Last days of summer: Quick last minute trips to take in New York State

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NEW YORK STATE – With just a few weeks until school is back in session, it’s time to soak up the last bit of summer vacation.

Here are some day trips that your family can take around the state for that one last getaway.

Taughannock Falls: Just about an hour away from Binghamton, Tughannock is a beautiful state park with a gorgeous natural waterfall, standing at 215 feet tall, 33 feet higher than Niagara Falls. It’s a great day trip, however, should you decide to extend your stay, the park offers campsites and cabins overlooking Cayuga Lake.

Lakawanna Rail Trail: This next destination is still in the Southern Tier, and still about an hour away. The Lakawanna Rail Trail is ideal for the active family, who can walk, bike or jog the path. The trail begins in Lowman and ends in Eldridge Park. More on the trail here.

Saratoga Springs: For those who want to travel a little further, Saratoga Springs is another great trip, about 2 hours and 30 minutes away. Of course there’s the Saratoga Race Course, but the Springs themselves are also beautiful, with water clean enough to drink. You can also visit the Saratoga Springs History Museum. More here.

The Cremeria – If it’s a sweet treat you’re looking for, The Cremeria in Clinton, New York (about an hour and a half away) offers great Italian style Gelato. Owner Maria Macrina feel in love with the dessert while in Italy, and decided to learn how to make it authentically, Gelato is similar to ice cream, though is typically creamier with more intense flavors. More on the Cremeria here.

Destiny USA – One of the most popular destinations for shopping and dining is Destiny USA in Syracuse, about an hour away. This trip is great for a day trip of shopping in popular stores, bonding over an escape room or other interactive experience or eating in one of its many restaurants.

Lockport Caves – The furthest destination on our list, about 3 and a half hours away, are the Lockport Caves. Located in Lockport, you can take spend a day taking a boat through a cave system adjacent to the Erie Canal. On the ride, you can see original mining shafts, water shafts, geologic formations and more. While you’re there, you can also take a ride on the Niagara Zipper, a zipline 85 feet above the canal. Learn more here.

Animal Adventure Park – Close to home, located just in Harpursville, Animal Adventure Park is great for animal lovers of all ages. Whether it’s feeding a giraffe, feeding goats or observing a kangaroo, Animal Adventure is a great way to spend a sunny day.

The Strong Museum of Play – Pack up the kids and take the 2 and a half hour drive to Rochester to visit the Strong Museum of Play. Strong hosts the largest collection of historical materials related to play and is one of the largest history museums in the country. There are many interactive activities to keep the kids involved as well!

Carousel Circuit – If you don’t feel like driving very far at all, keep it local and ride the Carousel Circuit here in Binghamton. If you ride all six historic carousels, you can get a special pin. You don’t have to ride them all in one day, but if you wanted to you could finish the task in about 3 hours if you start in Endicott and make your way to Binghamton.

Fainting Goat Island Inn – The last trip isn’t really a day trip, but those looking for a quick (and haunted!) getaway can check out the Fainting Goat Island Inn in Nichols, only about a 30 minute journey from Binghamton. The Inn, which has even been featured by the Travel Channel, has a rich history and plenty of ghosts. Guests can book an overnight stay and try out their luck with their own haunted encounters. Book a room here.

Need more ideas? Check out our Destination New York page for even more suggestions.

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