12 Best Day Trips From Albany, New York

day trips from albany ny
Richard Dean
Richard Dean 
| 5 min read

With a lot to offer to tourists, Albany, New York, is bustling with places of art to history, from attractions to nightlife, and more. It also offers many pet-friendly accommodations and Airbnb vacation rentals to provide lodgings for all kinds of travelers. The real draw of this town is the locals who are friendly and warm. Though Albany offers everything you look for in a getaway, you can also keep your options open by checking out the nearby destinations from Albany. Tanglewood keeps you upbeat with its music, you can experience Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, and unleash the wine lover in you when in Boston. There is so much to discover beyond the four corners of Albany. Browse through a well-curated list of the best day trips from Albany, New York.

1. Shawangunk Mountains

Shawangunk Ridge, NY
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jarek Tuszyński used under CC BY-SA 3.0

While there are plenty of fun things to do in Albany, New York, should you want to venture out into the neighboring areas, the Shawangunk Mountains offer a perfect day trip destination for nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers alike. Spanning 60 miles (96.56 kilometers), this stunning mountain range has countless trails crisscrossing the landscape. Visitors can embark on invigorating hikes that cater to all levels of experience, from leisurely strolls to challenging scrambles.

One of the main highlights of the Shawangunks is the Mohonk Preserve, a vast expanse of protected land that boasts diverse ecosystems and an extensive network of trails. Hikers can traverse through enchanting forests, discover cascading waterfalls, and revel in panoramic views from the summits. For those seeking a more adrenaline-fueled experience, the Shawangunks is also a world-class destination for rock climbing.

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2. Howes Cave

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Located in upstate New York, Howes Cave is a fascinating underground wonder that beckons curious adventurers to explore its mysterious depths. As one of the largest and most intricate cave systems in the Northeast, Howes Cave offers a captivating journey into the depths of the earth.

Guided tours take visitors on an immersive exploration through awe-inspiring chambers adorned with stunning limestone formations, stalactites, and stalagmites. The underground river that runs through the cave adds an element of enchantment, and visitors can even take a boat ride to witness the mesmerizing beauty from a unique perspective. The knowledgeable guides provide intriguing insights into the geological history, cultural significance, and natural wonders found within the cave. For those seeking an extraordinary and educational day trip, Howes Cave offers an unforgettable experience that showcases the captivating beauty of the subterranean world.

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3. Cooperstown

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown, NY
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Kenneth C. Zirkel used under CC BY-SA 4.0

While you are staying in a cozy cabin rental in Albany, if you want to extend the fun some more, don’t forget to include Cooperstown on your list for a day trip destination. Within two and a half hours, you will able to reach the charming Cooperstown village. This town is a combination of natural beauty, cultural scene, amazing attractions, and baseball heritage - the reason it is labeled “America’s Most Perfect Village.” Discover the interesting history of America’s pastime at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Your crash course into the history of America’s art begins at Farmers’ Museum and Fenimore Art Museum. Of course, you cannot mention Cooperstown without visiting Doubleday Field, which is a national treasure.

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4. Manchester

Main Street, Manchester Center, VT
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user John Phelan used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Ah, Manchester! It is a wonderful little town in the south of Vermont. If you are in Albany, considering Manchester as your day-trip destination, which is almost three hours’ drive away. Whether you are looking for adventure, history, nightlife - Manchester got you covered. If you are a hiker you can bank on the awesome trails like Manchester GatewayTrail, and if you feel a bit adventurous you may check out Abandoned Railroad Roundhouse. If you are fond of greenery then you may drop by Shortsville Budd Park with your family.

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5. Hudson

Hudson, NY, library
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Will Tung used under CC BY 2.0

Another exciting and popular day-trip destination from Albany is Hudson which is less than an hour. Once in the city, you can surely visit Olana State Historic Site for stunning views and outstanding architecture, Henry Hudson Riverfront Park, Hudson Area Library, and many more dated architecture. Curious about the history of firefighting? Visit the FASNY Museum of Firefighting and explore several superb exhibits. There are more things to see and to do here, from visiting splendid shops, exploring the culinary scene, and art galleries.

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6. Columbia County

First Columbia County courthouse, Claverack, Columbia County
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Daniel Case used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Situated between the gorgeous Berkshire’s Taconic Range and breathtaking Hudson River, Columbia County is another exciting day trip destination from Albany. It takes about 30 minutes from Albany to reach the county. Columbia County is a combination of rural charm, an abundant cultural scene, and a wide array of attractions and activities. This town features several family farms that charms you with their farm-to-table culinary practice, plus wineries, vineyards, and distilleries. It also offers hiking and biking trails, which are great if you fancy a little bit of nature adventure.

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7. Saratoga Springs

Broadway in downtown Saratoga Springs, NY
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Daniel Case used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Talk about horse and horse racing, Saratoga Springs is surely the number one place in New York. With just less an hour’s travel time from Albany, you can now take the action waiting at Saratoga Springs. It is a famous year-round destination, which offers a variety of things to do, from horse racing to soaking at mineral baths at Saratoga Spa State Park, from joining the fun at Saratoga Performing Arts Center to exploring old-charm exhibits of race cars in Saratoga Automobile Museum. In other words, anything that has something to do with horse and action is here.

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8. Lake George

Lake George Battlefield State Park sign
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Kenneth C. Zirkel used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Situated on the lake of the same name, Lake George makes an unbeatable destination if you are looking for a water adventure. With less than an hour of travel time from Albany, Lake George’s best offers are waiting, from thrilling roller coaster rides to water slides. The town is also famous for craft beers and quality regional wines. In every corner, live music is always playing. If you are a golf addict, Adirondack-themed mini-golf courses offer plenty of unbeatable challenges. If you take a day trip from Albany, New York, in winter, you can check out the fabulous ice skating rinks. There are designated ice-fishing hotspots too. You can also go cross-country skiing.

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9. Tanglewood

Best day trips from Albany
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Chamberednautilus used under CC BY-SA 4.0

If music is your thing, there’s no better place to visit than Tanglewood. Tanglewood brings people together through music. It is a “music venue” in the towns of Stockbridge and Lenox. If you want to learn more about music, you are in the right place. Tanglewood has three outstanding music schools, from Days in the Arts to Boston University Tanglewood and Tanglewood Music Center. Classical is more common, but it also presents jazz and a variety of concerts. As proof, the Festival of Contemporary Music is celebrated here.

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10. New Paltz

Shawangunk Ridge from New Paltz
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Daniel Case used under CC BY-SA 3.0

There is no underestimating New Paltz. Though a small town, it has a lot of things to offer that will give you a grand getaway. Situated between Albany and New York City, it is famous for some extreme adventures. Shawangunk Ridge is labeled as “one of the best rock-climbing sites in North America.” With plenty of great wineries, New Paltz is also great for wine tours. New Paltz is approximately less than one and a half hours from Albany.

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11. Lake Placid

Lake Placid - Mirror Lake
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mwanner used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Lake Placid is brimming with adventure. Hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, cycling, to name a few - Lake Placid is indeed a place for a wide variety of excursions, from mild to extreme. No wonder this town is consistently the venue for the Winter Olympics. It is perfect for snow sports and plenty of outdoor pursuits. If you are in Albany, Lake Placid is easy to reach, and travel time is only less than two and a half hours.

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12. Boston (from USD 44.0)

day trips from albany ny | boston

Named after Boston in Massachusetts, Boston in New York is almost four and a half hours away from Albany. Once here you should visit Eternal Flame Falls. There is a tiny cavern at the base of the fall which discharges natural gas. It is lit to create a gorgeous flame that can be occasionally lit. For adrenaline junkies, Buffalo Ski Center is the perfect place to be. It is family-friendly and there are many hills. For those with a love for wines can definitely drop by Pellicano Vineyard Hamburg Winery. If you like live music you may visit on a Thursday.

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Boston: Hop-On, Hop-Off Trolley Ticket

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Explore magnificent day trip destinations from Albany

With a lot of things to offer, including shopping malls, restaurants, and places to visit in Albany, New York, you will be spoiled for choice. If that’s not enough, there is plenty of action in nearby towns for every taste waiting to be explored. If you are in Albany, you are in the right place to extend the fun and adventure.

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Frequently asked questions about day trips from Albany

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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Richard, a writer and traveler, is also passionate about biking. When not immersed in bike parts or computers, he can be found at the market, hunting for ingredients to fuel his love for...Read more

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