Outdoor activities in CNY!
Fresh air and fun year-round
Hey, come out and play!
From snowy slopes to sandy beaches, Central New York’s diverse landscape gives residents and visitors so many ways to enjoy the beautiful outdoors. Each season provides opportunities to be out and about in a way that best suits you.
Whether you prefer a quiet jog through the park or a competitive 5K, Central New York is the place to go out and get your heart pumping. Do good while feeling good – there is a long list of races that raise money for a good cause. The internationally recognized Utica Boilermaker, the hilly Mountain Goat Run, Turkey Trots and the Six-legged 5K are all extremely popular events each year.
The rolling hills of our area give cyclists challenging rides and gorgeous views. Check out Central New York’s best spots to mountain bike as recommended by a local expert. The Two Gorges Tour connects Robert Treman and Taughannock Falls State Parks in Ithaca in a roughly 28-mile ride.
The warmer months bring people out for rounds of golf - find some challenging courses nearby - and mini golf, swimming at community pools and local beaches (yes, we have them!), hikes along waterfalls, boating and water skiing on the lakes, kayaking and canoeing. Take a Finger Lakes boat cruise for a different perspective.
Our extensive park options provide peaceful places for jogging, walking and picnics. Many parks have athletic fields for baseball and softball, as well as basketball courts. Lots of our county and state parks are dog-friendly, and the Wegmans Good Dog Park, located in the Cold Springs section of Onondaga Lake Park, is open from sunrise to sunset daily. Love glamping? Bring your pup to the Firelight Camps in Ithaca and plan a hike around Upper Buttermilk Falls together. Wine tourists will appreciate that the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail’s participating wineries are all dog friendly.
Independent explorers can follow the Experience Cortland Geo Tour to discover 20 hidden geocaches throughout the county. Travel the countryside to learn about Cortland’s history of underground railroads, major league baseball, and possibly the best trucks ever built.
Come summer, join an adult sports league – kickball, bocce, volleyball, to name just a few – and make some new friends. Some have indoor options, too. Skater boys and girls can shred at a handful of skate parks in the region.
For the sportsmen and women who love the great outdoors, the diversity of angling opportunities in Central New York means the area has more fishing licenses per capita than anywhere in the state. The Finger Lakes and other waterways host a variety of fishing tournaments; the Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens take place at Oneida Lake. As the seasons change, fish for salmon in the Salmon and Oswego Rivers or ice fish for perch and walleye during our CNY winters.
Licensed hunters can pursue deer, wild turkeys, waterfowl and small game; some state parks allow hunting.
When the weather turns cold, we don't head indoors. We bundle up and get out to the parks, trails and hills with our skis, snowboards and snowshoes. The area has a number of snowmobile clubs and riders can find an interactive map that shows the status of trails. In fact, we embrace winter so well, we have a number of festivals celebrating the season and congratulating ourselves on our hardiness.
Thrill seekers won’t have to go far to find amusement parks or water parks like Thunder Island, or to race down the area’s longest paved road go-kart course. The northern top of Cayuga County touches Lake Ontario, where you can get your adrenaline pumping by sky diving. Take things up a notch by exploring the landscape from above in a hot air balloon.
As agritourism continues to grow in popularity, Central New York farm businesses draw thousands of visitors each year. From u-pick fruit crop availability and seasonal activities such as corn mazes to craft breweries and wineries, locals and visitors alike appreciate the homegrown, quality products available from CNY farmers. Get to know the properties and the people behind them.
Equally fun (but lower impact) ways to spend time outside: Take inspiration from the relationship between art and nature at Stone Quarry Hill Art Park in Cazenovia; go wild at a zoo, rock out at outdoor concerts at the St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater at Lakeview, festivals, Shakespeare in the Park. In the fall, hit the road for leaf peeping. View an array of birds and wildlife at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge or spot rare butterflies at Rome Sand Plains.
British author and adventurer Ranulph Fiennes said: “There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” In other words, you can go outside in practically any weather, just be sure to dress warm. Here are five spots in Central New York…
Navigating your way through a corn maze is a quintessential fall activity for Central New Yorkers. Each year, family-owned farms across CNY create new, often elaborate, challenging (and sometimes spooky) mazes for visitors.Planning a day trip? In addition to acres…