One need not travel far this summer to find budget-friendly activities the whole family will enjoy. Those who live in and around the Capital Region are fortunate to have access to several state parks that feature museums, walking and running trails, art exhibits, and much more. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Saratoga State Park
The city of Saratoga Springs boasts more than just horseracing, fine dining, and shopping. In fact, one of the nicest, most beautiful state parks is just minutes from downtown Saratoga and can be enjoyed for a few dollars per person, per day.
The best part about Saratoga State Park is that it has something for everyone, including museums (National Museum of Dance, Saratoga Automobile Museum), theater (Spa Little Theater), two world-class golf courses, two public swimming pools complete with showers and locker rooms, the renowned Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), as well as picnic areas, restaurants, and walking and running trails.
Olana State Historic Site
Farther south in the Hudson Valley is the exquisite Olana State Historic Site, known for the Persian and Victorian-style home of Hudson River School painter Frederic Edwin Church that sits amidst 250 landscaped acres. Visitors have the option to tour the house, walk the five miles of carriage drives that bisect the property (dogs allowed!), picnic, and just relax and enjoy the surroundings.
Olana also offers a series of programs and workshops throughout the year for a nominal fee. Reservations are required for classes and highly encouraged for tours.
Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park
If an amazing view is what you’re after, an abandoned railway bridge-turned-pedestrian park in the Highland/Poughkeepsie area might do the trick. The 212-foot, 1.28-mile Walkway Over the Hudson spans the Hudson River and is the longest elevated pedestrian bridge in the world. Visitors can also bike, walk their dogs (on a leash), bird watch, picnic (tables are located at either end of the bridge), and more. The park offers hour-long tours as well and hosts several events for a small fee.
For more ideas on things to do and places to go, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, & Historic Preservation offers a complete and detailed listing of all the parks located throughout the state.