New York

For most, any trip to the Empire State starts or finishes in its iconic metropolis: New York City. However, if you confine your travels only to the five boroughs there's a considerable amount you're missing out on.

Long Island and upstate New York – generally accepted as anywhere north of the NYC metro area – shouldn't be missed. Long Island has cozy beach towns, while upstate is a dream destination for those who cherish the great outdoors. The Hudson River valley acts as an escape route from the city, leading eager sojourners north. From Albany, the 524-mile Erie Canal cuts due west to Lake Erie, passing spectacular Niagara Falls, Buffalo and Rochester. In the east you'll find the St Lawrence River and its thousands of islands, as well as the magnificent Adirondack and Catskills mountains. Head to the middle of the state and you'll be ensconced in the serene Finger Lakes.

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