Drives are one thing you’ll look up to when you want some fresh air. New York is a diverse state offering well over 400 different drives. With so many options, it can be a challenge to decide on a specific one. As a native New Yorker and lover of the road, I have compiled a list of ten of my favorite NY drives for you to enjoy.
1) Taconic Parkway
This is my all-time top pick for scenic NY drives. The parkway runs from Westchester County into Duchess County through small towns and connects you with some breathtaking views of the Catskills Mountains as well as plenty of historical sites along the way such as Philipsburg Manor & Sunnyside Plantation. It offers 73 miles worth of pure driving pleasure which ends at an intersection with Interstate 684 in Copake Falls, NY.
2) North County Trailway
I have driven this highway probably close to a hundred times yet I never seem to get tired of it. The railway runs 11 miles from Yonkers to Putnam County running right alongside the Hudson River. Personally, it is one of my favorite routes for an early morning or late night drive in Westchester. It offers just enough excitement without being too much to handle.
3) Palisades Interstate Parkway
This drive starts in Rockland County and connects you with NJ’s Route 17 which takes you all the way up into New England. The parkway has plenty of scenic overlooks featuring views of the lower Hudson River, Alpine Mountain Range, and even Manhattan on clear days! There are many great little spots to stop along the way for food, drinks, and/or sightseeing including Fort Lee Historic Park, Englewood Cliffs, Alpine, and even Bear Mountain.
4) Hart’s Location Rd.,
Whiteface Memorial Highway, & Wilmington Notch Rd. – These three roads are located in the Adirondack Mountains in Washington County. They offer jaw-dropping views of unique geologic features throughout the county. If you’re looking for a good workout while enjoying some spectacular scenes, you’ve found your routes! I advise starting off on Harts Location Rd. which runs all the way up to Whiteface Mtn. Auto Road (State Route 86). At this point turn right onto State Route 86 towards Wilmington Notch State Park, take a left onto Notch Rd. which will bring you back to Route 86, and finally make a right onto Wilmington-Lake Placid Rd ( State Route 86) which will bring you back to Whiteface Mtn. Auto Road.
5) Lake Champlain Byway
If you’re looking for an adventure that includes some history, this is your drive! This scenic highway runs along the west shore of Lake Champlain from Crown Point into NY’s Columbia County (and beyond). Along the way, it takes you to many historical sites such as Fort Ticonderoga, Chimney Point, and Adirondack Park Preserve. The route stops in Keeseville where it intersects with US 9 & NY –22.
6) Erie Canalway Trail
This is the only bike path on this list but it’s a fantastic one! The canal runs from Albany to Buffalo and passes through many cities and towns. If you’re looking for a nice scenic adventure, hop on your bike and enjoy some of New York’s finest landscapes while learning about the rich history of this man-made feat (which opened in 1825).
7) Lake Ontario State Parkway
This route offers 42 miles worth of beautiful views along NY’s northern border with Canada. The route starts off in Greece where it connects to I-490 then heads east into Monroe County passing by many small lakeside communities such as Hamlin Beach, Spencerport Parma, Mendon Ponds Park, and Ontario Beach. The route ends at a junction with US 104 in the town of Parma.
8) Lake Erie Coastal Route
This pleasant drive runs from Buffalo to North East along NY’s south shore of Lake Erie. Along the way, you’ll pass by Long Point State Park, Presque Isle State Park, numerous lighthouses, and plenty of beaches & parks to stop at for a quick snack or a day trip. Once you cross into Pennsylvania, the road name changes to PA-5 near Girard where it eventually ends at an intersection with US 6.
9) Taconic State Parkway
Another favorite scenic highway of mine is the Taconic running from Westchester County up into Columbia County. This is another one of those routes that I like to take when I’m driving back home from the city. The Taconic offers an abundance of scenic overlooks, historical sites, quaint little villages to explore, and easy access to great outdoor activities such as biking & hiking in the park. Start your trip at Sleepy Hollow where you’ll connect with NY-119 then make your way up into Albany County where you can opt to stay on the Taconic or jump over onto NY-22 toward Ghent.
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