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The Ultimate Guide to Upstate New York in the Fall

Updated: Oct 4, 2023

10 activities you must do to fully embrace the #autumnvibes in Upstate New York this fall.


As the summer sun begrudgingly makes way for cooler breezes and cozy sweaters, our calendar fills up with road trips to the enchanting realm of Upstate New York in the fall. During autumn in New York, even those who you thought deleted their Instagram account come back to post a cute pumpkin selfie. So grab your crew and get ready for a scenic drive because no one does fall quite like Upstate New York.


Ithaca falls with fall foliage surrounding
Photo Courtesy of Visit Ithaca

1. Leaf Peeping: Channeling Your Inner Fall Whisperer

We have never heard a New Yorker use the term “leaf peeping,” but now that we know it, we’re obsessed. Picture yourself standing at the peak of the Adirondack Mountains, surveying a sea of red, orange, and yellow leaves. It's like Mother Nature decided to redecorate the whole landscape, just for your aesthetic pleasure. This fall is your chance to embrace the art of leaf peeping.


🍂: The Adirondack Mountains (Lake Placid, Saranac Lake), Catskill Mountains (Hunter, Windham), Ithaca, Watkins Glen, Rhinebeck, and Hudson are prime spots for leaf peeping.

2. Apple Picking: Because Orchards Are the New Runways

Your NYFW invites got lost in the mail (ours too), but that’s okay because orchards are where the real magic happens. Upstate New York is like the fashion capital of apples. Whether you're into classic reds, trendy greens, or indie yellows, there's an orchard for every outfit. Just imagine all the beautiful #fallOOTD pic possibilities.


🍂: New Paltz, Warwick, Albany, and Troy have numerous orchards for apple picking.

3. Haunted Houses: Giving Ghosts a Run for Their Boo

Oh, you thought Autumn in Upstate was all about pretty leaves and apple-themed everything? Think again! It’s spooky season and haunted houses in Upstate know just how to give a chill. Whether you're a fearless ghost hunter or a chronic screamer, there's a haunted house for everyone. Bring your squad, clutch onto each other for dear life, and let those creepy spirits know that you're not to be messed with (or just run away from them in fear).



4. Pumpkin Picking: More Pumpkins, Less Problems

Pumpkin spice lattes are great and all, but nothing screams fall like pumpkin picking. Whether you're searching for the Cinderella of pumpkins or just want to carve something that vaguely resembles a face, Upstate New York has got you covered.


🍂: Newark Valley, New Paltz, Pawling, and Warwick offer great pumpkin patches.

5. Wine and Beer Tasting: Cheers to Fall Shenanigans

Now, darlings, it's time to switch gears from pumpkin patches to wine glasses. The Finger Lakes region isn't just about serene waters – it's also about some seriously good grapes. If wine's not your thing, fear not. Craft breweries are like the rebellious siblings of wineries, offering unique flavors that might just surprise you.


🍂: Albany, Beacon, Finger Lakes (Seneca Lake, Keuka Lake), Hudson, and Troy are known for their wineries and breweries.

6. Scenic Train Rides: All Aboard the Scenic Express

We won’t get too wordy on this one because we have a whole post on the topic for you to enjoy coming soon. The gist? Why settle for regular travel when you can hop on a moving Instagram backdrop?



7. Hiking and Nature Walks: Wander Like You Mean It

Now, let's get real – autumn isn't just about pumpkin-spiced everything and cozy sweaters. It's also about embracing your inner nature enthusiast. Upstate New York's got more trails than you have excuses for not going to the gym. Whether you're conquering the Adirondack high peaks like the boss you are or strolling through the colorful foliage of the Finger Lakes, remember it’s all about that #NatureGoddess vibe.


🍂: Ithaca, Lake Placid, Lake George, Phoenicia, Watkins Glen, and Woodstock are ideal for hiking and nature walks.

8. Fall Fairs and Festivals: Fall in Love in Fall

Fall fairs are like whimsical wonderlands that pop up across Upstate New York. You can opt for a traditional fair and live out your Hallmark movie dream or experience a modern haunting horror-land. Whether you want to embrace your inner romantic or inner child upstate has a festival for you.



9. Fall Camping: Glamping, Darling!

Before you dive headfirst into a pile of leaves (don't worry, we've all thought about it), consider taking your fall adventure up a notch with glamping. Upstate New York's got some seriously fabulous spots to set up your chic outdoor abode. Roast marshmallows, snuggle into your plush sleeping bag, and revel in the fact that you're roughing it... in style.


🍂: Catskill, Ithaca, Roxbury, Woodstock, and Woodridge have lovely glamping opportunities.

10. Leaf Boat Tours and Fall Foliage Cruises: Sailing into the Sunset

Why admire the fall foliage from the shore when you can sail right into it? Upstate New York's leaf boat tours and foliage cruises offer a view that's nothing short of enchanting. Imagine sipping on cider while being surrounded by a sea of autumn colors, just imagining it makes you feel warm and happy.


🍂: Canandaigua Lake, Clayton, and Lake George offer fall foliage boat tours.

So grab that oversized scarf, throw on your coziest sweater, and get ready to explore Upstate New York in all its fall glory. Whether you're snapping pics for the gram or making memories that'll warm your heart for years to come, remember that this season is a canvas waiting for your unique touch. Now, go forth and embrace the fall fabulousness – you've got leaves to peep, apples to pick, and a whole lot of breathtaking adventures to embark upon. Happy fall!


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If you visit any of these places don't forget to tag @popupgirlsnyc for a chance to be feature on our feed!

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