From enduring symbols of American democracy and freedom, to vast swathes of coastal land complete with crashing waves and majestic beachfronts, the national park system of New York State is perhaps just as diverse, varied and full of surprises as the great metropolis that beats and breaths at its heart. Culture vultures, history buffs, nature seekers and wildlife lovers alike can rest assured that there’s something for them hidden here between the Atlantic swells, the Great Lakes and the Adirondack Mountains of the north - It’s just waiting to be discovered.
To help out, we’ve put together this list of the state’s top five national parks, complete with natural getaways, revolutionary forts, and some of New York’s iconic landscapes.
The skyline of New York’s Upper Bay simply wouldn’t be the same if it were not presided over by this towering and monumental dedication to the freedom and democracy of America. Standing watch from her perch on Liberty Island since 1886, the statue is unquestionably one of the most instantly identifiable symbols of the United States, its people and the wonderful city of New York. Today, visiting guests can choose between Crown, Pedestal and Ground tickets, each allowing access to a different section of the park.
Nestled in the depths of the Mohawk Valley, in the heartlands of upstate New York, this formidable complex of bulwarks and palisades is well known as "the fort that never surrendered" for its long and defiant history of repelling foreign powers from the northern colonies. Although the current building is a reconstruction of the original from the 1750s, it still serves as a prime example of defensive architecture from the post-colonial period and stands on the very same site where British forces were denies access to Lake Ontario and the greater Midwest during their earnest campaigns of 1777.
If your idea of a great national park is empty wildernesses of majestic sands and gushing waves, teeming wildlife trails and swaying coastal forests, then the Fire Island Seashore is probably the perfect choice for you. It’s perched just off the coast of Long Island, running for more than 30-miles along its south side and separated from the mainland by the colossal sea lagoon of Great South Bay. This makes for a remote, rugged and supremely quiet location, not mention some of the best coastal scenery near to New York City.
In the summer of 1777, nearly 10,000 British soldiers made their way through upstate New York towards the strategic spots at the tip of the Hudson Valley. They were stopped here, at what today is known as the Saratoga National Historic Park; a spot of national importance which now helps to commemorate the so-called Turning Point of the American Revolution. On-site there’s a mouth-watering array of attractions for the budding history buff, from the restored house of American General Philip Schuyler, to the Victory Woods, where visitors can still see the trench lines of the invading British soldiers.
Photo by Kordite/Flickr.
Splintering their way like veins through the lands of upstate New York, this winding web of canals and man-made waterways is hailed as the vena cava of exploration in the American Midwest, responsible for creating the clusters of lively towns and villages that now dot its shores and helping to transport the industrial machinery required for the mechanization of the American heartlands. Today, visitors can navigate more than 500 miles of the system, past a montage of looming engineering wonders and beautiful natural vistas.