5 daytrip destinations
Western New Yorkers don’t have to take planes or stay in hotels to take memorable vacations. Sometimes, paradise is just a short drive
Letchworth State Park / 1 Letchworth State Park / Castile / (585) 493-3600
Nicknamed “the Grand Canyon of the East,” Letchworth is a getaway that really makes you feel you are getting away. With more than 14,000 acres along the Genesee River, people rave about the gorge and three exceptional waterfalls. There are 70 miles of trails to hike, rated easy to moderate difficulty; a swimming pool.
National Museum of Play at the Strong Museum / 1 Manhattan Square Drive / Rochester / (585) 263-2700
This highly interactive museum is committed to all things play. Popular interactive exhibits include a Wegmans Super Kids Market, Sesame Street, Berenstain Bears and a Field of Play. The museum also has a carousel, a Strong Express passenger train, a National Toy Hall of Fame, Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden, food court, diner and museum shops.
Presque Isle State Park / 301 Peninsula Drive / Erie, Pa. / (814) 833-7424
Presque Isle is a 3,200-acre peninsula with seven miles of sandy beaches on Lake Erie. The kids will surely snooze the entire way home. A road system within the park forms a loop about 13 miles in length. People enjoy many recreational activities including swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, bicycling, kite-flying, bird-watching and in-line skating. Rentals of bikes, surreys and kayaks are available.
Toronto Islands / Toronto Island / Toronto, Canada / (416) 392-8186
After trekking from Western New York and paying to park your car at one of the nearby lots, the fun begins with a ferry ride. Bring your bicycle, but no passenger cars, motorcycles or motor scooters are allowed on this small group of islands. Once there, you can enjoy a picnic you packed, hit the beaches, walk trails, grab a snack, visit the Centreville Amusement Park, Franklin Children’s Garden, Gibraltar Point Lighthouse or Far Enough Farm.
Griffis Scultpure Park / 6902 Rohr Road / East Otto / 667-2808
Fresh air and monumental sculptures make this 400-acre park in Cattaraugus County a unique destination. Owned and operated by the Ashford Hollow Foundation, the park blends art and nature. You’ll find miles of hiking trails, meadows and ponds here. Oh, yes, and more than 250 large-scale sculptures – including human forms and huge insects. Kids can touch and even climb on and in some of them.