New York:

Published: Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Beyond the glitz and glamor that have come to characterize much of New York, there lies another side that has not been fully appreciated in this state. The outdoor attractions that comprise the "Empire State" are not the kind of things that can be taken lightly, and RVers will find out that these attractions are what actually makes New York the apple of the eye of many tourists.

Seeing New York in its Regions

New York holds eleven regional divisions, each one as divergent as the state itself. These include the Thousand Islands-Seaway Region, the Adirondack Region, the Greater Niagara Region, the Chautauqua-Allegheny Region, the Finger Lakes Region, the Central-Leatherstocking Region, the Capital-Saratoga Region, the Catskill Region, the Hudson Valley Region, the New York City Region, and the Long Island Region.

The Thousand Islands-Seaway Region

Set in the northwest portion of New York state, the Thousand Islands-Seaway Region is so named because the land is composed of about 2,000 islands that borders three great bodies of water namely Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, and St. Lawrence River. Additionally, the other prominent regional feature is the Seaway Trail, a travel path that involves the cities of Massena and Oswego and the 22 public parks scattered in between.

Needless to say, the region presents many outdoor opportunities for the average RVer, notably fishing since both St. Lawrence River and Lakes Champlain and Ontario are popular converging points of many anglers. Meanwhile, the Seaway Trail is excellent for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and picnicking, especially since provisions for these are generally available in many regional state parks.

Sackets Harbor, Henderson Harbor, and Clayton are three important cities that RV-boarded trippers may want to remember when touring the Thousand Islands-Seaway Region. All three act as hosts to RV parks that are near St. Lawrence River or Lake Ontario. Clayton, in particular, is host to two RV campgrounds namely 1000 Islands Campground and Birch Haven Campground, with the latter having a waterfront 285 feet away from St. Lawrence River.

The Adirondack Region

The Adirondack Region is among the most visited in New York state, which is not actually surprising if one realizes that found here are hiking trails that stretch for 2,000 miles apart from at least 3,000 lakes and an extra 6,000 miles more devoted to river waters, statistics that should astound conservative outdoor enthusiasts. Additionally, around 45 green spaces are dedicated to golf games and for RVers thinking of camping out here, they can choose from 64 campgrounds, 47 of which are state-owned.

The principal regional attraction is the Adirondack State Park, the biggest public park found on the northernmost corner of New York state and a traditional favorite among visitors. Its chief resident is the Adirondack Mountains, a set of medium-built hills enveloped by a dense forest and surrounded by numerous lakes where outdoor pursuits like fishing, hunting, and hiking have always been undertaken.

With the Adirondack as reference point, RVers need to look for a suitable RV park where access to the mountains will be relatively easy. In Whitehall City, there is one RV campground that specifically answers that particular concern. Whitehall Marina and RV Park, LLC, set at the Lake Champlain Canal System entrance, affords RV-boarded tourists convenient access to the Adirondacks that involves only several minutes of driving time. On its northern side lies charming Lake Champlain, while equally enchanting Lake George can be reached in just 30 minutes.

The Greater Niagara Region

Niagara Falls is undoubtedly the hands-down single biggest regional attraction here. Formed ten millenniums ago, the falls is a grand visual wonder with its 180-feet width and RV-boarded trippers cruising the western end of New York should most definitely include stopping by this awesome sight.

Of course, there are several other regional attractions here other than the Niagara Falls, and for this, RVers will need to find the most appropriate RV park where access to such attractions will be generally trouble-free. Thankfully, there is one such RV campground nestled in beautiful Lockport City. Niagara County Camping Resort rests about 22 miles away from northeastern Niagara Falls and is accessible to other nearby family-based attractions like the Six Flags Darien Lake, the Niagara Splash Waterpark, the Fantasy Island Amusement Park, and the Buffalo Zoological Gardens, the third oldest American zoo where over a thousand animals are said to reside.

The Chautauqua-Allegheny Region

The regional highlight here is the Chautauqua Institution, a form of retreat house where visitors often find spiritual and intellectual awakening. For RVers who are at the crossroads of their lives and want to find its real meaning, this may be one regional attraction that can offer help. Otherwise, they can opt to re-energize their minds by touring cultural sites like the Lucy-Desi Museum and the many ancient homes set in elegant Victorian architecture.

Another significant regional attraction is the Allegheny or Allegany State Park found atop Allegheny Plateau, which has two zones namely the Quaker Area and the Red House. The former is more of a wilderness area where towering mountains and gentle hills co-exist amidst an envelope of sparkling lakes. During winter, the region is thronged by snowmobiling enthusiasts but hikers are likewise common personages here, owing to the many hiking trails found here. Its distinctive feature is an ancient Quaker store that was converted into a museum.

The latter, meanwhile, is more of a water attraction since it features stretches of sandy beaches as it is situated along the Red House Lake shores. RVers visiting this section of the Allegany State Park should naturally expect to find numerous fishing opportunities although it is not uncommon to encounter hunters and wildlife observers as well since the resident park forest is teeming with various wildlife, including beavers, white-tailed deers, waterfowls, and perching birds.

To fully enjoy all of these regional attractions, RV-boarded tourists simply have to settle in at Camp Chautauqua in Stow where the Chautauqua Institution and all other regional tourist destinations can be reached within minutes. The RV park sits on the Chautauqua Lake shores and boasts of having a beautiful lake frontage.

The Finger Lakes Region

The region may well be the cultural and educational hub of New York state since prominent museums and universities abound here, with Cornell University leading the pack. The Ithaca-based university is considered the youngest member of the Ivy League schools and, together with the Museum of Glass, represents the rich cultural heritage of the New York central region.

RVers ought to have a tour of these cultural landmarks if only for the interesting facts that one can learn from them. Nevertheless, for RVers who prefer more action to happen on their New York sojourn, the eleven slender lakes that make up the entirety of intriguing Finger Lakes should be able to provide the needed excitement. Its glacial waters, dotted by deep gorges and thundering waterfalls, are excellent spots for ice fishing, sailing, canoeing, and windsurfing. Providing even more water-based attraction is Lake Ontario which acts as the northern border of the Finger Lakes Region. Meanwhile, the regional state parks, numbering to around 21, offer hunting, hiking, picnicking, and camping ventures.

Hejamada Campground and RV Park is perhaps the best campground that visitors can settle in when visiting the Finger Lakes Region. Situated in Montezuma, the RV campground is quite close to several renowned regional tourist spots, notably the Finger Lakes National Forest where Finger Lakes makes her home.

The Central-Leatherstocking Region

The region, set in the New York central area, features several National Hall of Fame, among the most visited landmarks in these parts, where the lives of the greatest players in the fields of baseball, soccer, and boxing are displayed. A visit to these sites ought to be quite an experience for many RVers, assuming they are into sports.

Of course, regional outdoor attractions are not exactly wanting. One simply has to take a look at the many glacial lakes, green hills, and scenic valleys that collectively cover more than 9,000 square miles to realize that the Central Leatherstocking Region is one area overflowing with outdoor opportunities.

RV parks are likewise abundant here as the cities of Westernville, Middleville, Cold Brook, and Cherry Valley will prove. Each one boasts of having at least one RV park along with many other cities. Still, most RVers would do well to stick with Cherry Valley since under its fold falls Beldevere Lake Campground and Family Resort, a family-centered RV campground that counts the famed Baseball Hall of Fame as among its prime attractions.

The Capital-Saratoga Region

Two major features comprise this region. One is Albany, the state capital, where the Empire State Plaza makes her home boasting of a reception area that is 27,000 feet wide. The other is Saratoga Springs, a charming resort village where RV-boarded visitors can watch race cars compete against each other in a unique racecourse. One other Saratoga Springs attraction is its historical park surrounded by a forest area where RVers can either hike, bike, or ride a horse while various wildlife roam freely from afar. During winter, the area also serves as an excellent cross-country skiing spot.

Finding an RV campground in these parts should not be hard since many regional towns actually welcome RVers and have at least one suitable campground waiting for them. In Schaghticoke, for example, Deer Run Camping and RV Resort offers a relaxing setting for many weary RV riders with the outdoor pool even carrying heated water. From the campground, one can reach Albany with ease as a mere 21-mile distance separates the two. Saratoga, meanwhile, is even closer since RVers can get to visit it within minutes.

The Catskill Region

An area full of many exciting natural attractions makes this particular region a must-see for many RVers. The attractions range from fabulous streams, rugged mountain terrains, thundering waterfalls, and multi-purpose trails and leading the cast is Catskill Park, which features what is perhaps the best hiking path in New York and for which the region was so named.

Of the many regional cities thriving here, the most suitable for most RV riders has to be Downsville since herein lies Bear Spring Mountain State Campground, an RV-friendly camping area found at western tip of Catskill Park. The mountain stands beside Launt Pond regularly filled with trout, thus making it an excellent trout-fishing ground especially during spring.

The Hudson Valley Region

Canoeing, sailing, fishing, kayaking, and the like are the popular outdoor interests being pursued here since it is here where the Hudson River reigns. Yet, its accompanying valley can sometimes steal the limelight with its offers of hunting, hiking, picnicking, and camping activities. Either way, the region should prove to be another New York area that RVers will find worthy of their visit.

To fully enjoy the wonders of the Hudson River, RVers can try checking in at Croton Point Park where trailer and RV sites are available. The park, covering over 500 acres, sits atop a peninsula perched along the eastern banks of the Hudson River.

The New York City Region

Made popular by the song where it claims that it never sleeps, the New York City Region is really alive all throughout the year as seen in its many first-class restaurants, art museums, Broadway shows, rows of shopping complexes, and high-rise buildings that are literally touching the sky. Its premiere city is quite naturally New York where many events have taken place and many more continue to happen even as this piece is being written.

There are about six public parks found in New York City which RVers should strive to explore so as to discover that aspect of the "Big Apple" that has remained simple but beautiful and essentially untouched by the hand of modernization. Gateway National Recreation Area is a good example of this as its 26,000-acre coverage is variously classified into sandy beaches, wildlife shelters, and mysterious marshlands. Beyond that, there are historic landmarks awaiting exploration as well.

The park straddles across two different states namely New Jersey and New York and offers both local and foreign tourists a wide selection of outdoor activities notably hiking, picnicking, biking, and camping, with certain areas designated for such activities.

The Long Island Region

A blend of modern urban life and the simplicity of rural existence is how one can describe this region. This is because while RV-boarded tourists will enjoy modern amenities like sandy beaches and elegant golf courses on one regional end, the opposite point will offer colonial villages, lush vineyards, and wildlife shelters. In between are numerous state parks, museums, historic sites, zoos, and palatial mansions spread across this 118-mile long area set in the southeastern end of New York State.

Largely because of its location, the Long Island Region is classified as a coastal area, which simply means that beaches abound here, enabling most RVers to have access to water-based outdoor activities. At Eastern Long Island Kampgrounds in Greenport, that is exactly what RVers should expect to get. Its nearest attraction is Splish Splash Water Park where both young and old are treated to exciting rides and spectacular shows. The water park, based in Calverton, can be reached within 35 minutes if one is coming from Greenport.

New York Cities Worth Exploring

As in the case with many American states having well-known urban cities, there is always the tendency to ignore the smaller towns and the attractions that these offer the average RVer. Yet, these can be little gems that once discovered, can change the way they are seen by many tourists, including RV-boarded ones.


Regarded as the second biggest city of New York state, Buffalo sits at the eastern front of Lake Erie where it serves as among the more prominent ports for the Great Lakes. It holds a vast array of attractions that RV-boarded tourists will mostly find engaging. Its most famous feature, however, has to be Niagara Falls where a wild ride down its river gorge via a jet boat is, to put it simply, excitement personified.

For RVers who are thinking of visiting the city as a family, there are numerous places to visit in Buffalo aside from the famous falls. One is the Buffalo Zoo, where various animals are housed, and where special events involving adorable sea lions are regularly held.

Another notable family treat in Buffalo is Martin's Fantasy Island where kids take center stage with its offering of over a hundred thrilling rides. There is also the Herschell Carousel Factory Museum to explore where a 1940's carousel still offers fun rides for children.

For adult RV riders who want to have fun in Buffalo but at the same time want the kids to have a good time, there is one RV park that they can try checking out. Beaver Meadow Family Campground, set at the southern point of New York between Rochester and Buffalo, is a well-known family RV campground near such popular entertainment spots like Six Flags Darien Lake and Arcade & Attica RR, geared for kiddie entertainment but also has access to places like Archie's Chip-N-Putt and Letchworth State Park where RVers who have a passion for the outdoors can play a round of golf and go hiking respectively.

Alternatively, families can opt to stay within the Beaver Meadow premises and enjoy the activities available therein. Fishing is a popular endeavor here, as are swimming and playing volleyball and basketball games.


John Wilkinson gave the city its name after a Sicilian city called Siracusa. Just like Syracuse, the Sicilian city was likewise set near a lake where large deposits of salts are found. Hence, it came as no surprise that Syracuse ended up having its present name.

More than just its name origin, however, there are several other things that make Syracuse such an exciting city in New York. For example, the city is the official residence of Syracuse University, which has produced several prominent personalities like Ted Koppel, Dick Clark, Jim Brown, and Vanessa Williams. Additionally, the city has been the host, since 1841, of the oldest American state fair where at least a million visitors are said to come by every year.

For RVers, these are places and events worth seeing whenever one is in Syracuse. Still, if there is one place in Syracuse that RV riders should not overlook, it has to be the Onondaga County Parks, a public leisure area where the widest range of outdoor activities can be enjoyed because it has many sections where specific outdoor ventures are designated. For instance, along Willow Bay and Long Branch Park, both nestled on the northern tip of Onondaga Lake Park, family picnics are commonly held, particularly along the more developed areas. Meanwhile, the Onondaga Lake Skatepark is a concrete-based skating area covering 16,900 square feet where inline skaters, skateboarders, and BMX bikers can show off their wares. Challenges like the Liberty Bowl, the Stair Gap, grind rails, and quarter pipes abound for skaters to take on.

Onondaga Lake itself offers fishing as an excellent outdoor pursuit with its shorelines teeming with carp, bass, and panfish. Outlying lakes like Otisco and Oneida are famous for large walleyes and smallmouth bass respectively.

RV parking is not a major problem here since within the Onondaga Lake Park lies several camp sites where RVs can be accommodated. Specifically, along the Oneida Lake shores lie more than 50 RV sites, each one shaded and equipped with water and electricity. RVers can take their pick from several RV parking areas, including those having hot showers, barbecue grills, and picnic tables.

Finger Lakes National Forest

Encompassing an area that is at least 16,032 acres wide, this particular national forest is a suitable camping site for all types of outdoor lovers, including RV-boarded tourists. This is because it has many different features that answer the diverse interests of outdoor enthusiasts. For example, its hiking trails, covering about 25 miles, are suitable grounds for hiking, horseback riding, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing where adventurers invariably come across rugged cliffs and deep gorges.

More significantly, the national forest features several types of campgrounds ranging from the primitive to the more modern sites. Those coming aboard their RVs will definitely find a place at the Blueberry Patch Campground which boasts of several RV areas, vault toilets, and a scenic picnic site. A five-acre lot filled with blueberries lies adjacent to the said campground.

Fire Island National Seashore

Out on the southern point of Long Island lies Fire Island National Seashore, an area extending for 32 miles where both natural and man-made attractions can be seen. RVers should have a grand time here enjoying a walk down sandy beaches or visiting historic landmarks like the Fire Island Lighthouse.

For RVers who prefer mysterious outdoor ventures, two areas in the Fire Island National Seashore come highly recommended. These are the Sunken Forest and the Otis Pike Wilderness Area, both of which offer such activities as wildlife viewing, swimming, fishing, canoeing, and camping.

Another area houses Watch Hill where RVers can either take a swim in the beach or discover the wonders hiding behind its nature trails. Either way, the area acts as a magnet for most RVers since one can find a suitable campground in these parts where the RV can be parked and serve as a starting point from where one can explore the Fire Island National Seashore.

A Trip to New York State

New York state experiences all four North American seasons in generally-mild conditions although traveling there during summer and winter may be a little uncomfortable. Summer, in particular, typically features high humidity although if one can stand the heat, traveling to New York during summer ought to be exciting since many colorful festivals take place here at around that time. Winter, meanwhile, can be a dangerous traveling period as snow and ice storms do hit some portions of New York.

By far, autumn is possibly the most ideal time to see New York. During this time, a significant drop in humidity levels is usually seen, resulting in milder temperatures complemented by the gradual departure of summer vacationers and the many interesting events scheduled in New York during this particular time. Some of these are the New York City Marathon, Halloween, the Feast of San Genaro, and, of course, Thanksgiving New York style.

Kayuta Lake Campground

Considered by many to be among the more popular New York RV campgrounds, the Kayuta Lake Campground boasts of a wilderness area dominated by cherry and pine trees set upon an area that stretches for more than a thousand acres. It sits along the Lake Kayuta shoreline that is about four-and-a-half mile long and extends down to nearby Black River.

Needless to say, fishing, boating, and swimming are the more prominent forms of outdoor activities available here, but RV-boarded visitors should expect more once they decide to come in for a short stay. Specifically, the area activities being held inside the campground are mostly family-oriented, and it typically includes fireworks displays, boat shows, and fun runs. That is why it is always best that the whole family is brought along when planning a visit to Kayuta Lake Campground.

Situated in Forestport town, the RV park covers 212 acres and features more than 150 RV sites. Golf courses, both miniature and life-size, are available for interested golf lovers. Ditto for basketball and volleyball fanatics.

Forest Lake Campground

RVers will definitely find fishing a very profitable venture over at Forest Lake Campground. Among the many varieties of fish found here, bullheads and bass are the most abundant and the great thing about it is that one need not get a license to fully enjoy the gifts that Forest Lake is offering.

Alternatively, RV riders can opt for other water adventures like canoeing and swimming with the latter activity having a designated area for security purposes. Meanwhile, if one is not fond of the waters, an option is to take a walk down the lake shore which covers at least one whole mile.

As for the amenities, Forest Lake Campground boasts of two types of RV sites namely wooded and lakeside and these are complemented by sewer, water, and electricity hook-ups. The restrooms, meanwhile, are quite modern and come with hot showers. A playground is available for the children while bingo games alongside special events held during weekends are geared for adult visitors.

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