New York State Shines A Summer Spotlight On New Places To Visit And Bright New Experiences
Make a summer escape to the Empire State as new music festivals, museums and outdoor attractions
welcome visitors, while new lodging and dining provide comfort for every type of trip
The summer travel season is one of the most popular times to explore new places and events, and New York State is poised to welcome travelers this year with outdoor experiences and festivals that make any summer getaway shine. Let the shimmer of a lakeside campsite, the luster of a renovated retro motor lodge, the polished performers of a music festival, or the sparkling glassware in a new restaurant or brewery light the way to a fun-filled summer.
I LOVE NY Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said, “New York State doesn’t disappoint summer travelers looking for fun under the sun or to beat the heat. Outdoor adventure ranks high in summer vacation planning, while already great museums are bursting at the seams with new, state-of-the-art exhibits and expansions. Visitors can design a trip around a full calendar of spectacular festivals and events, finding comfort in a variety of refreshed and reimagined lodging options. They can raise a frosty glass with family and friends while savoring a rich tapestry of flavors served in new restaurants and breweries across the state. With a dazzling variety of unique, world-class and accessible destinations, New York State is so easy to love, and we welcome visitors and residents to celebrate the excitement of this vacation season.”
Below are some of the new, renewed and returning attractions, events, lodging and dining options waiting for travelers to enjoy this summer. More can be found on www.iloveny.com.
CAMPING AND GLAMPING IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS
- Boheme Retreats (Catskills) – An array of funky and fun vintage campers and glamping tents are grouped at Covered Bridge Campsite in Livingston Manor, with access to on-site fishing and nearby hiking and waterfalls. This Black-owned business creates inclusive outdoor camping experiences with a retro vibe.
- Camptown (Catskills) – Camptown amenities include a swim club and sauna that complement this recently renovated collection of 26 log cabins and 24 hotel rooms in Leeds in the Catskills. Guests enjoy hiking, art and music before refueling at the property’s Casa Susanna, a “Mexican farm food” restaurant.
- Glampful (Capital-Saratoga) – Eight safari-style tents with bathrooms and hot showers nearby are set on 50 acres in Broadalbin (a five-minute drive from the Great Lake Sacandaga boat launch), creating a welcoming home base for Adirondack adventures. Visitors can hike through wetlands, forest and meadows with access to Great Sacandaga Lake, or unwind around a fire pit and stargaze at night.
POP CULTURE, ART AND HISTORY
- Gilder Center at the American Museum of Natural History (New York City) – The American Museum of Natural History opened the Gilder Center on May 4. This new, critically acclaimed $465 million wing has three floors open to the public and showcases more than 3,000 objects representing each area of the Museum’s collections. Highlights include a butterfly vivarium with over 1,000 free-flying butterflies and a 5,000 square foot insectarium.
- The Strong National Museum of Play (Finger Lakes) – Located in the heart of Rochester’s Neighborhood of Play, the world’s only museum dedicated to the exploration and discovery of play will open a 90,000 square foot expansion on June 30 featuring the World Video Game Hall of Fame and the world’s largest playable Donkey Kong arcade machine. Beyond the museum, the Neighborhood offers an outdoor board game-themed garden, brewery, game-themed restaurant and hotel.
- Buffalo AKG Art Museum (Buffalo-Niagara) – Following a $200 million expansion project, the new Buffalo AKG Art Museum (formerly the Albright-Knox Art Gallery) will comprise more than 50,000 square feet of state-of-the art exhibition space, five classrooms, an interior community gathering space and more than half an acre of new public green space, elevating Buffalo’s profile as a world-class cultural destination. A grand re-opening is planned for June.
- Bond in Motion (Capital-Saratoga) Through November, the Saratoga Automobile Museum will showcase an official collection of iconic James Bond vehicles. The multimedia exhibition spans all 25 films and also features additional props and clips along with guided tours – all included with admission.
- Frank Lloyd Wright’s Massaro House Tours (Hudson Valley) – The only Wright design built after his death, the masterpiece home resides in the middle of Lake Mahopac and will offer its first-ever 90-minute public tours in June.
- Elite Gaming (Finger Lakes) – Enjoy the ultimate gaming experience at the Museum of Science and Technology (MOST) in Syracuse with Elite Gaming. This new attraction features a full video production studio, streaming pods, and 100 gaming PCs and consoles for a family-friendly space dedicated to creating opportunities in the e-sports ecosystem.
- Oneida County Mural Trail (Central New York) – Map out an art trip with a collection of 32 outdoor murals displayed throughout Utica and Oneida County. Follow an online map showing each design, location and information about the artists who created them.
- Saranac Lake Paddling Challenge (Adirondacks) – Explore the lakes and rivers of Saranac Lake by paddling the 19 flatwater miles of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail – the longest inland waterway in the US. The challenge can be completed in three sections or all at once as an Ultra, and patches are awarded for completion beginning in June.
- Splash Indoor Water Park Resort (Thousand Islands) – The Clarion Hotel & Suites Riverfront in Oswego welcomes a new indoor waterpark just in time for summer. Attractions include two slides, a toddler splash pad, pool with basketball nets, arcade, large jacuzzi, and a bar and restaurant.
FESTIVALS AND CELEBRATIONS
- Borscht Belt Fest (Catskills) July 29 – In anticipation of the Borscht Belt Museum’s opening in 2025, the museum is hosting an immersive pop-up exhibition plus an arts & food festival dubbed the Borscht Belt Fest on July 29th. Taking place in Ellenville, the festival is perfect for all ages with live music, films, educational seminars, stand-up comedy and plenty to eat and drink.
- The Great New York State Fair (Finger Lakes) August 23 – Sept. 4 – Returning to Syracuse with 13 days of rides, games, concerts, entertainment and the Taste NY Marketplace, the beloved family event is a summer tradition that’s not to be missed.
- Catbird Music Festival (Catskills) August 19 – 20 – This summer, for the first time in decades, a new music festival debuts on the historic field of the 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair. The Bethel festival features some of the biggest names in Americana and folk music, as well as indie acts and emerging artists, with headline performances including The Lumineers and Tyler Childers.
- Wings Over Batavia Airshow (Greater Niagara) September 2 – 3 – This thrilling air show will take place at Genesee County Airport over Labor Day Weekend. The event will feature modern military aircraft, historical warbirds and world champion aerobatic performers. After sunset, attendees will be treated to a high-energy night show with fireworks and aerobatics in a spectacularly choreographed pyromusical.
- Cave Mountain Catskills Music Festival (Catskills) September 15 – 16 – A “patchwork” playlist effortlessly marries rock, soul, blues, funk, country and folk with a two-day festival highlighted by live acts including Weezer, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Dinosaur Jr., Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Albert Hammond, Jr. The event will offer a diverse selection of food and beverage choices from local vendors to provide festivalgoers a true taste of upstate in Windham.
- Heritage Spy Ring Golf Club (Long Island) – The region’s newest public golf course slated to open this year is an imaginative nine-hole course that will be part of the Heatherwood 55+ resort community in Setauket.
- The Monster Golf Course (Catskills) – Built upon portions of the original Monster Golf Course and the Old International Course, a new 18-hole Rees Jones design debuts this summer at Resorts World Catskills in Klamesha Lake.
NEW LODGING WITH CITY AND LAKE VIEWS
- Blue Fox Motel (Catskills) – Lovingly restored and renovated, this 1950s mid-century motel in Narrowsburg features a variety of accommodation options including quirky motel rooms, woodsy cabins and stand-alone guesthouse with a pool, all serviced by an on-site restaurant and bar.
- Daunt’s Albatross (Long Island) – This 24-room compound is the perfect home base to explore the natural beauty of Montauk. Relax in the saltwater pool and enjoy daily dining at the Bird on the Roof café across the street, all just 100 feet from the ocean.
- GillHouse (Thousand Islands) – Originally established in 1813, the legendary waterfront venue’s 11 rooms have been completely restored. The Henderson Harbor hotel is pet-friendly and includes access to the back porch overlooking Lake Ontario. Its namesake restaurant serves a seasonal menu for lunch, dinner, tavern fare and Sunday brunch.
- Hotel Moraine (Long Island) – Opening Memorial Day weekend in Greenport, the luxury family resort features 20 guestrooms inspired by nature and the primitive coastline. The property, set on the bluff of the Sound, features a fireplace, cafe/bar, private heated pool, fitness center and several fire pits, plus the “Cottage on the Bluff” available for special events for up to 20 guests.
- Northport Hotel (Long Island) – Slated for a summer opening, the luxury boutique hotel sits in the historic harborfront village of Northport and will offer 26 opulent rooms, indulgent amenities and a 175-seat authentic Italian chophouse.
- Penny Williamsburg (New York City) – Nestled in the Williamsburg neighborhood, this pet-friendly hotel is designed to feel like home, outfitted with hardwood floors, kitchenettes and fluffy robes. Guest rooms and public spaces are adorned with original artwork from New Yorkers with developmental disabilities.
- The Hotel Laurel at Seneca (Finger Lakes) – Private balconies on each room of this renovated mid-century modern hotel look out onto panoramic views of sunrises over Seneca Lake’s eastern shore. The property opens June 1 in the town of Watkins Glen, just minutes from the top-rated Watkins Glen State Park and Watkins Glen International.
- The Lodge at Schroon Lake (Adirondacks) – Following a $16 million renovation, this lakeside getaway welcomes guests this summer with 116 lodging options including hotel rooms, standalone cabins, chalets and upscale “glamping” sites. The 36-acre property also offers miniature golf, multipurpose sports courts and a guests-only private beach with docks and a deck.
- Blackbarn Hudson Valley (Catskills) – Chef John Doherty, a James Beard award recipient and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, brings his signature farmhouse-inspired restaurant style to the Diamond Mills hotel in Saugerties.
- Canaseraga Soup and Coffee co. – The Pot Spot (Chautauqua-Allegheny) – Seasonal soups, sandwiches, baked goods and creative coffee drinks fill an artisan weekly menu at this Black-owned business.
- Carnegie Diner & Cafe (New York City) – Carnegie Diner & Cafe has a flagship location diagonally across the street from Carnegie Hall and is doubling its Manhattan footprint this year. A new location from chef and owner Stathis Antonakopoulos will open this summer at 828 8th Avenue with seating for 165 guests.
- Ferryman’s Grille (Long Island) – Just opened in April within Danfords Hotel, Marina & Spa in Port Jefferson, the seafood-focused restaurant boasts a refreshed design and a new lounge and bar. Rotating seasonal dishes follow a farm-and-sea-to-table menu while daily live music on the dock sets the mood.
- Le Mélange (Finger Lakes) – A modern open kitchen with expansion plans on the horizon in downtown Syracuse, Le Mélange features a blend of American, Italian and Mediterranean dishes crafted to tempt the palate and dominate the senses.
- Mill & Main Provisions (Hudson Valley) – This highly anticipated restaurant, bar and garden celebrates seasonal local producers with an eclectic menu of Colombian and Italian fare in Kerhonkson.
- Salt Box (Hudson Valley) – A vintage-style bar with a petite menu suited to its shoebox-sized kitchen, this popular local hangout in Kingston is open daily. Diners will enjoy rotating food trucks and outdoor movie screenings in the old bank drive-thru.
- Sushi By Bou (Capital-Saratoga) –This timed omakase experience (12 pieces/$60 per person or 17 pieces/$100 per person) leaves the choice of sushi entirely up to the seasoned chef. Sushi chefs serve guests directly, guiding them through the meal for an exclusive and personalized dining experience. Sushi By Bou has locations in several cities including New York City, with its Albany location slated to open this summer.
- Bridge and Tunnel Brewery (Catskills) – A husband-and-wife team opened the tap room in Liberty recently to welcome friends old and new, plus kids and pups. A selection of craft beer and soda, cider and kombucha are best enjoyed at the 40-foot-long bar, but farmhouse tables make for good conversation.
- Fidens Brewing (Capital-Saratoga) – Having outgrown its original location, the craft brewing operation will open a brewpub in Albany’s Warehouse District to expand production and welcome guests.
- Klocke Estate (Hudson Valley) – The craft spirits facility, situated on 160 acres in Claverack and home to apple and grape earth-to-glass brandy, is expected to begin pouring just in time for summer.
- Middle Ages Brewing (Finger Lakes) – Raise a glass to a new concert hall and event space at Syracuse’s oldest brewery with concerts, open mic and trivia nights.
- New Scotland Spirits (Capital-Saratoga) – Veteran-owned and operated, the award-winning distillery opens a tasting room in time for summer sipping.
- The Asahi Shuzo Sake Brewery (Hudson Valley) – Opening in September, this is the first U.S.-based Dassai sake brewery in partnership with the Culinary Institute of America. The $28 million+ facility will produce more than 330,000 gallons of rice wine a year in Hyde Park.
- War Cannon Spirits (Adirondacks) – A whiskey distillery, tasting room, event space, retail store and casual restaurant are the result of a six-year restoration project of Crown Point’s 200+ year-old former mill.