The 2024 Belmont Stakes will be run at Saratoga Race...

The 2024 Belmont Stakes will be run at Saratoga Race Course, with the third leg of horse racing's Triple Crown shifting from Long Island to upstate to New York because of the massive renovation of Belmont Park. Credit: AP/Hans Pennink

Long Island may be the state’s ocean capital with the big city next door, but a world awaits beyond New York City to be explored. Here are four locations northwest of Long Island that are primed for a getaway visit. Just hop in your car and hit the road.

SARATOGA COUNTY

Part of the state’s Capital District, the region is known for its horse racing. The Saratoga Race Course (267 Union Ave., Saratoga Springs; nyra.com/saratoga), will host the 2024 Belmont Stakes June 8 as part of a four-day festival, June 6-9. The summer season runs July 11 through Sept. 2 with live races conducted Wednesdays to Sundays.

Fans enjoy the music during a concert at Saratoga Performing Arts...

Fans enjoy the music during a concert at Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs. Credit: AP/HANS PENNINK

Check out the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (108 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Springs; 518-584-9330, spac.org), where you can see A-list performers including Lainey Wilson (June 20), Dave Matthews Band (July 5-6), Dierks Bentley (July 18), Impractical Jokers (July 20) and  John Legend (Aug. 7), among many others. The facility is within Saratoga Spa State Park (parks.ny.gov), which also features a pair of golf courses, a pool complex and the Saratoga Automobile Museum.

If art is in your wheelhouse, the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College (815 N. Broadway, Saratoga Springs; 518-580-8080, tang.skidmore.edu) should be a stop to consider, as it’s not only a place to see dynamic contemporary art, but also is intended as an educational tool by the school’s students and faculty.

A fife and drum corps perform in a concert at...

A fife and drum corps perform in a concert at Saratoga National Historical Park, a United States National Historical Park located in the Town of Stillwater. Credit: National Park Service

To see a spot full of history, visit Saratoga National Historical Park, the site of a key victory during the American Revolutionary War. The park encompasses five sites including the Saratoga Battlefield, General Philip Schuyler’s House, Victory Woods, the Saratoga Monument and Surrender Site totaling 3,579 acres and offers numerous hiking trails and recreational activities. The park is free to visit and hours vary by season (648 NY-32, Stillwater, 518-670-2985, nps.gov/sara).

Biking and jogging paths wind through Saratoga National Historical Park.

Biking and jogging paths wind through Saratoga National Historical Park. Credit: National Park Service

Saratoga Spa State Park (19 Roosevelt Dr., Saratoga Springs, 518-584-2535, parks.ny.gov) is listed as a National Historic Landmark and the park features a golf course, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the Spa Little Theater, the Gideon Putnam Hotel, the Children’s Museum at Saratoga and the Roosevelt Baths and Spa ($10 parking fee). 

STAY The Gideon Putnam (opens for the season May 24) has an on-site bar and restaurant, Putnam’s, which features indoor and outdoor seating. Just steps away is The Roosevelt Baths and Spa, which features mineral baths in addition to facials, massages and other treatments. (24 Gideon Putnam Rd., Saratoga Springs; 866-890-1171, gideonputnam.com. Rates start at $179 but vary throughout the summer.)

SYRACUSE

See a concert at Empower Federal Credit Union Amphitheater at Lakeview (490 Restoration Way, Syracuse; 315-435-5100, asmsyracuse.com), located on Onondaga Lake. Shows slated include Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan (June 28) Jason Aldean (July 11), Santana and Counting Crows (July 24) and more. 

Chittenango Falls State Park (2300 Rathbun Rd., Cazenovia; 315-492-1756, parks.ny.gov), which features a 167-foot waterfall that pours over 400-million-year-old bedrock, includes hiking trails and fishing opportunities. A bit closer to the city (by about 15 miles), Pratt’s Falls Park (7671 Pratt's Falls Rd., Manlius; 315-683-5550, onondagacountyparks.com) has a 137-foot waterfall, and the trails offer views of both the falls and its gorge.

Boats moored on the lock wall at Waterford, New York...

Boats moored on the lock wall at Waterford, New York at the entrance to the Erie Canal. Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto/LynMc42k

The historic Erie Canal connects the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean via the Hudson River — and while the canal's days as a vital commercial and shipping route have mostly passed, it’s still open to tourists in some spots. To tour the canal near Syracuse, head to Camillus Erie Canal Park (5750 Devoe Rd., Camillus; 680-800-5298, eriecanalcamillus.com), which offers boat rides Wednesdays and Sundays from May through mid-Oct for $5, $3 ages 5-12; the maximum charge for a family is $15. The museum is free to visit and is open noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. 

Green Lakes State Park (7900 Green Lakes Rd., Fayetteville; 315-637-6111, parks.ny.gov) is a big draw within the greater Syracuse region, with its two lakes, Green Lake and Round Lake, both leftovers of the ice age. There is an 18-hole golf course (9 holes $20/$11; 18 holes $32/$16) designed by notable course architect Robert Trent Jones at the park. Memorial Day to Labor Day, $10 per vehicle. Visitors can also rent kayaks and rowboats starting at $5 for 30 minutes.

Former New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom warms up for...

Former New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom warms up for a rehab start for Syracuse in a minor league baseball game against Omaha in July 2022 at NBT Bank Stadium in Syracuse, N.Y. Credit: AP/Scott Schild

Baseball also is a big part of the Syracuse experience, as the Syracuse Mets, the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Mets play here at NBT Bank Stadium (106 Lake Dr., Liverpool; 315-451-7275, onondagacountyparks.com).

Grab a bite at Salt City Market (484 S. Salina St., Syracuse; 315-401-4111, saltcitymarket.com), a food hall that contains 15 vendors, ranging in cuisines such as Middle Eastern, Thai, soul food, among other options; the venue also hosts a bar and a cafe.

Over at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo (1 Conservation Place, Syracuse; 315-435-8511, rosamondgiffordzoo.org), guests can look for Yaad and Tukada, the first surviving Asian elephant twins born in the United States, who arrived in fall 2022. 

STAY Aloft Syracuse Inner Harbor sits along the Onondaga Creek and has an indoor pool. (310 W. Kirkpatrick St., Syracuse; 315-422-1700, marriott.com. Rates start about $317.) The hotel also offers free shuttles from and to Syracuse Hancock International Airport (connects with LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark airports).

UTICA

NY Energy Zone (35 Utica Zoo Way, Utica; 315-792-8720, nypa.gov), created by the New York Power Authority as a fun and educational experience, features more than 40 interactive activities, exhibits and a 3D movie about electrical engineer Nikola Tesla. Everything is focused on electricity — ranging from its role in human lives to how electric power has impacted the Empire State (free).

Nearby is the Utica Zoo (1 Utica Zoo Way, Utica; 315-738-0472, uticazoo.org), which was established in 1914 and currently holds more than 99 species of animals. Guests can encounter African lions and red pandas, among other animals.

The Atunyote Golf Course at Turning Stone Resort Casino in...

The Atunyote Golf Course at Turning Stone Resort Casino in upstate New York.  Credit: Turning Stone Resort Casino/Russell Kirk

The Turning Stone resort and casino (5218 Patrick Rd., Verona; 800-771-7711, turningstone.com) has a concert calendar that features some A-list acts set for this summer, such as Old Dominion (June 22) and John Legend (Aug. 10). 

STAY The Cove at Sylvan Beach is a getaway-and-stay destination on Oneida Lake. There are 70 dog-friendly cottages from which to choose, each equipped with a boat slip and a pontoon boat (also dog-friendly) plus a fire pit, a gas grill and a full kitchen, as well as Wi-Fi and access to an outdoor heated pool, among other amenities. Three-night minimum required May 23-Aug. 23. (750 Pioneer Ave., Sylvan Beach; 315-356-1840, covesylvanbeach.com. Rates vary)

THE ADIRONDACK COAST

City of Plattsburgh's beach on the shore of Lake Champlain...

City of Plattsburgh's beach on the shore of Lake Champlain is a very popular spot during the summer months.  Credit: North Country Chamber of Commerce

For some beach time, the Plattsburgh City Beach (4 Beach Rd., Plattsburgh; 518-563-7701, cityofplattsburgh-ny.gov) has more than a mile of sand plus a swimming area, a concession stand and a nature trail. The region also is known for its state parks that offer shoreline access, such as Cumberland Bay State Park (152 Cumberland Head Rd., Plattsburgh; 518-563-5240, parks.ny.gov), Ausable Point (3346 Lakeshore Dr., Peru; 518-561-7080, dec.ny.gov) and Point au Roche State Park (19 Camp Red Cloud Rd., Plattsburgh; 518-563-0369, parks.ny.gov).

A view of lower Ausable Lake from the Indian Head...

A view of lower Ausable Lake from the Indian Head Lookout in the high peaks region of the Adirondack Mountains. Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto/lightphoto

Scenic trails also are part of the area’s attractions and those looking to hike should start in the Adirondack Park. (visitadirondacks.com). This National Historic Landmark holds 6 million acres of protected wilderness area that boasts 2,000 miles of trails that cover all skill levels. Visitors can hike to panoramic summits or one of many waterfalls, including a moderate hike to OK Slip Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in the Adirondacks. Kayaking and canoeing routes range from flat water routes for beginners to Class IV Whitewater on the Hudson River, with guided trips offered.

STAY The Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort includes restaurants plus sports betting, slots and table games to try. The resort also has a calendar of live entertainment and DJ nights. (873 Rte. 37, Hogansburg; 518-358-2222, mohawkcasino.com. Rates start at $179.)

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