Vacation in rivers and lakes in New York State

When you think of vacationing near one of New York’s 7,600 freshwater lakes or 70,000 miles of rivers and streams, it’s usually about boating, swimming, and fishing. But there is a lot. Take a break from the water with a visit to a historic site, take a scenic walk, tour a vineyard or brewery, shop in the quaint city center or simply find a great place to eat. From grand resorts to charming B&Bs, here are five residences that will put you right in the heart of the action.

Mohonk Mountain House

Kayak on the lake at Mohonk Mountain House.
Credit: Mohonk Mountain House

There is more than one way to explore the grounds around the Mohonk Mountain House. Founded in 1869 and listed as a National Historic Landmark, the resort has 85 miles of hiking trails. On most days there are at least two flights scheduled, leisurely in the morning, and more active and more challenging in the afternoon. Depending on the daily schedule, there may also be a birding or wildlife picnic, or a naturalist may show you the path of the glacier that formed scenic Lake Mohonk. Paddleboards and kayaks are available starting Memorial Day weekend and you can get on the water. Other activities include fishing (the lake is filled with trout every spring), biking, rock climbing, archery, and tomahawk throwing, along with a golf course, fitness center, and spa. One of the few all-inclusive destinations in the state, accommodation includes most activities and three meals plus afternoon tea in either the main dining room, the casual Carriage Lounge, or the seasonal granary for fun barbecues. A Weekend Room in mid-May for two adults and two children under 13 starts at $1,577 per night (slightly less in the middle of the week).

information 1000 Mountain Rest Rd. , New Paltz,; 855-883-3798

Saranak Waterfront Lodge

Enjoy the waterfront views or bask in the...

Enjoy the waterfront views or enjoy the lake at the Saranac Waterfront Lodge.
Credit: Saranac Waterfront Lodge

Get away from the commercial bustle of Lake Placid and Lake George in this quieter, more exotic location in the Adirondacks. The 93-room Saranac Waterfront Lodge on Lake Flower offers rentals of kayak, paddle boards and fishing boats starting June 1. At nearby Lake Tupper, visit the Wild Center (, where visitors can stroll up the trees. Lake Placid is less than 10 miles away, so you can easily take a day trip to explore popular destinations like the Olympic Museum (, snowboarding complex ( and the John Brown Farm State Historic Site. Stop for lunch at the Big Slide Brewery & Public House ( before heading back to Lake Saranac, where you can explore the vibrant art scene at one of the many galleries or attend a concert in Riverside Park. For dinner, try the Lodge’s lakefront restaurant, Boathouse Saranac Lake Pub. A double room in mid-May starts around $199 midweek, $269 on weekends.

information 250 Lake Flower Ave., Saranac Lake,; 518-619-4000

break in

Start your day with a meal made of...

Start your day with a meal made with locally produced ingredients at BrickInn.
Credit: BrickInn

Near the north entrance to Letchworth State Park, this charming five-room BrickInn is the perfect setting for your stay. The park (known as the Grand Canyon of the East) includes three gorgeous waterfalls on the bustling Genesee River. There are trails for hiking, biking, birdwatching, and horseback riding, but to really get on the river, Adventure Calls Outfitters ( offers 2.5-hour rides on first- and second-class rapids. For a great view, take a hot air balloon ride ( and on June 4, the park hosts the New York State Yoga Festival, where classes are offered all day ( Outside the park, nearby towns offer Mt. Morris, Geneseo, and Perry antiques, specialty stores, and historical sites. Guests won’t want to miss the inn’s spacious three-course breakfast, which is included with your stay. Room starts mid-May from $205 midweek; $220 on weekends (when two-night stay is required).

information 32 State Street, Mount Morris,; 585-658-1198

Geneva on the lake

Stroll the parks and nearby lake in Geneva On The Lake.

Stroll the parks and nearby lake in Geneva On The Lake.
Credit: Neil Shgoblom

Modeled on an Italian villa, this elegant boutique hotel on the shores of Seneca Lake features 25 guest suites and studios as well as four two-story townhouses. Most visitors to the area, recognized as one of the world’s major wine destinations, will want to spend a day on the Seneca Wine Trail (, stopping at many of the more than 35 vineyards along the way. And yes, there is a Bear Trail, too. Or drive to Cayuga Lake and do it by water on a Bianconi Across the Water Winery Tour (, stopping at three wineries. Or head to the southern end of the lake for a hike through Watkins Glen State Park, where a two-mile gorge will take you near 19 waterfalls. End your day at Watkins Glen with a sunset sail of wine and cheese on “True Love,” the sailboat used in the classic 1940 film “The Philadelphia Story” ( Return to the hotel and have a glass of wine in the formal gardens before dinner at Lancellotti’s lakeside restaurant. A one-bedroom suite starts in mid-May at $343.

information 100 Lochland Rd, Geneva,, 315-789-7190

Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa

Have a relaxing vacation at Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa.

Have a relaxing vacation at Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa.
Credit: Grace Licalci

Overlooking the Hudson River, the Buttermilk Falls Inn dates back to the 18th century, although the spa, with its indoor pool, is housed in a modern steel and glass building (currently undergoing renovation, but services are available at an alternative river-facing facility). The 75-acre estate, across the river from Poughkeepsie, was once owned by famous soprano and black activist Dorothy Mayor. It has a working farm where you can roam among goats, llamas, and alpacas, along with a cage for resident chickens and peacocks. Exit the property to The Walkway Over the Hudson (, once a railroad bridge, now open to pedestrians walking 1.25 miles across the river. Also near Hyde Park, Franklin Roosevelt’s home, is open for tours Thursday through Monday (, and the Culinary Institute of America (, which has its own restaurant row, of fine French and Italian. To an informal cafe. Back in Buttermilk, Henry’s at the Farm has earned great reviews with its seasonal farm-to-table menu. A double room starts in mid-May, with breakfast and tea, at $314 midweek and $419 on weekends.

information 220 North Road, Milton,; 845-795-1310

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