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Scenic Drive Itineraries




You'll visit great places in New York, and getting there will be just as unforgettable. Simply look out your car window. The most memorable parts of a road trip in New York are the landscapes you'll drive through. Choose from countless scenic drives in our eleven vacation regions, from beachside roads to winding mountain highways.

Choose your own route or follow a designated byway. You might follow the breezes along Ocean Road in the Hamptons, climb an Adirondack High Peak on the Whiteface Mountain Highway, or take an autumn leaf-peeping tour around Chautauqua Lake at Long Point State Park or on the Seven Lakes Drive running through Harriman State Park to Bear Mountain.

When in the Thousand Islands-Seaway region, driving might feel a little like sailing. Water is everywhere. The Great Lakes Seaway Trail, a National Scenic Byway, stretches for 500 miles, connecting the St. Lawrence River, the Great Lakes, and Niagara Falls.

The Olympic Trail runs from Sackets Harbor on Great Lake Ontario to Lake Champlain. The trail highlights history, lighthouses and fun things like camping and canoeing and kayaking. According to local lore, keep an eye out for a glimpse of a mythical lake monster named "Champ."

In Central New York, follow the Erie Canal through the Schenectady area, where the Mohawk Towpath highlights historic locks, bridges and architecture. On the Cayuga Lake Byway circling the lake, you'll see Finger Lakes vineyards and historic sites of the Women's Rights Movement. The Upper Delaware Scenic Byway snakes along the river passing dramatic vistas and quaint Catskills villages.

Great Drive Ideas



Region: Capital-Saratoga/The Adirondacks

Called the “Great Northeast Journey,” this drive parallels the route of the canals and interconnected waterways that helped shape the course of New York State’s history over the centuries.  Start from Albany and head north to visit the many communities and villages along the water route.

Route length: 234 miles/377 km.
Approximate duration: Allow for 2 to 5 days at a leisurely pace



Region: Thousand Islands-Seaway/Finger Lakes/Greater Niagara/Chautauqua-Allegheny

From the shores of the St. Lawrence River down to the edge of Lake Erie, the Seaway Trail takes you on a journey to the unique treasures of western New York State.  Take your time exploring the Thousand Islands, with its laid back fishing ports and castles perched on rocky inlets.  Head further southwest towards Rochester on Lake Ontario, and on to Niagara Falls, then enjoy the charm and sophistication ofBuffalo, New York’s second largest city, before heading to Lake Erie’s beach front.

Route length: 454 miles/726 km.
Approximate duration: Allow up to a week at a leisurely pace


Region: Finger Lakes

Cayuga Lake, one of the slender, sapphire blue Finger Lakes, boasts numerous award-winning wineries and stunning views of the countryside.  Nearby Montezuma Wildlife Refuge is a birdwatcher’s paradise.   The loop around the lake stretches from Seneca Falls in the north, home of the U.S. women’s rights movement, to the college town of Ithaca to the south, home to Cornell University.

Route length: 87 miles/140 km.
Approximate duration: Allow at least a half-day at a leisurely pace



Region: Long Island

The North Fork is home to Long Island’s world-class wineries.  Enjoy visits to many small farming communities producing fresh ingredients for local restaurants.  Numerous nature preserves allow for great bird watching opportunities. 

Route length: 36 miles/58 km.
Approximate duration: 2 to 3 hours at a leisurely pace


Region: New York City/Hudson Valley/Capital-Saratoga

Trace an ancient Mohawk Indian trail and the growth of New York State on one of the world’s best known streets: Broadway.  Starting from the tip of Manhattan at Battery Park, trace the many cultures of New York City.  Past New York City, the road becomes New York State Route 9, opening up into the Hudson Valley’s lush countryside.  End your tour in Albany, the state capital and home to the NY State Museum which chronicles the entire history of New York State from pre-historic times to 9/11.

Route length: 162 miles/260 km.
Approximate duration: Allow a full-day at a leisurely pace.


Images: © NYSDED-Photo by Darren McGee & stockstudiosphotography.com


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