Boondocking / Dry Camping, Off the Beaten Path Series, Travel Destinations & Stories

Off the Beaten Path in New York ~ The Best Hidden Gems!

If this is your first time here – WELCOME! If not, welcome back!! As full-time RV’ers, we travel and see a lot. This is part of our Opting Out of Normal series where we explore the hidden treasures in every state. We love the big popular attractions like everyone else, but there is just something incredible about discovering something unique, different, and taking the road less traveled. We certainly can’t explore them all, but we’d love you to share your own off the beaten path stories. Each series will include at least 1 epic boondocking area, with GPS coordinates.

If you’re visiting New York City, did you know there are still so many “off the beaten path” things to do and see there? Strange happenings in that city, I tell ya!

  • Marilyn Monroes Subway Grate
  • The Earth Room – why? It’s a 22-inch-deep layer of dirt spread across a 3,600-square-foot gallery space in the middle of Soho. Interesting
  • Don’t forget about the Ghost Busters Fire House 

But our favorite part of NY is not the city. Have you been to Upstate New York? I hope you look at New York a little differently after checking some of these places out. 

The Wild Walk

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If you have kids, or even if you don’t, you just have to experience this place!  There are 81 acres for nature lovers. (wheelchair accessible as well) Nestled 45ft up in the Adirondack Forest. What would it be like to live on a spider web, hanging on a thread above the forest? The Spider’s Web at Wild Walk is your chance to lay in wait or walk across a web woven above the ground. This place is a really fun place whether you are 8 or 80.

Watkins Glen State Park

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We’ve been here twice, and we’re pretty sure we’ll go back again. It’s one of our two favorite State Parks so far. It’s magical and the beauty is one of those unforgettable places. New York’s Finger Lakes region. The park’s lower part is near the village, while the upper part is open woodland. There are 19 waterfalls along its course.  I believe it’s a course of 2 miles. The gorge path winds over and under waterfalls and through the spray of Cavern Cascade. Rim trails overlook the gorge. If you haven’t visited this State Park, definitely put it on your list.

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Letchworth State Park

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This park holds a special place in our heart. It’s where we decided to take the first step to change the life we were living, which led us to ultimately selling our two homes, and live and travel full-time in our RV.

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It’s where the picture of us was taken on our home page. We were fortunate enough to visit right as they made a decision and starting demolition of the old train bridge over the waterfall. There are three large waterfalls on the Genesee River and as many as 50 other waterfalls. The deep gorge formed by the river, with rock walls rising up to 550 feet in places and which narrow to 400 feet across above the middle of the three falls, prompted the area’s reputation as the “Grand Canyon of the East”. OH, and in the Fall, I hear there is a hot air balloon launch over the waterfall. I would love to go back and see that!

Eternal Flame Falls

The Eternal Flame Falls is a small waterfall located in the Chestnut Ridge Park in Western NY. A small grotto at the waterfall’s base gives off a natural gas, which can be lit to produce a small flame. This flame is visible nearly year-round, although it can be extinguished and must occasionally be re-lit.

Lucifer Falls

Located in Robert H. Treman State Park, Lucifer Falls can be found in the rugged Enfield Glen gorge.

There is a paved trail and staircases built by the Civilian Conservation Corps members that lead you along the gorge, making the hike beautiful and not overly challenging. A hike that is especially beautiful in Fall (we visited NY in the Summer), take the Rim Trail to Lucifer Falls to see the water cascading down the face of the rock. Be sure to also check out the rest of the park while you are there if you have the time. It is perfect for an afternoon picnic or a full day trip.

The Boldt Castle

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Another castle! Another sad story! If you have read our other blogs in this series you will know I love to seek out castles. They are hidden in our American history in almost every state. I love researching and reading the story behind it. Sadly, so far everyone I’ve read about, it seems to be a story of despair, death, and/or extreme sadness. The Boldt Castle in Alexandria Bay is no exception. In 1900, Mr. Boldt started building a 120 room, 6 story home for him and his family. Including a drawbridge, Italian gardens, and even tunnels. There were approximately 300 men working on building this structure. In January 1904, tragedy struck. Boldt telegraphed the island and commanded the workers to immediately “stop all construction.”  His wife, Louise, had died suddenly. A broken-hearted Boldt could not imagine his dream castle without his beloved. Boldt never returned to the island, leaving behind the structure as a monument of his love. For 73 years, the castle and various stone structures were left to the mercy of the wind, rain, ice, snow, and vandals. 

(these are not my pictures. Boldt Castle does not allow even your own pictures to be published. These pictures were available for download on their website.)

Natural Stone Bridge and Caves

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Located in Pottersville. Bring good rubber-soled enclosed walking shoes to explore this self-guided (we love the self-guided tours since we love to just take our time through things like this) ¾ mile, mostly above-ground, natural stone step nature trail and experience up-close the unique marble features including potholes, grottos, gorge and mill site waterfalls. The massive stone bridge arch is the largest marble cave entrance in the east.

This is another state that I could write for 2 solid days about. And you’d still be reading next week. So we’ll end it here, but make sure you check out the Corning Glass Museum. We didn’t get a chance to go there, but it was on our list! Next time for sure!

Here are some more blogs we think you’ll love!

Looking for some RV camping suggestions in New York? Click the link below to see the amazing places we stayed!

Thank you for stopping by our little corner of the internet! We truly appreciate each and every person who takes the time to read our blogs. We’re honored you spent the last few minutes with us!  If you aren’t signed up to follow us, please do! You’ll be notified of our new blogs when they go up. We’d love to hear where your favorite hidden gems are in New York! Send us a message, or comment below.

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