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Creating Your Empire State Summer Vacation!

by Our Editors

Historic castles built by NYC industrialists sit on some of the Thousand Islands in the crystal-clear St. Lawrence Seaway, just waiting to be explored.

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With the break of spring comes the start of summer vacation planning, and New York State offers a warm welcome to LGBT travelers, with so many unique things to see and do.

2017 is the 200th anniversary of the Erie Canal, with festivals and celebrations all along this man-made wonder. Book early from companies in Central New York and the Finger Lakes to rent your very own canal boat, which you self-pilot after just a short orientation. Sleep and cook on board as you journey to cute canal side towns with shops, restaurants and farmers markets. Or get a canal sampler by jumping on a two-hour historic guided tour, or biking the paved towpath trail that runs along much of the 339-mile canal.

Erie Canal, Waterford

Erie Canal, Waterford

Also in the Finger Lakes, plan your trip along the region’s scenic wine trails with stays at glamorous accommodations like Mirbeau Spa in the charming town of Skaneateles or Belhurst Castle in Geneva, to name just a few.

Fire Island

Fire Island

For a perfect mix of civilization and wilderness, visit the six-million scenic acres of The Adirondacks, whether camping under the stars or staying in a posh five-star resort. Days are spent with outdoor adventure like hiking one of the 46 high peaks or joining an outfitter for whitewater rafting, or tamer natural beauty while riding a gondola to the top of Whiteface Mountain or visiting the Adirondack Museum or Wild Center with its elevated Wild Walk through the treetops.

Speaking of nature and sophistication, historic castles built by NYC industrialists sit on some of the Thousand Islands in the crystal-clear St. Lawrence Seaway, just waiting to be explored. The Antique Boat Museum offers cruises in vintage wooden Chris-Craft speed boats.

When it comes to water, thoughts go to the white sand beaches of Long Island, from the luxurious Hamptons to the LGBT communities of Cherry Grove and the Pines on Fire Island just a ferry ride away, where roads have been replaced with boardwalks.

For centuries, guests have been taking the healing waters of Saratoga Springs. You can continue the tradition at the Gideon Putnam Resort. It’s part of Saratoga Spa State Park, summer home to the New York City Ballet and an outdoor amphitheater for musical performances from classical to rock. All this and the stately grandeur of thoroughbred racing at the Saratoga Race Course; don’t forget your most fetching hat.

Millbrook Winery Hudson Valley

Millbrook Winery Hudson Valley

Will this be the year you finally see Niagara Falls? It’s a perfect time, with nearby Buffalo celebrating the 150th birthday of architect Frank Lloyd Wright at tourable masterpieces like his Darwin Martin House and Graycliff Estate.

150,000 culture vultures from around the globe gather every summer to celebrate the arts at the Chautauqua Institution’s lakeside Victorian village. Others go to nearby Jamestown for the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival at the Lucy-Desi Museum and National Center for Comedy, with headliners like Trevor Noah and Jerry Seinfeld.

Whiteface Mountain, Adirondacks

Whiteface Mountain, Adirondacks

New York City has endless excitement any time of year, and a trip there gets even better with excursions to the Hudson Valley with its sprawling sculpture parks and opulent historic homes, and to The Catskills, with one-of-a-kind experiences amid mountain views and flowing streams, from the movie and TV themed rooms of the boutique Roxbury Hotel, to North America’s longest and highest zip-line, to the world’s largest kaleidoscope.


Whether for a long weekend getaway or an extended vacation, New York State has everything you need for the time of your life. To plan the vacation of your dreams, visit iloveny.com/lgbt, download the I LOVE NEW YORK mobile app or call 800/CALL-NYS.

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