hours or so at a leisurely pace). There are so many places to admire fall foliage on this trail, and also lots of awesome photo opportunities out on the cliffs. You’ll even be rewarded with beautiful lake views, so this trail has a little bit of everything.
Location Tip: Minnewaska State Park is only 15 minutes from New Paltz, making it easy to combine these two destinations.
14. Visit The Angry Orchard Cidery
Located in Walden in the Hudson Valley, you can find the Angry Orchard cidery, which is actually really nice to visit year-round, but fall is specially fun during apple harvest season. While Angry Orchard ciders can be found all over the U.S., here at their Walden location, you’ll find beautiful tasting rooms and barns, a gorgeous outdoor patio with fire pits and really good food. Of course, you’ll be able to do tastings of their ciders, take guided tours of their facility, and also tour the orchards.
Location Tip: Angry Orchard is only about 25 minutes from New Paltz, so you can easily combine this with a day of cider tasting at the taproom, followed by hiking and exploration in New Paltz (or vice versa).
15. Hike The Storm King Mountain Trail
A great fall hike in the Hudson Valley is the Storm King Mountain Trail in Cornwall-on-Hudson. This trail is about 2.4 miles long, and offers incredible pay off with amazing fall foliage views and lots of lookout points for photos. The big pay off at the end is an incredible view of the Hudson River and mountain vistas.
This hike does require some rock scrambling, and I would definitely recommend some sturdy hiking boots to prevent injury.
Location Tip: Croton-on-Hudson has a cute little downtown that’s worth visiting after your hike to grab a bite to eat and relax. Another nice stop to make in town is Thompson’s Cider Mill to sample some great, locally-made hard cider. Lastly, you can also squeeze in a trip over to Croton Gorge to see the impressive New Croton Dam. All of these make for an awesome fall day trip from NYC.
16. Hop On A Haunted Headless Horseman Hayride
For a night of spooks and screams, you’ll want to head over to the Headless Horseman Haunted Hayride in Ulster, which has been named one of the best haunted hayrides in the country by outlets like USA Today, and has also been featured on the Travel Channel.
On the grounds, you’ll not only find this amazing haunted hayride, you’ll also be able to walk through several haunted houses and a haunted corn maze. This is the ultimate haunted house and hayride destination in Upstate New York in the fall! Just remember, these haunted tours are really, really scary, and not for the faint of heart.
17. Bike The Wallkill Valley Rail Trail (And Stop At The Secret Cafe In The Woods!)
The Wallkill Valley Rail Trail in Ulster County is such a fun way to see foliage in Upstate New York in the fall. The 22-mile bike path is very easy and flat, so it’s definitely a more relaxing bike experience, and takes you through the towns of Gardiner, New Paltz, Rosendale and Ulster. One thing to keep in mind is that the path isn’t entirely paved, but it still makes for an easy ride.
But the best part of the bike path? The secret cafe along the route! Well, it’s probably not super secret now, but it’s also not as well-known as many things on this list. The Rail Trail Cafe in New Paltz is right in the woods along the bike path, and can be found at Stone Mountain Farm. The cafe caters mostly to bikers that stop along the path, and they serve up amazing drinks, and farm-to-table foods like wood-fired pizzas, salads, sandwiches and more.
*If you’re hoping to get some wood-fired pizza, be sure to call in advance, as they only offer pizzas during events. The Rail Trail Cafe is only open Thursday-Sunday.
Right by the cafe, you can also rent a bike to head out onto the rail trail. Click here to go to the Happy Trails Bike Rental page for more info!
Location Tip: You can easily combine the rail trail and cafe with a trip to the Hudson Valley region, as the trail goes through a few towns in the area. If you’re staying at Mohonk Mountain House for a weekend, this is a great little side excursion.
Best Apple Picking In Upstate New York
Upstate New York apples are known as some of the best in the country, and you’ll be able to find orchard is most rural areas of the state. There are so many more in the state than what I’ve listed below, but here are some of my absolute favorites.
18. Indian Ladder Farms
Indian Ladder Farms is the best and most popular place for apple picking in the Capital Region of Upstate New York in the fall. Not only do they have awesome fields of apple orchards and scenic nature trails you can explore, they also have an on-site cidery, cafe and bakery that serves freshly-made cider donuts, as well as lots of other sweet treats.
Indian Ladder can get very busy on the weekends in the fall, so plan accordingly. I suggest getting there early to pick apples, and then secure a table at their restaurant/cafe to enjoy a nice lunch and to sample their cider.
Location Tip: To make a day of visiting Indian Ladder Farms, you could spend the first part of your day here, and then make the 30-minute drive to Esperance, NY to experience the Night Terrors Haunted Farm, which has been named one of the best haunted houses in the area.
19. Beak & Skiff
Beak & Skiff in Marietta is one of my personal favorite apple orchards to visit in Upstate New York in the fall, partially because I grew up near here, and it holds a special place in my heart. It’s also come a long way since my childhood days, and has expanded its apple orchards to now include a cidery, distillery, cider mill, general store, cafe and bakery. You’ll easily be able to spend several hours here!
The seasonal cider flavors here at Beak & Skiff are really good, and I enjoy their Cider Donut cider in the fall. It’s a little sweet, but for some reason, it works in my opinion. I also highly suggest stopping by their distillery for a spirits tasting.
Location Tip: Beak & Skiff is a short 15-minute drive to Skaneateles, which is an awesome little lakefront destination that would be great to combine with a trip to Beak & Skiff. It’s also only a 15-minute drive from Crazy Daisies, which is a cafe and flower market that offers awesome food, mimosa flights and will have plenty of fall flowers to decorate your porch.
20. Twin Star Orchards
Twin Star Orchards in New Paltz is an awesome place to visit in Upstate New York in the fall season. Not only do they offer a beautiful orchard for apple picking, but they also serve up amazing hard ciders, wood-fired artisan pizzas, burgers and cider donuts. This is a great place to come hungry and enjoy the beautiful scenery on a lovely fall day.
Location Tip: Since this orchard is located in New Paltz, you could easily combine it with a Mohonk Mountain House trip/guest day pass, and/or the Wallkill Rail Trail.
21. Rulfs Orchard
Rulf’s Orchards in the Adirondacks is an awesome place to go apple picking in Upstate New York in the fall. And not only do they have wonderful orchards to pick from, they also have a corn maze, a petting zoo, tractor rides, a bakery with cider donuts and other great treats, a cafe for yummy food and snacks, an ice cream shop and a farm store. It’s the kind of place you can have a perfect fall day in the Adirondacks.
Location Tip: This orchard is located about 50 minutes from Lake Placid, making it easy to combine these two destinations for a fall getaway in the mountains.
Best Upstate NY Fall Festivals
There’s no shortage of festivals in Upstate New York in the fall season, and there are plenty more than what’s listed below. Chances are, most destinations and towns will have some sort of fall celebration, whether you seek one out on a local apple orchard and farm, or are visiting a town that’s popular with tourists. But below is a list of some of the best in Upstate.
22. Ellicottville Fall Festival (Western NY)
The Ellicottville Fall Festival typically takes place on Columbus Day weekend each year, and is packed with all kinds of fall fun including foliage chair lift rides to the top of the mountain, a mountaintop cook out, music, arts and crafts vendors and tons of food options.
This would be great to combine with Pumpkinville (earlier on this list) and Southern Tier Brewing for a perfect fall day in Western New York.
23. Warwick AppleFest (Hudson Valley)
The Warwick AppleFest is a great option for those coming Upstate from NYC because it’s only an hour from the city. And even better, admission to the festival is completely free, making this an awesome festival for families to attend. AppleFest has been named the best fall festival by Hudson Valley Magazine, and you could easily spend the entire day here because of all the activities offered.
At AppleFest, you’ll find over 200 craft vendors, tons of food vendors, live music, a carnival for the kids, an apple pie contest (where you can buy slices from the participants!) and a farmer’s market. Visitors will also be able to stroll through Warwick’s charming downtown.
24. Sharon Springs Harvest Festival (Capital Region)
The Sharon Springs Harvest Festival usually takes place in mid-September each year, and the town was made famous by the Beekman Boys, and their shop, Beekman 1802. In town, you’ll also find the Beekman 1802 flagship boutique, which is absolutely stunning and worth popping into.
During the harvest festival, you’ll find artisanal food and craft vendors, live music and demonstrations. Area farms also open their doors to visitors for special sunflower, apple, pumpkin and lavender U-Pick events.
Location Tip: Sharon Springs is just under an hour from Indian Ladder Farms, and many apple varieties will be at their peak picking time during the Harvest Festival.
25. WalktoberFest Makers & Farmers Market (Hudson Valley)
WalktoberFest Makers & Farmers Market is especially fun because it takes place on the Walkway Over the Hudson & Hudson Valley Rail Trail, so the scenery is going to be lovely. The event usually takes place the first weekend in October, and over 120 local restaurants, distilleries, wineries, breweries and artists will line the walkways offering tastings and samples, as well as feature their artwork. There’s also a designated children’s area to make it a family outing.
Tickets for the event include full access to the alcohol tastings (for those over 21 years of age), and underage tickets are also available. This is a great way to support local food and drink establishments in the area, and taste the seasonal flavors of the Hudson Valley.
26. Fishkill Farms Harvest Festival (Hudson Valley)
The Fishkill Farms Harvest Festival takes place every weekend from mid-September through October, and this is a great festival to attend if you want to pack all your favorite fall activities into one festival.
During the festival weekend, you’ll be able to pick your own apples and pumpkins, listen to live music, grab some delicious food from their grill, visit their donut window for freshly-made cider donuts, stroll through their corn maze, and even sample some local hard cider. There’s something for everyone in the family at this one.
27. Lake George Oktoberfest & Fall Festival (Adirondacks)
The Lake George Oktoberfest & Fall Festival usually takes place on Columbus Day weekend each year, and you’ll be able to find a true German-inspired Oktoberfest and Bavarian street fair celebration, complete with Bratwursts, a beer garden, German polka music, carnival rides and tons more. And since this event is in Lake George, you’ll also be able to stroll through the adorable alpine-inspired downtown to visit the local shops and eateries. And of course, don’t forget to take in the gorgeous Mirror Lake views.
Best Places To Stay In Upstate New York In The Fall
There are so many great places to stay in this region, but these destination are particularly lovely in autumn. Here are my favorite places to stay in Upstate New York in the fall.
New Paltz has been mentioned quite a few times throughout this post, and that’s because for a small little college town, it packs a lot in, and offers so many things to do in Upstate New York not just in the fall, but year-round. New Paltz is located in the Hudson Valley region, and is home to SUNY New Paltz, and has a lovely little downtown with independent shops, great restaurants, and, as mentioned, amazing hiking opportunities (which is honestly the best part).
In addition to also being home to Mohonk Mountain House, it’s close to Minnewaska State Park, as well as the neighboring town of Gardiner, which has some lovely lodges and inns to stay in.
Best Places To Stay Near New Paltz In The Fall
The Minnewaska Lodge is located just 10 minutes from New Paltz’s downtown, and is a great option if your primary focus is spending lots of time outdoors, and taking advantage of all the amazing hiking nearby. This hotel is just under 6 miles from Minnewaska State Park, and many rooms offer incredible views of the Shawangunk Mountains, which will be especially gorgeous in the fall season.
Wildflower Farm is perfect for those looking for a bit more of an upscale stay with some relaxing in the room, combined with some excursions to the local attractions. This hotel is modern and beautifully decorated, and all the rooms have an outdoor space, which will be perfect for admiring fall foliage. There’s also a restaurant and bar right at the hotel, making this a perfect fall stay for lots of recharging.
The Hampton Inn right in New Paltz is a great option for those on a budget, or are just looking for a clean and basic place to sleep after exploring all the attractions nearby. Rooms here are updated and comfortable, and offer the basic amenities.
The Catskills are an absolutely amazing destination to visit in Upstate New York in the fall season. The foliage views will be incredible, and as mentioned earlier in this post, you’ll be able to drive the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway. There are lots of quaint little towns in the region that are perfect for cozy evening dinners and grabbing a hard cider or seasonal beer, and the restaurants in this area are awesome. And, of course, there are lots of scenic walks and hiking trails.
Best Places To Stay In The Catskills In The Fall
This modern A-frame chalet is especially great because of its location. Not only is it a total Instagram-worthy place, the location is accessible to the best things to do in the Catskills, and also a lot of places in the Hudson Valley. The chalet has a beautiful covered deck where you can sit and admire the foliage views, a wrap-around deck and a fire pit for camp fires and evening s’mores.
The Shandaken Inn is located very close to the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway, and is a gorgeous and cozy inn that’s perfect for a fall getaway. You’ll easily be able to access a lot of the attractions in the region from here, and downtown Shandaken has some really cute little shops and eateries. The actual inn is beautifully decorated, and sits on 12 acres, so you’re sure to have a peaceful getaway. A full breakfast is also included with each stay, and the inn also has an on-site restaurant and bar.
Sleepy Hollow & Tarrytown
Sleepy Hollow is one of the best places to visit in Upstate New York in the fall, especially during the month of October with all the Halloween celebrations and ties to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow tale. And the nearby town of Tarrytown is where you stay when you’re looking to visit Sleepy Hollow, as there are no hotels right in Sleepy Hollow.
Both towns are packed with history, offer fun tours to take in the fall season, have wonderful restaurants and lots of fall foliage. This is a place to visit where peak foliage season will be later in October.
Lake Placid is a fun little town in the Adirondacks that sits on Mirror Lake, and offers spectacular fall foliage views, lots of great restaurants and some nice breweries, and is also accessible to a lot of fall hikes in the region. The downtown area and its shops are also super charming and most everywhere downtown, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views of Mirror Lake and mountains in the background.
Location Tip: Lake Placid is close to a few attractions mentioned earlier in this post, including the Indian Head and Rainbow Falls Trail, Rulf’s Orchard and the Great Adirondack Corn Maze, so you’ll have plenty of fall-themed things to do on a trip to Lake Placid.
Best Places To Stay In Lake Placid In The Fall
The Mirror Lake Inn & Resort is perfect for those looking to be able to walk everywhere in town, and want a bit of pampering during their fall getaway, as this resort is right in Lake Placid’s downtown, and also has a really nice spa. You’ll also find two restaurants located at the hotel, and room options that include lake views, balconies and fireplaces.
The Whiteface Lodge is an excellent option if you’re looking for lots of amenities, and a bit more of an upscale (but still very Adirondack) kind of getaway. This hotel is less than a 5-minute drive to downtown Lake Placid, but will feel worlds away. You’ll also find amenities like 3 restaurants, a spa, outdoor hot tubs, a year-round indoor/outdoor heated pool (perfect for swims on crisp fall days!), s’mores campfire nights, a family game room and even a movie theater.
Cold Spring is an adorable and charming town in the Hudson Valley region, and is typically about an hour from NYC (depending on traffic), making this a wonderful option for those looking for an easy getaway from the city. It’s also only about 40 minutes from Sleepy Hollow & Tarrytown, which means you can easily combine these two destinations for a perfect getaway in Upstate New York in the fall.
Cold Spring has a beautiful downtown area, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is home to great restaurants and shops. There are also some scenic walks and hikes that are accessible to town, including Hudson Highland State Park and the popular Bull Hill trail for incredible foliage views.
Best Places To Stay In Cold Springs In The Fall
The West Point Foundry B&B is just a 5-minute walk to downtown Cold Spring, and is a beautifully renovated National Historic Landmark House where guests can enjoy 9 private acres of land and views of the Hudson River. Rooms are updated but still reflect historic charm, and guests can also enjoy amazing breakfasts included in the room rate, as well as fire pits with Adirondack chairs, a pool table from the 1860s, a complimentary beer or wine upon arrival and and heated pool and hot tub.
Nestled in the Finger Lakes region, Ithaca is an incredible college town that offers so much access to the region’s natural beauty, but also has a fun and exciting downtown area with great shops and restaurants. From Ithaca, you’ll easily be able to explore the area’s waterfalls and state parks (Letchworth, Taughannock and Watkins Glen), visit the local wineries and take in all the lovely lakeside foliage views. There are also lots of local wineries to explore along the Finger Lakes wine trail.
Best Places To Stay In Ithaca In The Fall
The Inn At Taughannock Falls is a wonderful place to stay in Upstate New York in the fall if you’re looking to tackle all the amazing things to do in the Finger Lakes region. This hotel has direct access to Taughannock Falls through a trail on the hotel grounds, and is only about 15 minutes from downtown Ithaca. A continental breakfast is included with each stay, and you’ll also find fire pits and a bar at the hotel for cozy fall evenings.
The Argos Inn is great for those who want to be right in downtown Ithaca, as this hotel is walkable to the Commons, shops and restaurants. This historic hotel was actually once the Mayor’s mansion, and has since been beautifully updated to accommodate guests. While the building is located downtown, it still feels cozy and secluded, and you’ll find an on-site bar, as well as an outdoor patio and sun porch for relaxing fall afternoons here.
Ellicottville is a great little town to base yourself if you’re looking to explore the Western New York region. Mostly known as a ski destination in the winter months, fall is also a lovely time to visit because of the Ellicottvile Fall Festival, and nearby fall attractions like Pumpkinville. There’s a very charming and fun downtown area with cute shops and eateries, country stores, wineries, as well as a great outdoor patio at Ellicottville Brewing Company (perfect to hang out at with a seasonal beer on a crisp fall day!).
Best Places To Stay In Ellicottville In The Fall
There aren’t a lot of hotels in Ellicottville because the area has a strong focus on vacation rentals for skiers, but one great option is the Wingate By Wyndham, which is a standard hotel, but very clean and comfortable, and perfect for exploring all the fall activities in the area. The location is also ideal, and walkable to downtown.
That’s A Wrap On The Best Things To Do In Upstate New York In The Fall
There you have it, all the very best things to do in Upstate New York in the fall season from someone who’s lived here most of her life! Upstate New York is a very underrated place to visit, especially this time of the year, and whether you’re looking to explore quaint towns in the Hudson Valley, or you’re hoping to tackle some incredibly scenic hikes in the Adirondacks, there’s so much to do keep you busy for all of foliage season.