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13 Best Day Trips from Albany, New York

Albany, the bustling capital city of New York State, serves as an ideal starting point for numerous exciting day trips. With its strategic location at the intersection of I-87 and I-90, two major highways in New York, getting to fascinating destinations nearby becomes incredibly easy. In this compelling journey, we have curated a list of the best day trips from Albany, NY, that cater to various interests and provide unforgettable experiences.

Albany has plenty of options, with beautiful natural landscapes, charming historic towns, and lively cultural attractions just a short drive away.

Some popular destinations you should consider visiting include the enchanting Adirondack Park Region, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts; the renowned race tracks and refreshing mineral springs of Saratoga Springs; and the beautiful Lake George, offering picturesque views and various recreational activities.

Whether you’re a local seeking adventure on your day off or a visitor looking to explore beyond the city, these day trips from Albany will provide you with a taste of the diverse offerings of New York State and its surrounding regions. So, buckle up and prepare for exhilarating experiences, unforgettable memories, and awe-inspiring sights that await you outside Albany.

Best Day Trips from Albany and Surrounding Areas

Empire State Plaza

Aerial View The Empire State Plaza Dominates Downtown City Skyline in Albany
Christopher Boswell / Adobe Stock

In Albany, New York, the Empire State Plaza is a key tourist destination for anyone visiting the state’s capital. This granite plaza houses famous buildings, including the New York State Museum, The Egg performing arts center, and the Corning Tower Observation Deck. It also features numerous outdoor sculptures, fountains, and a reflecting pool.

Columbia County Tourism

Basalt mountain cliffs overlooking columbia river
heidi / Adobe Stock

A short drive from Albany, Columbia County offers stunning natural beauty and diverse cultural attractions. Nestled in the Hudson Valley, this region is known for its scenic drives, historic homes, and quaint towns. Some popular destinations within Columbia County include:

  • Olana State Historic Site: Home of the famed 19th-century artist Frederic Church, offering panoramic views of the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains.
  • Hudson: A charming town filled with art galleries, antique stores, and gourmet eateries.
  • High Falls Conservation Area: A 47-acre park featuring trails and picturesque waterfalls perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.

Ulster County

Landscape by the sea at Ulster County
Pavel / Adobe Stock

Ulster County, south of Albany, combines natural beauty, historical attractions, and outdoor adventure in the Northeast. This Hudson Valley gem boasts a variety of points of interest:

  • Kingston: Known for its waterfront district, historic district, and various cultural events, Kingston is a lively city to explore.
  • Mohonk Preserve: A nature lover’s paradise, this preserve covers over 8,000 acres of forests, cliffs, and hiking trails.
  • Woodstock: The famous town offers eclectic shops, cozy cafes, and a rich artistic history.

By visiting these destinations near Albany, you will experience the diverse beauty and cultural richness of New York and the Hudson Valley region.

Day Trips to Nature

Adirondack Park Region

Summer landscape in the Adirondack region of New York
frank1crayon / Adobe Stock

Adirondack Park Region, located in upstate New York, offers an excellent day trip option for nature lovers seeking a serene escape from the city of Albany. Established in 1892, the park is known for its stunning fall foliage and vast expanses of preserved natural landscape.

A day trip to the Adirondacks entails visiting attractions such as:

  • Lake Placid: A picturesque town that has hosted two Winter Olympics, offering opportunities for boating, kayaking, and scenic walks.
  • High Peaks: The highest mountains in the Adirondacks provide excellent hiking opportunities and unparalleled views of the park.

Traveling from Albany to the Adirondack Park Region takes approximately 2 hours by car.

Catskill Mountains

Catskill Mountains short hiking trail
James Casil / Adobe Stock

The Catskill Mountains provide another ideal day trip option for visitors seeking outdoor adventure and natural beauty. The region has many trails, rivers, and picturesque towns. Some points of interest in the Catskills include:

  • Catskills Scenic Trail: A 26-mile long trail open year-round for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, and horseback riding.
  • Shawangunk Mountains: A ridge that stretches from New Jersey to Catskill Park, known for its unique rock features, waterfalls, and panoramic views.

A visit to the Catskill Mountains from Albany can range from 1.5 to 2.5 hours, depending on the location.

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Popular Destinations

Lake George

Sunset at Lake George
Richard / Adobe Stock

Lake George is a beautiful destination in Upstate New York, offering a range of activities for everyone. Enjoy the scenic beauty of the lake and its surrounding mountains, try out water sports, or explore the picturesque town. Lake George is a popular destination year-round destination for outdoor enthusiasts, families, and history buffs.

Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Springs is a charming town with a rich history known for its mineral springs, horse racing, and vibrant arts scene. Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the beautiful gardens, explore the National Museum of Racing, or enjoy a relaxing afternoon at a local spa. Saratoga Springs is an ideal day trip for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.


Highway exit sight for Cooperstown
PurpleHousePhotos / Adobe Stock

Home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown is a must-visit for baseball fans. This charming town also offers a variety of attractions, such as the Fenimore Art Museum, Farmers’ Museum, and Glimmerglass Opera. A 1 hour and 30-minute drive from Albany, Cooperstown is a great day trip option for sports enthusiasts and culture lovers.

Lake Placid

Lake Placid view from  Upstate New York Adirondack Mountains
James Casil / Adobe Stock

Lake Placid, famous for hosting the Winter Olympics, is a picturesque destination in the Adirondack Mountains. Explore the Olympic sites, hike the beautiful trails, or relax and enjoy the scenic beauty of Mirror Lake. The outdoor activities and breathtaking views make Lake Placid a perfect day trip from Albany.

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New Paltz

New Paltz
Zichan / Adobe Stock

In Hudson Valley, New Paltz offers a unique blend of historic attractions and outdoor activities. Visit the Mohonk Preserve for hiking and rock climbing, or explore the fascinating Huguenot Street Historic District. New Paltz is a great day trip from Albany for history buffs and nature lovers.

Manchester, Vermont

Mount Equinox Forest landscape in Manchester Vermont
Christopher / Adobe Stock

Just a short drive from Albany, Manchester offers a beautiful Vermont setting with a charming downtown area and scenic countryside. Shop at the local boutiques, dine at the cozy eateries, or explore the nearby mountains and trails. Manchester is an excellent day trip for those exploring a quaint New England town.


Summer home of the novelist Edith Wharton, now is museum in Lenox
T photography / Shutterstock

Lenox, Massachusetts, is home to Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and offers a range of cultural attractions. Visit the historic Ventfort Hall Mansion or stroll through the picturesque streets to explore the art galleries, shops, and more. Lenox is an ideal day trip for those interested in music and culture.

Rochester’s National Museum of Play

National Museum of Play in Rochester

The National Museum of Play, located in Rochester, New York, offers an interactive and educational experience for all ages. Established in 1969, this unique museum showcases the personal collection of Margaret Woodbury and is focused on the history and role of play in our lives. A visit to this museum is a perfect day trip from Albany for families and curious minds.

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