Reprinted by permission from Family Destinations, 77 North Street, Saratoga Springs, NY, 12866, (518) 587-8683.
GREAT NEW YORK STATE PARKS WITH CABINS
New York is home to more than 200 state parks-green escapes that vary from the 6-million-acre wilderness of the Adirondacks to the urban confines of the Bronx. These spots provide outdoor recreation, camping, and natural beauty at a very modest price. Tenting is the most popular, but if pitching a tent isn't your style, cabin camping may suit your idea of roughing it. Twenty-one of New York's parks offer simple 1- to 3-room cabins. Luxurious they are not. But most offer at least some of the comforts of home; electricity, cots and refrigerators.
We present the finest of New York's parks that offer a roof over your head. Just steps from your door, you'll find hiking, swimming, and outdoor adventure in some of the most magnificent natural settings in the Northeast.
FINGER LAKES REGION
Iroquois Indian legend has it that the Finger Lakes were formed when the Great Spirit placed his handprint upon the earth and the impression of his fingers became lakes. With 11 finger-shaped lakes, the region is spectacular with glens, gorges, waterfalls, and rugged rock formations. A few years ago, we spent a week hopping around state parks in the Ithaca area and fell head over heels in love with the region.
Buttermilk Falls State Park
Buttermilk Creek cascades down rocks spilling into a natural pool at the base of the falls and makes a terrific swimming hole. Up until a few years ago, swimmers could scramble up the rocks and slide down-which was tremendous fun, although quite dangerous, so it's not surprising that swimming is now limited to the pool. The park offers 7-1/2 miles of hiking trails on 751 acres, including a nature trail around marshy Larch Meadows, and a 15-acre lake for fishing.
(7 cabins with public toilets and showers, 4 cots, refrigerators, and electricity. 61 campsites.)
Taughannock Falls State Park
Taughannock Falls, from which this park takes its name, features one of the highest waterfalls in the East. The falls plunge 215 feet through a stone amphitheater-like formation whose walls reach nearly 400 feet. The park offers 4 miles of hiking trails on 783 acres, boating, reportedly terrific fishing, and swimming in Cayuga Lake. A word of caution: the beach is gravel and the water becomes deep very quickly off-shore.
(16 cabins with public toilets and showers, 4 cots, refrigerators, and electricity. 72 campsites.)
Robert H. Treman State Park
This 1025-acre park was probably our favorite of the Finger Lakes parks. I have fond memories of carrying my youngest in a backpack up the stone pathway and steep steps that traverse Enfield Glen up to 115 foot high Lucifer Falls, the highest in the park. Just past the falls, you can look 1-1/2 miles down the deep, wooded gorge as it winds its way to the lower park. Nature lovers will have a heyday eyeing the variety of ferns, mosses, and wildflowers that flourish in the moist and shaded environment. In the early part of the century, the rugged area of upper Enfield Glen was used as a setting for Western and Alaskan motion pictures. Swimmers love splashing under the waterfall that spills into the stream-fed pool in the lower part of the park. Lifeguards are on duty in this designated swimming area.
(13 cabins with public toilets and showers, electricity, refrigerator, and 4 cots; 1 cabin with cooking stove and toilet. 67 campsites.)
Fair Haven Beach State Park
This is the most northerly park in the Finger Lakes Region and distinctly different in terrain from most of the other parks in the area. Sitting on the wide, sandy beaches looking out over the expanse of Lake Ontario, you'll feel as if you're at the ocean. The sculptured bluffs along the shoreline make this one of the finest public lakefronts in upstate New York. This beautiful 865-acre park is spread out, so plan on doing some walking. Cabins and campsites are closer inland at Sterling Pond and marsh; the beach is about a mile away. Nature trails, boat launch, and playground are also available.
(32 cabins, some with toilets, showers, and cooking stoves. All cabins come with refrigerator, 4 cots, and electricity. 191 campsites.)
New York's Genesee Region is west of the Finger Lakes and includes Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Letchworth State Park is the largest and best known of the state parks in this area.
Letchworth is often referred to as the "Grand Canyon of the East," and it's easy to see why. With a jaw-dropping 600-foot gorge, 3 waterfalls, and 42 miles of scenic trails, this 17-mile park is a natural wonder. During July and August, concerts (classical, country, popular) are held Wednesday evenings at no extra fee to campers. Swimming is available in 2 pools. For the more adventurous, there are ballooning and rafting (extra fee). Situated at the south end of the park is the historic Glen Iris Inn. Inn information and reservations: 716-493-2622.
(82 cabins, many with toilets, showers, and cooking stoves. All
have electricity. 270 campsites.)
THOUSAND ISLANDS REGION
In the northern reaches of New York State, about 1700 islands in the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario lure boaters, hikers, and campers.
At 2,636 acres, Wellesley Island is the region's largest park and has been listed as one of America's top 20 campgrounds. With beautiful beaches and a rocky coastline, this enormous park not only offers a lovely setting but plenty of outdoor recreation as well. The river is the centerpiece of activity with boating, water skiing, fishing and swimming (if you can brave the 68 degree water!). On land, there are 10 miles of hiking trails, a 9-hole golf course, and a 600-acre nature preserve. The Minna Anthony Common Nature Center offers 19-passenger voyager canoe rides, hikes, nature concerts and events. The park's natural beauty and wholesome recreation are in stark contrast to the nearby village of Alexandria Bay-a curious, honky-tonk beach town that is showing its age. Visitors may feel they are in an eerie time warp-many of the restaurants and stores haven't changed in 50 years. My advice is to enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer on the river.
(10 cabins with public toilets and showers, tables and benches, refrigerators, and electricity. 429 campsites.)
This region lies just south of the Catskill Mountains in the Lower Hudson Valley. Because of its close proximity to New York City, the area is often visited by city dwellers seeking a break from urban heat and bustle. Bear Mountain State Park is a popular spot offering hiking trails, a Trailside Museum and Zoo, and picnicking. Mountainous, wooded and spotted with lakes, the area offers tremendous outdoor recreation. 46,000-acre Harriman State Park, the state's second largest, is divided into several individual areas, with camping at Beaver Pond and cabins at Lake Sebago Beach.
Harriman: Sebago Cabin Area
All but five of the cabins are situated very close together on the shoreline of the lake. (Be sure to ask about these five if seclusion is a priority for you.) In the summer, there are planned family recreational activities throughout the day. Weekly movies, row boating, tennis basketball, softball, and swimming in the lake will keep the clan busy.
(42 cabins with electricity, refrigerators, 4 cots, tables and chairs. Maximum 6 persons/cabin. 52 campsites are available at Harriman: Beaver Pond.)
Allegheny is a vast region with varied terrain in the southwestern corner of the state. It's an area of remote mountains, rural agricultural land, blue lakes, spectacular rock formations, vineyards and orchards, as well as deep forests and hills. With 65,000 acres, Allegheny State Park is the largest in this region and in the state, excepting the Adirondack and Catskill forest preserves.
Allegheny: Red House
Bicyclists and walkers will enjoy the 5-mile dedicated bike path that weaves through the woods, around Red House Lake, and over covered bridges. The crystal blue lake offers boating, fishing, and swimming. In the summer, a naturalist offers star watching trips, beaver and night owl walks, another nature programs. Outdoor movies are shown in an amphitheater at no extra cost to campers.
(113 cabins with public toilets and showers, electricity, 4 cots, and cooking stoves; some with woodstoves, 123 campsites.)
Reservations at may be made from 90 to 7 days in advance of the first day of stay. Call 800-456-CAMP. The peak season for cabin rentals is from 6/25-8/27. Reservations during that period may be made for 1 full week only, Saturday- Saturday. To obtain specific information about individual parks, call the parks directly.|
Bed and Breakfast Inns